NYCLA’s December 14 Annual Dinner to Celebrate Diversity in the Legal Profession

14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007


Contact: Anita Aboulafia 212-267-6646, ext. 225


NYCLA’s December 14 Annual Dinner to Celebrate Diversity in the Legal Profession

December 1, 2010 – New York, NY – The New York County Lawyers’ Association’s (NYCLA) 96th Annual Dinner celebrating diversity in the legal profession will be held on Tuesday, December 14 beginning at 6:30 PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. At the Dinner, Roderick A. Palmore, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of General Mills, lnc., will receive the first NYCLA Diversity Award for his outstanding contributions to diversity. George W. Madison, General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and former General Counsel of both TIAA-CREF and Comerica Inc., will receive the William Nelson Cromwell Award and NYCLA Past President Catherine A. Christian, Counsel for Special Projects, Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York County District Attorney’s Office, will receive the Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal.


At the Dinner, NYCLA will also recognize and honor the signatories of NYCLA’s Diversity Statement, which has been signed by more than 200 corporations and law firms, for their commitment to diversity in the legal profession.


H. Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, will present the Diversity Award to Mr. Madison, Michele Coleman Mayes, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Allstate Insurance Company and Dinner Co- Chair, will present the William Nelson Cromwell Award to Mr. Palmore and Hon. Juanita Bing Newton, Dean of the New York State Judicial Institute, will present the Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal to Ms. Christian.


Former NYCLA President Robert L. Haig, a partner at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, serves as Dinner Co-Chair.



The NYCLA Diversity Award is a testament to NYCLA’s founding principle that any member of the bar should be able to find a home in a bar association regardless of ethnicity, religious affiliation or gender. The William Nelson Cromwell Award, named after NYCLA’s 12th president (1927-1930), recognizes members of the legal profession for their “unselfish service to the profession and the community.” The Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal honors its namesake, Boris Kostelanetz (1911-2006), a past president of NYCLA (1969-1971) and, according to the Resolution accompanying the Medal’s adoption, “is conferred upon a member of the Association whose record of dedication and service to the Association and legal profession comport with the high standards established by Boris Kostelanetz.”



Roderick A. Palmore

Roderick A. Palmore, a recognized national leader of diversity in the legal profession, is the author of “A Call to Action, Diversity in the Legal Profession,” which urges General Counsel to drive diversity by demanding results in the law firms with which they work, as well as in their law departments. More than 120 prominent General Counsels made the commitment and the initiative developed into a collaboration between general counsels and managing partners – the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), which Mr. Palmore chairs. The LCLD, formed in 2009, is an organization dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession by developing training and mentoring programs, fostering relationships with other businesses that share the commitment and interest in hiring diverse talent, and crafting incentives that reward the law-related entities with which it does business and that positively distinguish themselves on diversity. Among the awards that Mr. Palmore has received are the: Corporate Exemplar Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association in 2007, Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in 2006, Scales of Justice Award from the Equal Justice Works Foundation in 2005 and Excellence in Corporate Practice Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel in 2003. He has also been recognized by the National Law Journal, Inside Counsel magazine and Corporate Board Member magazine as one of the most influential lawyers in America.


Mr. Palmore received a BA from Yale University and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.


George W. Madison

George W. Madison was confirmed as the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s General Counsel in September 2009. In that capacity, Mr. Madison serves as senior legal and policy adviser to the Treasury Secretary and other senior department officials. He also heads the Treasury Legal Division and is responsible for all legal work in the department. Mr. Madison served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of TIAA-CREF; before that, he was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Comerica Incorporated. Prior to that, in 1987, he worked in the New York offices of Mayer, Brown & Platt (currently known as Mayer, Brown) and became the first African American elected to partnership at the over 120-year-old firm. Previously, he clerked for Hon. Nathaniel R. Jones in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati before working as an associate in the New York offices of Shearman & Sterling.


Mr. Madison received a BS from New York University’s Stern School of Business, an MBA from Columbia Business School and a JD from Columbia Law School.


Catherine A. Christian

Catherine A. Christian, a NYCLA member since 1990, is an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office and a member of the executive staff of the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York. She was appointed an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office in 1988. She served in the Trial Division until she entered private practice in 1995 as Of Counsel to Yi Tuan and Brunstein. She investigated public corruption as an assistant counsel at the New York State Commission of Investigation. Ms. Christian was the supervising court attorney for Bronx Criminal Court and principal court attorney to Hon. Rosalyn Richter. In 1998, she was re-appointed an assistant district attorney and assigned to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York as senior trial counsel. As a member of the Special Investigations Bureau, she conducted complex investigations of international drug trafficking organizations. She was promoted to Director of Legal Staff Training in 2001 and Counsel for Special Projects in 2007.


In 2007, Ms. Christian became the first African American, the youngest person and the second woman to be inducted as NYCLA’s president. She chairs NYCLA’s Nominations, Diversity Award, Public Service Awards and Judiciary Committees. She is a member of the: ABA House of Delegates and ABA Criminal Justice Section, New York State Bar House of Delegates and Committee on Attorneys in Public Service and New York City Bar Criminal Courts Committee. She also serves on the First Department Committee on Character and Fitness and the New York State Chief Judge’s Attorney Emeritus Advisory Council.


In 2008, Ms. Christian received the inaugural ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section’s Liberty Achievement Award. The award honors lawyers and Judges who actively promote diversity within the legal community.


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 or gender. 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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