Member Spotlight: Sandra Rivera

By Brendan Kennedy

Member Spotlight: Sandra Rivera

Sandra Rivera

Rivera is the principal at Rivera Law in Albany where she counsels for-profit and non-profit businesses on state regulatory, legislative and procurement matters.

What is your practice area?
I practice in the areas of government relations, municipal law and business transactions.

What is your role within NYSBA?
I am a member of the House of Delegates as an elected delegate, Third Judicial District. I am also a member of the Finance Committee and I Co-Chair the Task Force on Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities.

What advice would you give young lawyers just starting their careers?
As you begin your journey in the legal profession, your work will generally focus on practicing law in a specific area or sector. Proficiency in a particular practice area remains the necessary condition for success. But with the accelerating changes in our society brought about by technology innovation, organizational consolidation and global events among many others, a sufficient condition for success in resolving client issues will be the ability to understand how law integrates with policy and financial issues.

So how do you satisfy both the necessary and sufficient conditions for success in this 21st century as you begin your career?
I would advise you to join a community of legal professionals that offers access to a breadth and depth of experience and opportunities for you to explore, learn and grow in the practice areas that you are passionate about. This is what a profession is about and why NYSBA is recognized around the world as the preeminent legal community.

Who are the happiest lawyers?
After working in the legislative process for almost 30 years, and practicing law for almost 20 years, I have found happiness when I work at the interface of these areas to address a problem. As a profession, most of us want to feel we are making a difference with the work we do. We are fortunate in that we can do this in many ways. We help clients to achieve a desired outcome in a particular matter. We provide pro bono services in the community. We work to advance changes in law. The happiest lawyers are the ones who have figured out how they feel they can make a difference, and then they set out do it.

What is the most gratifying part of your job?
Many of my clients are working to change New York law to help the communities they serve. I have found the most gratifying part of my job to be working with my clients to help them resolve their immediate issues today while also changing the law to support their success into the future.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I’ve been to Graceland . . . twice.

What is your passion outside of work and the law?
I love to cook. I find it relaxing as I focus on combining ingredients, flavors and dishes that create something delicious. I am always trying out different recipes or substituting ingredients to make them healthy. I find joy in sharing what I have created with loved ones.

What is the best life lesson you have learned?
Be true to yourself and be kind to others.

What is your favorite television show?
Any show on the Food Network.

Lawyers should join the New York State Bar Association because . . .
The New York State Bar Association membership is comprised of many talented lawyers who have such passion for the work they do and who wholeheartedly contribute countless hours to engage with others to advance the law and the profession. As a member of the New York State Bar Association, you can better understand what you like, and do not like, by getting engaged in the work of Sections and committees, enrolling in CLEs, and participating directly with state, federal and international practice, and policy bodies. Additionally, you will have opportunities to learn more about particular practice areas and connect with members practicing in different parts of the state, country and world.

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