NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION HONORS THREE DIVERSITY
Three attorneys working to enhance diversity in the legal profession
have been recognized by the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion of the
New York State Bar Association.
The awardees are: Paul T. Williams, Jr. of Albany, president
and chief executive officer of the New York State Dormitory Authority;
Jenny Rivera of Flushing, founding director of the Center on Latino and
Latina Rights Equality at City University of New York School of Law; and
Joseph M. Hanna of Buffalo, partner of Goldberg Segalla. They received
the Committee’s Diversity Trailblazer Award on January 23 at the
Celebrating Diversity Reception, during the State Bar’s Annual
“Fostering diversity in the legal profession continues as a top
priority of the State Bar. We hope the successes of our award winners
will inspire others to keep the momentum going and help us as a
profession achieve our goals,” said Kenneth G. Standard of New
York (Epstein Becker and Green), co-chair of the Committee on Diversity
and Inclusion and a past president of the State Bar. “I
congratulate the 2012 Diversity Trailblazers for their continuing,
“This year, we proudly recognize the dedication and work of
three attorneys at different stages of their career for their varied and
significant accomplishments in promoting and ensuring diversity and
inclusion in our profession. Each recipient has displayed outstanding
leadership and were instrumental in pioneering work to ensure that our
profession maintains its commitment to diversity,” said Betty Lugo
of Brooklyn (Pacheco & Lugo), co-chair of the Committee on Diversity
and Inclusion. “It is an honor to recognize and celebrate
Changemaker—Williams, the first
African-American president of the Dormitory Authority, is being
recognized for chairing former Governor David Paterson’s Executive
Order 10 Task Force.
Governor Paterson established the task force to increase
opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE)
professional firms. Under Williams’ leadership, the task force has
increased opportunities for MWBE firms to serve as legal counsel to the
issuers of state-supported debt.
The task force issued its recommendations in 2009. They were included
in the 2010 Business Diversification Act, signed by Paterson, that
created diversity standards and goals for all legal firms seeking state
Williams was a founding partner of one of the first minority-owned
law firms to do bonds work in New York State.
Lifetime Achievement—Rivera, in 2008, founded
the Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality (CLORE) at the City
University of New York (CUNY). CLORE melds community service and
educational activities to improve the quality of legal service provided
to Latinos and Latinas in New York City, the state and the nation.
She also is a commissioner and reporter for the American Bar
Association Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities.
For the commission, she has helped plan regional hearings throughout the
nation, where members of the Latino community testified about issues
affecting them, such as voting rights, immigration and access to
Rivera has taught at CUNY School of Law since 1997. At one point, she
was the only tenured Latina law professor in New York State. In 2007,
Rivera took a leave of absence from CUNY School of Law to serve as New
York’s special deputy attorney general for civil rights, where she
helped design and implement then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s
civil rights agenda.
One to Watch—Hanna, immediate past president
of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY), has
spearheaded numerous initiatives to advance diversity within the legal
In 2008, he created Success in the City, an annual networking event
that promotes diversity, creates mentoring relationships and facilitates
recruiting opportunities in law and business. The 2011 event drew nearly
500 attendees and has been replicated in Baltimore, Cleveland,
Birmingham and Dallas.
Hanna also established a diversity-focused internship program for
MBAWNY in partnership with the University at Buffalo Law School, his
alma mater. The program has placed more than 25 students in clerkships
with judges and law firms throughout Western New York.
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest
voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993