FAQ-Volunteer Leadership Opportunities at NYSBA

Governance
Committees
Sections
Executive Committee
House of Delegates
Nominating Committee
For Further Information

What are the leadership opportunities at the NYSBA?
There are many leadership opportunities at the NYSBA. Opportunities are available through the Association’s committees and Sections as well as its governing bodies, the Executive Committee and House of Delegates.

GOVERNANCE  
What is the Association’s governance year?
While the membership year is January 1-December 31, the governance year is June 1-May 31. The Annual Meeting is held in January – when elections take place for officers, members-at-large of the Executive Committee and elected delegates to the House. These terms begin the following June.


COMMITTEES
How do I get to serve on a committee
Committee members are appointed by the President. Applications to serve on a committee are circulated electronically and on social media. Notices appear in the State Bar News and are posted to the website as well. You must be a member of the Association to serve on a NYSBA Committee.

When are committees appointed?
The process begins with a request for applications that is sent out in February. The President-elect reviews the applications throughout the spring. In most cases, the appointment process is completed by May. Letters of appointment are sent out by the President-elect. New committee terms begin with the Association governance year on June 1.

Are committee members reimbursed?
Much of the work of committees is done by conference call. Members are reimbursed for up to $600 in travel expenses for onsite meeting participation if they travel more than 100 miles. However, under a policy established by the Finance Committee, they are not reimbursed for the first meeting of the calendar year or meetings held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting except in special circumstances. 


SECTIONS           
How do I get involved in Section leadership?

Sections are a wonderful way to get involved in the Association. Each Section is governed by its own bylaws which stipulate the composition of their governing bodies. Most Sections are governed by an Executive Committee which includes representatives by judicial districts. Sections also have committees that address substantive matters, develop educational programming, and plan events. Contact the chair of the Section where you want to become more involved; a place for you will be found.


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
What is the Executive Committee?
The Executive Committee is part of the governing and policy-making structure of the Association. The Executive Committee is a committee of the House of Delegates, the Association’s primary policy-making body. The Executive Committee has primary responsibility for business and administrative matters. It is authorized to act and speak on behalf of the Association consistent with established policy when the House of Delegates is not in session. 

What is the makeup of the Executive Committee?
The Executive Committee is comprised of the five officers of the Association (President, President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Immediate Past President), fourteen vice-presidents from each of the State’s thirteen judicial districts – except for the first district, which has two – and eleven members-at-large, including one young-lawyer member.

How is the President selected?

The President serves first as President-elect and automatically assumes the presidency. The President-elect is nominated by the Nominating Committee. Candidates submit a letter of declaration to the Nominating Committee by September 1 along with a letter of support. The Nominating Committee interviews the candidates in person and selects the individual who will be elected by the House.

Are there eligibility requirements for the President-elect?
Candidates for President-elect must be a member of the House of Delegates or have served in the House in the previous five years.

Are there specific responsibilities for vice presidents?
Vice presidents serve as liaisons between the Association and constituent members and bar associations within their judicial districts. Vice presidents are expected to represent the Association at events and monitor issues of importance. Also, each member of the Executive Committee serves as a liaison to two or more of Association’s Sections and committees.

How are vice presidents selected?
Judicial district members of the Nominating Committee consult with members of the House of Delegates in their districts and they work together to solicit interested candidates. Vice-presidents are included in the Nominating Committee slate and elected by the House of Delegates.

If the vice-presidents represent judicial districts, do the members-at-large represent specific constituencies?
Two of the members-at-large on the Executive Committee represent the Association’s Sections. One represents young lawyers. Additionally, two members-at-large are selected to further ethnic and racial diversity.

What are the qualifications to be a member-at-large of the Executive Committee?
Eight of the members-at-large must be sitting members of the House of Delegates, Section or committee chairs, or have served in such a role within three years of their nomination. The Young Lawyer representative must have served as a Young Lawyer Section delegate within three years. The Section members-at-large must have served as a Section representative to the House within three years.

How are members-at-large selected?
Members-at-large are elected at the House of Delegates meeting following the Annual Meeting of the Association. The two members-at-large who represent Sections are selected by the Nominating Committee upon the recommendation and consultation with Section delegates to the House of Delegates. The Young Lawyer member-at-large is nominated upon the recommendation of the Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee.

How long are terms on the Executive Committee?
The term for a member-at-large is two years while officers, including vice-presidents, serve one-year terms. Members may serve four consecutive terms.

How often does the Executive Committee meet?
The Executive Committee meets in person at least four times per year in conjunction with the quarterly meetings of the House of Delegates. The Committee also meets by teleconference or in person should matters arise that require its attention, such as a consideration of time-sensitive legislative proposals.

Are members of the Executive Committee reimbursed for their travel expenses?
Members are reimbursed for one night of hotel accommodations for Executive Committee meetings held in conjunction with the April, June, and November meetings that convene in conjunction with the House of Delegates meetings. If a member of the Executive Committee serving as a liaison attends a Section or standing committee in that capacity they are eligible for reimbursement. Details are outlined in the Committee Financial Policy


HOUSE OF DELEGATES
What is the House of Delegates?

The House of Delegates is the Association’s policymaking body. It reviews reports and recommendations from the Association’s Sections and Committees, including legislative proposals and recommendations for amendments to court rules.

Who serves in the House of Delegates?
In addition to the members of the Executive Committee, the House of Delegates is comprised of representatives from the Association’s Sections, local bar associations, and judicial districts (elected delegates) along with twelve diversity members and two out-of-state members who are appointed by the President. Other members of the House include NYSBA delegates to the ABA House of Delegates, past presidents of the Association, and past presidents of the ABA who are members of the Association.

How are the seats in the House of Delegate apportioned?
The Association’s bylaws apportion delegates. Section representation is based on Section membership. Similarly, county bar delegates are apportioned based on the number of NYSBA members in a county. Counties with less than 100 members are combined and share a seat. Counties sharing a seat rotate representatives. In addition, there are three elected delegates from each judicial district.

How are members of the House of Delegates selected?

It depends. Association Sections and county bars determine how their delegates are selected. The three elected delegates from each judicial district are nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected at the Annual Meeting of the Association in January.

How do I become a member of the House of Delegates?
There are multiple pathways to House membership. The most frequent path is through a county bar association or through Section leadership.

How often does the House of Delegate meet?
The House of Delegates meets at least four times a year, generally June, November, January, and April.

Can I attend a House meeting if I am not a member?
Yes, you may attend a meeting of the House if you are not a member.


NOMINATING COMMITTEE
Who serves on the Nominating Committee? 

The Committee is comprised of judicial district members and at-large members. The number of judicial district members is proportionally based on the number of NYSBA members. Each district has a minimum of two members on the Nominating Committee. District members are selected by the elected delegates and Vice Presidents in that district in consultation with the House delegates from that district. Members of the Nominating Committee must currently or have recently served in the House of Delegates, chaired a committee, or served as a Section officer within two years of their election to the Nominating Committee. Past presidents once and twice removed serve on the Nominating Committee, with the past president twice-removed serving as chair.

How is the Nominating Committee selected?
The Nominating Committee is elected by the House of Delegates at its first meeting following the Annual Meeting. Typically, this meeting is held in April. Nominating Committee members are selected by the House Members of each of the districts, with each district selecting members and – depending on the size of their district – an alternate. This is usually done through a meeting organized by the Vice President of each district, who determines if the meeting is held in person or by teleconference. The resulting names are then submitted to the House for appointment.

What are the deadlines?
The deadline for the position of President-elect is September 1. A letter of declaration and a letter of support should be submitted to the Nominating Committee. Notices of vacancies and instructions may be found in the Association’s publications. The Nominating Committee’s model procedures detail the committee’s work process. The Nominating Committee presents its slate at the House of Delegates meeting prior to the Annual Meeting (i.e., at its regularly scheduled November meeting).

When does the Nominating Committee meet?

The Nominating Committee meets in September and November.

Can I nominate myself for a position on the Executive Committee or elected delegate to the House of Delegates?
Yes. If you meet the criteria of having served in the House of Delegates within three years of your nomination, you may express your interest in serving on the Executive Committee. You should contact the members of the Nominating Committee from your judicial district to express your interest.

Is there an opportunity to petition for an office instead of going through the Nominating Committee?
Yes. Petitions for any office may be filed with Secretary of the Association 25 days before the meeting at which the slate is to be elected (typically in November). The nominating petition must contain 150 member signatures, or if the position is a Vice President or elected delegate, 75 signatures of members within the district being contested. Please refer to the bylaws

Does the Nominating Committee have guidelines?
The Nominating Committee has established model rules that are available here.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Who should I contact about the appointment process to committees?
Contact Kathleen Mulligan Baxter, NYSBA General Counsel, about the process.

Who should I contact with questions about serving in the House of Delegates or on the Executive Committee?
Any member of the Leadership Development Committee will be able to guide you through the process and help you navigate the requirements.