History Elementor

NCBA History Timeline

January 1, 1899

Part of Queens County incorporates into the boundaries of New York City, leaving the three eastern townships of Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay to join together to form Nassau County.

March 2, 1899

Nineteen attorneys meet at Allen’s Hotel in Mineola to name themselves the charter members of the Nassau County Bar Association. Augustus N. Weller was voted President; George W. Eastman, Vice President; Edward T. Payne was named Treasurer; and William Clark Roe, Secretary. Annual dues are declared to be $6, and, without hesitation, the men establish the Nassau County Bar Association Constitution and By-Laws.


The first Annual Dinner is held at the Arena in New York City; nine members attended.


The Annual Dinner is moved to Nassau County at the Garden City Hotel. Thirty-six people attend, each paying $3.

Early 1920s

The Association establishes a Judicial Review Committee to review candidates for judicial office; demands the Nassau County Courthouse be moved from Jericho Turnpike to Franklin Avenue; and helps start the County law library.


NCBA members successfully lobby to increase the number of Supreme Court Judges in the local District to 15.

April 1, 1927

The state tax law is amended to exempt real property of bar associations and other not-for-profit enterprises from property taxes. This set the stage for creation of Domus, a permanent home for the Bar Association.

August 26, 1927

Charles N. Wysong, Francis G. Hooly and A. Holly Patterson form an informal search committee for a “permanent office and meeting place” for the Bar Association.

November 15, 1927

The formal Bar Association Building Committee is created, chaired by C. Walter Randall.

June 3, 1929

The Bar Association formally acquires its current site in Mineola from the Garden City Company for $12,050, a sum virtually consuming the entire treasury of the Bar Association.

January 10, 1930

The Bar Association accepts the bid of Cornell Brothers Construction Company to erect Domus for $52,500. The final construction cost comes in $300 below the estimate.

January 27, 1930

Ground is broken for five women attorneys submit formal membership applications to the Bar Association. All are rejected on two counts: the Association by-laws contain no formal policy on the admittance of women; and as recorded in the Association’s final report, “It is our opinion that there are many more fine, gentlemanly lawyers living in this county who should be members of the Association…”r the new home of the Bar Association.


Domus is dedicated and the traditional dinner toast, “To Domus”, is introduced in honor, in pride, and as a pledge of loyalty by lawyers to their home and profession. Honorable Marcus Christ memorializes the notion that Domus is so much more than “the bricks and mortar.”

October 1937

Five women attorneys submit formal membership applications to the Bar Association. All are rejected on two counts: the Association by-laws contain no formal policy on the admittance of women; and as recorded in the Association’s final report, “It is our opinion that there are many more fine, gentlemanly lawyers living in this county who should be members of the Association…”


The Association votes unanimously to amend the constitution by inserting the word ‘male’ before ‘member’ in any clause referring to membership eligibility.


The Association members establish a weekly cocktail hour and dinner, “because of the fact that most lawyers and their wives are the least busy on Thursday nights.” The cost is 75¢. This later evolves into the Annual Field Day, which today is the Domus Open, an all-day golf and tennis tournament.


The Association makes its rooms available for meetings of the Rationing Board.


In a program celebrating the 50th year of the Bar Association in, it is noted that “age has cloaked the outer walls of [Domus] with ivy, while affectionate care, thought and use have draped the inner ones with a feeling of warm and comfortable fellowship.”


Association President Remsen B. Ostrander begins a simple monthly “letters to the membership,” which eventually leads to the creation of today’s Nassau Lawyer, the Bar’s monthly newspaper with a circulation of 7,000.


By a vote of 138-28, the Association’s constitution is amended to include female membership. Women attorneys are admitted as members to the Nassau County Bar Association.


The Public Information/Education Service and Community Relations Committees are created, and the Lawyer Referral Information Service is established.


The first Executive Secretary for the Bar is hired to oversee the many programs and events at the Bar. This eventually becomes the position of Executive Director.


Law students are permitted to join the Bar.

October 26, 1980

Domus is rededicated after the building undergoes a major expansion project.


Lawrence Lally chairs a committee to investigate setting up a separate non-profit corporation to meet the expanding educational needs of attorneys as well as to provide programs of service to the public.


The Charter of the Nassau Academy of Law is approved by the NCBA and the Board of Regents. The first Dean is M. Kathryn Meng.


The Association hosts its first NYS Mock Trial Competition among Nassau high school student teams. Hewlett High School wins the regional championship.


The WE CARE Fund, the charitable arm of the Bar, is founded by NCBA President Stephen Gassman.


Past President Frank Yannelli institutes monthly free senior citizen clinics, providing one-on-one consultations.


Grace D. Moran is the first woman installed as President of the Nassau County Bar Association; the Tech Center opens.


Oral arguments before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are conducted through the Tech Center’s state-of-the-art use of video conferencing.


The NYS Office of Court Administration mandates continuing legal education, setting up rules and regulations that closely mirror those originally proposed in 1986 by the Academy and then-president Edward T. Robinson III.

September 2000

The first “Domus on the Lawn” is held, a welcome back from summer outdoor barbeque, on the front lawn of Domus.


Lance D. Clarke is the first African-American elected President of the Bar Association.


NCBA is the first bar in the state to address the looming mortgage foreclosure crisis, creating a task force that includes Nassau County government offices and the NYS Attorney General’s office.


President Peter Levy launches the monthly Mortgage Foreclosure Legal Consultation Clinic program where attorneys volunteer to provide free legal guidance to homeowners caught in the mortgage foreclosure crisis.


BOLD – Bridge Over Language Divides – is launched to make the Bar more responsive to the changing ethnic diversity in Nassau by reaching out to non-English speaking communities.


NCBA leads the creation of the Nassau County Crime Lab Task Force, composed of leading criminal defense attorneys and representatives of legal organizations, to help determine the future of the Nassau County Crime Lab, which was closed resulting from questions involving the credibility of lab tests used in criminal cases. First annual Pro Bono FAIR (Free Advice Information and Referral) held.


Executive Director Deena Ehrlich retires after 25 years; Keith Soressi is hired as the new ED. Members immediately respond after Superstorm Sandy to provide legal guidance in 21 clinics held at Domus and at disaster sites, helping nearly 1,000 residents.

The Domus Banners

The two Laliberté heraldic banners hanging above the fireplace in the Great Hall in Domus were designed and created by the world’s foremost banner maker Norman Laliberté to symbolize important milestones in the development of Long Island as well as the Law.

Historical Development of Long Island (Left Banner)

Top panel – The hand of God reaches for the hand of Man, symbolizing the Covenant between God and Man traced back to pre-Judaic origins. The crescent symbol of Moon/God between the two hands is taken from a 13th century B.C. Canaanite stele (coin).

Second panel – Water-borne pre-historic creatures settle on Long Island and in the Long Island Sound.

Third panel – Long Island Native American Indians including the Massapequas, the Matinecocks, the Merricks and the Rockaways, In 1643 these tribes deeded to the settlers from Connecticut the lands that are not the present day Towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead in Nassau County.

Fourth panel – The Native Americans turn over the lands to the settlers. This panel features the Nassau County Rampant Lion, the Shield and Lamb symbols of the Middle Temple of the Inns of Court in London, and the logo of the Nassau County Bar Association. The quote, “People are free when protected by laws,” is from Aristotle.

Tabs – The five tabs hanging from the bottom portray the founding year and symbol for each of Nassau County’s five principal municipalities:
1644 – Town of Hempstead – Eagle
1784 – Town of North Hempstead – Native American
1653 – Town of Oyster Bay – Sea Gull
1668 – City of Glen Cove – Eagle
1880 – City of Long Beach – Clock Tower

Historical Development of the Law (Right Banner)

Top panel – The sun, the most ancient of all symbols, is reflective of God and Justice, along with a rainbow, which depicts peace, pardon and reconciliation.

Second panel – Three judges are depicted with the phrase, JUS DICERE, loosely interpreted to mean “Proclaim the rights of the litigants.” Also portrayed are two tablets representing the Ten Commandments along with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, symbolizing the beginning and the ending of all of life.

Third panel – The Goddess of Justice, which is the symbol for the Nassau County Bar Association.

Fourth and fifth panels – Twelve jurors of varying colors and creeds are depicted in each panel. Across the top panel of jurors is the maxim “Seek only the truth,” and across the lower panel is the excerpt “of the people, by the people, and for the people” from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Tabs – The five hanging tabs portray the year and a symbol for five significant events in our legal history
1215 – Magna Carta – The Great Oak Tree
1665 – Duke’s Law Convention – Long Island Native
1777 – The First New York State Constitution – Quill and Ink Well
1787 – The Federal Constitutional Convention – Scroll
1899 – Founding of Nassau County and the Nassau County Bar Association – Domus