January 22, 2020: Christopher Riano to Lead State Bar Association Committee on LGBTQ People and the Law

Christopher R. Riano, a lecturer in constitutional law and government at Columbia University and assistant counsel to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, has been appointed to chair the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on LGBTQ People and the Law.

“Christopher is one of the best and brightest young minds in our profession, and I can think of no better choice to lead this critically important committee into a new era,” said NYSBA President Hank Greenberg. “His experience in both government and academia will be valuable to the committee and to the association as we continue to support and advance diversity in all areas of the legal profession.”

Founded in 2008, the purpose of the Committee on LGBTQ People and the Law is to promote equality in the law for LGBTQ people; eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ attorneys and litigants; promote equality of opportunity for –and increase the visibility of –contributions made by LGBTQ attorneys; and to promote diversity on the bench and within the bar by the inclusion of all minorities, including LGBTQ people.

Riano succeeds Lewis Silverman, a retired law professor from Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, who is currently a traffic court judge in Suffolk County. Silverman, a founding member of the committee, is stepping down as chair for health reasons.

“I am deeply humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead NYSBA’s Committee on LGBTQ People and the Law,” said Riano. “The LGBTQ community has made many civil rights advances, but there is more work to be done. It has always been the responsibility of lawyers to protect the rule of law, and in doing so, to advance and ensure that constitutional rights and liberties are equally protected for all members of our society.”  

Riano has focused his academic work on jurisprudence and the theory of law, the study of comparative constitutional government, and higher education law. Riano’s first book, “From Outlaws to In-Laws,” co-authored with William N. Eskridge, Jr. of Yale Law School, presents the constitutional history of the marriage equality movement in the United States from 1967 – 2017, and is forthcoming from Yale University Press in 2020. Riano also serves as the constitutional scholar-in-residence for numerous portions of the civic education programs of the United States Federal Courts for the Second Circuit, and as the scholar-in-residence for the civic education programs for the Justice Resource Center in New York City.

Previously, Riano served as the general counsel for the New York State Liquor Authority, as an administrative law judge for the state of New York, a partner at Drohan Lee, and was the founder and CEO of The Riano Group.

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.


Contact: Christian Nolan
[email protected]