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Cleveland attorney picked to lead NYSBA

The New York State Bar Association has named David R. Watson to serve as the next executive director of the 75,000-member Association. He is currently executive director of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.

“We are delighted that Dave Watson has agreed to join us as executive director,” said Immediate Past President David M. Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody), who chaired the search committee.

“He is a highly regarded bar executive with excellent management skills and experience in business and in the legal profession, including as a practicing lawyer. Dave is active in the National Association of Bar Executives, where he enjoys an excellent reputation. We are confident his leadership will serve the association well as we look to the future.”

State bar President Glenn Lau-Kee of New York City (Kee & Lau-Kee) said Watson’s broad experience will strengthen the association, which has served New York attorneys, the public and the justice system since 1876.

Watson will oversee the day-to-day operations of the association and help implement policies approved by its House of Delegates and Executive Committee. The association has 125 employees at its Albany headquarters and nearby print shop.

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to be of service to the New York legal community,” said Watson. “It is an honor and privilege to have the chance to work with the leadership, volunteers and staff of one of the truly outstanding bar associations in this country.”

Watson succeeds Patricia K. Bucklin, who stepped down in March after nearly 13 years as the association’s executive director.Watson brings experience as a manager of three law-related associations and a legal technology company, as well as a practicing attorney, and financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments in Indiana. He also served as executive vice president of the Chicago-based Commercial Law League of America as well as deputy executive director of Defense Research Institute, a civil defense bar association.

In addition, Watson spent a decade with what is now Lexis-Nexis, working in Dayton, Ohio, as well as managing software engineering teams in India and the Philippines.

He is a 1985 graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1988. Since 2010, he has been executive director of the 6,000-member Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA).

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