Profile in Leadership: New York State Bar Association Secretary Taa Grays

By Committee on Leadership Development

January 10, 2024

Profile in Leadership: New York State Bar Association Secretary Taa Grays


By Committee on Leadership Development

The New York State Bar Association Committee on Leadership Development is profiling the association’s leaders in a series of articles that will appear on the website. In each profile, we examine the path they took to become a leader, the mentors that inspired them and the beliefs that made them successful. We hope these interviews will encourage all members of all backgrounds to pursue positions in leadership. This profile features NYSBA Secretary Taa Grays.

Q: What made you become involved and stay with NYSBA?

A: My entrée into NYSBA was as a member of the Conference of Bar Leaders (now the Bar Association Committee). I was a bar leader of the Association of Black Women Attorneys, a New York City based affinity group. I joined the Conference because it provided a forum for bar leaders across the state to share experiences and partner with together and with the Association on projects and programs. Through my work in the Conference, including as Chair, I knew the Association was a great resource to me as a bar leader and practitioner.

Q: Describe your journey to becoming a NYSBA leader?

A: My first step to leadership was in the Conference of Bar Leaders – I raised my hand to work on projects and initiatives and ultimately became the chair. After my first step, my journey was shaped by three things: (1) the experience I gained about the profession and the Association through the various committees, sections and task forces I joined and led; (2) the relationships I developed through that work and (3) the sponsors who recognized my potential and passion to lead and the mentors who took the time to give me guidance and advice to help me navigate my bar leadership path.

Q: How do you determine which goals to set and work on as a NYSBA leader?

A: I set my goals based on three areas:

(1) what is required for the role as detailed in the Association’s Bylaws,

(2) the mission or purpose of the section, committee, or task force and

(3) what is my strategy to accomplish the first and second areas.

To develop the strategy, I do three things:

(1) I listen to what my colleagues in the committee, section, or task force view as important;

(2) I talk to others working on related areas for thoughts, insights and opportunities to partner and

(3) lastly, I read any relevant materials internal and external to the Association for new ideas or thinking on the relevant issues.

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenge for the legal profession in the next five years and how have you tried to address that challenge as a NYSBA leader?

A: Technology – not just AI – is creating new areas of law, colliding with existing areas of law, changing the way we work and creating new expectations from our clients and business partners at an amazing pace. The legal profession cannot afford to be conservative or slow adopters. I am working to address this challenge through my work as the co-chair of the Strategic Planning committee along with Christopher Riano. Technology will be a key component of how the Association implements its 3 – 5-year strategy and strategic plan.

Q: What advice would you give to future leaders?

A: I have three pieces of advice:

(1) find a community in the Association – join a section or a committee to meet people and issues aligned to your interest or passion;

(2) start small – volunteer to work on a CLE or an aspect of program; and

(3) have fun – your time is precious and could be used to do other things; find your joy or passion in how you volunteer your time with us.


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My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account