Celebrate Diversity in the Bar

Monday, January 22, 2018
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Sutton Parlor South and Center and Regent, 2nd Floor


Join your colleagues and make new friends at the 2018 Diversity Works program, sponsored by the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion:

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constance Baker Motley Symposium, where past Diversity Trailblazer Awardees will discuss diversity and leadership in today’s legal profession.

6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
The 2018 Diversity Trailblazer Award ceremony honoring Barbara Finkelstein, Executive Director for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and the Honorable Sheila Abdus-Salaam (posthumously).

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Annual Celebrating Diversity in the Bar Reception

Pre-registration is required for this program.

2018 Diversity Trailblazer Award Honorees:

Barbara Finkelstein, Esq.
Barbara Finkelstein oversees every aspect of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV), the largest provider of free civil legal services available to 545,000 poor and low-income individuals in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. Since Ms. Finkelstein became Executive Director in 1995 and later CEO, LSHV has increased its budget from $2 million to $16 million with a staff of 138 in nine offices. She is the first woman to lead the organization and is a national leader on the topic of civil legal services in areas of unmet need.

Ms. Finkelstein’s accomplishments on behalf of LSHV are many. Under her leadership the agency has made great strides in securing funding from public and private sources to increase services to low-income residents of the Hudson Valley facing civil legal problems affecting the basic necessities of life. Motivated by a desire to make justice a promise for every member of society, Ms. Finkelstein created partnerships with governments, community-based organizations, and law schools to ensure solutions to the problems facing the low-income population. Since assuming leadership, Ms. Finkelstein has started several programs at LSHV to meet the growing need for free civil legal services: Domestic Violence Unit (1996); Children’s Advocacy Unit (1999); Family Law Unit (2002); Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project (2012); LGBTQ Legal Project (2015) and also in 2015, implementation of the NYS Independent Consumer Advocacy Network (ICAN) at LSHV. Before joining LSHV, Ms. Finkelstein was the Assistant Project Director at Queens Legal Services where she directed services to clients and assisted with overall program operations.

Ms. Finkelstein is a member of the Permanent Commission on Access Justice in New York, the New York State Bar Association’s President’s Committee on Access to Justice and the Board of Directors for Nonprofit Westchester.

Ms. Finkelstein received her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law – Newark, and her B.A. from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Honorable Sheila Abdus-Salaam
Sheila Abdus-Salaam was born in Washington, D.C. in 1952 and educated in its public schools. She graduated from Barnard College in 1974 and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1977.

Upon graduation, she began her legal career as a staff attorney at East Brooklyn Legal Services, Corporation A (1977-1980); served as an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Department of Law, Civil Rights and Real Estate Financing Bureaus (1980-1988); and served as General Counsel for the New York City Office of Labor Services (1988-1991). She began her judicial career in 1992, having been elected in 1991 to the Civil Court of the City of New York. In 1993, she was elected to the Supreme Court, New York County, and was re-elected in 2007. She was appointed an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department in March 2009 by Governor David A. Paterson. Her appointment to the Court of Appeals by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was confirmed by the State Senate on May 6, 2013.