KENNETH G. STANDARD is Of Counsel in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice at Epstein Becker Green, and General Counsel Emeritus of the Firm, having served as its first General Counsel. Based in the New York office, he also is Chair Emeritus of the Firm's Diversity and Professional Development Committee, as well as Chair Emeritus of the Firm's Quality Assurance Committee. A member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association ("ABA") from 2010–2012 and again from 2012–2015, Mr. Standard also is a past President of the New York State Bar Association ("NYSBA"), the largest voluntary state bar association in the country.
Counseling and Litigation. His counseling and litigation experience is extensive, encompassing both the private and public sectors. As lead or sole counsel, Mr. Standard has handled more than 40 matters to decision, in federal, state, and local trial and appellate courts, and administrative agencies.
Mr. Standard served as Assistant General Counsel, Labor Relations, Environmental and Benefit Plans, at Consolidated Edison Company of New York City during years when its workforce averaged about 15,000 employees.
Before that, as Director of the Office of Legal Services of the New York City school system and its approximately 100,000 employees, he supervised a law department of approximately 25 attorneys and 20 support staff.
Earlier, as Vice-President and Senior Counsel of the Products Division of what was then the Bristol-Myers Company, he was responsible for all legal matters of the Products Division and of the Monarch Crown government sales corporate subsidiary of the Bristol-Myers company. Included in those legal issues were labor and employment matters presented by the approximately 2,000 non-union employees of the two businesses. He hired the first female attorney in the Bristol-Myers legal department.
Diversity and Professional Development. Mr. Standard has always had a strong commitment to making the legal profession more equitable and more reflective of the country's diverse population and this can be seen in his professional activities regionally, nationally and internationally. As president of the New York State Bar Association in 2004–2005, he developed a program for inner-city high school students to visit New York state law schools for a full day, meeting law students, faculty, and lawyers and attending mock law school classes. The program continues today, and each of the 15 law schools within the state has participated, a number of them multiple times.
American Bar Association. He is a long-time member of the ABA and of its House of Delegates and served on its Board of Governors from 2010 to 2015, chairing its Executive Compensation Committee from 2014–2015. He also has served as a member of several ABA entities, including the Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline, the House of Delegates Resolution and Impact Review Committee, and the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and co-chairs the New York State Chapter of the Fellows. He has served two terms on the ABA's Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline, most recently as Chairman.
- In February 2017, the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession recognized Mr. Standard with a Spirit of Excellence Award, which celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Award recipients must excel in the profession of law, epitomize excellence on a national, state, or local level, and demonstrate a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the field of law.
- In February 2011, the ABA recognized Mr. Standard with its Alexander Award for Lifetime Achievement in Pipeline Diversity, for his exemplary leadership and work to increase diversity in the legal profession.
New York State Bar Association. Prior to becoming President of NYSBA, Mr. Standard held several other leadership positions: President-Elect, Chair of the House of Delegates, member-at-large of its Executive Committee, Vice-President, and Treasurer. He has served on many committees, including Judicial Selection, The Law Governing Firm Structure and Operation, Association Governance, Executive Director Search, and Minorities in the Profession. He has chaired the Association's Nominating Committee, its Committee on Diversity and Leadership Development, and its Committee on Judicial Selection. He recently retired as Co-Chair of NYSBA's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. He continues as a Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of NYSBA's International Section. Mr. Standard has given numerous CLE and other presentations in various parts of the United States, as well as in Austria, Chile, China, France, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Vietnam on issues and topics of interest to the global legal community. Mr. Standard is a Life Fellow of the NYSBA Foundation.
- In recognition of his lifetime achievements in the profession, the bar and the community, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of NYSBA presented him with the 2013 Honorable George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award.
- In 2013, the Foundation for the Judicial Friends, an organization of minority judges in New York state and federal courts, honored him for his achievements as an attorney and for his service to the community, the profession, and in furtherance of equal opportunity and equal justice.
- In 2006, to honor his professional accomplishments and his efforts to achieve equal justice in our society and equal access to the legal profession, the Corporate Counsel Section of NYSBA established the Kenneth G. Standard Internship Program. The ongoing program is an annual initiative seeking to increase the representation of lawyers from a diverse range of backgrounds in corporate legal departments by creating opportunities at host companies where law students from diverse backgrounds can obtain meaningful, supervised work experience as summer interns.
- In 2015, the New York Law Journal honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other law-related affiliations. Mr. Standard has also served as chair or member of various committees of the New York City Bar Association, including the Nominating Committee, Lawyers in Transition, and Corporate Counsel. He also is a member of the New York State Chief Judge's Attorney Emeritus Advisory Council, whose mission is to foster pro bono efforts among retired and semi-retired attorneys. He is a former voting member of Empire Blue Cross-Blue Shield.
In 2013, Mr. Standard was elected to the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers as a Fellow, the highest recognition by one's colleagues of sustained, outstanding performance in the profession, exemplifying integrity, dedication, and excellence. In 2015, he was elected to membership in the Management Attorneys Conference, an association of leading management-side labor and employment attorneys.
In 2019, Mr. Standard was inducted into the Fred D. Gray Hall of Fame by the National Bar Association, in recognition of his many decades of dedication to the legal profession and pursuit of justice. The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students.
Community organizations. Mr. Standard has long been active in New York City's non-profit community.
Harvard Club of New York City. He has, over the years, held a variety of leadership posts at the 12,000 member Harvard Club of New York City, which was established in 1865, ultimately being elected the first minority President of the Club. While President, he led the planning, financing and building of a long-deferred, eight-story addition to the organization's landmark clubhouse. As Chair of the Club’s Athletics Committee in the 1970s, he appointed its first female members. Some years later, as President, he appointed the first female Chair of the Athletics Committee.
Visiting Nurse Service of New York ("VNSNY"). For more than 20 years, Mr. Standard served as a member of the Board of Directors of the VNSNY. He also has served as a member of the Board's Executive and Governance committees and as Chairman of the Board of the VNSNY Family Care Services subsidiary. In 2014, he elected to convert to the status of Director Emeritus. VNSNY is the largest not-for-profit home health care provider in the nation, where annually approximately 13,000 employees care for more than 135,000 patients who have acute and/or chronic health care needs.
Other non-profit affiliations. Mr. Standard formerly served as a Director of the United Seamen's Service and he is past Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Aspirin Foundation of America.
Crain's New York Business named Mr. Standard one of the "100 Most Powerful Minority Business Leaders in New York" in its most recent compilation.
In 2014, Mr. Standard was recognized by his Epstein Becker Green colleagues with the Firm's Making a Difference Award, for his achievements in promoting diversity and inclusion, throughout his career.
In July 2017, Mr. Standard was a panelist at the annual Aspen Institute Justice and Society week-long seminar.
A graduate of Harvard College and of Harvard Law School, Mr. Standard was honored in September 2017 with the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) Award, for his service to Harvard University. Mr. Standard also earned an LL.M. in Trade Regulation from the New York University School of Law.
- New York University School of Law (LL.M.)
- Harvard Law School (LL.B.)
- Harvard College (A.B.)
- New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (retired)
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- American Bar Association
- Aspirin Foundation of America
- Harvard Club of New York City
- National Bar Association
- New York City Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
- United Seamen's Service
- Visiting Nurse Service of New York City