The American Bar Association (ABA) today selected New York City attorney James R. Silkenat to become its president-elect designee, putting him in line to become the first New Yorker to lead the ABA in 25 years.
Silkenat, a partner at Sullivan & Worcester and an active leader in the State Bar Association, was named president-elect designee during the ABA's midyear meeting in New Orleans. He will become president-elect this August.
When he takes office as president in August 2013, Silkenat will be the 21st New Yorker to head the ABA. The two most recent were former State Bar President Robert MacCrate, who was president of the ABA in 1987-88, and former State Bar President Lawrence Walsh, who was ABA president in 1975-76.
"The ABA will be well served by Jim Silkenat's leadership skills and his vigorous advocacy on behalf of the legal profession and justice system," said New York State Bar President Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo). "Jim possesses not only a deep understanding of the law, but also an analytical mind, wisdom and a great sense of humor."
The 410,000-member American Bar Association was founded in 1878 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It is headquartered in Chicago.
Silkenat, a native of Salina, Kansas, has been heavily involved in the activities of both the State Bar and the ABA for many years.
He joined the ABA in the mid-1970s as a delegate to China. He has been a member of its House of Delegates since 1990 and was the New York state delegate and chair of its delegation from 2000-09. He has chaired the Nominating Committee, Steering Committee, Section Officers Conference and International Law Section. He also served on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession since 2008.
In addition, Silkenat has chaired the ABA standing committees on Membership, Constitution and Bylaws; the Latin American Legal Initiatives Council and the ABA Museum of Law. He was co-founder of the ABA Solo and Small Firm Leadership Coalition and currently chairs its Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund for Minority Law Students Fundraising Committee.
At the State Bar, Silkenat has been a delegate to its House of Delegates since 1998 and is a member of the International Section. He also served on the Special Committee on Association Governance, as well as the Membership and Nominating committees.
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
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