FAQ – VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AT NYSBA

What are the leadership opportunities at the NYSBA?
There are many leadership opportunities at the NYSBA. Opportunities are available through the Association’s committees and Sections as well as its governing bodies, the Executive Committee and House of Delegates.

GOVERNANCE  
What is the Association’s governance year?
While the membership year is January 1-December 31, the governance year is June 1-May 31. The Annual Meeting is held in January – when elections take place for officers, members-at-large of the Executive Committee and elected delegates to the House. These terms begin the following June.


COMMITTEES
How do I get to serve on a committee? 
Committee members are appointed by the President. Applications to serve on a committee are circulated electronically and on social media. Notices appear in the State Bar News and are posted to the website as well. You must be a member of the Association to serve on a NYSBA committee.

When are committees appointed?
The process begins with a request for applications that is sent out in February. The President-elect reviews the applications throughout the spring. In most cases, the appointment process is completed by May. Letters of appointment are sent out by the President-elect. New committee terms begin with the Association governance year on June 1.

Are committee members reimbursed?
Much of the work of committees is done by conference call. Members are reimbursed for up to $600 in travel expenses for onsite meeting participation if they travel more than 100 miles. However, under a Committee Financial Policy.


HOUSE OF DELEGATES
What is the House of Delegates?

The House of Delegates is the Association’s policymaking body. It reviews reports and recommendations from the Association’s Sections and Committees, including legislative proposals and recommendations for amendments to court rules.

Who serves in the House of Delegates?
In addition to the members of the Executive Committee, the House of Delegates comprises representatives from the Association’s Sections, local bar associations, and judicial districts (elected delegates), along with twelve diversity members and two out-of-state members who are appointed by the President. Other members of the House include NYSBA delegates to the ABA House of Delegates, past presidents of the Association, and past presidents of the ABA who are members of the Association.

How are the seats in the House of Delegate apportioned?
The Association’s bylaws apportion delegates. Section representation is based on Section membership. Similarly, county bar delegates are apportioned based on the number of NYSBA members in a county. Counties with less than 100 members are combined and share a seat. Counties sharing a seat rotate representatives. In addition, there are three elected delegates from each judicial district.

How are members of the House of Delegates selected?

It depends. Association Sections and county bars determine how their delegates are selected. The three elected delegates from each judicial district are nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected at the Annual Meeting of the Association in January.

How do I become a member of the House of Delegates?
There are multiple pathways to House membership. The most frequent path is through a county bar association or through Section leadership.

How often does the House of Delegate meet?
The House of Delegates meets at least four times a year, generally June, November, January, and April.

Can I attend a House meeting if I am not a member?
Yes, you may attend a meeting of the House if you are not a member.


NOMINATING COMMITTEE
Who serves on the Nominating Committee? 

The Committee comprises judicial district members and at-large members. The number of judicial district members is proportionally based on the number of NYSBA members. Each district has a minimum of two members on the Nominating Committee. District members are selected by the elected delegates and Vice Presidents in that district in consultation with the House delegates from that district. Members of the Nominating Committee must currently or have recently served in the House of Delegates, chaired a committee, or served as a Section officer within two years of their election to the Nominating Committee. Past presidents once and twice removed serve as at-large members of the Nominating Committee, with the past president twice-removed serving as chair.

How is the Nominating Committee selected?
The Nominating Committee is elected by the House of Delegates at its first meeting following the Annual Meeting. Typically, this meeting is held in April. Nominating Committee members are selected by the House members of each of the districts, with each district selecting members and – depending on the size of their district – an alternate. This is usually done through a meeting organized by the Vice President of each district, who determines whether the meeting is held in person or by teleconference. The resulting names are then submitted to the House for appointment.

What are the deadlines?
The deadline for the position of President-elect is September 1. A letter of declaration, bio, candidates statement and up to five letters of support should be submitted to the Nominating Committee. Candidates for Treasurer, Secretary and Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee are strongly encouraged to submit their statement of candidacy and bio by September 1. Notices of vacancies and instructions may be found in the Association’s publications. The Nominating Committee’s model procedures detail the committee’s work process. The Nominating Committee presents its slate at the House of Delegates meeting prior to the Annual Meeting (i.e., at its regularly scheduled November meeting).

When does the Nominating Committee meet?

The Nominating Committee meets in September and November.

Can I nominate myself for a position on the Executive Committee or elected delegate to the House of Delegates?
Yes. If you meet the criteria of being an Active member of the Association, you may express your interest in serving on the Executive Committee and submit a statement of candidacy and bio to the Nominating Committee. You should contact the members of the Nominating Committee from your judicial district to express your interest in serving as an elected delegate.

Is there an opportunity to petition for an office instead of going through the Nominating Committee?
Yes. Petitions for any office may be filed with Secretary of the Association 25 days before the meeting at which the slate is to be elected (typically in November). The nominating petition must contain 150 member signatures, or if the position is a Vice President or elected delegate, 75 signatures of members within the district being contested. Please refer to the bylaws.

Does the Nominating Committee have guidelines?
The Nominating Committee has established model rules that are available here.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Who should I contact about the appointment process to committees?
Contact Kathleen Mulligan Baxter, NYSBA General Counsel, about the process.

Who should I contact with questions about serving in the House of Delegates or on the Executive Committee?
Any member of the Leadership Development Committee will be able to guide you through the process and help you navigate the requirements.