What’s the difference between a section and a committee?
Sections focus on particular areas of practice or work setting. There are 25 sections. They range in size from approximately 500 members to more than 5,000. Each section draws its membership from lawyers or judges with common professional interests.
They operate much like a very large committee that focuses on a particular substantive law area, with their own officers, dues schedule and committees. They address professional development, improvement of laws and continuing legal education in a variety
of substantive law fields. They keep members informed of developments in that area of concentration through programs, publications, Communities, and other resources and they enable like-minded attorneys to connect with one another. Anyone can join a section.
There are “section committees” which deal with issues pertaining to that area of the law. You must be a section member in order to serve on a section committee.
Sections can and do have sub-committees which tackle specialized single legal issues that may be part of the overall section jurisdiction. Standing and special committees have smaller memberships, wherein members are appointed, and generally focus on
specific assignments or narrower issues.
“Standing or special committees” (which are separate entities from section committees) are task-oriented, examining issues and advocating for members in legislative, judicial and other arenas.
NYSBA offers so many avenues for involvement and recognition that it can be a challenge to figure out where to start.
Why not start by joining a NYSBA section or two? NYSBA’s 25 sections offer you opportunities to make a mark within your areas of practice— whether you focus on family law, real property, labor and employment, litigation or other areas. Within NYSBA sections,
- Network with influential colleagues who share your interests, challenges and concerns.
- Write for section newsletters and publications.
- Join online section-wide Communities - private, professional networks offering practical tips and guidance from other NYSBA members.
- Participate on substantive section committees that address timely developments.
- Help shape legislation that affects your practice area.
- Get a mentor. Become a mentor.
- Enjoy section social events and meetings.
To find the NYSBA sections that interest you, visit the section links listed below:
Commercial & Federal Litigation
Elder Law and Special Needs
Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law
Food, Drug & Cosmetic Law
Intellectual Property Law
Judicial (limited to judges of New York courts of record and judges of United States courts who reside in the state)
Labor & Employment Law
Real Property Law
Senior Lawyers (limited to attorneys age 55 and over)
Torts, Insurance & Compensation Law
Trusts & Estates Law
Young Lawyers (open to law students and attorneys admitted 10 years or less)
Committees you can influence the legislation that impacts your profession
Check out NYSBA’s complete list of committees at