A Chapter of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY)
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Interview of the Month

An Interview with Amanda C. Fried

Susan L. Pollet
Chair of the Archive and Historian Committee

Q: Your presidential year took place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Can you tell us how the pandemic impacted your leadership of the WWBA and our membership?

A: Notwithstanding that I’m known to be a hard-core introvert, my two favorite WWBA events are the Holiday Party and the Annual Dinner, where we have the opportunity to hug old friends, meet new members and bring them into the fold, and easily network with the incredible professionals in our community. In non-COVID times, these opportunities were more plentiful – in-person CLEs, programs, and board meetings – and although we certainly made do in the changing landscape, something intangible was lost with our inability to safely gather face-to-face. 

Q: What are the accomplishments that took place during your presidency?

A:  I think that any organization is only as strong as its members, so expanding our membership base was a priority for me. Many bar associations experienced member losses during COVID, and the WWBA was no exception. However, due to the hard work of our Board of Directors, so many members joined (or rejoined) the WWBA that we were able to regain a WBASNY delegate, and we secured for Westchester an additional key vote on statewide issues. 

Q: Which projects or endeavors which could not be completed during your year would you like to see continue in the coming years?

A: It’s a fine line between honoring tradition and pushing forward to a more expansive future. The WWBA is as successful and respected as it is because of the extraordinary women that built, fought for, and sustained this organization, and we must find a way to keep them engaged and ensure that they know how treasured and valuable they are. At the same time, we must continue to teach and incorporate the newer generations who are entering our profession, so that they can share the burden and assist in carrying the WWBA into the future. Our current President and I share this vision, and I have every confidence in her. 

Q: There have been so many challenges in the world including the assault on reproductive rights, the lack of control with gun control, the rise in domestic violence, the war in Ukraine, and climate change concerns, to name a few. Which issues do you think that the WWBA should prioritize at this point in history as a women’s bar association?

A: Oh, goodness, this is a hard question, because who am I to say that one crisis is more pressing or deserving of attention than another? On a personal level, because of my age, gender, and geographical location, I am most disturbed by the assault on reproductive rights and the lack of sufficient gun safety. It is extraordinarily painful for me to think about how the previous generations fought for the protections afforded in Roe v. Wade and their understandable devastation as those safeguards were dangerously demolished. However, I am more haunted by the seemingly never-ending school shootings. In college, I clutched a freshman friend as she watched the television screen in horror, praying that we would see her Columbine schoolmates leave the high school grounds alive. How can it be that, nearly twenty-five years later, nothing has changed?  

Q: On the personal side, what are your future goals for your legal career?

A: Too many to list, but I know my firm is most looking forward to a resumption of my pre-Presidency billable hours!

Q: What advice do you have for women lawyers entering the profession?

A: Adversaries are not enemies. Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” So much about this profession can be hard – demanding clients, the ever-changing law, long hours, overwhelming deadlines – but treating opposing counsel with unnecessary unkindness is not what was intended by zealous advocacy. Your fellow attorneys are members of your smaller-than-you-would-think community, and you need each other to thrive both personally and professionally in this field.

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