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Interested in serving on a Committee? Serving on a committee is a rewarding experience. The process is explained below.
What is a City Bar Committee?
Our 150 committees guide our advocacy and activity. Whether it is writing reports on current legislation, hosting CLE programs and events with major speakers or filing amicus briefs in ground-breaking legal cases, our committees shape policy and frame debate on the pressing legal issues of the day. Serving on a committee also offers the opportunity to build a network of valuable professional contacts and friendships.
What Are the Benefits of Joining a City Bar Committee?
Serving on a committee offers the opportunity to build a network of valuable professional contacts and friendships within your practice or interest area. Participating on a committee in an area of law outside one’s professional practice can be a wonderful way to be involved in personal interests outside your day-to-day practice.
Who Can Join a Committee?
Committee participation is a benefit of City Bar membership and therefore only City Bar members can be considered for appointment. If you are not a member please join. Committee members are expected to remain in good standing to retain their seat. Student members are eligible for a one-year appointment to a committee but are not voting members. General information on student membership in the City Bar can be found here. Specific information about student involvement on committees can be found here.
Is it Hard to Get on a Committee? And Do I Need to Know Someone on the Committee?
No, you do not need to have a personal connection in order to be selected for committee service. Members are appointed based on background and interest in a particular field.
Because membership on a committee is limited, some committees are very competitive but the majority of committees have openings. Consider choosing more than one committee to apply to; if the first committee you select is full, we will do our best to place you on another. Please keep in mind that the broader your scope of committee interest, the more likely you will be placed on a committee that is both personally and professionally rewarding.
How Many Members are on a Committee?
Standing committees generally have 39 members who typically serve three-year terms. Each year one-third of the members rotate off and are replaced with a new class of up to 13 new members. Other committees may not have strict limits on membership terms, and their size varies, though in general they do not exceed 39 members.
What is the Difference Between a Special or Standing Committee?
All City Bar Committees are active working committees and take policy positions, plan events and work on a variety of projects. The differences between the type of committee generally has to do with internal make-up of the committee (size and term limits, see question above).
Can I Join the City Bar and a Committee If I’m Not Admitted to Practice in NY?
Yes, an attorney admitted anywhere may apply for membership in the City Bar and is eligible to apply for committee service.
I’m a Recent Law Graduate. Do I Need to Wait Until I’m Admitted to Apply for a Committee?
No, recent law graduates who are eligible to join the City Bar may apply for committee membership before being admitted.
How Do I Apply?
You can apply online by filling out and submitting the Committee Application. To assure proper consideration for appointment, please submit a resume or bio along with your Committee Application. You may also provide a letter expressing interest in one or more committees.
How Do I Get Selected for a Committee?
The President, generally acting on the recommendation of each committee chair, appoints committee members.
When Should I Apply?
In March, the City Bar invites members to apply for committee service for the term beginning in September. If selected, you will be notified by mid-summer. Applications received other times during the year as well as those not selected by mid-summer are considered for vacancies should they arise during the committee year and will be added to the following year’s pool of applicants.
How Do I Find a List of Committees or Who Is on a Committee?
A list of committees can be found on our website. In addition, current membership rosters for each committee can be found on the “Members Only" page. You will need your City Bar login and password to access this page.
How Can I Find More Information on a Particular Committee I am Interested In?
Most committees have pages on our website. These pages list recent reports and programming by the committee as well as a brief description of the current focus of the committee and other activities. Contact information for the committee chairs also can be found on these pages.
Are There Limitations to Committee Appointments?
A person who is already a member of one standing committee may not be appointed to another standing committee as a voting member prior to the conclusion of his/her term. Two members from the same firm, law department or institution may be appointed to the same committee so long as one is a voting member and the other is an affiliate member.
Please note that the President asks committee chairs to seek diversity when filling the committee roster, to provide opportunities for lawyers from groups that have been under-represented in the legal profession. Committee chairs also are encouraged to provide opportunities to new lawyers and members who have sought but not yet been offered membership on a committee.
What are the Time Commitment and Responsibilities of Being a Committee Member?
Committees typically meet once a month from September to June. Committee members are asked to make every effort to attend meetings. Members also are encouraged to be involved in the committee’s efforts, including drafting reports and amicus briefs, planning programs or getting involved in committee projects. The total time commitment can vary from committee to committee.
Is There an Additional Fee Associated with Participating on a Committee?
Probably – most committees charge their members an assessment which primarily goes to cover the cost of food and beverage at the committee meetings, although some committees use it for other expenses as well. Members are assessed by the committee leadership in September and are responsible for paying their committee dues in a timely manner. The amount of the assessment varies from committee to committee, some charging a few hundred dollars while others charge little to nothing at all. Many committees have a tiered structure for assessments, charging members in the private sector a slightly higher amount than those in the public sector. Most committees do not ask law student members to pay the assessment.
Can I Audit a Committee to See If It’s Right for Me?
No, only those who are official members and guests invited by the committee chair may attend committee meetings.
We welcome your participation and will do our best to accommodate your choices. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact Taylor Ohlheiser (TOhlheiser@nycbar.org or 212-382-6624) or Stephanie Glazer (firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-382-6664) in the Committee Membership Office.