President Adrienne B. Koch Presents Carol A. Sigmond with President’s Medal, NYCLA’s Highest Honor

NYCLA President Adrienne B. Koch Presents
President’s Medal to Carol A. Sigmond, Past President

2024 Annual Meeting
NYCLA Home of Law
111 Broadway
New York, New York

May 23,2024


Now we get to my favorite part of the evening: the part where I get to present the Boris Kostelanetz President’s Medal to my friend – our friend – Carol Sigmond.  The official description of this medal says that it’s conferred upon a NYCLA member whose record of dedication to the Association and the legal profession comport with the highest standards.  So with that in mind, let me say a few words about Carol.  In two very real senses, I would not be here if it weren’t for her.

The first sense in which that’s true is personal.  It was Carol who, during her own presidency, invited me to join her Executive Committee and then encouraged me to seek a leadership position in the organization.  As many of you (maybe even most of you) know, Carol can be very persuasive.  But as we also know, there is no one more supportive – and her support was a big part of what got me here.

That, however, is not the reason why I chose her for this year’s President’s Medal.  No. The reason Carol is receiving this medal is because I firmly believe that it’s equally true that, but for Carol, there might not be anyone standing here reporting to you about everything NYCLA accomplished in the 2023-24 program year.  Why? Because it was Carol who – in 2015 – had the courage to say out loud what many of us already realized in our hearts: the upkeep of NYCLA’s beloved building on 14 Vesey Street was diverting too much attention and too many resources from our mission.  If we wanted to continue that mission in the long term, we needed to sell the building.

It was Carol who then had the wisdom to recognize the critical importance of developing a strong consensus in support of such a sale – a consensus strong enough not only to enable the sale to happen, but also to ensure that afterwards NYCLA itself would endure.

That process wasn’t completed on Carol’s watch; it took the presidencies of Michael McNamara, Steve Lessard, and Vince Chang to get us fully through the sale and into our new Home of Law.  But in that long journey it was Carol who first plotted the course, started the engine, and put her foot on the gas. 

If she had not done that, NYCLA might still be struggling with its real estate issues – if it were even here at all.  Instead, we are doing the work that serves our mission.  In a very real sense, we owe that to Carol.

I don’t want anyone to get the idea that this was all Carol did, though.  Carol’s presidency produced a full complement of events, statements, programs and reports – including a couple that even went on to be adopted as policy by the New York State Bar Association or the ABA.  She helped keep us on the map even while she was initiating the course correction that allowed us to stay there – so that NYCLA could continue to serve the legal profession in all of the ways it does.

Carol’s service didn’t stop with her presidency either.  Far from it.  In the seven years since the end of her term, Carol continues to serve tirelessly – often in roles that are at or near the top in terms of importance to the Association, but rather low on glory. I’ll also add that her voice is often in my ear with ideas and suggestions for our policy work.  She continues to stoke the engine, even as others now have the spotlight.

Tonight I want to turn the spotlight back to her, and give her one more chance to share her own words with us – which is what I’ve most been looking forward to about this evening.  Carol, my friend, for all you’ve done and continue to do for NYCLA and for the legal profession, please come and let me give you the President’s Medal.