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New Yorker becomes ABA president-elect

New York State Bar Association President Seymour W. James Jr. on Tuesday congratulated New York City attorney James R. Silkenat on his election as president-elect of the nearly 400,000-member American Bar Association.

Silkenat (Sullivan & Worcester) was elected at the ABA’s annual meeting in Chicago, where he was escorted to the podium by members of the New York delegation. He will serve one year as president-elect before taking over as president next year. Silkenat will become the first New Yorker to head the ABA in 25 years.

“Jim has demonstrated a strong commitment to the legal profession through his extraordinary professional accomplishments and his many contributions to the State Bar, the ABA and the legal community,” said James (The Legal Aid Society, New York City). “We work closely with the ABA and hope that Jim Silkenat’s new position as president-elect will offer even more opportunities for collaboration.”

Silkenat said that as president-elect and then as president, he will address existing ABA priorities, as well as devote attention to other matters of concern as they arise.

“Those continuing priorities are funding for state courts; legal education issues; diversity in the legal in the profession-making sure it looks more like the public it serves; and access to justice issues,” he said. “Good work is being done, but good work is going to have to continue to be done.”

In addition, he said, he hopes to address newer issues such as immigration, gun violence, court reform and the death penalty. He said he will rely on legal experts from New York as well as from across the country, in addressing the association’s priorities.