A Chapter of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY)
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President's Message - May/June 2022

by Amanda C. Fried



My obsession with Hamilton should be no secret by now, nor should my tendency toward insomnia. So, one night as I lie awake obsessing about the atrocities in the Ukraine, and the Bucha massacre in particular, the line from Act II “who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” kept replaying in my head.

As my WWBA presidency draws to a close, friends and colleagues have asked me whether the work of the past year has been worth it. The answer is always a resounding yes. I love the WWBA – its people, its purpose, its future – and all I have wanted, to borrow from Eliza Hamilton, is to be a part of the narrative. And, as our WBASNY liaison recently said, making a contribution and feeling a sense of belonging to a mission brought me joy.

One of the items on my why-does-this-never-shrink “to do” list is to write the year-end report for WBASNY, outlining what we, what I, have accomplished this year, so that my legacy can be recorded for posterity. Certainly, I understand the importance of chronicling a year’s worth of achievements, of educational and inspiring programs, of successful community outreach, and I am proud to highlight the efforts of our membership. But I wonder…is that really all a legacy is?

Not surprisingly, I did a little googling. There are the standing definitions, an amount of money or property left to someone in a will, not applicable here; or denoting software or hardware that has been suspended but is difficult to replace because of its widespread use – um, no, thank you. It is generally accepted that the things one does form the foundation of one’s legacy, but the more I read, the more it seems to relate to how one is remembered.

On April 7, 2022, Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as a United States Supreme Court Justice and, like many of us, I was glued to the screen. Notwithstanding her inspiring credentials, the confirmation hearings were, shall we say, highly contentious. Truthfully, though, in a year’s time, I may not remember that she graduated from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School, or that she clerked for Justice Stephen G. Breyer in the United States Supreme Court, or, truthfully, any of her incredible accomplishments that led to the historic 53-to-47 vote. I will remember, though, the look of utmost pride on her daughter’s face and the way she made her family, and so many of us, feel. Maybe that is what makes a legacy.

The 2022 Annual Dinner is just around the corner – less than a month away! – and we are slowly starting the transition to our next crop of leaders. I am proud of what we have achieved thus far this year, particularly in light of the complications of a largely virtual existence, but I hope that over the past year of President’s Messages, I have made you feel something. I hope I left behind a story worth telling.

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