David M. Schraver of Rochester, a partner in the law firm of Nixon Peabody, assumed office June 1 as the 116th president of the New York State Bar Association.
Schraver will focus much of his one-year term on the future of legal education and the profession at a time when many law school graduates are shouldering six-figure student loans and facing uncertain job prospects. In response to the situation, Schraver plans to engage law school educators, practicing attorneys, judges and others in a year-long examination of how best to prepare new attorneys for a changing profession.
"New attorneys should have the opportunity to begin their careers without being overwhelmed by law school debt," Schraver said. "New attorneys must be prepared to adapt to a rapidly changing legal environment. At the same time, they must be faithful to the core values of the legal profession-fairness, integrity, civility, intellectual rigor, access to justice, respect for the rule of law, and competent service to their clients and communities," he added.
To assist new and veteran State Bar members in keeping current with developments in the profession, the association will offer them the latest technical, educational and professional resources, said Schraver, whose theme for his presidential year is "Serving the Profession, Serving the Public."
He plans to continue the work of his predecessors in areas such as human trafficking; gun violence; re-entry of previously incarcerated individuals; preventing wrongful convictions; promoting diversity in the legal profession; and advocating for access to justice, adequate funding for the courts and other public policy initiatives.
"It is critical that the State Bar continue the momentum we've gained on many issues, as well as be prepared to address other matters as they arise. Our association needs to be focused and flexible in dealing with issues within our profession and in the communities we serve," he said.
Schraver is the association's 11th president from Rochester since its founding at the state Capitol in 1876. He succeeds Seymour W. James, Jr. (The Legal Aid Society in New York City).
During his tenure, Schraver plans to work closely with the American Bar Association and its incoming president, New York attorney James R. Silkenat (Sullivan & Worchester). Silkenat will begin a one-year term as ABA president in August, the first New Yorker to head the organization since Robert MacCrate in 1987-1988. Silkenat and Schraver already have begun regular conference calls on issues of mutual concern, including human trafficking and an upcoming report from the ABA's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education.
Personal and Professional Background
Schraver, a member of the State Bar for more than 40 years, is immediate past co-chair of the President's Committee on Access to Justice. He has been a member of the Finance Committee since 2003 and its chairman for five years. He has served on the Executive Committee for seven years, as president-elect, vice-president for the Seventh Judicial District and member-at-large. He has served for 14 years in the House of Delegates and is a member of the Committee on Standards for Attorney Conduct and the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section.
At Nixon Peabody, Schraver's work encompasses complex business and commercial litigation in state and federal courts. He is a founding member of the firm's Indian law and gaming team. His practice also focuses on energy/utility litigation, contract litigation, and fiduciary and professional liability. He has served as managing partner of the firm's Rochester office.
He is a member of the ABA House of Delegates and the ABA Litigation Section. He also is a past president of the Monroe County Bar Association and the Metropolitan Bar Caucus of the National Conference of Bar Presidents. He has served on the boards of a number of community organizations in the Rochester area.
A native of Albany, Schraver graduated cum laude from Harvard University and magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was note and comment editor for the Michigan Law Review. After law school, Schraver was on active duty in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG).
Schraver will serve a one-year term as State Bar president. Glenn Lau-Kee of New York City (Kee & Lau-Kee) became president-elect on June 1. Lau-Kee will become president on June 1, 2014.
The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It was founded in 1876.
Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
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