Committee on Women in the Law Home

  • 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

      Poker Face

      How's your poker face? On April 7, 2016, the New York State Bar Association Committee on Women in the Law co-sponsored with Lowenstein Sandler Practicing Your Poker Face & Other Negotiation Skills. Ellen Leikind, founder of POKERprimaDIVAS and author of PokerWoman: How to Win in Love, Life, and Business using the Principles of Poker, taught the attendees the basics of poker and how to apply those skills at the negotiation table. Attendees learned a little about how to read other people, their own personality types, and some tips for negotiating with other personality types. Afterwards, guests connected over snacks and beverages – and a few practiced their new poker skills – before leaving with a copy of Ellen’s book. 

      Seven Micro Expressions PDF


      At its Nov. 7 meeting in Albany, NY, the NYSBA House of Delegates voted to approve the Committee on Women in Law's report advocating for passage of The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, introduced this year by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY. The report was prepared by the CWIL Legislative Subcommittee in a team effort led by Legislative Subcommittee Co-chair Susan Harper, who made presentations on the Committee's research and findings to the NYSBA Executive Committee and House of Delegates. The Executive Committee approved the CWIL report with a unanimous vote with one abstention. With the House of Delegates approval, the report's findings are now Association policy. Further, the Executive Committee has approved advocating for national paid family and medical leave as one of the Association's federal Legislative Priorities for 2016. This spring, the NYSBA Government Relations team will travel to Washington, D.C. as part of its work advocating for the Association Legislative Priorities. 


      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. For a copy of President-elect Claire Gutekunst's remarks from Women on the Move 2015, click here

      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 Kathleen Baxter, 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.

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