Frustrated by what they regard as the long-standing failure of the Legislature to address critical shortcomings in the state Constitution, organized bar groups are urging voters to seize on Nov. 7 the rare opportunity to call a constitutional convention (a “ConCon”) to propose amendments of their own.

“We’ve pretty much given up” on the Legislature as a path to change, said Sharon Stern Gerstman, president of the New York State Bar Association.

In June, the state bar’s policy-making House of Delegates voted 111-28 to accept the report of a committee that recommended that it support a convention call by the people. Following that it took the highly unusual step of forming a political committee to advocate for a yes vote.

The New York City Bar Association also is backing a convention, based on a task force report that concluded, despite concerns it shares with the state bar about the delegate selection process, “without a convention there is little hope” of needed reforms.

But support for a convention is by no means unanimous among those lawyers who have focused on the issue.

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