President’s Message

Published: December 28, 2023

By Eric C. Nordby

It’s exciting to realize that 2024 will mark the 20th year of the NDNY-FCBA! Our association’s collective dedication to upholding the principles of justice and the rule of law is more vital than ever, and it’s with great pride that I share the latest developments and challenges facing the FCBA, and other federal courts and lawyers across the nation.

Eric Nordby

In the realm of legal practice, 2024 presents us with both unprecedented opportunities and complex challenges. Our commitment to justice demands that we remain vigilant in addressing the pressing issues that shape the legal landscape and impact the lives of all we serve.

Law Day/Month 2024. On May 1, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued a proclamation declaring May 1 as Law Day, a national celebration of the rule of law that offers an opportunity to understand how our legal system safeguards our liberty, endeavors to uphold justice, and plays a role in preserving the freedoms that all Americans hold dear. The FCBA will continue its proud tradition of supporting the Judiciary of the Northern District of New York in its annual celebration of Law Day, and throughout the month of May, by visiting local high schools to engage students and help them to better understand how our courts work, stress the importance of democracy, and take some of the mystery out of the legal process.

Trial-Advocacy Training. In 2023, thanks to the vision of outgoing President Adam Katz, the FCBA launched its highly successful trial-advocacy training program using the method established by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). We will repeat the program in 2024, under Adam’s continuing leadership. With the expertise of practicing lawyers, professors and Judges in our District, we will continue to dedicate our efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve our adversarial justice system.

Access to Justice and Equity. Ensuring access to justice for all remains a cornerstone of our profession. Pervasive disparities in legal representation, and the widening gap in access to legal services, demand our unwavering attention. As we confront these challenges, the FCBA is actively engaged in efforts to promote access to the legal process. This year, we will redouble our efforts to advance pro bono services, pro se guidance, assigned representation under the Criminal Justice Act, mentorship programs and outreach initiatives that broaden the reach of justice. By fostering a legal community that reflects the diversity of our society, we contribute not only to the strength of our profession, but also to the legitimacy of our justice system.

Technological Advancements in the Legal Sphere. The rapid evolution of technology has transformed the legal profession in profound ways. From the integration of artificial intelligence in legal research to the increasing reliance on virtual courtrooms, the digital era is reshaping how we practice law. As members of the FCBA, it is imperative that we stay abreast of these changes, adapting our approaches to ensure that the wheels of justice turn seamlessly in the digital age. Our association is committed to providing resources and training opportunities that empower our members to navigate the complexities of technology in the legal sphere. Embracing innovation while upholding the principles of fairness and due process is essential to preserving the integrity of our legal system.

Social Justice Issues. The coming year presents us with an array of social justice issues that reverberate within our courtrooms, including systemic racism, gender inequality, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate justice. Increasingly, lawyers confront issues like algorithmic bias, privacy concerns, and technology’s impact on access to justice. Advocacy for equitable legal systems remains paramount amid a rapidly changing social landscape.

I’m honored to stand alongside each of you – the Officers, Trustees and members of the FCBA, and the Judges of the Northern District of New York – as we navigate the currents of change and uphold the ideals that define the practice of law within our federal courts.

As we embark on this year’s endeavors, let us reaffirm our commitment to the principles that define our noble profession. By staying attuned to the evolving legal landscape, embracing technology responsibly, championing access to justice, addressing environmental and social justice concerns, safeguarding civil liberties, and engaging with international legal challenges, we will help to fortify our federal courts, and the FCBA, as beacons of justice and integrity.

With deepest respect, and best wishes for the holidays,

Eric C. Nordby, President
NDNY Federal Court Bar Association