Kenneth Standard Featured in “ABA Honors 4 Diversity Trailblazers”

American Bar Association

Kenneth G. Standard, General Counsel Emeritus and Of Counsel in its Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was featured in the American Bar Association, in “ABA Honors 4 Diversity Trailblazers.” Mr. Barnes’ acceptance of the award was also featured, in “2017 Spirit of Excellence Award: Kenneth G. Standard.”

Following is an excerpt:

Kenneth G. Standard is a pathfinder whose leadership throughout his life as the “first” has created an array of opportunities for many.

Yvette Simmons, a member of the Commission, who introduced Standard at the awards, said though he faced poverty and discrimination throughout his life, his family had always assured him of his value. “His name spoke for itself,” she said. “He had standards grounded in love and shaped by many hands that had touched his life.”

Standard inspired his colleagues in the New York State Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section to create an internship program to provide summer in-house internship positions for law students from a diverse range of backgrounds. That effort also led to his creation of the New York State Bar Association Youth Law Day programs that have provided thousands of inner city high school students with the opportunity to spend the day at a New York state law school, taking mock classes and interacting with diverse lawyers, law students and law faculty.

Standard and his late wife, Valerie, established an educational opportunity fund at the New York State Bar Foundation.  He is a former member of Epstein Becker & Green PC, was the firm’s first general counsel and is now general counsel emeritus. Standard also is chair emeritus of EBG’s National Diversity and Professional Development Committee, which includes members from each of its 13 offices nationwide.

Reflecting on his parents’ journey to America, Standard said they immigrated from the Caribbean and the president’s recent orders on immigration reminded him of how unfair the immigration system was when his parents arrived, whereby fewer people were accepted from smaller places like the Caribbean and larger numbers were accepted from areas like Northern Europe,” to stack the game,” he said.

Regarding the recent executive orders, Standard said: “This is a reminder that we can never cease to be vigilant in protecting our rights. We as members of the bar have a greater responsibility than most others in being vigilant.”

Standard encouraged the audience to pledge to continue to think about those who are less privileged economically. "Let us not forget them," he said.