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Rochester attorney leads state bar

Rochester attorney T. Andrew Brown is the 124th president of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA).

Brown will serve a one-year term as president, succeeding Scott M. Karson of Stony Brook. Brown was sworn in by New York State Chief Judge Janet DiFiore last week in a private ceremony in the Richardson Courtroom at the Court of Appeals.

“The events of the past year upended and unsettled us, but also accelerated and mandated changes that arguably would have taken much longer to accomplish,” Brown said in a news release from the NYSBA.

“Now that we are here, we must take advantage and reinvent ourselves as a profession and certainly as an association. There is no turning back,” he said

Among his top priorities during his tenure will be to establish a blue-ribbon task force on the post-pandemic future of the legal profession to determine how the profession should move forward to maximize the opportunities and overcome the hurdles presented by our new way of life.

“As eager as we may be to put this trying time behind us, it is imperative that we do not close our eyes to the revelations and lessons it brought, no matter how difficult they may be,” he said. ”We find ourselves on the cusp of a great opportunity to take what we have learned and change things for the better.”

Brown also will convene a task force on racism, social equity and the law with the hopes of building on the work NYSBA has undertaken to address the most intransigent regulations, laws and structures that are holding society back from achieving true equality.

“To remain relevant lawyers cannot continue doing things the way we have always done them before,” he said. “Some lawyers are progressive and liberal, and others are deeply conservative in their views. However, we can all speak to the pressing issues of the day and find points of commonality.”

Brown is the founder and managing partner of Brown Hutchinson in Rochester where he is focused on civil litigation and employment law.

A NYSBA member for 36 years, he was chair of the Trial Lawyers Section and Finance Committee, vice-president for the 7th Judicial District, a member-at-large of the Executive Committee and co-chair of the Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession in 2010 and 2011.

In response to the protests motivated by the murder of George Floyd, Brown was appointed co-chair of the NYSBA Task Force on Racial Injustice and Police Reform.

The task force will deliver its report and recommendations on how to end deleterious policing practices that disproportionately impact persons of color to NYSBA’s House of Delegates on June 12.

For nine years, Brown was a member of the New York State Board of Regents, and was vice-chancellor of the board since 2017.  He stepped down in 2020 to prepare for his role as president of NYSBA.

Brown is a former general counsel of the National Bar Association, the largest association of attorneys and judges of color in the world. He is a past president of the Monroe County Bar Association and the Rochester Black Bar Association.

Brown started his legal career as an associate with Nixon, Hargrave, Devans and Doyle (now Nixon Peabody). He has also served as Rochester’s corporation counsel — the city’s chief legal officer and head of its law department.

He has been a mediator and an arbitrator on the commercial, employment and complex case panels of the American Arbitration Association for more than two decades.

Brown earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, and his undergraduate degree from Syracuse University.

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