Drayton Grant 1948-2012
Drayton Grant was an early and dedicated protector of the environment and a practitioner of environmental law for more then 30 years. She co-founded Grant & Lyons, LLP with John Lyons in 1994 and practiced with the firm until her death in 2012, after a fierce battle with lung cancer.
Drayton was truly one of the pioneers in the practice of environmental law. This was recognized in 2011 when she was honored as one of "New York's Pioneers of Environmental Law" by New York Parks & Trails. An honors graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Drayton's career as an environmental lawyer began in the late 70's when environmental law was still a field in its infancy. She served as an attorney with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation beginning in 1979, and from 1983 to 1987, she served sequentially as Assistant Counsel for Land Use, as Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Quality, and as Deputy Commissioner for Land Resources. She also served as a member of the State's Freshwater Wetlands Appeal Board from 1987 to 1990. She began her private sector practice of environmental law in 1987. Over the course of her career represented a wide spectrum of clients including many citizens' groups and municipalities. During that time she also served as an adjunct professor of environmental law at Brooklyn Law School and Bard College's Master of Science in Environmental Studies Program. She was also an active member of the New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section, where she sat on the Executive Committee and was Co-Chair of the Section's Wetlands Committee.
In addition to the practice of law, Drayton had a long personal interest in the environment and she devoted countless hours volunteering for environmental and community causes. She served on the Boards of Hudson River Heritage, the Winnakee Land Trust, Hudsonia, the Sloop Clearwater and Northern Dutchess Hospital. She was a principal mover in the creation of a park in Rhinebeck which now bears her name, the "Drayton Grant Memorial Park at Burger Hill".
Although she was extremely accomplished and distinguished as a lawyer, what is most memorable about Drayton were her special qualities as a person. After her passing, her longtime law partner John Lyons said:
Drayton was an extraordinary person, and in the course of her life she was an inspiration to many. Her tremendous capacity to love her fellow men and women, her rock solid integrity and character, her easy sense of humor and boundless joie de vivre, her intelligence and indomitable spirit were known by all. Her positive impact on those she knew and loved and on her community will be a lasting testament to her spirit and her life. She left her friends, her community and our world so much better than she found them.