It is my distinct honor to serve as the 121st President of the Nassau County Bar Association. As this is my first President’s Column, let’s get acquainted. I have been a member of the NCBA for over 35 years. Throughout that time, I have been active on numerous committees. I have served as the Chairperson of the NCBA Conciliation Committee (attorney fee disputes), Access to Justice Committee, Financial Oversight Committee, several presidential task forces, and as a Delegate from the NCBA to the New York State Bar Association House of Delegates.
I graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, and later the University of Rochester, where I obtained a BA in History and an MS in Public Policy Analysis. I then attended Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. At Cardozo, I was a member of the Criminal Law Clinic and worked with its Director, Barry Scheck in the South Bronx, as he was developing the foundation for the Innocence Project.
In my spare time, I practice law as a Partner at Salamon Gruber Blaymore and Strenger P.C., a small commercial law firm in Roslyn Heights. I am a trial lawyer, who has tried many matters, both jury and non-jury, running the gamut from contract, real estate, tort, administrative and environmental claims. My practice these days focuses on real estate and corporate matters, both in litigation and transactional. I am an arbitrator and mediator and have served as such on multiple engagements. Throughout my legal career, I have been fortunate to have been mentored by great lawyers who taught me the intellectual beauty of the law, the tools of the trade, and the obligation to play mentorship forward.
Now that you know more than you probably wanted to know about me, let’s discuss some thoughts that I have about the coming year. I am big on themes, and as such, the theme for my presidency is the “Year of Member Engagement.” It is my view that a bar association is charged with the primary mission of enhancing its members’ practice of law and their lives, through education, access to decision-makers, networking, and social opportunities. To fully achieve its mission, it is also charged with acting to enhance the communities where its members live by providing opportunities for its members to give back to their community.
We will be updating our website to make it more user-friendly and to have content that enhances your practice. With the assistance of Gary Port, Chair of our Veterans and Military Law Committee, we will undertake an initiative for NCBA to proactively provide pro bono services to our veterans, who need our help now more than ever before. With the additional grant monies obtained through the efforts of Immediate Past President Baiamonte, I look forward to the implementation of new initiatives of our Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP), and our LAP Committee expanding to include new members to assist in future fundraising efforts. I will also work toward establishing a formal advisory council for our Assigned Defender Program (18b), to assist it in its important function in our criminal justice system.
I am very proud of the creation of our new Asian American Law Section, as well as our new Cyber Law and Law Student Committees this past year. These additions demonstrate the forward-thinking of our Bar Association. NCBA has been a leader in diversity and innovation, which will remain front and center in the coming year.
With the assistance of Past President Greg Lisi, we will strive to hold regular networking events at Domus to increase your ability to market your skills to our fellow members and other professionals. As part of these networking activities, we will look to provide opportunities for attorneys who desire to return to practice after a lengthy hiatus to meet and make valuable contacts. Through committees such as the New Lawyers Committee, I will encourage the NCBA to undertake to increase social activities at Domus, including an “Iron Chef” competition, where we will learn who is the top chef at NCBA. Stay tuned.
In furtherance of the theme of “Year of Member Engagement,” I will follow in Greg’s footsteps and be present at Domus on Wednesdays for “Lunch with the President” and hope you join me to share ideas, stories, or just say hello.
I look forward to collaborating with the WE CARE Fund and our Academy of Law, with its new Director Stephanie Ball and new Dean Michael Ratner. I also plan to put a spotlight on our Lawyer Referral Service program and work toward its expansion with a new staff director and advertising to increase the quantity and quality of referrals.
Over the coming months, I will be highlighting the many things this Bar Association does to enhance your practice, better the lives of the people of this county, and how you can become involved within this column. During my years of membership in the NCBA, I have learned that no one has a monopoly on ideas. Come home to Domus and partake in all our wonderful programs and activities. Feel free to reach out to me to share your ideas and help me to make my presidency the “Year of Member Engagement.”