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April 26, 2010

STATE BAR'S COMMERCIAL AND FEDERAL LITIGATION SECTION HOSTS FOURTH ANNUAL FORUM ON CAREER STRATEGIES FOR ATTORNEYS OF COLOR

ALBANY- The New York State Bar Association today announced it will present, "Smooth Moves IV: Career Strategies for Attorneys of Color" on Tuesday, April 27th, at the Kaplan Penthouse in the Rose Building at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The event, which includes a continuing legal education (CLE) program at 4:00 p.m. and a festive awards ceremony and networking reception at 5:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and co-sponsored by ten other sections of the State Bar.

The CLE program, entitled "The Obama Administration's Call to Service - One Year Later: Perspectives on Growth Opportunities for Attorneys of Color in the Public and Private Sectors," will review the Obama Administration's key policy positions, judicial appointments and priorities to date, and highlight the Administration's legislative initiatives in the areas of labor and employment, political law and corporate governance that may provide significant opportunities for private practitioners to develop subject matter expertise and expand their individual practice areas.

Preeta Bansal, general counsel and senior policy advisor to the Office of Management and Budget in the White House and former solicitor general of the State of New York, will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists include George W. Madison, general counsel, United States Department of the Treasury, and former executive vice president and general counsel at both TIAA-CREF and Comerica Incorporated; Chief Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York; Ki P. Hong, partner in the Political Law Practice Group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington, D.C; and Barbara L. Johnson,  partner in the Employment Law Department at Paul Hastings in D.C., a nationally known employment jury trial and class action lawyer whose firm has been selected by The American Lawyer as the Labor & Employment Litigation Firm of the Year.

Since its inception, the Smooth Moves program has served as the Commercial & Federal Litigation Section's premiere event to attract attorneys of color to active membership in the Section; to serve professional development goals; to help create student awareness of commercial litigation and foster greater diversity among commercial and federal litigators throughout New York; and to celebrate the career of retired New York Court of Appeals Judge George Bundy Smith.

At the awards ceremony following the CLE program, Norman Lau Kee and his son Glenn Lau-Kee of New York (Kee & Lau-Kee, PLLC), both renowned lawyers with outstanding records of public service, will receive the Hon. George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award. The award is given for legal excellence, community commitment and mentoring. 

The Section's Minority Fellowship also will be presented at the awards ceremony to Ms. Alet Brown, a first-year law student at St. John's University School of Law. Ms. Brown will spend the summer interning in the chambers of Justice Bernard Fried of the New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division.

A resident of Brooklyn, Ms. Brown is a graduate of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (New York) where she earned a BA in Criminal Justice (cum laude) in 2009. While at John Jay, Ms. Brown was awarded the Howard Mann Humanitarian Award and was a member of the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Additionally, she served as an associate justice on the College's Judicial Board, as a member of the Commencement Awards Committee, and a tutor at John Jay's Writing Center. She also participated in the Ronald H. Brown Summer Law School Prep Program at the College. Her community service activities include serving as a GED Tutor at the Hope Center of the Church of God of East Flatbush, a Mentor/Tutor for the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Program for Gifted Students at IS 252 Arthur S. Sommers School, and a volunteer at the Urban Justice Center.

Past recipients of the Hon. George Bundy Smith award include Elaine R. Jones, Esq., the president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP - Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Cesar A. Perales, Esq., president and general counsel, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund; and, in its inaugural year, Judge Smith himself.

Founded in 1988, the 2,600 member Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the State Bar strives to improve the quality of representation of commercial clients in litigation matters, provides a forum for the improvement of law and procedure in the areas of commercial and federal litigation, and enhances the administration of justice. The section is committed to serving the professional development goals of attorneys of color and to fostering diversity in the profession.

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-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. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.