February 2, 2010


Bar Association Past President given highest honor for distinguished seven-decade career

ALBANY-S. Hazard Gillespie, senior counsel to Davis Polk & Wardwell and the 1958-1959 past president of the New York State Bar Association (1958-1959), received the 2010 Gold Medal, the State Bar's highest honor. State Bar President Michael E. Getnick of New York (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City) presented the award to Gillespie at the President's Dinner held on Saturday, January 30, as part of the State Bar's Annual Meeting.

The Committee on Annual Award honored Gillespie, who is 99, for his distinguished career spanning more than seven decades, and his extraordinary role in furthering the goals of the State Bar. As President of the State Bar, Gillespie was one of the first presidents to travel across the state in order to foster relationships with local bar associations while building the State Bar's membership. His accomplishments include successfully lobbying the New York State Legislature for legislation that streamlined state income tax paperwork and personally endorsing 347 young lawyers to be admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to his presidency, Gillespie chaired the Membership Committee, increasing the State Bar's membership from 11,000 to 15,000 during his tenure.

 "S. Hazard Gillespie remains one of our most celebrated and respected presidents with an extraordinary legacy that has lasted more than 50 years after his presidency. We would not be the organization we are today without his outstanding lobbying skills that furthered the public interest, his  dedication to mentoring young attorneys, and his diligent work to increase membership throughout the state," said President Getnick. "I am very pleased to present our highest honor to Hazard. He is a most deserving recipient of this award."

A graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, Gillespie is senior counsel to Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he actively practices corporate and international tax law. More than 75 years after he served as a summer clerk, Gillespie still comes to work every day at the firm's New York office, devoting himself to pro bono services. Gillespie served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1959 to 1961.

Gillespie serves as president of the Tappan Zee Bridge Preservation Coalition. He is a past chairman of the American Skin Association and is still a board member. He previously was vice president of the Yale Law School Association of New York and a director of the Legal Aid Society, the Union Settlement Association and the Hospital for Special Surgery.

First awarded in 1952, the prestigious Gold Medal is presented annually to a distinguished member of the bench or bar with outstanding legal ability, as well as a leader in the legal profession and the larger community. An awardee is also someone who has taken a very active role in civic and community activities and has played a significant role in the work of the State Bar.

Past recipients include: Frederick "Fritz" A.O. Schwarz, Jr., senior counsel, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP; Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor, retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; and Hon. Judith S. Kaye, retired chief judge of the State of New York.

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.