New York State Bar Association President David P. Miranda, who was formally inaugurated on Saturday during a meeting of the Association’s House of Delegates in Cooperstown, called on the state government and the legal community to do more to close “the justice gap.”
Moments after former New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye administered the ceremonial oath of office, Miranda reminded House members of the concluding words of the Pledge of Allegiance that they had recited earlier that morning.
“Those last words of that pledge are: ‘with liberty and justice for all,’” he said. “Our Association gives life to these words. Everything we do from our legislative agenda, to the hours we put into our substantive reports, to the hard work in our sections and committees, to the debate in this great House about how we can better this great state of ours, we give life to these words.”
Miranda commended attorneys, law firms and legal service organizations for providing pro bono legal services to the poor and underserved. As an example, he cited efforts of 7,000 attorneys who have donated 1.3 million hours of pro bono services through the Association’s Empire State Counsel program since 2007.
“Despite our effort, the unmet need for legal services in our state continues to grow. There’s a gap, a justice gap. Our state can do better and our Association can do more—because when the poorest among us are provided access to justice, we are all served better,” he said.
Miranda announced the creation of a joint committee of the State Bar Association and The New York Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Association, to raise resources needed to begin to address the justice gap.
Former Chief Judge Kaye, who appointed Miranda to the New York State Commission on Public Access to the Court Records, was honored by the State Bar Association Saturday as a “trailblazer” among women attorneys.
She was the first woman to be appointed to the state Court of Appeals and the first to be named Chief Judge of the State of New York.
Miranda officially took office as president on June 1.
During his first three weeks, he traveled 8,000 miles for the Association, including trips to: Buffalo, where he attended meetings at Buffalo Law School and the Erie County Bar Association; London, where he represented the Association at ceremonies celebrating the Magna Carta, and met with representatives of the NYSBA International Section’s UK Chapter and with leaders of the Law Society of England and Wales; and Washington, D.C., where he sponsored the admission of 16 Association members to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 74,000-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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