Shoshanah Bewlay was appointed the Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, a statutorily independent governmental program housed within the New York State Department of State (“DOS”), in January 2020. Ms. Bewlay is responsible for the oversight of the staff and operations of the Committee, which provides legal advice and guidance to the government, public, and news media on the New York Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Personal Privacy Protection Laws. On a yearly basis, Ms. Bewlay’s staff respond to thousands of telephone and written inquiries, prepare hundreds of written legal advisory opinions, and provide open government laws training to dozens of interested groups. Ms. Bewlay’s staff and Committee members also make recommendations to improve open government laws in an annual report to the Governor and the State Legislature.
Ms. Bewlay previously served as the General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer at the New York State Office of Information Technology Services (“ITS”), where she oversaw the agency’s legal department, providing advice and guidance on legal and regulatory compliance, information security and data breach response, cybersecurity incident management, legal and technical eDiscovery compliance for the New York State executive agencies, New York State IT policy and strategy alignment, IT procurement and contracting, and New York State public ethics. While at ITS, Ms. Bewlay variously served as the agency’s Records Access Officer, Records Access Appeals Officer, Personal Privacy Protection Officer, and Ethics Officer.
Ms. Bewlay joined DOS after six years at ITS and, before that, seven years with the New York State Office of the Attorney General, where she managed that Office’s eDiscovery program. Ms. Bewlay came to public service in 2007 after more than 10 years of private legal practice in New York City and San Francisco, in which she specialized in the representation of large corporations in securities and tender offer litigation. Ms. Bewlay is a member of the New York, Connecticut and California State Bars and is a graduate of Vassar College and the University of Connecticut School of Law.