Board Resolution Honoring Steve Banks

The Board of Directors of The Legal Aid Society unanimously approved a resolution honoring Steven Banks.


WHEREAS, For the past 33 years, Steven Banks has devoted his legal career to fighting for New York’s most vulnerable residents and serving The Legal Aid Society with the highest distinction and integrity in a host of capacities and in advancing the cause of equal justice for all New Yorkers;

WHEREAS, Through his tireless efforts and tenacity, he has challenged the City under four mayoral administrations and the State under six gubernatorial administrations to meet the needs of the Society’s low-income clients and comply with legal requirements through landmark law reform litigation, advocacy, and individual client services;

WHEREAS, During his 10-year tenure as the Attorney-in-Chief, the Society has reached new heights with a national reputation for excellence in providing comprehensive client services for families and individuals with criminal, civil, and juvenile rights problems, and in developing innovative new programs to address client problems and emerging legal needs;

WHEREAS, The media has described him as “the most legendary Legal Aid lawyer of his generation,” as “one of the top 45 public interest lawyers in the United States,” and as one of the most influential New Yorkers;

WHEREAS, Taking a leading role in making legal services available to all, he has worked with Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to provide public funding for civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers;

WHEREAS, He has litigated cases that establish the right to emergency shelter in New York and require safe, suitable, and adequate housing, assistance, and services to homeless New Yorkers;

WHEREAS, He is generally credited with helping the Society regain its financial footing after a near bankruptcy in 2004, and during his tenure as Attorney-in-Chief, the Society has been known for operating within its financial means with a balanced budget each year;

WHEREAS, He played a key role in obtaining legally binding limits on the caseloads of the Society’s Juvenile Rights and Criminal Defense lawyers, thus enabling the Society’s Juvenile Rights and Criminal Defense Practices to increase staffing, reduce caseloads, and provide better client services.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of the Society celebrates its good fortune in having been the beneficiary of the judgment, dedication, and guidance of this best of lawyers. We extend our sincere appreciation to Steven Banks and wish him well as he takes on a new and exciting challenge as the City’s Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration.