February 9, 2009


Strong Leadership Commitment to Providing Valuable Member Services Leads to Continued Growth

 The New York State Bar Association announced today that its membership has topped 76,000, growing last year by nearly three percent or 2,109 members - the largest single year increase in more than a decade. 

State Bar Association President Bernice K. Leber (Arent Fox LLP) attributed this unprecedented increase to the State Bar's focus on membership development and retention - particularly a "Membership Challenge" initiative started by Immediate Past President Kathryn Grant Madigan that increased enrollment by nearly 4,000 since 2007 -  as well as a commitment by leadership in raising the level of visibility of the State Bar in New York and across the nation, understanding member needs, and delivering important membership services of real value.  Leber also noted that the State Bar sent emails to its members and regularly conducts research in order to learn more about the issues that they believe are currently the most significant ones facing the State Bar and the legal profession.

 "In New York, lawyers can join any of 200 other bar and judicial associations.  Our uniqueness as a statewide association allows our members to see the State Bar as an organization that contributes to their professional growth through a vast array of programs, resources and services," said Leber.  "Our management team under the direction of Patricia Bucklin and our Membership Committee under the guidance of Chair Claire Gutekunst should be commended for their hard work and extraordinary success in this area." 

 Ms. Gutekunst (Proskauer Rose LLP) said, "The State Bar's Membership Committee continues to focus on providing programs and services that attorneys can get from no other bar association in New York or across the nation.  I congratulate the members of the committee, as well as Bernice Leber, Kate Madigan, and the senior staff, for their leadership in attaining this record of success, particularly when other associations are faced with flat or even declining membership."

According to Leber, a number of factors contributed to the State Bar Association's successful growth including:

  • Strategic attention to membership development and retention.
  • In-depth research conducted by the State Bar to meet ever-changing member needs.
  • Continual upgrades of the Web site to improve usability and relevancy including additional resources for solo and small firm practitioners, lawyers in transition, and enhanced accessibility for members with special needs.
  • Efficient dissemination of the latest information on membership benefits, including new health and dental insurance.
  • Increased professional development opportunities for members to get involved in the Association.


 The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.