Ready to 'Do Justice,' Carter Assumes Helm at Law Department

, New York Law Journal


Zachary Carter speaking alongside Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio
Zachary Carter, left, speaking at a press conference alongside Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who chose Carter as Corporation Counsel on Sunday.

Steven Banks, attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society said Carter "comes to the office with a proven track record of addressing injustice and for the kinds of problems that we need the corporation counsel to address."

He added there was a "long overdue need"—going back three decades—for the city to analyze cases and legal issues "through a lens of justice rather than whether the city can prevail."

"I have known Zach Carter for three decades and consider him to be a consummate professional who is dedicated to the highest principles and nobility of the legal profession," said New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in a statement. "The mayor-elect has made a superb choice."

In an interview, Kenneth Thompson, incoming Brooklyn District Attorney, who worked under Carter as an Eastern District prosecutor, said his former boss was "eminently qualified to serve as corporation counsel."

"It was an honor to work for Zach Carter in the Eastern District. He, I believed, was fair to all prosecutors working under him and he always sought to do the right thing in all cases," Thompson added.

Carter was also a member of Thompson's own transition team.

In a statement, Ken Cutler, Dorsey & Whitney's managing partner called Carter "a preeminent lawyer, a dedicated public servant and a wonderful human being. His years of experience as a prosecutor, judge, U.S. Attorney and in private practice at Dorsey make him exceptionally qualified for the wide range of responsibilities entailed in representing the largest city in the United States. I know that Zach will bring incredible energy, insight and compassion to the job of furthering and defending the legal rights of the people of New York City."

Robert G.M. Keating, vice chair of the mayor's committee on the judiciary said Carter was "a brilliant lawyer" who brought "a lot of intellectual firepower and diligence" to the position, along with an "energetic sense of right and wrong, and integrity."

Keating, vice president of strategic initiatives at Pace University and a previous state administrative judge and criminal justice coordinator for the city, noted that one of the functions of the Law Department is to serve as the presentment agency prosecuting juvenile justice matters. Carter's work on the mayor's committee helping to select Family Court judges would be "tremendously helpful" in that regard, Keating said.

He added that Carter is "particularly sensitive to people that the court system protects or should protect. He sees the court system as being one that proactively protects the citizens who have difficulty protecting themselves."

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