Women In Law Section
Welcome to the New York State Bar Association’s Women in Law Section (also “WILS” or “Section”). The Women in Law Section is a dynamic group of attorneys – both women and men – and serves as a critical voice for professional women. Our mission is to advance women in the legal profession and all women under the law. Membership in our Section offers many opportunities to address the professional, legal, policy and legislative issues impacting women. You can also take advantage of educational programs (such as the annual Edith I. Spivack Symposium — WILS’ Annual Meeting CLE – and Women on the Move) and meet and network with other attorneys.
We invite you to join one of our committees, which will give you an opportunity to be part of a engaging group, use your voice, talent and passion to benefit women; interact with members and leaders of our Section and the legal profession; expand your individual network and develop your career; and advance critical change in the legal profession and for all women under the law. For example, our new Partners Committee focuses on the unique challenges that affect women who are partners in law firms; the Equity in the Legal Profession Committee works to advance women in the legal profession and includes activities such as advocacy, programming, scholarship, and reports; the Champions Committee engages men as partners to support women in the profession, in NYSBA and society-at-large – its activities include Events, Drinks & Dialogues, networking and business development, reports and publications, and commenting on news issues; and the Gender Issues Committee works to address specific issues ad rights that may impact women, children and families, such as domestic violence, human trafficking and gender parity. The WILS Legislative Affairs Committee is responsible for identifying and recommending the WILS legislative agenda to the Section’s Executive Committee for adoption and also identifies new or existing New York State legislation relating to issues of interest to women, among other activities. Our Committees are as follows:
- Annual Meeting, Program & CLE Committee, which includes the following subcommittees, Annual Meeting, Women on the Move, Awards and Programming
- Champions Committee
- Communications Committee
- Development & Sponsorship Committee
- Emerging Lawyers Committee
- Equity in the Legal Profession Committee
- Gender Issues Committee
- General Counsels Committee
- Legislative Affairs Committee
- Membership & Engagement Committee
- Partners Committee
- Reports, Surveys & Publications Committee
- Women in the Association Committee
Regardless of your membership in the Women in Law Section, however, you are always welcome to attend our committee programs. We also encourage members to participate as organizers, speakers or attendees at our educational programs and networking events, and to contribute their views to the various issues we address.
The Women in Law Section has an engaging and dynamic membership and we hope to welcome you as a member or have your participation in our activities and events.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: The section 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 section presents forums for women law students on career issues and opportunities.
Contact the Women In Law Section Liaison
To learn more about this Section, please contact Carra Forgea
Please do not contact the Section liaison with a request for legal advice or an attorney referral. You can instead visit our ‘Public Resources’ or ‘Lawyer Referral Service’ page for this type of request.
Sheryl B. Galler, Esq.
Sheryl B. Galler of New York City is the new chair of the section. Galler is counsel to the law firm of Moskowitz & Book and a solo practitioner. She concentrates her practice in employment law, representing both employers and employees.
A 27-year member of the association, Galler most recently served as chair-elect of the section and co-chair of its annual Meeting and Programming Committee. She also is a member of the Labor & Employment Law Section’s Executive Committee.
Galler graduated from Columbia University and Columbia University Law School.
“In less than a year-and-a-half, WILS has grown from a small committee limited to 50 members to nearly 1,000 members and includes women and men from upstate and downstate, states across the U.S. and from countries around the world. WILS is the fastest growing Section in NYSBA history. We are excited to launch the WILS Connect e-newsletter—one of our many initiatives—which will discuss current issues facing women lawyers, the work of our committees, legislative and policy matters WILS is focusing on, spotlight members of WILS and the programs held (and to be held) by the Section.” – Terri A. Mazur
© New York State Bar Association. All rights reserved.
Bylaws of the Women in Law Section
Approved on November 15, 2018 and amended on October 28, 2019.
Nominating Committee Report
In accordance with Article IV, Section 1 of the Section’s bylaws, here is the nominating report for the June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022 term. The nominations will be voted on at the Business portion of the Women in Law Section’s Annual Meeting on January 19, 2021 at 4:10 p.m. immediately following the Women in Law Section’s Virtual Annual Meeting CLE program.
For more details about the Annual Meeting or to register, please visit https://nysba.org/annual-meeting-2021/women-in-law-section/.
Opinions expressed are those of the Section/Committee preparing this memorandum/report and do not represent those of the New York State Bar Association unless and until they have been adopted by its House of Delegates or Executive Committee.
- Paid Leave Report
- Summary of Tanning Bed Legislation
- Opposition to Stupak Statement
- Summary of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Check out our memorandum in support to amend the Executive Law in relation to prohibiting employers from seeking salary history from prospective employees.
Domestic Violence Final Report
Read our memorandum in support of the New York State Bar Association and Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York Domestic Violence Initiative’s Final Report to provide greater access to legal services to victims of domestic violence in New York State.
Women In Law Section Committee
- Annual Meeting And Programming Committee (Women In Law)
- Awards Committee (Women In Law)
- Champions: Men Advancing Women Committee
- Communications Committee (Women In Law)
- Development And Sponsorship Committee (Women In Law)
- Emerging Lawyers Committee (Women In Law)
- Equity In The Legal Profession Committee
- Executive Committee (Women In Law)
- Gender Issues Committee
- General Counsels Committee (Women In Law)
- Legislative Committee (Women In Law)
- Membership And Engagement Committee (Women In Law)
- Nominating Committee (Women In Law)
- Partners Committee (Women In Law)
- Reports, Surveys, And Publications Committee (Women In Law)
- Women In The Association Committee
- Women On The Move Committee
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 on Women in the Law’s first Chair, Ruth G. Schapiro. The annual award was proposed and is administered by the Women in Law Section. The first recipient of this award in 1992 was The Honorable Judith S. Kaye.
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 section 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.
Virtual Book Club
On June 4, the New York State Bar Association’s Women in Law Section hosted its inaugural virtual book club meeting to discuss the legal thriller Unreasonable Doubts by author Reyna Marder Gentin. We were honored to welcome and present the author, Ms. Gentin, who spoke about her career and how her experiences as a criminal defense attorney influenced the book. She also answered several questions from her readers about the book’s plot, including the novel’s depiction of several strong women and the complex relationships between the protagonist and the novel’s other characters. This well-attended event was hosted by Laura Sulem, Co-Chair of the Section’s Annual Meeting, Program and CLE Committee.
We were thrilled to have the accomplished author of this exciting novel join our first meeting! Ms. Gentin attended college and law school at Yale. After working at a large law firm and clerking in the Southern District of New York, she spent almost twenty years handling criminal appeals at Appellate Advocates. In 2014 she left the practice of law to pursue a career in writing. Ms. Gentin studies at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and her fiction and personal essays have been published widely. She lives with her family in Scarsdale, New York.
WILS plans to hold additional virtual book club meetings on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, so please check the WILS section of the NYSBA website for dates and times. This is a great opportunity to take some time for yourself to read new books and discuss them with colleagues and friends!
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When Life Hands You Lemons: An Attorney’s Journey Through Quarantine As An At Home Chef (Book Club)
Presented on April 8, 2021
#Networked: Women Lawyers Build Connections in COVID-19
Presented on May 13, 2021
Let The Youth Lead The Way: A Dialogue with Future Lawyers
Presented on March 16, 2021
Women Struggling and Sometimes Overcoming (Book Club)
Presented on February 4, 2021
A Lawyer’s Journey: Turning Fact into Fiction (Book Club)
Presented on December 10, 2020
Owning Your Confidence and Leading with Brilliance
Presented on December 1, 2020
The Midnight Call Virtual Book Club
Presented on September 24, 2020
Campaigning While Female: Congresswoman Kathleen Rice Speaks On Gender And Diversity Issues Facing Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris
Presented on September 9, 2020
The Unusual Firing of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman: The Process and is Justice at Stake?
Presented on June 29, 2020
Celebrating Juneteenth: A Conversation With Cheryl Wills
Presented on June 19, 2020
Suffrage: Celebration of the Centennial of New York State’s Ratification of the 19th Amendment
Presented on June 16, 2020
Civil Rights & Systemic Racism: Introspection In a Time of Crisis
Presented on June 12, 2020
Law Day Virtual Program: Women in Mediation, Arbitration and in Court
Presented on May 1, 2020