By Tatiana Belanich
The Huntington Lawyers’ Club is a distinguished non-profit organization with an enduring tradition. The social club seeks to expand its membership and further its upstanding goal to encourage relationship and connection with lawyers in the township of Huntington.
Since 1934 when it was first established, the club has carried out its stated mission to “bring together a community of Lawyer’s to further socialization, legal education and networking.”
“It used to be an all male club,” current and youngest female president Jennifer L. Schenker, said. “Now it has been expanded to males and females and expanded to the point where there have been several female presidents.”
Female leadership has flourished in recent years. Schenker is the ninth female president and her friends and immediate predecessors include Natasha Meyers and Andrea B. Schanker. The string of female leaders marks the first time in the club’s history that three women consecutively served as president.
Before female involvement, members would congregate in Centerport at Lincks Log Cabin, Meyers, who owns her own firm, The Meyers Law Group, said. “Generally it would just be groups of men with judges and lawyers in a social environment.”
Membership was opened to women in the 1980s. “When women joined it really revitalized the club and the membership increased,” Meyers said.
Membership has increased dramatically since its founding. At one time, the club did not reach 100 members. Today, the club has over 200 members on their mailing list and an average of 40-60 attendees at events, Schanker said.
“In recent years we have expanded in respect to younger attorney’s becoming involved, which is great because they get to meet the judiciary,” Schenker said. She added that the judiciary has also increased with the inclusion of both male and female judges.
Attorneys who work or live in the township can apply for membership. The club meets monthly at restaurants and venues located in Huntington on the third Wednesday of every month, except August. Meetings include a cocktail hour, dinner, featured speakers and time networking so members can develop connections with others in the profession.
“There is not a lot of opportunity for judges and attorneys to socialize the way we do at our meetings,” Schanker said. “For the most part its only at the Suffolk County Bar Association or the New York State Bar Association events, but, here, we’re a private group and regularly judges and attorneys are interacting and socializing together.”
Schenker said that the club lightens forming and establishing relationships with people that, in other settings, might seem pressurized. “It makes a difference, especially being an attorney and in court, knowing these judges and having professional relationships with them,” she said.
Meyers added that the club gives attorneys the opportunity to “ask questions that you may not feel comfortable asking in a courtroom.”
Meyers said that each event is “informative and enticing.” Speakers include, and are not limited to, Appellate Court judges, Supreme Court justices, forensic doctors and criminal attorneys, who speak “about all different areas of the law and different areas of specialties that integrate with the law in some fashion,” Schenker said.
The Huntington Lawyers’ Club is not a political organization. “We do not support any political cause, it is just a place where attornies and the judiciary can socialize and exchange ideas and get to know one another and build comradery in our profession,” Meyers said.
With the support and generosity of sponsors, the club has been able to hold events at venues such as Oheka Castle, the Huntington Country Club, and Huntington Yacht Club.
Sponsors benefit as well, Schanker added. “The sponsors get exposure to the group for networking and plead their case to why they should use their business.”
The club is always seeking new sponsors. Not only would sponsors have the opportunity to network themselves, but also “support the tradition of a long-standing Huntington social club,” Schanker said.
Looking forward, the club has many goals. “We would like to bring in more innovative speakers, expand the membership, bring in more young people, bring back some of the older generation who haven’t come as often, give back to the community, organize more charitable events and attend more events where we would be representing the club,” Schenker said.
“It’s a very welcoming and warm group and the more people we have, the better the organization can be,” Meyers said.
Schanker added that there is equal opportunity for all members to join a leadership role. From trustee, a member can become a board member and work their way up the ranks.
“It’s a great community,” Schanker said. “We all get along with each other and we all help one another.”
For more information on the Huntington Lawyers’ Club and how to apply for membership, visit Huntingtonlawyersclub.com.