Established in 1986, the Committee on Women in the Law is charged with
the responsibility of identifying, studying and making recommendations
to address gender bias and law-related issues affecting women. The
Committee proposes legislation; the adoption and implementation of
policy by the Executive Committee and House of Delegates of the New York
State Bar Association; and other actions to ensure the fair treatment of
women under law and the full participation of women in the
administration of justice and as equal members of the legal
community. The Committee is a standing committee of the
Association as designated by the House of Delegates in 1989.
ACTIVITIES: The Committee conducts studies and develops
recommendations; comments on and proposes legislation; drafts model
policies on women’s issues; presents educational programs and
publications; and coordinates its work with other Committees and
Sections of the Association as well as other organizations addressing
gender-related legal issues.
The following illustrate recent projects of the Committee: Gender Equity
Study (2002/2003); Endorsement of state legislation to adopt state Equal
Rights Amendment (Summer 2005); Review/endorsement of state legislation
to extend statute of limitations in rape cases (Summer 2006);
Review/endorsement of legislation to address human trafficking (Summer
2006), Review/opposition of Stupak amendment (2009); Review/support of
the New York State Fair Pay Act (2011).
PROGRAMS: The Committee has presented educational forums on gender
concerns; sexual harassment in the profession; balancing professional
and family responsibilities; career development beyond partnerships;
women in politics; seeking service on the bench; and breast
cancer. Additionally, the Committee presents forums for women law
students on career issues and opportunities.
To provide recognition for exemplary achievement by a male or female
member of the Association in addressing the concerns of women, an
Association award was established in honor of the Committee's first
Chair, Ruth G. Schapiro. The annual award was proposed and is
administered by the Committee. The first recipient of this award
in 1992 was The Honorable Judith S. Kaye. View a full list of past recipients.
To honor women in the profession
who recognize the value of diversity in the legal profession and have
dedicated their time to advancing the professional development of women
attorneys, the Committee has established the Kay Crawford Murray Award.
Future recipients will posses the following characteristics: A
distinguished legal career or a rising star in the profession; An active
member of bar associations for the purpose of advancing the professional
and personal development of women attorneys; An active mentor to women
attorneys. View a full list of past recipients.
RESOURCE: Working with other Committees and Sections, the
Committee is a resource to facilitate active involvement of women in the
NYSBA. The Committee issues reports on participation levels of
women in Association activities to assist Association, Section and
Committee leaders in advancing opportunities for involvement of
COMMITTEE PROCEDURES: The
Executive Council of the Committee, consisting of Co-Chairs, Secretary
and Treasurer meets monthly by conference call. Diversity is
sought in composition in regard to gender, race, geographic location,
fields of practice, and other aspects.
The Committee establishes
subcommittees to address particular issues. Currently, subcommittees
include the Annual Meeting Program; Awards; Best Practices; Legislation;
Women on the Move; Publicity; and Programming and Events. Subcommittees
generally convene by conference call. Committee members are
surveyed concerning their areas of interest, and for their
recommendations of issues and activities that should be
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Please contact Tara Messenger, Committee on Women in the Law, NYSBA, One
Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207; 518-463-3200.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 FX: (518) 487-5517