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I. - NAME.
This Association shall be called "The New York State Bar Association."
The Association is formed to cultivate the science of jurisprudence, to promote reform in the law, to facilitate the administration of justice, to elevate the standard of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession, and to cherish a spirit of brotherhood among the members thereof.
The Delegates and Alternates selected to attend the first meeting for the organization of the Association (November 21, 1876) are hereby declared to be members thereof, provided they shall (on or before the 1st day of May, 1877) pay the admission fee and subscribe to this Constitution, or otherwise in writing notify the Secretary of their acceptance of membership.
Any member of the legal profession in good standing, residing or practicing in the State of New York, who shall have been at the Bar of this State at least three years, may become a member by vote of the Association, on open nomination after a report of the Committee on Admissions, or of the Executive Committee upon recommendation of the Committee on Admissions; and on subscribing to this Constitution (or otherwise in writing notify the Secretary of his acceptance of membership), and, within the period limited by the By-Laws, paying the annual dues of the current year. But no person shall be entitled to vote at any meeting of the Association until he shall have been a member for at least six months preceding the said meeting.
The Judges of the United States Courts residing in this State, the Judges of the Court of Appeals, and the several Justices of the Supreme Court of this State shall, during their respective terms of office, be honorary members of this Association.
Other honorary members may be elected by the Association. (Amended January 21, 1903, and January 17, 1906.)
Pursuant to Art. III, the Association, at the Annual Meeting, September, 1882 (Reports, vol. VI, p. 130), it was unanimously
Resolved, That this Association admits among the honorary members such resident members of the Bar of the State of New York as may at any time hold any of the following-named offices, to wit:
President of the United States, Vice-President of the United States, members of the President's Cabinet, United States Senators from this State, Governor of this State, Attorney-General of this State, Envoy or Minister of the United States to any foreign country, member appointed on the part of the United States of any international tribunal, and that the Secretary is directed to enroll them accordingly.
The officers of the Association shall be a President, nine VicePresidents, one to be chosen from each judicial district, an Executive Committee, a Committee on Admissions, a Committee on Grievances, a Committee on Law Reform, a Committee on Prizes, a Committee on Legal Biography, a Committee on the Selection of Candidates for Judicial Office, a Secretary and a Treasurer, all of whom shall (for the period until the 1st day of January, 1878) be elected at the meeting at which this Constitution is adopted. And thereafter they shall be elected in the manner hereinafter prescribed. (Amended January 21, 1902; amended January 24, 1908; amended January 29, 1909.)
The President, or (in his absence) one of the Vice-Presidents, or (in the absence of all of them) one of the members shall preside at all meetings of the Association.
The President shall be ex officio a member of the Executive Committee.
VI. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.
The Executive Committee shall consist of twenty-seven members, of whom three shall reside in, and be selected from each judicial district, and shall compose a District Executive Committee thereof. The Secretary and Treasurer of the Association shall be, ex-officio, members of the Executive Committee. (Amended January 24, 1908; amended January 29, 1909; amended January 19, 1911.)
This Committee shall manage the affairs of the Association, subject to the provisions of the Constitution and By-laws, and shall be vested with the title to all its property, as Trustee thereof, until the Association shall be incorporated, and when incorporated shall have power to accept the act of incorporation for and on behalf of the Association and all its members.
By-laws may be adopted at any annual meeting of the Association by a majority vote of the members present, and the Executive Committee may make By-laws for the Association, subject to amendment by the Association. (Amended January 21, 1902.)
At meetings of this Committee, the member or members in attendance from each judicial district shall be entitled to three votes, to be cast by him or them, separately or together, as he or they may deter
mine. Each District Committee, under direction of the General Committee, may exercise such of its powers, in or for the district, as from time to time shall be authorized by this General Committee, and such other powers as the Constitution and By-laws shall vest in them.
VII. - COMMITTEE ON ADMISSIONS.
The Committee on Admissions shall consist of thirty-six members, of whom four shall reside in and be selected from each judicial district, and compose a District Committee on Admissions thereof, and each of whom shall have practiced law in this State at least ten years. (Amended January 24, 1908; amended January 29, 1909.)
The proceedings of this Committee shall be deemed confidential and shall be kept secret, except so far as written or printed reports of the same shall be necessarily and officially made to the Association.
VIII. - COMMITTEE ON GRIEVANCES.
The Committee on Grievances shall consist of twenty-seven members, not more than three of whom shall reside in the same judicial district. (Amended January 24, 1908; amended January 29, 1909.)
This Committee may receive and hear all complaints preferred by any member against any other member for misconduct in his relations to the Association, or in his profession, provided the same be in writing, plainly and specifically stating the matter complained of, and subscribed by the complainant.
This Committee may also, at its discretion, hear any specific complaint which may be made to it by any member in writing, affecting the interests of the legal profession, the practice of law, or the administration of justice, and may report thereon to the Association, with such recommendations as it may deem advisable.
All complaints so made shall be considered and disposed of by this Committee in the manner provided in the By-laws.
The proceedings of this Committee shall be deemed confidential and kept secret, except so far as written or printed reports of the same shall be necessarily and officially made to the Association.
IX. - COMMITTEE ON LAW REFORM.
The Committee on Law Reform shall consist of twenty-seven members, no four of whom shall reside in the same judicial district. (Amended January 24, 1908; amended January 29, 1909.)
It shall be the duty of this Committee to consider and report to the Association such amendments of the law as in its opinion should be adopted, also to scrutinize proposed changes of the law, and when necessary report upon the same, also to observe the practical working of the judicial system of the State, and recommend by written or printed report, from time to time, any changes therein which observation or experience may suggest.
Each county, city or local Bar Association of this State may annually appoint delegates, not exceeding three in number, to the next meeting of this Association; such delegates, if not regular members of this Association, shall be entitled to all the privileges of membership at and during the said meeting, except that of voting. (Amended January 16, 1907.)
XIX. - FEES.
The annual dues of members shall be five dollars, and shall be payable yearly on or before the first of May in each year.
Annual dues, at the option of any member, may be commuted by the payment of fifty dollars at one time; and thereafter no further dues shall be payable by any such member.
XX. - EXPULSION.
Any member may be suspended or expelled for misconduct in his relations to the Association, or in his profession, after conviction thereof by such method of procedure, as may be prescribed by the By-Laws, and all interest in the property of the Association, of persons ceasing to be members by expulsion, resignation or otherwise shall thereupon vest absolutely in the Association.
At each Annual Meeting there shall be elected by ballot the Officers of the Association, who shall hold their office from the close of one Annual Meeting until the close of the succeeding Annual Meeting.
In case of a vacancy in any office it shall be filled by appointment by the Executive Committee; which, however, can appoint a VicePresident only to the office of President.
Except by the vote of two-thirds of the members present at a meeting, no report from any committee appointed at a previous meeting shall be acted upon, unless such report shall have been printed and sent to the members of the Association at least fifteen days prior to the meeting at which the report is to be considered. (Added January 29, 1909.)
COMMITTEE ON THE SELECTION OF CANDI-
There shall be a Committee on the Selection of Candidates for Judicial Office, to consist of three members of the Association from each Judicial District of the State.
It shall be their duty, as far as possible, to prevent the nomination, election or appointment of unfit or incompetent persons to judicial
office in the State, whether on the State or Federal Bench, and where the same is threatened to aid in securing the nomination, election or appointment of fit and competent judicial officers; also to condemn unfit selections when made, as well as those responsible therefor, and all improper means and influences employed in procuring the same.
Such committee may be called together at any time, by their chairman or by the President or Executive Committee, and shall have power to pass such resolutions and take such steps as it may deem necessary to effect the purposes for which it is created, without the action of the entire Association, unless a stated meeting of such Association is to be held within a time that would make its action upon the recommendations of such committee effective, in which case the action of such committee shall first be reported to said Association for its approval. (Added January 29, 1909.)
XXIV. - AMENDMENTS.
This constitution shall go into effect immediately. It can be amended only by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a meeting of the Association, after notice of the proposed amendment, subscribed by at least ten members, shall have been given at the next previous meeting, and notice of the same shall have been also given by the Secretary in the notices of the meeting, and by the vote of at least fifty members in favor of such amendment. (Renumbered XXIV January 29, 1909.)