The Federal Bar Foundation Turns 50

FBC News

The Federal Bar Foundation Turns 50

By Thomas E. Bezanson

xThomas_E_Bezanson.jpg.pagespeed.ic.caOFZ_8GiLOn June 19, 1964, a group of public spirited lawyers filed the Certificate of Incorporation of the Foundation of the Federal Bar As­sociation of New York, New Jer­sey and Connecticut, Inc., which later became the Foundation of the Federal Bar Council, Inc., and in 1991 the Federal Bar Founda­tion of familiar name today. This June, Thursday the 19th, is auspi­cious as it marks the Foundation’s fiftieth anniversary and the begin­ning of the next 50 years of ser­vice to our legal community.

The Court Visits Program

Thanks to the generosity of its contributors, the Federal Bar Foundation has been able to sup­port the Federal Court Visits Pro­gram administered by the Justice Resource Center through which nearly 4,000 middle and high school students have been able to observe courts in session, tour the courthouse, and meet with a fed­eral judge. The Foundation also has been able to grant financial support to student interns benefit­ting from the U.S. Attorneys’ Of­fices Student Internship Program. The Foundation’s marking of its fiftieth anniversary by celebrat­ing access to the courts reflects its enthusiasm for these programs and forward looking hopes to ex­pand upon them.

The Foundation, working with the Federal Bar Council, also sup­ports many continuing legal edu­cation programs throughout the year, including those of the Fall Bench and Bar Retreat and Winter Bench and Bar Conference of the Council and law clerk video con­ferences, most recently focusing on 42 U.S.C. § 1983 litigations, which was attended by 94 law clerks in 12 locations in every dis­trict of the Second Circuit.

In preparation for presenta­tion later this year is “Court­houses of the Second Circuit,” a book surveying the architecture and history of these courthouses through photographs, landmark cases, and interesting personali­ties who brought the law to life in those precincts.

So too, we look forward to op­portunities to support the expand­ing, innovative work of the Fed­eral Bar Council’s Public Service Committee, which was excellent­ly described in the last issue of the Federal Bar Council Quarterly in an article by Lewis Liman and Da­vid Olinenstein. In sum, this com­mittee has worked to support the Second Circuit’s courts and has advanced the causes of expanding access to justice, providing coun­sel for immigrant litigants and other pro se litigants, and provid­ing practical CLE training.

All of this is made possible by the generosity of the Founda­tion’s contributors. Through the alchemy of philanthropy, they were able to convert money into programs that bring concrete ben­efits to so many. In recent years, the Foundation has received suf­ficient, or sometimes nearly suf­ficient, annual contributions to support its programs. About one half of the contributions come from only 20 donors, so there is encouraging room for growth. As noted above, expanding access to the courts and providing advice to litigants in need of assistance are high priorities and are in keeping with our shared commitment to lawyerly public service.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Foundation is an occasion to re­flect with pride upon its accom­plishments, but, more important­ly, to look forward to vigorous years of service to come.


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