BU Law Honors Alumni Leadership in New York Bar Association
Betsy Plevan ('70), Seymour James ('74), and Glenn Lau-Kee ('74) were trailblazers as city or state bar presidents
Boston University School of Law recently honored three of its distinguished alumni who have made significant contributions to the bar associations of New York. Betsy Plevan ('70) and Seymour James ('74) have served as New York City and New York State Bar Association president (respectively), and Glenn Lau-Kee ('74) is the current president-elect of the state bar.
The dean honored each recipient during a reception held at Viacom Paramount's Manhattan offices on Thursday, February 27 and hosted by Michael Fricklas ('84), executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of Viacom, Inc.. Students recently admitted to join the BU Law class of 2017 were invited to meet the honorees and to mingle with other local BU Law alumni, faculty and staff.
About the honorees
Bettina B. Plevan served as president of the New York City Bar Association from 2004-2006, just the third woman to hold this leadership position. During her presidency, she encouraged the city's firms to provide more pro bono services and increase the diversity of the lawyers in their firms.
Plevan is currently a partner in the Labor and Employment department at Proskauer Rose, where she serves as co-head of the International Labor & Employment and the Class and Collective Action groups. Formerly, she was a member of the firm's seven-person Executive Committee, the first woman to do so. In addition to maintaining her active practice, she was recently appointed chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.
Plevan has built her practice handling all types of labor and employment litigation, as well as counseling clients in employment matters. During her long career at Proskauer, she has represented employers in sexual harassment matters and handled class action suits involving alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, COBRA violations, and termination of retiree benefits.
A strong supporter of BU Law, Plevan is a member of the Dean's Advisory Board, a former co-chair of the Law Fund, and a founding benefactor of the law school's Building on Excellence Campaign.
Seymour W. James, Jr., served as president of the New York State Bar Association from 2012-2013, becoming its third African-American president and first from the nonprofit legal community since 1994. During his term, he advocated for criminal discovery reform, and he appointed special committees to address the rise in human trafficking in New York and the state's low voter-participation rate.
James has been with the Legal Aid Society since graduating from BU Law in 1974, and currently serves as Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice division. In that capacity, he is responsible for the Society’s criminal defense trial, parole revocation defense, appellate and post-conviction criminal practices. One of the largest cases litigated under his leadership pertained to New York Department of Corrections' post-release supervision policy, which was declared unconstitutional in 2008, when the Legal Aid Society took Earley v. Murrary to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Active in the state bar since 1978, James also served as treasurer from 2008 until June 2011. He is a member of the House of Delegates, the Finance Committee, the Membership Committee, the President’s Committee on Access to Justice and the Special Committee on Strategic Planning. Within the Criminal Justice Section, James serves as a member-at-large of its Executive Committee. He is a fellow of the New York Bar Foundation and a member of the board of directors of the New York State Defenders Association. Most recently, he was appointed to the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, created by Governor Mario Cuomo to examine corruption in state government and political elections.
Glenn Lau-Kee is the current president-elect of the New York State Bar Association. When his term begins in June, he will be the first Asian-American to hold this leadership position.
Lau-Kee is a partner of Kee & Lau-Kee, which was founded by his father in 1956. The firm has been an institution in the heart of New York's Chinatown and has represented countless members and businesses in that community. Lau-Kee concentrates his practice in real estate and commercial law.
During his 14-year membership in the State Bar Association, Lau-Kee has been a member-at-large of the Executive Committee and co-chair of the Membership Committee. He is a member of the Business Law, Health Law and Real Property Law sections. He received the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section's George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award in 2010.
Lau-Kee was a member of the Task Force on the State of Our Courthouses and the Special Committees on Legal Specialization, Multijurisdictional Practice and Sarbanes-Oxley Issues. He is a vice-chair of the board of the Greater New York City YMCA and a board member of the Fund for Modern Courts, The New York Bar Foundation and US-Asia Institute. He served as president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York from 1997-1999, and was appointed by former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to serve on the Commission to Examine Solo and Small Firm Practice, and the Committee to Promote Public Trust and Confidence in the Legal System.
Reported February 28, 2014