Letitia James named most influential legal professional in New York
BROOKLYN — Brooklyn is a hub of legal powerhouses in New York politics, and that was showcased by City & State New York’s “2023 Law Power 100” list that was released on Monday that featured the borough’s own Letitia James in the No. 1 spot.
The list features high-profile elected officials, powerful prosecutors, high-ranking appointees, partners at prominent firms, defense attorneys, public defenders, legal scholars and others in the profession who advise or oversee governmental bodies, advocate for policy changes or argue cases before the highest courts. State Attorney General Letitia James tops the list, followed by U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, judges from the State Court of Appeals, and other notable legal professionals.
City & State explained that James topped its list for having secured a guilty conviction against The Trump Organization on tax fraud charges and taken on other high-profile cases involving gun distributors and the cryptocurrency industry.
Breon Peace, the U.S. Attorney for New York’s Eastern District, earned the No. 2 spot on the list with the State’s other federal prosecutors. He has made his mark by securing convictions in high-profile cases like the R. Kelly sexual abuse trial and the Brooklyn subway shooting.
Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix, the NYC Corporation Counsel was ranked No. 6 on the list, and District Attorney Eric Gonzalez appeared at No. 8.
In early 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams appointed Hon. Hinds-Radix, a former Administrative Judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, and Appellate Division Judge for the Second Judicial Department, as the Corporation Counsel of the New York City Law Department. This is a crucial role in the Adams administration as she now leads the city’s 850-attorney Law Department, which represents the city, the Mayor, the City Council and various agencies.
Hinds-Radix has been active in her role, having sued to stop online ghost gun retailers from selling in New York City, defeated Con Edison’s challenge to its property tax bill, and launched a new effort to target unlicensed marijuana sales in the city. She has also helped in crafting and defending the administration’s plan to remove homeless individuals with mental illnesses from the streets.
On the other hand, district attorneys hold significant power in New York as they have the authority to choose the types of crimes they want to focus on and decide how aggressively to seek convictions or embrace progressive reforms. As elected officials, New York’s 62 district attorneys represent a diverse range of voters and stakeholders, with varying priorities depending on the county or borough they serve.
Gonzalez has been in office since 2017. He has focused on reducing Brooklyn’s gun violence, supporting supervised injection sites, and reducing recidivism through diversion programs. He also leads the office’s Conviction Review Unit, which has vacated 35 convictions since its inception in 2014. Gonzalez has dismissed 378 convictions connected to crooked NYPD officers and shut down an inter-state sex trafficking plot.
The State’s Court of Appeals Judges — Anthony Cannataro, Michael Garcia, Madeline Singas, Shirley Troutman, Jenny Rivera, Rowan Wilson — were No. 4 on the list. Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman was No. 17 (Hon. Janet DiFiore did not appear at all on the list). Hon. Tamiko Amaker, Acting Chief Administrative Judge was listed at No. 25.
Other Brooklyn notables include Arthur Aidala (No. 26), past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, Ken Fisher (No. 32), chair of the Brooklyn Bar Association Committee on Government & the Public Sector, Elizabeth Holtzman (No. 33), former Brooklyn DA, and Claire Rush (No. 75), trustee at the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association.
Click here to read City & State’s entire Top 100 list for 2023.
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