Sharon Stern Gerstman, counsel to Magavern Magavern Grimm LLP, assumed office on June 1, 2017 as the 120th president of the 72,000-member New York State Bar Association.
Gerstman, who succeeds Claire P. Gutekunst of Yonkers, is the seventh woman and 12th Buffalo attorney to head the 141-year-old Association. Michael Miller of New York City (Law Firm of Michael Miller) is president-elect.
"My goal as president is to get all our members involved in making the world, the profession and the justice system better," Gerstman said. "If you see a cause you agree with, it's not enough to like it on Facebook, do something!"
Gerstman, who spent the past year visiting many county bar associations across New York, is committed to enhancing the ties between local bars and the New York State Bar Association. "We don't look at local bars as competition.Instead, we recognize that state and local bar associations provide different and complementary services to members," she said.
A longtime member of the State Bar Association, Gerstman previously served as president-elect, treasurer and vice-president for the Eighth Judicial District on the Executive Committee. She is a member of the House of Delegates, Finance Committee, Dispute Resolution Section, and Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section.
Gerstman is past chair of the Committee on Civil Practice Law and Rules and the Special Committee on Lawyer Advertising and Referral Service Regulation.She also co-chaired the Task Force on E-Filing, the Special Committee on Lawyer Advertising and the Special Committee on Strategic Planning.She is a Life Fellow of The Bar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the State Bar, and was a board member from 2008 to 2016.
At Magavern Magavern Grimm, Gerstman concentrates her practice in mediation and arbitration and appellate practice. She joined the firm in December 2010.She previously spent nearly 30 years as a court attorney/referee and principal law clerk with the New York Supreme Court in the Eighth Judicial District. She taught New York Practice at the University at Buffalo Law School for 30 years.
A native of Brooklyn, Gerstman was raised in New Jersey. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in philosophy. She later earned a J.D. from University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a LL.M. from Yale Law School.
She and her husband, Daniel Gerstman, live in Buffalo. Their son, Ari, and his wife, Valerie Brown, and daughter reside in Washington, D.C.