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Remarks from Judge Katzmann

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Robert A. Katzmann delivered introductory remarks during the 2013 PBI Annual Conference reception. See his remarks below.

To present Robert Juceam with the Chesterfield Smith Award is an extraordinary privilege.  When my dear friend Esther Lardent asked if I could be here tonight, I knew that I could not [do anything] but be here tonight.  Such is my deep admiration and affection for our honoree Bob Juceam.

I have known and worked closely with Bob on immigration representation for a half dozen years.  I have called him the Pied Piper of pro bono immigrant representation for his tireless, unceasing efforts on behalf of the immigrant poor – for his leadership in the legal profession to come to the aid of those in need.  But his pro bono life extends far beyond immigration and for nearly five decades he has served those in need with extraordinary distinction.

For my part, Bob Juceam has been critically important in the study group on immigrant representation, which I had the privilege of creating.  First his stature attracted others in the legal profession to participate.  Second, his huger network in immigration law and the legal profession generally has been simply invaluable.  He seems to know everyone and is eager to enlist those he knows in the causes that he serves.  Third, he has more creative ideas than anyone I know and is a brilliant catalyst for positive action.  Fourth, no matter the press of other commitments he always manages to find time for our work.  What is striking is that so many organizations have had this same experience of Bob’s giving so generously of his time and wise judgment.  Fifth, he is an inspiring sterling role model for all of us.  Esther Lardent has taught us that the key to pro bono success is leadership from the top.  Bob Juceam is the epitome of such leadership.

Bob is the quintessential mentor and I count myself has one of the many fortunate individuals who have learned from him.

Finally, a few words about Bob Juceam, the human being.  Bob is a dynamo with a flair and zest for life, who is at the same time personally unpretentious, giving, and a force to be reckoned with.  It is impossible to say no to him because perhaps he never says no to any request made of him.  He has an optimism, a joie de vivre, an infectious enthusiasm, a tireless commitment to whatever he does that makes everybody want to join him.

The world is a better place because of Bob Juceam and all of us are better for it.  As Esther commented, in his almost 50 years of practice, Bob Juceam has demonstrated and unswerving passion for pro bono service, fairness, and justice for all. It is an honor to present, this year’s Chesterfield Smith Award to Bob Juceam.