April 13, 2011
STATE BAR ASSOCIATION WINS NATIONAL GRASSROOTS
American Bar Association recognizes judicial
efforts and congressional advocacy
The American Bar Association has recognized the New York
State Bar Association with its 2011 Grassroots Advocacy Award for its
judicial and legislative campaign to defeat new federal restrictions on
The ABA credits the State Bar Association for "its successful efforts in
rallying more than 50 state and local bar associations" in opposition to
the Federal Trade Commission's Red Flag rule. The federal agency
required creditors to develop programs to identity, detect and respond
to identify theft. The State Bar Association successfully argued the FTC
had exceeded the intent of Congress by applying the rule to lawyers.
Three years ago, under the leadership of then-President Bernice Leber of
New York (Arent Fox), the State Bar Association launched its federal
"We were concerned that isolated contacts with members of Congress were
not sufficient to carry the message of our 77,000 members. Our receipt
of this award validates the effectiveness of these efforts on behalf of
lawyers in New York," said current State Bar President Stephen P.
Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler).
"The State Bar Association has been a leader in serving as a resource to
members of the New York Congressional delegation on issues of importance
to the legal profession and society in general," said John Nonna of New
York (Dewey & LeBoeuf), who co-chairs the Committee on Federal
Legislative Priorities. "Most recently, we vigorously advocated for the
preservation of funding for the Legal Services Corporation which
provides civil legal services to indigent people."
The ABA recognized the New York State Bar Association for it advocacy in
Congress and the FTC and for submitting an amicus curiae brief in a case
the ABA subsequently brought against the FTC. The brief was filed by
Arent Fox on a pro bono basis. "The NYSBA’s efforts motivated 54
state and local bar associations to endorse the brief," according to the
A federal judge ruled against the FTC. While the appeal was pending, the
State Bar Association, joined by bar associations across the nation,
successfully lobbied Congress to pass a law that exempted attorneys from
the Red Flag rule.
"The New York State Bar's work on the Red Flags Rule is a great example
of how the legal community works together and succeeds together when it
comes to critical legal issues," said ABA President Stephen N. Zack.
The Association, which is the largest state voluntary state bar
association in the nation, is to receive the Grassroots Advocacy Award
this evening during a reception at the U.S. Supreme Court.