Remarks by NYCLA President Adrienne B. Koch at NYCLA Annual Gala March 6, 2024

New York County Lawyers Association Annual Gala

Remarks by Adrienne B. Koch
NYCLA President

March 6, 2024


It’s wonderful to be here tonight with all of you as we gather to honor the judges of our state and federal appellate courts.  Before I say anything more, I want to ask for a round of applause for Bob, for our executive director Sophia Gianacoplos, and for our NYCLA staff for all of their hard work in putting this event together – we are the beneficiaries of an especially herculean effort this year. 

That we honor judges this evening is in keeping with NYCLA’s history and mission.  Some of you were in the room or on the zoom when I took office as NYCLA’s president nearly a year ago, just a few months after our last gala. 

I spoke then about the ways in which NYCLA has historically stood shoulder to shoulder with the judiciary in the fight to maintain its independence and provide it with the resources it needs to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities. 

I’m proud to say that this tradition continues.  and I want to take a moment to share with you just a few of the things NYCLA has done on that score since our last gala:

  • We submitted testimony in support of the salary increase that our state’s judiciary will finally receive next week – their first since 2019. That salary increase is not just about money; it’s also about showing the value we place on our judges in a system in which more and more is asked of them. 

  • We have supported and continue to support the judicial security act, which would enact measures to increase the safety and security of judges and their immediate families – because we owe this to our judges, to better enable them to decide the matters that come before them fairly and impartially, and without fear of reprisal or physical harm to themselves or their families. it’s shocking that this is something we even have to think about legislating, but it is – and it absolutely must be addressed.

  • We have continued to support judges with words as well, coming to their defense when they are subject to personal attacks in the media that are often vitriolic. They are ethically prohibited from defending themselves in response to those attacks; we will always be there to do it for them. 

  • After the “Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College– which limits the ways in which colleges and universities can ensure diversity in their classes – we spearheaded a coalition of twelve bar associations to speak out with one voice on the importance of diversity in our judiciary, and to reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a robust pipeline of qualified candidates.

    • This of course touches on another of NYCLA’s core values: diversity and inclusion, which was literally the driving force behind NYCLA’s creation over 115 years ago.

    • Diversity is perhaps nowhere more critical than in the judiciary, where the research bears out both that it has a positive impact on decision-making and that it promotes public trust and confidence and improves respect for the judicial system. NYCLA will continue to stand up for it.

There is a steady stream of work to do on all of these things, and there is a steady stream of new challenges that continue to present themselves.  And as I’ve said many times before, NYCLA won’t stop. 

But tonight isn’t about work; tonight is about fellowship and the spirit of collegiality that is in fact another of NYCLA’s core values.  In that spirit i want to thank NYCLA’s truly outstanding officers and board of directors for their leadership and dedication, and to thank all of you for being here tonight to support NYCLA and to celebrate with us.  Please enjoy the rest of the program!