Committee on Women in the Law Home

  • WOM2014SpeakerGroup Slider
    Speakers at the 2014 Committee on Women in the Law popular Women on the Move program, which focused on negotiation.
  • Trailblazers
    Committee on Women in the Law traveling exhibit. The Committee on Women in the Law's new traveling exhibit profiles the lives and careers of 10 women attorneys who overcame obstacles to make significant contributions in the legal profession.
  • Events and Information
    • Events and Information



      MISSION: 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. 

      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. For more information about the Ruth G. Schapiro Memorial Award, click here. 

      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. For more information about the Kay Crawford Murray Award, click here. 

      Please contact Robyn Ryan, Committee on Women in the Law, NYSBA, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207; 518-463-3200. 

  • Trailblazers

    Women Attorney Trailblazers in New York State

    New York State has a rich history of amazing trailblazing women attorneys who broke through many barriers and blatant discrimination to make major contributions in the legal profession.  Their stories are ones of fierce determination, passion for the law, keen intelligence, and inspiring achievement.  

    From the late 19th Century, when the first women gained admission to state bars, through the 1960s, women attorneys faced closed doors and discrimination.  Women have made tremendous strides in the past 40 years - in large part due to the efforts of women attorneys who overcame obstacles and blazed a path for other women attorneys to follow.  

    The Committee on Women in the Law - whose first chair, Ruth Schapiro, was one of the women trailblazers at New York State Bar Association - is delighted to spotlight the lives and careers of 10 women lawyers who fought discrimination and gained a foothold in a range of legal careers. These women have paved the way for other women attorneys, serving as role models and, often, as mentors.

    We hope that you will draw inspiration from the stories of these 10 remarkable New York attorneys.   


    Maureen Bezuhly
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law Best Practices Subcommittee
    New York City

    Monica P. Ruela
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law Best Practices Subcommittee
    New York City

    Ellen G. Makofsky
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law
    Garden City

    Ferve E. Ozturk
    Co-chair, Committee on Women in the Law
    New York City

    Read the brochure here.

  • Communities

    What are Member Communities?
    The member communities are private, online professional networks, built on the concept of listserves that offer enhanced features such as collaboration tools and document libraries. They offer you a variety of tools to help you connect, network and work collaboratively with fellow NYSBA members. 

    To participate, each member has a profile based on their basic membership information. You can enhance your profile by adding your photo, professional affiliations, volunteer activities and other accomplishments. You have the option to pull information from your LinkedIn profile, or even link to your personal blog or other social media feeds.

    How Can I Use It?
    Seamlessly integrated with, no additional login or password is needed to enter a community. You just need to be a NYSBA member. 

    Just like a listserv, members of a specific community can share information with one another using email. Documents are emailed among members using links as opposed to email attachments, as attachments can be problematic with spam filters or limits on file size. Members can receive community emails as the messages are posted, or in digest form. These resource libraries have no space limitations, accept all file types, and can be organized using folders. Any member of a community can contribute to the library.

    If you are a member of a NYSBA Section, Committee or Task Force, and working to develop a report, white paper, policy change or recommendation, an online community is the perfect forum for you and your colleagues. You have a dedicated space designed to facilitate an efficient and collaborative work effort.

    Join the Women's Community

  • Women's Community Newsletter