Committee on Attorney Professionalism Home

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    Welcome to the Committee on Attorney Professionalism Homepage
  • Events
    • Webcast-Legal Ethics for Compliance Personnel

      This session, co-sponsored by the NYSBA Committee on Attorney Professionalism, will consider the enactment of laws regulating corporate behavior, and the scandals leading up to the enactment of these laws, have given rise to an environment in which there is heightened focus on the conduct of lawyers generally. These developments may present a particularly interesting backdrop for attorneys advising on issues arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), and the corresponding provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), who frequently focus on fiduciary matters as a seminal part of their practice.

      Learn more here.

    • Basic Lessons on Ethics and Civility

      PROGRAM LOCATIONS & DIRECTIONS

      Wednesday, April 5, 2017 | CUNY Graduate Center
      365 Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10016 | Live & Webcast

      Friday, April 7, 2017 
      | New York State Bar Association
      1 Elk Street | Albany, NY 12207

      Friday, April 7, 2017 | RIT Inn & Conference Center
      5257 Henrietta Road | Rochester, NY 14467

      Friday, April 28, 2017 Hyatt Place Buffalo/Amherst
      5020 Main Street | Amherst, NY 14226

      Friday, April 28, 2017 Melville Marriott
      1350 Walt Whitman Road | Melville, L.I., NY 11747

      4.0 MCLE Credits: 4.0 Ethics

      Not Able to Attend in Person?
      A Live Webcast Option is Available: Wednesday, April 5, 2017*

      If you cannot watch the webcast at the scheduled time and date, the recording will be available to you to access after the presentation date for a 60 day period enabling you to watch on your schedule and earn your MCLE credits.
       *Note: Newly admitted attorneys registered for the webcast must watch the Ethics segment in real-time in order to earn credit.

      Who Should Attend:
      Attorneys of all levels of experience, across all subject matter disciplines


      Overall Program Chair:
      Vincent J. Syracuse, Esq. | Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP | NYC

      Program Description:
      A sound ethical compass and a civil and professional demeanor are the hallmarks of successful and respected attorneys in all areas of practice. This four hour program will provide attendees with an update on developments in the law in the area of attorney ethics, including the most recent case law. The rules of civility will be discussed, with emphasis on practical pointers for dealing with the uncivil adversary and civility issues within the law firm. The program concludes with a discussion of real life hypotheticals by a panel of distinguished practitioners and jurists – certain to benefit attorneys in all substantive areas of practice.

      Don't miss this opportunity to obtain 4 MCLE Ethics credits at this lively and thought-provoking program, which is annually one of NYSBA's best attended CLE seminars.

      Program Agenda:
      8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Registration
      9:00 a.m. - 9:10 a.m. Welcome & Introduction
      9:10 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. What's New for 2017 on Ethics?
      10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Civility in Everyday Lawyering: What are the Basic Lessons to be Learned
      10:50 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Refreshment Break
      11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Colloquium on Ethics and Civility
      1:00 p.m. Adjournment

      Program Faculty:
      New York City Session
      Panel:
      Local Chair - Vincent J. Syracuse, Esq. | Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP | NYC
      Hon. Tanya R. Kennedy
       | New York State Supreme Court, County of New York | NYC
      Danielle C. Lesser, Esq. | Morrison Cohen LLP | NYC
      Hal R. Lieberman, Esq.
       | Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP | NYC
      Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing | New York State Supreme Court, County of New York | NYC
      Victor J. Rocco, Esq. | Herrick Feinstein LLP | NYC
      Jamie B.W. Stecher, Esq. | Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP | NYC
      Mark C. Zauderer, Esq. | Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLP | NYC

      Albany Session
      Panel:
      Local Chair - Scott N. Fein, Esq. | Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP | Albany 
      Hon. Mae D’Agostino | United States District Court, Northern District of New York | Albany
      Bruce D. Feldman, Esq. | NYS Office of the Attorney General | Albany
      E. Stewart Jones, Esq. | E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy | Albany
      Michael J. Murphy, Esq. | Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird, P.C. | Albany
      Robert T. Schofield, Esq. | Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP | Albany

      Rochester Session
      Panel:
      Local Chair - David H. Tennant, Esq., Nixon Peabody LLP, Rochester
      Hon. Frank P. Geraci, Jr. | United States District Court, Western District of New York | Rochester
      Curtis A. Johnson, Esq. | Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC | Rochester
      Hon. Erin M. Peradotto | New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department | Rochester
      Andrea Tomaino, Esq. | New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department | Rochester

      Buffalo Session
      Panel:
      Local Chair - David G. Brock, Esq., Kavinoky Cook, LLP, Buffalo
      Howard B. Cohen, Esq. | Gross Shuman Brizdle & Gilfillan, P.C. | Buffalo
      Guy C. Giancarlo, Esq. | New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department | Buffalo
      Hon. Erin M. Peradotto | New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department | Rochester
      Leonard D. Zaccagnino, Esq. | Shaw & Shaw, P.C. | Hamburg

      Long Island Session
      Panel:
      Local Chair - John M. Brickman, Esq. | McLaughlin & Stern LLP | NYC
      Hon. Leonard B. Austin | New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department | Mineola
      Andrew J. Luskin, Esq. | McLaughlin & Stern LLP | Great Neck
      Chris McDonough, Esq. | McDonough & McDonough LLP | Garden City
      David M. Wirtz, Esq. | Littler Mendelson P.C. | NYC

      What 2016 Attendees Said:
      >“One of the best CLE programs I have ever attended!”
      >“Great program and knowledgeable panel”
      >“Colloquium was excellent!”
      >“Excellent format, lecture and panel!”
      >“This 4-point ethics program is great!”


      Program Co-Sponsors:
      Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
      Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section
      Committee on Continuing Legal Education
      Committee on Attorney Professionalism


      NYSBA Members: $135
      Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Members
      $114.75
      Newly Admitted Attorney: $110
      Non Members: $235

      Stay informed.  Be the first to hear about the latest course offerings. Follow NYSBA CLE on Twitter |  www.twitter.com/NYSBACLE.
      To view the full list of CLE Programs, click here.

      Pre-registration Strongly Advised: You can save money and guarantee your seat and course materials by registering early. Registrations received at the door are subject to an additional $15.00 registration fee. Registrations cancelled less than three days from the program date will be assessed a cancellation fee of $25.00.


  • What is Attorney Professionalism?

    ATTORNEY PROFESSIONALISM

    Definitions of attorney professionalism abound; here's one that is worth your consideration. Attorney Professionalism is dedication to service to clients and commitment to promoting respect of the legal system in pursuit of justice and the public good, characterized by ethical conduct, competence, good judgment, integrity and civility .

    Of primary importance to anyone practicing law is dedication to service to clients. A self-explanatory concept, service to clients is the foundation of professionalism.

    That service must be performed with the recognition that the attorney and client comprise just one aspect of the legal system. Whether you consider adversaries, opposing counsel, fellow practitioners, judges, clerks, partners, government agencies, or legislatures, the faces of the legal system are many. Yet we are all human beings, and our commitment to promoting respect for laws, the processes of the legal system and each other must be a hallmark of our behavior.

    In our work to serve our clients while promoting respect for the legal system, we do so in the pursuit of justice and the public good. In the strictly legal sense, justice can mean the "proper administration of laws. . . to render every man his due." (Black's Law Dictionary). But most would agree that justice necessarily implies more than the "rightness" or "wrongness" of a given act, or strict compliance with the black letter of the law. In the larger sense, pursuing justice connotes pursuing a morally "good" end. Attorneys must look beyond the short-term results and consider the consequences of their actions and advice. To conduct oneself in this way will benefit the public at large—and, to do the public good—must include dedication to providing pro bono services for the needy.

    How, then, may we exhibit attorney professionalism?

    • By exemplary ethical conduct: aspiring to fulfill the spirit, not just the requirements of the Code of Professional Responsibility;
    • By remaining competent: taking advantage of continuing legal education; keeping abreast of the latest developments in our areas of expertise; mentoring younger attorneys;
    • By showing good judgment: providing good client service by formulating discerning opinions and advice based upon knowledge and experience;
    • By acting with integrity: exhibiting soundness of character, fidelity and honesty;
    • By demonstrating civility: behaving with courtesy and respect.

    You will notice that the foregoing discussion contains no mention of making money. Many lawyers are better paid than others who work in other fields. The perception that many lawyers are obsessed with making money, to the detriment of clients, is a stumbling block which stands in the way of the public's acceptance of the reality of attorney professionalism. Change in public perception will have to be incremental, but conduct adhering to the definition of attorney professionalism should bring about that change.

  • Award Information

    To honor a member of the NYSBA for outstanding professionalism, which is defined as dedication to service to clients and a commitment to promoting respect for the legal system in pursuit of justice and the public good, characterized by exemplary ethical conduct, competence, good judgment, integrity and civility.

    Presented by: Committee on Attorney Professionalism

    Contact: Richard Rifkin

    Nomination Deadline: October 13, 2017

    Date Presented: January 2018 Annual Meeting

    Prize Awarded: Steuben glass timepiece

    The Committee on Attorney Professionalism administers the annual New York State Bar Association Attorney Professionalism Award. We are now seeking nominations for the Award to be presented during the NYSBA 2018 Annual Meeting in New York. Nominations must be submitted and postmarked no later than October 13, 2017 on the 2018 Nomination Form (PDF).

    Here is the Committee’s working definition of attorney professionalism:

    Attorney professionalism is dedication to service to clients and a commitment to promoting respect for the legal system in pursuit of justice and the public good, characterized by exemplary ethical conduct, competence, good judgment, integrity and civility.

    The Award honors attorneys who evidence the highest attributes of professionalism in the practice of law: attorneys who have labored in “the vineyard” and are especially valued by their clients and their colleagues. Therefore, rather than a lifetime achievement award, this particular honor relates to professionalism in the actual practice of law. Background letters from clients, other attorneys and judges have provided a full picture for the reviewing committee in the past. Your nomination should, as inclusively as possible, specify how the nominee has demonstrated the following attributes:

     a) Dedication to service to clients and always acting in the best interests of the client;

    b) Civility: behaving to all with courtesy, consideration and respect;

    c) Exemplary ethical conduct: endeavoring at all times to fulfill the spirit, and not just the requirements, of the NY Rules of Professional Conduct;

    d) Competence: keeping abreast of the latest developments in his or her area of practice;

    e) Good judgment: providing client service consisting of discerning opinions and advice based upon knowledge, experience, moral as well as legal considerations;

    f) Mentoring, educating and assisting other attorneys;

    g) Integrity: always exhibiting soundness of character, fidelity, honesty and fairness.


    Please keep in mind, in considering your nomination, that there are other awards honoring service to bar associations and pro bono activities. In this Attorney Professionalism Award, the New York State Bar Association seeks to honor a person who exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism in the actual practice of law.

    Prior award recipients include:
    2017 E. Stewart Jones, Jr., Esq.
    2017 Maryann Saccomando Freedman, Esq.
    2016 Norman Resnicow, Esq.
    2015 Michelle L. Haskin Esq.
    2014 John S. Marwell, Esq.
    2013 John Ferrara, Esq.
    2012 Christopher T. McGrath, Esq.
    2011 James P. Bessette, Esq.
    2010 Mark A. Longo, Esq.
    2009 Jill M. Cicero, Esq.
    2008 Peter V. Coffey, Esq.
    2007 Frank E. Yannelli, Esq.
    2006 Terrence M. Connors, Esq.
    2005 George J. Nashak, Jr., Esq.
    2004 James M. Conboy, Esq.
    2003 Anne Reynolds Copps, Esq.
    2002 Carlton F. Thompson, Esq.
    2001 Lucille A. Fontana, Esq.
    2000 Hon. Barry Kamins 

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