Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix announces major appointments in NYC Law Department

October 2, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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In a series of recent announcements, New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix unveiled significant changes in the City Law Department, with the recent unveiling of key appointments and the introduction of the 2023 class of assistant corporation counsels.

On September 21, Hon. Hinds-Radix announced the appointment of Maxwell Leighton as Division Chief of the Labor and Employment Division. Leighton, a stalwart in the department since 2007, takes over the helm after a successful stint as Deputy Chief. He steps into a role that is pivotal, overseeing litigation arising from the City’s role as an employer of over a quarter-million workers.

“Maxwell’s promotion to Division Chief of Labor and Employment is not only well-deserved but also a testament to his exceptional leadership and legal acumen,” Hon. Hinds-Radix said. 

“Throughout his tenure, he has consistently demonstrated the ability to handle complex labor and employment matters with skill and precision, and I have every confidence he will excel in this new role, providing valuable guidance to his colleagues and delivering exemplary representation to the City.”

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Two days prior, on September 19, Hon. Hinds-Radix introduced another prominent appointment. Toshia McKnight, a legal luminary with decades of experience, was named Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for Criminal Justice. McKnight, formerly Special Counsel to the Commissioner at the New York City Department of Social Services, will now oversee the Law Department’s Family Court Division and serve as the chief liaison to public law enforcement agencies.

“Toshia is a dedicated public servant who shares our office’s commitment to excellence, justice, and protecting the interests of the City and its residents,” Hinds-Radix said. “Her extensive and diverse legal expertise will be a tremendous asset to the Law Department, and I am proud to have her join our executive team.”

Toshia McKnight, stepping into the role of Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for Criminal Justice, bringing decades of diverse legal experience to the position.
Photos courtesy of NYC Law Department

Mayor Adams and Hinds-Radix also welcomed the 2023 class of new Assistant Corporation Counsels earlier this month. These bright minds, recruited from 32 law schools nationwide, embody the Department’s unwavering commitment to excellence, integrity, and diversity.

“I applaud our incoming Assistant Corporation Counsels for their dedication to the noble cause of public service,” Hinds-Radix said. “Public service is not just a job; it’s a powerful means of positive change.”

In the case of Leighton, his rise to Division Chief is attributed to his consistent excellence and exceptional leadership. The Labor and Employment Division, known for its stellar defense of the City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates last year, is expected to reach new heights under his guidance. Leighton expressed deep gratitude for the appointment, reaffirming his dedication to providing sound legal guidance to one of the nation’s largest employers.

Hinds-Radix’s appointment of McKnight underscores a concerted effort to fortify the City’s legal arm, especially in criminal justice. McKnight’s extensive experience, spanning roles in the New York State Unified Court System and various city agencies, positions her as a vital asset to the Department. 

The New York City Law Department, often referred to as the Corporation Counsel, serves as the city’s legal representative, providing legal counsel and representation to the Mayor, City agencies, and other municipal entities. The department handles a vast array of legal matters, including litigation, legislative affairs, real estate, and administrative law issues. 

It is instrumental in prosecuting and defending lawsuits involving the City, drafting and reviewing local and State legislation, negotiating and drafting contracts, and providing legal advice that aids in policy formation and implementation. In essence, the NYC Law Department plays a crucial role in ensuring that the city’s legal interests are protected and advanced, contributing to the effective governance of America’s most populous city.


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