The New York State Bar Association or NYSBA is a legal organization that does not require membership from attorneys who practice in the state. Instead, joining the NYSBA is voluntary. It currently has more than 74,000 members of which 18,000 are lawyers who work and practice out-of-state.
The NYSBA was founded in 1876 in Albany where it is still headquartered. It was one of the first law associations to allow women to practice law and be admitted to the state bar. It is now governed by a House of Delegates that meets several times per year to discuss topics like governance, communications, financing, and others.
Any resolutions taken up and adopted by the House of Delegates becomes law within the NYSBA. The organization has 25 different specialized law sections along with 60 individual committees. It has a staff of 125 people.
Additionally, the organization publishes and offers a number of legal publications for both members and the general public. These publications include the NYSBA blog, the State Bar News, and the Bar Journal. It also creates and uploads podcasts to which anyone can listen for free on the NYSBA website.
Attorneys who join the NYSBA pay annual dues that vary according to the year in which they began practicing law. For example, lawyers who began practicing in 2011 pay $275 per year while those who began practicing in 2016 pay $60 per year. The total changes on a yearly basis and correspond to the years of practice an attorney has to his or her professional credit. Lawyers also pay additional dues for the section in which they practice. A family law attorney, for example, pays $35 in additional yearly dues while a real estate lawyer pays $40.
The annual dues are spent on programs designed to promote and advocate for the legal profession in New York. The state bar association has no role in administering the state bar exam or investigating or disciplining attorneys. These tasks belong to the state’s judicial branch. The dues are also spent on offering public resources like a free attorney referral directory. The public also can find out what attorneys in New York offer pro bono work on the bar’s website.
Members and the public can also email the state bar association on its website. The physical address for the NYSBA is 1 Elk Street in Albany, 12207.