The NYSBA Annual Meeting: Where Past, Present, and Future Meet For A Better Tomorrow

By Kyeko M. Stewart

As a recent law school graduate, I have learned many things in the past three years. One of the most important lessons is the importance of networking to further one’s academic, career, and even personal development goals. As I mentioned, you learn many things in law school: how to network, however, is not one of them. Enter the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”).

I joined NYSBA as a student member during the middle of my second year. It is by far one of the best decisions I ever made during my tenure at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Recently, for example, I was invited to attend the NYSBA Bar Leaders Breakfast and House of Delegates. Attending this event has been one of the highlights of my law school career.

As a Law Student Member, I was honored to sit in the front row as two of my fellow Cardozo Law School classmates, Eugene Frenkel and Arthur Shalagin, received Pathway to the Profession Awards. It is truly an attestation to the accomplishments of Eugene Frenkel and Arthur Shalagin that I was even invited to attend this event. My membership in NYSBA is the direct result of the successes and opportunities of my fellow NYSBA members. NYSBA, as I witnessed first hand, is a community of passionate attorneys who lend each other support and encouragement.

I was honored to get to shake the hand of Patricia E. Salkin, the 2015 recipient of the Ruth G. Schapiro Memorial Award, given by the Committee on Women. During the House of Delegates Meeting, I had the opportunity to learn about the groundbreaking lifetime achievements of the late Honorable Judith S. Kaye. Although I did not get the opportunity to meet her personally, I did have the occasion of learning about Constitutional Law from one of her former colleagues on the Court of Appeals, the (former) Honorable Robert S. Smith.

As both a woman and a future attorney, I hope to carry forth the momentum that both Ms. Patricia Salkin and Hon. Judith Kaye have started. By learning from the many talented, intelligent female lawyers I know I will have the opportunity to mentor and help eager young women hone their legal minds and achieve their career ambitions.

Overall, the experience is one that I will not soon forget—even after I finish organizing the multitude of business cards and personal connections I acquired that day. Initially, I was drawn in by the hopes of free food, but the connections I made, both personally and professionally, will be what I will remember for the rest of my life. I am proud to be a member of such a respectable organization and will maintain and foster the connections I’ve made through NYSBA for the rest of my legal career. 

-Kyeko Stewart is a 3L at Cardozo Law School