On Thursday, September 13th, over 150 staff and friends of The Legal Aid Society came together at the offices of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP to celebrate the career of Seymour W. James Jr., who in June retired after 43 years of service.
Mr. James, a graduate of Brown University and the Boston University School of Law, began work at The Legal Aid Society of New York City as a staff attorney in the Kings County office of the criminal defense division in the 1970s, and ascended through the ranks to become Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice in 2005 and Attorney-in-Chief in 2014. A former president of the New York State Bar Association (2012-2013), his leadership positions in esteemed legal organizations are too many to list but include: membership in the House of Delegates for the American Bar Association; Board of Directors for the Correctional Association of New York; Board of Directors for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association; membership on the New York State Justice Task Force and membership on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.
The evening’s program included a special video message from Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, and remarks from former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman; Kwesi Dash, Staff Attorney with The Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Practice and Member of the Black Attorneys at Legal Aid Caucus; S. Maquita Moody, Supervising Attorney with The Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Practice; Jared Trujillo, Staff Attorney with The Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Practice and Association of Legal Aid Attorneys LGBTQ Caucus Representative; Shomari Ward, Staff Attorney with The Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice and Member of the Attorneys of Color at Legal Aid Caucus; Richard J. Davis, Chair of The Legal Aid Society’s Board of Directors; and Seymour W. James, Jr.
Adriene Holder, Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society’s Civil Practice, served as the emcee of the evening.
Special thanks to our speakers, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and to Mr. James for all he has done on behalf of New Yorkers in need.