Shoshanah Bewlay ’92

Company / School: NYS Department of State, Committee on Open Government

Position / Degree: Executive Director and Counsel


  • BA, English, Vassar College
  • JD, University of Connecticut

Shoshanah Bewlay (she/her) 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. Shoshanah is responsible for the oversight of her staff and the operations of the Committee, comprised of legislative and gubernatorial appointees, which provides legal advice and guidance to the government, public, and news media on New York’s Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Personal Privacy Protection Laws. On a yearly basis, Shoshanah and her staff respond to thousands of phone and written inquiries, prepare hundreds of written legal advisory opinions, and provide open government laws training to dozens of interested groups. Shoshanah, her staff, and the members of the Committee also make recommendations to improve open government laws in an annual report to the Governor and the State Legislature.

Shoshanah 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, Shoshanah variously served as the agency’s Records Access Officer, Records Access Appeals Officer, Personal Privacy Protection Officer, and Ethics Officer.

Shoshanah joined DOS in 2020 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. Shoshanah 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. Shoshanah is a member of the New York, Connecticut, and California State Bars.

Advice to Students:

What you achieve after Vassar will absolutely be important, exciting, and valuable, but please remember that your time at Vassar is even more so. Slow down and enjoy this part of your life; everything you do makes a mark, and you never know which marks will have a critical impact on your future. Take classes and do projects that interest you even if they don’t seem to connect to your career ambitions. Make time for your friends and family and embrace experiences even if they seem scary or difficult. When you look back at this time in your life, you will not regret it.

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