This article originally appeared in The Bar Examiner print edition, Fall 2020 (Vol. 89, No. 1), p. 88. By Bryan R. WilliamsOn the Retirement of Diane F. Bosse from the New York Board of Law Examiners
On September 2, 2020, Diane Bosse retired as the chair of the New York State Board of Law Examiners after 22 years as a member of the Board, 19 of which she served as chair. Prior to being appointed to the Board by the New York Court of Appeals in 1998, Diane had already served as a Board assistant since 1979. After 41 years of service to the Board, Diane will be greatly missed by its members and staff.
I first met Diane in February 1987, sitting with 15 other Board assistants drafting multiple-choice questions for the New York Bar Exam. The focus, attention to detail, and wit Diane displayed that day—not to mention her vast knowledge of the material needed for the task at hand—were the same characteristics she showed in April 2020 as we prepared the most recent New York Law Exam (New York’s open-book exam on New York–specific law).
Diane led the New York Board through some trying and exciting times, from raising its passing standard in 2005, to its adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in 2015, to navigating the complications brought about by COVID-19 and the decision to replace the in-person July 2020 bar exam with an emergency remote exam in October. She is one of the few people with the ability to see the big picture while still being able to focus on the smallest detail. Diane has a talent for persuading others to agree with her while avoiding any unnecessary confrontation. One of the hallmarks of her 19 years as chair was enhancing the oversight of the Board’s staff members in their work to fulfill the Board’s responsibilities, and involving the entire Board in all aspects of that oversight. The example that Diane set by her hard work and her accumulation of extensive knowledge inspires others to do more and to do it better.
But Diane’s service to the craft of bar examining did not just include her work on the New York Board. She was very active with the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, all while maintaining an active law practice in Buffalo, New York.
Diane served on the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2008, chairing the Board in 2006–2007. She served as either a member or a chair of almost every NCBE committee. After her term on the Board ended, she continued to serve NCBE by participating on numerous NCBE committees, including serving on its UBE Committee for a number of years through 2019, and most recently by serving as a member of the Conference’s Testing Task Force. Part of the growth of the UBE, which has been adopted by 38 jurisdictions over the course of almost a decade, can be directly attributed to Diane’s service on the UBE Committee.
At the ABA, she served as a member of the Accreditation Committee of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 2007 to 2013, chairing the Committee in 2012–2013. From 2013 to 2020 she served on the Council of the Section, serving as chair in 2019–2020. She also chaired the ABA’s Standards Review Committee and its Bar Admissions Committee.
Though her accomplishments are many, Diane will be most remembered by our Board for who she is. Diane is insightful, persuasive, compassionate, hardworking, and a true friend.
She will be greatly missed by the New York Board of Law Examiners. We wish her many enjoyable years of well-deserved retirement.
Bryan R. Williams, chair of the NCBE Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2015, is a member of the New York State Board of Law Examiners. He is a partner in the Manhattan law firm Pettus & Williams PLLC.
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