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In Memoriam: Neal W. Johnston (1939-2010)

Neal Johnston, a founder of Lawyers Alliance for New York, passed away on May 24, 2010. He was celebrated for his warmth, wit, and irrepressible heart at a memorial service held at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York on Friday, October 1, 2010 and in the remembrances below.

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In 1969, a group of law firm associates met while working on John Lindsay's 1968 mayoral re-election campaign ("Lawyers for Lindsay"). As young lawyers, they felt inadequately integrated into the profession, lacked outlets for public service work, and needed a forum to share these interests with others. Out of these concerns, the Council of New York Law Associates was born. (see more ...)

Remembrances of Neal and the Early Days
of the Council of New York Law Associates

"Mr. Johnston and his associates are to be complimented and congratulated on their concern for the public welfare and for organizing themselves in an effective manner to deal with community problems. Older members of the Bar ... ought to be proud that the younger generation of lawyers is demonstrating such selfless interest in the welfare of their community. Certainly the New York law firms stand to gain from this demonstration that the practice of law in New York does not require the forgoing of opportunities for stimulating work and contributions outside the law office."

    – Excerpted from an editorial in the American Bar Association Journal, September 1970

 

"This was a man who was truly dedicated and put his heart and soul into everything he did. He was one of the true leaders, and the Council of New York Law Associates would not have existed without him. It's also important to remember that he was a great family man as well."

    – Carol Bellamy, Chair, International Baccalaureate Board of Governors
       Former Steering Committee Member, Council of New York Law Associates and
       Current Board of Advisors Member, Lawyers Alliance for New York

 

"The Council of New York Law Associates would never have been started if he hadn't done it; the rest of us would never have done it."

    – Randal R. Craft, Jr., Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
       Former Steering Committee Member, Council of New York Law Associates

 

"Neal was the driving force behind the founding of the Council of New York Law Associates. He was indefatigable and inspiring and helped each of us convince our law firms that what we were setting out to do would help them fulfill their pro bono obligations to the New York community and that the community would benefit from our engagement...We were a disparate group at the beginning, each of whom went off in different directions in the 70s, but all of us greatly admired and have fond memories of Neal. He was a distinctive personality and he will be missed. He helped create an organization of which all of us who were involved are extremely proud."

    – Edward F. Greene, Senior Counsel, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
       Former Steering Committee Member, Council of New York Law Associates and
       Current Chair of the Board of Advisors, Lawyers Alliance for New York

 

 

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