The New York Bar Foundation Honors Michael E. Getnick with President’s Award

The New York Bar Foundation is presenting Michael E. Getnick, of Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP Utica, with its President’s Award. He will receive the award during the virtual Annual Assembly of the Fellows on Friday, January 27, 2023.

The President’s Award is presented to someone who has made an indelible impact on the law and served as a significant role model in New York and the broader legal community.

“Michael Getnick is the embodiment of what we should all strive for as members of this profession. He has been a role model throughout New York State and his dedication is an inspiration,” said Foundation President, Carla M. Palumbo, President & CEO The Legal Aid Society of Rochester.

After receiving his law degree from Cornell Law School, Getnick practiced as a trial attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Oneida County. He served on the Society’s Board of Directors and as President of the Board when it became the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York covering many counties in the 3rd and 4th judicial districts. He served as a law clerk for a State Supreme Court Justice in the 1970’s.

Getnick entered private practice in 1974 and has successfully represented a range of clients in complex litigation and business matters. In 1986, Getnick was a founding partner of Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP, which remains the largest law firm in his adopted hometown of Utica, New York. Since 1988, Getnick has been of-counsel to the Manhattan-based firm of Getnick & Getnick, which specializes in representing whistleblowers in anti-fraud cases.

Getnick litigated the first successful racial balance case for public school districts before the Commissioner of Education. He also litigated the only annexation case between two counties before the New York Court of Appeals.

“Whatever I have accomplished has been made possible by the efforts of others through their support, encouragement and commitment to the causes I have identified with and pursued in my practice of law. I share this award with them and thank them for their dedication to making the rule of law a reality in the lives of so many,” said Getnick.

“Michael Getnick’s personal character and professional accomplishments represent a lawyer living his calling and embodying the Foundation’s ideals. His career has been marked by personal dedication to lawyer independence, ethical behavior, self-renewal, and the integrity of the profession. He is only the second attorney from Oneida County to serve as president of the New York State Bar Association,” said Patrick G. Radel, partner at Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, Utica.

In addition to serving as the 112th President of the New York State Bar Association, Getnick served on the House of Delegates, and Committee on Diversity and Leadership and chaired the Committee on Court Operations. As president, he created the Association’s Trial Lawyer Academy working with the leaders of the Young Lawyers Trial Section, President Sherry Levin Wallach, and Tucker Stanclift, who established the Academy’s program. Getnick has been a Fellow of The New York Bar Foundation since 1995 and has served as president of the Oneida County Bar Association and chaired numerous committees, including the Domestic Relations Committee. In 2017, Getnick was appointed as special ombudsman for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York, reporting to the Chief Bankruptcy Judge on concerns related to court operations.

Getnick is committed to his community and to access to justice. He was recognized by the New York State Bar Association in 1988 with a pro bono service award. His community activities include service on the boards of the Fifth Judicial District Pro Bono Committee, American Heart Association, Legal-Aid Society of Mid-New York, United Way and YMCA.

“Mike has devoted his career championing lawyers, lawyer independence, ethics and professionalism. Like his father, he was called to serve his community, our learned profession, the rule of law and the core values of our profession and Mike has done so with unwavering dedication,” said Kathryn Grant Madigan, partner at Levene Goulding & Thompson. “For decades Mike has mentored and nurtured many lawyers, young as well as the more seasoned, for their often-unsung efforts on behalf of some of the most vulnerable individuals. Mike is not one to toot his own horn. Rather, he thrives on opportunities to not only acknowledge but to shine a bright light on other lawyers who have made a genuine difference in their community, the profession and the justice system. Mike is humble, self-effacing, plain spoken and has earned the respect of his adversaries throughout the State of New York.”

The New York Bar Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization that receives charitable contributions and provides grants to financially support law-related programs of legal services organizations, nonprofits, bar associations and other organizations throughout New York State.