For more than twenty years, I have practiced as a media lawyer — a solicitor admitted to the courts of England and Wales. There, the independent body of the Law Society drives excellence in the profession. But having heard the call to arms of requalification, I obtained a Masters in American Law at Fordham and joined the City Bar, sat for the bar exam, and only last November was happily admitted as an attorney in the First Division of New York. Solemnly swearing to discharge the duties of attorney to the best of my ability was a proud moment for this born-again lawyer.
As the New York City Bar Association celebrates its 150th year, I celebrate my first year as one of its admitted members. And while the City Bar looks back with pride over its achievements in equipping and mobilizing the legal profession to the heady heights of excellence, I look forward to striving for excellence as one of its mobilized members under its guidance.
A line from the poet Robert Browning has guided me throughout my professional career, "Ah, but a man's aim should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" The City Bar's mission to promote the reform of law, uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest may at times appear at the very edge of our grasp. But as American attorneys (and English lawyers) we continue to aim high as Browning suggests, and I look forward to doing so as a new member of the New York City Bar Association, wishing it a very happy birthday, as I do so.
This article, written by Withers' Amber Melville-Brown was published by the New York City Bar on February 27, 2020.
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