The New York State Bar Association's 136th Annual Meeting in New York City will feature panels on assisting veterans, boosting voter turnout, the Defense of Marriage Act, cyberbullying, legal ethics and social media, and protecting the images of celebrities after their deaths.

More than 4,000 attorneys are expected to attend the weeklong conference at the Hilton New York in Manhattan from Monday, January 21, through Saturday, January 26.

Among those scheduled to address the Annual Meeting are U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William T. Burns, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, noted tax expert and California law professor Edward D. Kleinbard, state Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti, and former state Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. On Saturday evening, the co-founders of the Innocence Project, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, will be presented with the Gold Medal, the Bar Association's highest award, for lifelong excellence in the legal profession and unparalleled civic contributions.

The centerpiece of the Annual Meeting will be the Presidential Summit on Wednesday, January 23, from 2 to 5 p.m. The summit, hosted by President Seymour W. James, Jr. (The Legal Aid Society in New York City), will feature two panel discussions, one on veterans issues and another on boosting voter turnout.

The first forum will address issues facing soldiers as they return home after service. Veterans often face problems such as not being able to find work; readjusting to civilian and family life; securing economic assistance and military benefits; drug and alcohol abuse; medical problems; mental health problems (including those related to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries); domestic violence; and homelessness.

Col. David W. Sutherland, executive director of the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services in Chicago and former special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will deliver the keynote address. Immediate Past State Bar President Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo) will moderate a panel of veteran's experts and service providers.

The second forum will address New York's poor voter enrollment and voting record. New York consistently ranks among the lowest of the 50 states in voter registration and turnout. The panel, moderated by John R. Dunne of Albany (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna) and Daniel F. Kolb of New York City (Davis Polk & Wardwell), co-chairs of the State Bar's Special Committee on Voter Participation, will discuss the root causes of the problems and consider potential solutions such as early voting and Election Day registration.

On Friday, January 25, the State Bar's House of Delegates will hold its quarterly meeting, during which it will consider reports on Voter Participation, Family Courts, and Solitary Confinement in New York prisons.

Other highlights of the Annual Meeting

Dying for Fame: Panelists at the Trust and Estates Law Section program will discuss the right of publicity after a celebrity's death and issues relating to who can profit from the images left behind. The panelists will explore cases involving Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando and others. Wednesday, January 21, 9 a.m. to Noon.

Dignity for All Students Act: Speakers at the Law, Youth and Citizenship forum will discuss upcoming  changes to the state's school bullying law. The discussion will include exploring the authority of schools to control off-campus student expression to combat cyberbullying in the context of the bully's First Amendment rights and other considerations. Wednesday, January 23, 9 a.m. to Noon.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): A joint meeting of the Committee on LGBT People and the Law and the Committee on Civil Rights will host panel discussions on the rights of same-sex couples and pending legal challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which narrowly defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Thursday, January 24, 9 a.m. to Noon.  Immediately after at Noon, Professor Andrew Koppelman of Northwestern University School of Law will give a keynote address on "The Impending Unlamented Death of the Defense of Marriage Act."  The event is sponsored by the Family Law Section.

Effective Assistance of Counsel Before Entering the Courtroom: The panel, hosted by the Criminal Justice Section, will discuss two important U.S. Supreme Court cases, Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper, in the context of plea bargains, the state Constitution and applicable cases. Thursday, January 24, 8:50 a.m. to Noon.

The Law Firm of Tomorrow Today: This discussion will look at advances in technology and how law firms are adapting to incorporate the new technology into how they do business. The session will explore strategies and look at where these rapid changes are taking the legal profession. Thursday, January 24, 1 to 5 p.m. 

For a complete listing of speakers, programs and events, as well as registration information, visit Also follow the Bar Association on Twitter at @NYSBA, (#NYSBA for Annual Meeting activities), and on our Facebook page, New York State Bar Association.

The New York State Bar Association, with 76,000 members, is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Mark Mahoney
Associate Director, Media Services and Public Affairs