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NOVEMBER 18, 2008 – NEW YORK, NY – The New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) announced the publication of its Centennial book, Brethren and Sisters of the Bar: A Centennial History of the New York County Lawyers’ Association, by Edwin David Robertson, which recounts the rich and engrossing history of the Association as it celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Published by Fordham University Press and NYCLA, the 432-page illustrated book chronicles the pioneering spirit of the Association’s founders and members, who put NYCLA at the center of a century of public debates over such critical legal issues as: judicial selection, a mandatory bar, legal ethics, indigent defense, just compensation for judges and employees of the courts and the right to counsel.


According to Mr. Robertson, NYCLA’s 54th president (2006-2007) and a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, “Many of the early NYCLA leaders whom I wrote about were prominent and influential in their day but are no longer remembered and deserve greater recognition. All but a few of the Association’s first 20 presidents, for example, either became judges or had been judges.” Among those forgotten luminaries are former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alton B. Parker (1851-1926), Democratic candidate for U.S. President (in 1902), former ABA and State Bar president and NYCLA’s second president (1909-1912), and former Court of Appeals Associate Judge Samuel Seabury (1873-1958), NYCLA president (1925-1927) and active in a variety of reform activities, including his service on the Seabury Commission that investigated the corruption of Tammany Mayor Jimmy Walker.


Mr. Robertson conducted exhaustive research to write the book, using such primary sources as NYCLA yearbooks, which were published annually from 1909-1973 and contained presidents’ annual reports, committee reports, member lists and speeches, and NYCLA newsletters. NYCLA’s Library staff located additional speeches and reports in the archives and used early editions of directories and editions of Who’s Who in Law to identify early members.


Brethren and Sisters of the Bar: A Centennial History of the New York County Lawyers’ Association costs $24.95 for NYCLA members; $34.95 for nonmembers. Books will be available for purchase at a book-launching reception that will take place on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, where Mr. Robertson will read selections from the book and autograph copies.


The New York County Lawyers’ Association ( was founded in 1908 as the first major bar association in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual identity. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.


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