Honorable Robert A. Katzmann Delivers 2017 Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture

Since 1950, Hughes Hubbard has sponsored a lecture in conjunction with the New York County Lawyers Association on the ideals of public service and the education of lawyers and the public. This year, the Honorable Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, delivered the 53rd Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture.

About the Hon. Robert A. Katzmann

Robert A. Katzmann is Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, assuming that position on September 1, 2013.   At his appointment to the federal bench in 1999, he was Walsh Professor of Government, Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University;  a Fellow of the Governmental Studies Program of the Brookings Institution; and president of the Governance Institute.     

A lawyer and political scientist by training, Judge Katzmann received his A.B. (summa cum laude) from Columbia College, A.M. and Ph.D  in government from Harvard University, and a J.D. from the Yale Law School, where he was an Article and Book Review Editor of the Yale Law Journal.  After clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, he joined the Brookings Institution, where he was a research associate, senior fellow, visiting fellow, and acting program director.   His books include:  the recently published Judging Statutes; Regulatory Bureaucracy;  Institutional Disability; Courts and Congress; editor and project director of The Law Firm and the Public Good; co-editor of Managing Appeals in Federal Court; editor and contributing author of Daniel Patrick Moynihan:  The Intellectual in Public Life; and editor and contributing author of Judges and Legislators.  In 2007, he delivered the Marden Lecture of the New York City Bar Association, “The Legal Profession and the Unmet Needs of the Immigrant Poor” and later launched the Study Group on Immigrant Representation from which emanated the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, the first government funded program providing counsel for detained non-citizens.  He conceived of and sparked the creation of the Immigrant Justice Corps, the country’s first fellowship program dedicated to meeting the need for high-quality legal assistance for immigrants.

As Chief Judge, he launched a  wide-ranging civic education initiative of the federal courts of the Second Circuit: “Justice For All: Courts and the Community” to increase public understanding of the federal judiciary and to bring courts closer to the communities they service. During his tenure as Chief Judge, the Court of Appeals has also undertaken a 125th anniversary retrospective. 

His honors include the Learned Hand Medal of the Federal Bar Council, the Edward Weinfeld Award of the New York County Lawyers Association, the Fuld Award of the New York State Bar Association, the Green Bag award for legal writing, the Charles E. Merriam Award of the American Political Science Association, membership as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and honorary degrees from New York Law School, John Jay College, and Pace University.  He has served on many judicial and governmental committees, and on law school boards, including as Chair of the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on the Judicial Branch, and as a Commissioner of the Supreme Court Fellows Commission.


On Nov. 8, 1948, the Board of Directors of the New York Country Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) established the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture. Hughes Hubbard assumed sponsorship of the lecture series in 2007.

The Series was instituted by NYCLA to honor Justice Hughes for his "devotion to the betterment of the law and the maintenance of its supremacy," and "for his service as President of our Association where he endeared himself to us by his fine qualities of mind and heart, and as an inspiration to the members of our profession whose high ideals and noble traditions he upheld and strengthened throughout his long and distinguished career."

Few lawyers in the first half of the 20th century had a more distinguished career or a greater impact on the evolution of law and public policy. Charles Evans Hughes's service as Governor of New York State, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, presidential candidate, Secretary of State, Judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice and Chief Justice of the United States reflected a lifelong dedication to the legal profession. Justice Hughes served as NYCLA's eighth president from 1919-1921, leaving to serve as United States Secretary of State upon his appointment by President Warren G. Harding. In 1930, Justice Hughes received his appointment as Chief Justice from President Herbert Hoover.

Chief Justice Hughes was reluctantly unable to attend the dedication ceremonies on May 26, 1930 because the Supreme Court was in session, but sent a message that President William Nelson Cromwell read to the gathering.

In that message the Chief Justice illuminated the highest aspirations of the organized bar and the legal profession:

“As books and office furniture do not make a lawyer, so a library and reception halls do not make a bar association. The significance of such an association is found not merely in a common technique, but in the reinforcement of the standards of sound learning, loyalty to the law and fidelity to trust, and the readiness for expert public service, which have given a peculiar dignity to the profession of the law.” Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes

Past Speakers

For more than half a century, the men and women who have delivered the Charles Evans Hughes Lecture have embodied those aspirations. 

The series has had speakers from the highest levels of the profession including U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

2017 - Hon. Robert A. Katzmann
2015 - Hon. Jonathan Lippman
2014 - Loretta E. Lynch 
2013 - James R. Silkenat 
2012 - Hon. Judith S. Kaye 
2011 - Hon. Denny Chin 
2010 - Preet Bharara 
2008 - Hon. José A. Cabranes 
2007 - Kenneth C. Frazier 
2005 - Robert MacCrate 
2003 - Hon. John S. Martin 
2000 - Hon. Seth Waxman 
1999 - Dean Kristin Booth Glen 
1998 - Hon. Joseph M. McLaughlin 
1997 - Dean David W. Leebron 
1996 - Dean Rudolph C. Hasl 
1995 - Dean Joan G. Wexler 
1994 - Hon. Jack B. Weinstein 
1993 - Dean Harry H. Wellington 
1992 - Dean Lance Liebman 
1991 - Prof. Curtis Berger 
1990 - Dean John D. Feerick 
1989 - Dean John E. Sexton 
1988 - Dean Monroe E. Price 
1987 - Hon. Andrew J. Maloney 
1986 - Hon. Frederick A.O.Schwarz Jr. 
1985 - Dean Norman Redlich 
1984 - Dean Patrick J. Rohan 
1983 - Prof. Benno C. Schmidt Jr. 
1982 - Dean Albert J. Rosenthal 
1981 - Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke 
1979 - Dean Harry H. Wellington 
1977 - Dean Monrad G. Paulsen 
1975 - Dean Joseph M. McLaughlin 
1974 - Dean Michael I. Sovern 
1973 - William T. Gossett 
1972 - Dean Robert B. McKay 
1971 - Hon. Shirley M. Hufstedler 
1970 - Whitney North Seymour 
1969 - Hon. Sheldon S. Cohen 
1968 - Hon. J. Edward Lumbard 
1967 - Hon. Charles S. Desmond 
1965 - Dr. Russell D. Niles 
1964 - Prof. Leon Lipson 
1963 - Hon. Henry J. Friendly 
1961 - Prof. Paul A. Freund 
1960 - Hon. John Clark Knox 
1958 - The Right Hon. Lord Nathan, T.D. 
1956 - Hon. Harold Medina 
1954 - Hon. Arthur T. Vanderbilt 
1952 - Hon. John T. Loughran 
1951 - Hon. Bernard Shientag 
1950 - Dean Roscoe Pound