Barbara Berger Opotowsky, the executive director of the New York City Bar, is stepping down in May after a 15-year tenure. “While the decision to leave the City Bar, an organization I look at as a family, has not been an easy one, I am excited and energized by the thought of starting a new chapter in life,” she said in a statement.
Carey Dunne, the bar group’s president and a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, said he has formed a search committee, which includes himself and former past leaders of the bar group.
Opotowsky has served with nine presidents while overseeing the now 24,000-member organization. During her tenure, the city bar said, its budget doubled and it has run a surplus almost every year; the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice was founded to focus on promoting human rights; and the City Bar Justice Center has grown in staff, increased its funding six-fold and is providing more than $20 million in pro bono legal services a year. Opotowsky said one of the challenges her successor will face will be to keep the bar group relevant to young lawyers and communicate its mission and history while keeping them engaged.
In a statement, Dunne said Opotowsky “has been a cornerstone of the City Bar for a decade and a half, during one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods since our founding in 1870. At every step, she has guided the organization to greater success, with her characteristic intellect, energy, judgment and wit. While we will all miss her leadership, the good news is that, due to her efforts, the association is in a stronger position than it has ever been before.”