NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown Talks Calling Out Injustice On Miranda Warnings
T. Andrew Brown, the 124th president of the New York State Bar Association, navigated the organization out of the pandemic, and through major social and political upheaval. He called out injustices and was unafraid to have the hard conversations. Brown joined the Miranda Warnings podcast this week to discuss his term and why he feels the association should continue to address critical issues such as systemic racism, police reform and LGBTQ rights.
Asked by host David Miranda, former NYSBA President and current general counsel to the organization, about how NYSBA grew in relevancy during his term, Brown said that he was unafraid to use his position as a bully pulpit and meet major issues head on.
“We have the ability to address social issues of a magnitude that many of us wish was not the case. The shooting in Uvalde just yesterday and how tragic that is, and the shooting in Buffalo. We also look at some of the big decisions sitting before the Supreme court right now, the possible overturning of Roe V. Wade and the implications of that,” said Brown.
“I’ve been a willing voice to address those issues and champion some of those concerns. LGBTQ rights, very important to me, rights of women are very important to me, addressing the needs of the underserved and those most vulnerable. And that’s something that we can do as a bar association. That is something that I’ve proudly done as president of our association. And to be able to take advantage of that is a wonderful opportunity to have,” said Brown.
Brown, who was sworn in nearly a year ago, looked back at how he contended with the need to keep the organization relevant as the pandemic curtailed social gatherings and at times made in-person education impossible.
“The biggest challenge was recognizing the importance and impact of COVID 19 on our members and on our programming and quite frankly, on our larger society and trying to remain relevant as a bar leader,” said Brown. “As the president of the association, I was speaking to the need for members to feel a sense of belonging providing members with what they needed, speaking to members of the judiciary in ways that would be beneficial to not only our members, our practitioners, but as well as clients that we serve.”
Miranda told Brown he said a common thread of issues of justice that ran through the task forces he formed during his presidency. Brown countered that he saw the thread as “injustice” that runs through society. He said that as a group of lawyers NYSBA is uniquely qualified to address how those injustices are written into our society through laws and regulations.
“We can talk about the constitution; we can talk about the Supreme Court decision back through history. We can talk about scores of regulations that impacted people of color and other groups,” said Brown. However, he said the focus should be on addressing ongoing injustice.
“We should be willing to call ’em out. Part of it is just the willingness to have the conversation. We’re not going to all agree on issues. And that’s fine. We’re a bar association made up of many different groups of different backgrounds. I would not expect us to agree on everything, but we should be willing to agree on one thing. And that is eradicating injustice because that is what we do as lawyers. And that is what we do well as lawyers. We should be willing to continue to do that going forward as lawyers. So, I hope that our bar association continues its willingness to address social issues, especially those big issues of the day that are playing out to bring about greater injustices and harm to all of us,” said Brown.
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