Legal Aid Society Appoints Juvenile Rights Chief Tami Steckler to Chief Administrative Officer

The Legal Aid Society announced the appointment of Tamara A. Steckler to Chief Administrative Officer for The Legal Aid Society effective July 1, 2017. As CAO, Tami will oversee Human Resources, Facilities, Finance, and Management Information Systems (MIS) at the Society.

“Tami brings a range of managerial experience to this position and an acute understanding of how our practices function which will serve her extraordinarily well as CAO,” said Seymour W. James Jr. Attorney-In-Chief at The Legal Aid Society. “We’re fortunate to have Tami in this role that will elevate the organization and our work as this city’s primary legal services organization for low-income New Yorkers.”

“This position serves a crucial function managing the operations that play a fundamental role supporting our three practices, and our staffs’ incredible work in communities throughout the city,” said Tami Steckler, Chief Administrative Officer at The Legal Aid Society. “I welcome the challenges this new position brings and the opportunity to work in this capacity for an organization that is so central to the protection of human rights in New York City.”


Tamara, known as Tami to all, has been the Attorney-In-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice (JRP) at The Society in New York City since 2005, supervising a staff of 350 attorneys, social workers and paralegals who represent over 34,000 children and young adults each year in child welfare, delinquency, PINS, appellate and impact litigation proceedings in all five boroughs. Directly after law school, Tami worked as a staff attorney for JRP in the Bronx trial office, then became the Legal Director for Talbot Perkins Foster Care Agency and then continued her work with JRP in the Brooklyn trial office. In 1994, Tamara left JRP to become the founder and Director of the Family Law Unit at New York Legal Assistance Group. Soon thereafter she became the Assistant Executive Director and Development Director, overseeing their Human Resources, IT, Finance, Development and Facilities Departments. While at NYLAG Tami worked with the E.D. to grow NYLAG from 40 staff members to over 200 lawyers and supportive staff and managed several office moves as the organization grew.

Tami returned to JRP as the Attorney-In-Charge (AIC) in 2005. During her tenure she has increased JRP’s attorney staff to meet new caseload standards, spearheaded and led the relocation and renovation of all 11 of JRP’s locations, and has worked closely with her senior managers to systemize and improve JRP’s administrative practices to ensure staff satisfaction and the seamless provision of client services. She has been an instrumental member of LAS’ Senior Management Team working collaboratively to develop and implement LAS policies and procedures. She managed the Recruitment Department for one year, administered the Society-wide Anti-Bias Training, and lead the development and implementation of LAS’ Supervisory Training.

As JRP’s AIC, she has been active in numerous state and city working groups and task forces addressing issues of child welfare and juvenile justice, including the Governor’s Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice, the New York State Task for on the Future of Probation, the New York City Juvenile Justice Advisory Council on the implementation of “Close to Home,” New York Statewide Committee and New York City Working Group to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in JD and Child Welfare Matters, New York State Bar Task Force on Family Court, New York Statewide Child Welfare Interdisciplinary Collaboration Group, the New York State Juvenile Use of Orders of Protection Project Advisory Board, as well as the New York City Executive Committee for Child Welfare Practice. She was also instrumental in passing legislation in New York that capped the number of clients an Attorney for a Child could handle at any given time, was one of the architects of the city’s signature juvenile justice reform-Close to Home and lead the way to 24 hour arraignment of all youth in the juvenile justice system . She is currently the Co-Chair of the ACS/Advocate Child Welfare Reform Committee, Treasurer of the Board of the National Juvenile Defender Center, Chair of the National Association of Public Defender’s Juvenile Justice Committee, and a Steering Committee member, and is currently the Juvenile Justice Expert in a federal project designed to measure effective defender representation for adults and children. She has been awarded the NYSBA’s Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare, the NYLJ’s Top 30 Women in Law and the Hofstra Law School Public Justice Foundation’s 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award. She has published various articles including “Litigating Racism: Exposing Injustice in Juvenile Prosecutions” and “Perspective: A New Era in Representing Children” and has become a spokesperson on behalf of JRP’s clients, speaking publicly in numerous forums regarding issues of child welfare and juvenile justice.