Patricia Bucklin will step down as the New York State Bar Association’s executive director, a position she has held since 2001. In an email to staff at the 77,000-member state bar, Bucklin said she will leave March 31 to “pursue other employment opportunities.”

“We have an enviable financial position, strong membership and a vast array of new and exciting member initiatives,” she wrote.

Bucklin is only the third executive director at the state bar since the organization created the position. Her predecessors were John Berry (1959-87) and William Carroll (1987-2001).

State Bar President David Schraver said he and President-Elect Glenn Lau-Kee will co-chair a search committee to find Bucklin’s replacement. Schraver, of Nixon Peabody in Rochester, said in an e-mail to the state bar staff that Bucklin has provided “steady leadership and strategic direction” to the state bar as well as strong financial management.

Prior to joining the state bar, the Syracuse University College of Law graduate was a clerk at the Court of Appeals, an assistant counsel to former Governor Mario Cuomo and director of public affairs for the Office of Court Administration, among other positions.

Bucklin and Schraver declined to discuss her departure after releasing memos to staffers on Tuesday, bar spokeswoman Lisa Linden said.

The bar has hired the legal recruitment firm Young Mayden Connect of Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn., to conduct a national search for a new executive director. The firm helped the American Bar Association find its current director, Jack Rives.

One of Young Mayden’s principals, Barbara Menden Mayden, is a former attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and White & Case. She is also a former member of the New York state bar’s House of Delegates.