New York State Bar Association

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New York State Bar Association
EstablishedNovember 21, 1876 (1876-11-21)
TypeLegal Society
HeadquartersAlbany, New York
  • United States
74,000 in 2015[1]

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is a voluntary bar association for the state of New York. The goals of the association are to cultivate the science of jurisprudence; to promote reform in the law; to facilitate the administration of justice, and to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, professional skill, and courtesy in the legal profession.[1]


NYSBA was founded on November 21, 1876 in Albany, New York, and then incorporated on May 2, 1877 by an act of the State Legislature. Its first president was David B. Hill. Elliott Fitch Shepard helped found the association, and in 1884 was its fifth president.[2][3] Among the reforms in the legislation signed into law creating the association was the removal of the restrictions on the admission of women to the practice of law.[4] In 1896, NYSBA proposed the first global means for settling disputes among nations, what is now called the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

In the area of legal ethics, NYSBA adopted the Canons of Ethics in 1920. This evolved into the Code of Professional Responsibility and in 2001 adopted changes addressing multidisciplinary practice. The U.S. state of New York was the last state using the Code for many years, long after all other states–except California and Maine–had adopted the Model Rules.[5] On December 17, 2008, the administrative committee of the New York courts announced that it had adopted a heavily modified version of the Model Rules, effective April 1, 2009. New York's version of the Model Rules was created by adjusting the standard Model Rules to reflect indigenous New York rules that had been incorporated over the years into its version of the Model Code. Even though New York did not adopt the Model Rules verbatim, the advantage of adopting its overall structure is that it simplifies the professional responsibility training of New York lawyers, and makes it easier for out-of-state lawyers to conform their conduct to New York rules by simply comparing their home state's version of the Model Rules to New York's version.

The New York State Bar has sought legislation to simplify and update court procedures; been instrumental in raising judicial standards; established systems for maintaining the integrity of the profession; advocated providing enhanced, voluntary pro bono legal services to the poor; been in the vanguard of efforts to elevate the standards of practice; and achieved national recognition for its continuing program of public education. Today NYSBA includes over 74,000 members, of whom 18,000 reside out of state.[4]


The control and administration of the State Bar is vested in the House of Delegates, the decision and policy-making body of the Association. The House meets four times a year (January, April, June and November). Action taken by the House of Delegates on specific issues becomes official State Bar policy.

The State Bar's current structure includes 25 specialized substantive law sections, and more than 60 standing, special, and other committees.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b About NYSBA: Vital Statistics, New York State Bar Association, retrieved 2013-10-16
  2. ^ "Past Presidents of the New York State Bar Association". New York State Bar Association. 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Martin, George W. (The Association of the Bar of the City of New York) (1970). Causes and Conflicts: The Centennial History of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 1870–1970. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Co. p. 131. ISBN 0-8232-1735-3. LCCN 96053609.
  4. ^ a b New York State Bar Association Overview, Martindale Hubbell, retrieved 2012-08-13
  5. ^ Press Release: New Attorney Rules of Professional Conduct Announced, Communications Office of the New York Courts, 17 December 2008.