Bodybuilder appointed head of Nassau County bar

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Collins' discipline from his bodybuilding background helps him in his profession. (Photo courtesy of the Nassau County Bar Association)

Mineola fitness-coach-turned-trial-lawyer Richard D. Collins’ journey from the weight room to the courtroom has hit a new high. Collins is now the Nassau County Bar Association’s 117th president.

Collins, a founding partner of the Mineola-based law firm Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC, said in a statement, “I love this association. My goal as president is to make the Nassau County Bar Association stronger through unity and collaboration.”

He was appointed as president at the Installation of NCBA and Nassau Academy of Law Officers and Directors June 4. The ceremony was held at Domus in Mineola, the association’s home, where more than 200 attorneys, business professionals, community leaders, friends, and family were in attendance.

“I think many trial lawyers are frustrated actors,” Collins said in an interview. “I was attracted to the drama of the courtroom,”

He said his first job in law was as an assistant district attorney where he spent every day in the courtroom, which he loved.

Collins’ expertise is in assisting clients in the bodybuilding, fitness, health and dietary supplement communities. He currently serves as the official legal adviser to the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness and as general counsel to the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

“If you let it, life has a funny way of leading you where you’re meant to be,”Collins said. “I had been into health and fitness since my teens.”

He has competed as a bodybuilder, worked as a fitness coach and even co-owned a personal training business in the past. He said he had had no conscious plans to integrate his passion into his professional career, but that it “organically happened.” Now, he said, that rare combination of his professional training and fitness background gives him the ability to help countless clients.

In an essay by Collins named “What I Owe to Bodybuilding,” he wrote, “Bodybuilding made me a better lawyer and a more successful businessman. The lessons of hardcore training have spilled over into everything I’ve done.”

A bar member for 25 years, Collins has served on a variety of committees and was elected director and chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee and the Publications Committee. In 2001, Collins was honored with the NCBA’s President’s Award for revamping the Nassau Lawyer newspaper throughout his term as editor-in-chief. In addition, Collins has previously served as president of the Criminal Courts Bar Association of Nassau County and of the former Assistant District Attorneys of Nassau County.

“I am so proud of leading my colleagues as president of the largest suburban bar association in America. I am thoroughly thrilled,” Collins said.

Asked about the next step for the association, Collins said it’s time to get more modern.

“Our association was founded in 1899, so tradition is an important part of who we are. But we also need to adapt to a rapidly changing world and attract younger members,” Collins said. He plans on making changes to the association’s online and social media presence and the association’s use of technology to attract younger members.

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