Steven Banks, appointed commissioner of the Human Resource Administration by Mayor Bill De Blasio, was formerly attorney-in-chief of the New York City Legal Aid Society, which has a staff of 1,600, including 1,000 lawyers who provide legal assistance in all five boroughs and in 300,000 legal matters annually through its criminal, juvenile rights and civil practices divisions.
Motivated by a commitment to represent indigent New Yorkers, Mr. Banks began his career at the society in 1981 as a staff attorney at the society. Throughout his career, he has earned the reputation of someone who understands the importance of diversity in the public interest law model. While working with the Legal Aid management team, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, the Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid and 1199 SEIU, he has led efforts to implement several diversity initiatives. These include revamped recruitment initiatives, innovative investigator and law student internship programs, “Awareness Month” events and a new mentoring program.
As Legal Aid’s Attorney-in-Chief he led the organization through a complete financial and managerial restructuring to save it from bankruptcy. Prior to becoming the Attorney-in-Chief, Mr. Banks held the positions of Associate Attorney-in-Chief, Deputy Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Practice, Coordinating Attorney of the Homeless Rights Project, and Director of Government Relations for the Civil Practice.
Mr. Banks received his B.A. magna cum laude from Brown University in 1978 and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1981.