Welcome to the Finnish Lawyers Association
In the summer of 2003, The Honorable John Pessala, a Family Court Judge in Nassau County New York, now Executive Director, together with Robert Alan Saasto, Esq., now President, announced the formation of the Finnish American Lawyers Association (FALA) and actively engaged upon a campaign of seeking members. The only requirement was that the member be a lawyer, have some Finnish blood, and be willing to add his/her name to this distinguished group. There would be no dues or committees. Attendance at membership meetings would not be mandatory, however, attendance was strongly recommended because the meetings would take place at a restaurant or other appropriate facility where comradery, food and drink would be the order of business.
At the Finlandia Foundation Annual Dinner Dance, the then Consul General in New York, Jukka Leino, an attorney, was "ensnarled". The Honorary Consuls of Connecticut, Louisiana and New Jersey soon followed as they encountered the aggressive but heart warming appeals to add their names to the "cause". The initial "recruits" were several young recent Finnish law grads attending the major top law schools in New York pursuing their masters of law degrees, as well as young Finnish lawyers working at the top Wall Street law firms.
Over the ensuing months gatherings took place at different locales including a dinner boat trip around Manhattan on The World Yacht (owned by a Finn), a Vappu dinner/dance in Shelter Island NY, (celebrity lawyer Dominic Barbara being the main speaker), and a dinner at the renowned Palm Restaurant in NYC wherein an award was presented to Appellate Justice John Lahtinen and wherein former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani made a guest appearance, having been appropriately spotted and recruited for the occasion by Justice Pessala.
In August of 2004 the FALA celebrated it's first year of existence at the home of Robert Alan Saasto, Esq. In Long Island, New York. Attending were representatives from The Consulate General of Finland in New York, The Finnish Masonic Sibelius Lodge, Finnair, Imatra Foundation, Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, the Finnish Church and Finland Center Foundation.
We welcome you to our gatherings, and when appropriate, please add your name (and link) to our new membership page.
Robert Alan Saasto, Esq.