June 3, 2019: New York State Bar Association Announces Groundbreaking Initiative to Examine the Impact of Autonomous Vehicles

Legal Leaders will Explore the Widespread Impacts Autonomous Vehicles Will Have Law, Lawyers and Courts

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), the largest voluntary state bar association in the country, announced a groundbreaking initiative to study and understand the seismic impact that autonomous vehicles will have on our legal system and society, and make recommendations on how New York State and its legal institutions can prepare for this revolutionary technological change. The initiative will focus on, among other things:

• Studying the potential impact autonomous vehicles may have on lawyers, their clients, courts and the civil justice system
• Assessing what laws and regulations may need to be enacted
• Reviewing potential privacy and data protection issues 
• Analyzing safety concerns 
• Considering the potential impact on injury and insurance law, and licensing

”Autonomous vehicles are already being tested in some areas of the country and their role in our transportation systems will continue to grow, but there has been little discussion about what laws and regulations need to be put in place, and the potential impacts on our justice system and our everyday lives,” said NYSBA President Henry M. Greenberg. “NYSBA is proud to lead the national discussion and begin the necessary work to understand this immense technological innovation.”

The NYSBA Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles and the Law will be led by Dean and Professor of Law Aviva Abramovsky of University at Buffalo School of Law and will bring together experts from different sectors, including legal, tech, business and everyday New Yorkers whose life will be transformed by this new technology. The task force will hold hearings that will be critical in defining the future of autonomous vehicles in not only New York, but throughout the country.

“The growing use of autonomous vehicles will have a pervasive impact on our society, raising significant legal, economic and ethical concerns,” said Abramovsky. “It is a privilege to lead the task force charged with facilitating thoughtful discussion on this topic and developing policy to address this life-changing innovation.”

The task force members include:

• A. Vincent Buzard, Counsel, Harris Beach PLLC
• Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, Of Counsel, Greenberg Traurig
• Joseph DeMarco, Partner, DeVore & DeMarco
• Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, Senior Counsel, Alston & Bird
• Gail L. Gottehrer, Law Office of Gail Gottehrer LLC
• Taa R. Grays, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, MetLife
• Ron Hedges, Senior Counsel, Dentons
• John D. Larimer, Founding Managing Partner, Larimer Law
• Jonathan Manes, Professor, University at Buffalo School of Law
• Mauricio F. Paez, Partner, Jones Day
• Joanna M. Roberto, Partner, Gerber, Ciano, Kelly, Brady
• Hon. J. David Sampson, Judge, New York State Court of Claims
• Adam Scales, Professor, Rutgers Law
• Greg V. Serio, Managing Director, Park Strategies
• Alexander H. Southwell, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
• Hon. Jonah Triebwasser, Town Justice, Red Hook
• Andrew Vu, Vice President and General Counsel, Mercedes Benz

Hearings will be scheduled in the coming weeks, and are planned to be held in New York City, Albany and Buffalo.

NYSBA has for decades formed task forces and committees to examine current issues in the law and the legal system, and then make recommendations to address these issues. The Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles and the Law will make thoughtful, practical recommendations and propose policy and laws that will shape the future of autonomous vehicles. 

The task force is expected to present its report and recommendations in 2020 to NYSBA’s Executive Committee and House of Delegates. 


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About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.

Contact: Brendan Kennedy
bkennedy@nysba.org
518-487-5541