New York State Bar Association Leaders Take on Capitol Hill

By Jennifer Andrus

April 19, 2024

New York State Bar Association Leaders Take on Capitol Hill


By Jennifer Andrus

(L-R) Past President T. Andrew Brown, Hilary Jochmans, President Richard Lewis, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, President-Elect Domenick Napoletano, President-Elect Designee Kathleen Sweet.

Leaders of the New York State Bar Association took to Capitol Hill this month to meet with members of the New York delegation. The lobbying effort coincided with the American Bar Association’s Lobby Day on the Hill. The NYSBA delegation  — led by President Richard Lewis — discussed several issues and legislative priorities with eight members of Congress and the legislative staffs of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“The strength and the influence of our association is on display when we meet with our congressional representatives. It’s an honor for us to advocate for issues and reforms that are important to our members and the practice of law,” said New York State Bar Association President Richard Lewis. “I am so energized by our meetings to continue the fight for these important issues.”

Lewis was joined by President-Elect Domenick Napoletano, President-Elect Designee Kathleen Sweet, past President T. Andrew Brown, and NYSBA lobbyist Hilary Jochmans. The delegation met with leaders in their Capitol Hill offices to discuss a wide range of topics including the funding of the legal services corporation, criminal justice reform, student loan relief and voting rights to name a few.

Earlier this year, the New York State Bar Association published its full 2024 federal legislative priorities, which was made public for members of Congress and others to review.

The association takes advantage of the annual ABA lobby day to call attention to issues important to New York attorneys. The two-day advocacy event brings hundreds of national, state and local bar leaders to Washington, D.C., to advocate on issues important to the legal profession. The size and strength of the New York State Bar Association brings attention and results on issues important to lawyers.

The issue of the access to justice for residents in rural communities and an overall lawyer shortage was discussed.  The NYSBA delegation is providing the Task Force on Rural Justice report to members of Congress which addresses these issues.

The delegation joined by Rep. Paul Tonko

While this issue was not listed in NYSBA’s federal priorities, the topic was top of mind following the approval of the association’s governing body, the House of Delegates, of the AI Task Force report this month. Members of Congress are also following this issue and are eager to read the report because it impacts so many aspects of people’s lives from commerce to defense and communications.

Lawmakers are also interested in the New York State Bar Association’s reports on advancing diversity, homelessness, gun violence and mental healthcare. Association staff is in regular contact with the New York delegation and is providing those reports as soon as they are published.

The delegation meeting with Rep. Joe Morelle

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