The purpose of the Section is to promote equality in the law for LGBTQ people; eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ attorneys and litigants; promote equality of opportunity for, and increase the visibility of, contributions made by LGBTQ attorneys; and promote diversity in the bench by inclusion of all minorities, including LGBTQ people.


To learn more about this Section, please contact Ernesto Guerrero
[email protected]
(518) 487-5535

Chris Riano

Christopher R. Riano

Christopher R. Riano is Executive Director of the Center for Civic Education and a Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Government at Columbia University. Riano has served as an Assistant Counsel for the Governor of New York, and as the first LGBTQ General Counsel to the New York State Liquor Authority. At the time he was the youngest General Counsel appointed at a New York state agency. He also serves as the Chair of the LGBTQ People and the Law Section for the New York State Bar Association.

From 2013 to 2015, as Chair of Columbia’s Rules of University Conduct Committee, Riano spearheaded the implementation of the most comprehensive changes to the rules on free speech and free expression at Columbia in over 30 years.

Previously, Riano was Partner and Head of the Strategic Practice Group at Drohan Lee LLP, and served as an Administrative Law Judge for New York State. He lives in New York, NY.

Online Community

New York State Bar Association Files Amicus Brief With U.S. Supreme Court To Protect LGBTQ Rights And Foster Children

State Bar endorses civil marriage to provide full equity to same-sex couples and families – June 2009

Report of the Special Committee to Study Issues Affecting Same-Sex Couples – 2004

Marriage Equality Act – 2011

LGBTQ+ Vanguard Award

The 2023 LGBTQ+ Vanguard Award

The LGBTQ Law Section wishes to celebrate the amazing dedication and achievement that members of the community have given to the legal profession. As more LGBTQ+ persons attend law school, join NYSBA, seek leadership positions and career support, and demand greater equality in the law and parity in the workforce, we have a responsibility to celebrate those LGBTQ+ and allied lawyers in their tireless work in ensuring the future prosperity and success of the LGBTQ+ community.

There are thousands of LGBTQ+ lawyers and allies in New York, who for decades have been at the forefront of the profession. In many cases, they have been the lawyers and advocates who have made social change possible at the state and national level. It is critical to celebrate these incredible people for their drive and ambition that has made it possible for the LGBTQ+ community to come closer to true equality.

Contact: [email protected]

Nomination Deadline: October 26, 2022

Date Presented: 2023 Annual Meeting

Prize Awarded: The recipient will receive a recognition award and a complimentary one-year membership in the Association and the LGBTQ Law Section


2022– Michelle Kahn, Esq., Kahn & Goldberg, LLP (Inaugural Award)

Breathe Into It: How Intentional Breathing Can Help You Manage Stress

Breathe Into It: How Intentional Breathing Can Help You Manage Stress, Presented on November 8, 2021

The Rainbow Workforce: Panel Discussion with LGBTQ+ Identified Recent Grads and Law Students

Rainbow Workforce

NY Law Student Virtual Coffee Hour: LGBTQ+ Law and Policy During the Biden Administration

March 9- LGBTQ Law and Policy


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