Glenn Lau-Kee, a partner in the New York City law firm of Kee & Lau-Kee, assumed office June 1 as the 117th president of the New York State Bar Association.
Lau-Kee is the first Asian-American president of the 75,000-member Association. He succeeds David M. Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody).
The theme of Lau-Kee's presidency is "Continuity and Change: A Question of Balance."
"The legal profession is undergoing change, driven largely by technology, globalization and demographics. As stewards of the profession, the State Bar Association itself needs to adapt so it can best serve its members in a changing environment," Lau-Kee said.
"Amid change, we as attorneys must continue to embrace the basic values and obligations of our profession which are the foundations on which we must build. They provide the continuity that will help guide change in other aspects of our profession."
While pursuing that approach, Lau-Kee plans to build on Schraver's efforts to prepare law students for a rapidly evolving profession at a time when recent graduates face uncertain job prospects and six-figure debts. Last year, when Schraver asked the Association's Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar to examine legal education, he said the committee's work would extend beyond his tenure.
"Dave started a process that will span years," said Lau-Kee, who plans to visit each of the 15 law schools in New York, meeting with faculty, administrators and students. "Law schools and practicing attorneys need to engage each other for the well-being and development of both students and the profession."
To help young lawyers succeed in their careers, Lau-Kee said the State Bar Association is developing a program that will offer practical skills and opportunities to learn from veteran attorneys. Many new graduates work for small firms or start their own practices, often with few opportunities for formal on-the-job training.
"Younger attorneys are not alone," he said. "Experienced attorneys need to keep up-to-date with their skills and build professional networks. We must ensure that we effectively communicate that Bar Association membership is a vital part of an attorney's ongoing development after law school.
"At the same time, we must seek to harness the tremendous reservoir of knowledge and wisdom that our members have developed over the years and make it accessible to the less experienced members of the profession. We must connect the generations."
Lau-Kee will serve a one-year term as State Bar president. David M. Miranda of Albany (Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti) became president-elect on June 1. He will succeed Lau-Kee as president on June 1, 2015. Personal and Professional Background
Lau-Kee, a member of the State Bar Association for 25 years, spent the past year serving as president-elect and chairing the House of Delegates. He was co-chair of the Committee on Membership and the President's Section Diversity Challenge, as well as an active member of various committees and the board of directors of The New York Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the State Bar.
He has served on the New York State Screening Committee for the First Department and was appointed by former Chief Judge Judith Kaye to the Committee to Promote Public Trust and Confidence in the Legal System, as well as the Commission to Examine Solo and Small Firm Practice.
Lau-Kee was the former president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (1997-1999). He has served on the boards of directors of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, Legal Services for New York City, Fund for Modern Courts, Queens Legal Services Corporation, YMCA of Greater New York and US-Asia Institute in Washington, D.C. He is former co-vice chair of the Commission on Human Rights of the City of New York.
A graduate of Yale University, Lau-Kee earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law. After law school, he was an associate with Coudert Brothers in Hong Kong.
He has been a partner at Kee & Lau-Kee since 1977. He and his father, Norman Kee, who founded the firm in 1956, are joint recipients of the 2010 Hon. George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award, given by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the State Bar Association.
The 75,000-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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