NYSBA State Bar News nameplate

January/February 2014, Vol. 56, No. 1

The New York Bar Foundation 

Past State Bar President Justin Vigdor to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Justin Vigdor


By The New York Bar Foundation President Cristine Cioffi
On rare occasions, The Foundation convenes to recognize an individual whose work has significantly advanced the purposes of The Foundation. On January 31, past State Bar President Justin L. Vigdor of Rochester (Boylan Code LLP) will be presented with The Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

A past president of both The Foundation and the State Bar, Vigdor’s leadership of both organizations has been legendary. He has lived a life characterized by professional excellence and service to others. His community service, in particular, stands as an example for attorneys everywhere.

Without expectation of compensation, he has applied his legal knowledge and leadership skills to advance his vision of a better society. 

An example of service to others

Civic leadership has been a hallmark of Vigdor’s career. His extensive community involvement has benefited the arts (current president and chairman of the board, Rochester Fringe Festival, and member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee of the Eastman School of Music), relief organizations (past director, Rochester Chapter, American Red Cross), civic education (past Advisory Committee member, League of Women Voters), and many other agencies. 

But Vigdor has done far more than sit on boards and advisory committees. He has provided strategic vision in his community. When the legal services providers in Rochester needed a home, Vigdor stepped up to chair the capital campaign. 

The “Partnership for Equal Justice Campaign” led to the creation of the Telesca Center for Justice, which houses The Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, LAW NY, Empire Justice Center and the Monroe County Bar Association and its Foundation.

This facility creates synergies between like-minded legal service organizations and allows for some shared cost savings.

His work with the Al Sigl Center in Rochester (past chair, Board of Governors, Al Sigl Center Partners’ Foundation, and past chair, Board of Directors of the Al Sigl Center for Rehabilitation Agencies) also exemplifies Vigdor’s larger vision for his community.

The Al Sigl Center is a multi-tenant center for not-for-profit agencies that assist disabled individuals in different ways. It creates a high quality, collaborative work space for multiple charitable organizations, emphasizing cost-effectiveness, and allowing business efficiencies and shared savings.

This theme of leveraging resources in the not-for-profit world is a hallmark of The New York Bar Foundation, and clearly, a priority in Vigdor’s community service.

The Foundation is proud to be able to honor Vigdor with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Let us recognize him together on January 31, as an example of the best of our profession.

Another innovation

For the first time, The New York Bar Foundation has compiled a directory of individuals receiving awards during the State Bar’s Annual Meeting Week. At a glance in the booklet, it is possible to find all those men and women being honored by a section, committee, the association or The Foundation. The publication, available at Annual Meeting, offers a convenient, single location to recognize these leaders of our profession. 

The awards booklet is yet another example of how The Foundation and the association have partnered this year.