Richard J. Davis Named Chair of Legal Aid's Board
Richard J. Davis

Richard J. Davis, a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, and a vice chair of The Legal Aid Society, was elected Chairman of the Board of the 134-year-old organization by the Board of Directors on December 2. Davis, a highly respected litigator, has served on the Society's Board for more than a decade. He succeeds Alan Levine, partner in charge of the New York office of Cooley LLP.

"Rich Davis has demonstrated his ability as a leader in his firm, in various government positions, and as an officer of the Society," said Blaine (Fin) Fogg, Legal Aid's President. "He has been honored by several not-for-profit institutions which he has served with great dignity."

"Rich is a superb lawyer and has proven to be a tremendous advocate for The Legal Aid Society and its clients during his service on the Board," said Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief. "I look forward to working with him in his new position.

At Weil, Davis’ practice involves general litigation and white collar crime. He has extensive experience in negotiating complex settlements and in counseling major corporations and their executives in the conduct of internal investigations and in grand jury, regulatory and other government investigations.

Prior to Weil, Davis served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement and Operations. There, he was responsible for overseeing the freeze on Iranian assets and other sanctions imposed as a result of the seizure of hostages during the Carter Administration. He also helped develop the US-Iran Hostage Release Agreements of 1981.

From 1973-1975 Davis served as a member of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, serving as an assistant special prosecutor. He also was a member of the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

A longtime leader in public service, Davis has committed his time and energy to numerous organizations. Among other civic roles, he has served as chairman of the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Police Corruption, the Citizens Union, the City Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Council, and also served as Pro Bono Special Master for Investment Policy for the Agent Orange Settlement Fund. He has also been a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Police-Community Relations, the Board of Directors of Boys Harbor and the Citizens Task Force on Use and Security of Central Park

Mr. Davis graduated magna cum laude from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was the notes and comments editor of the Law Review, and the University of Rochester, with high honors in history.

New York Law Journal
News In Brief
December 09, 2010
Weil Gotshal Partner Elected Legal Aid Board Chair

Richard J. Davis, a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, was elected yesterday to serve as the chairman of the board of the Legal Aid Society. A graduate of Columbia Law School, Mr. Davis, who specializes in general litigation and white-collar crime, has spent more than a decade on Legal Aid's board and has held the position of vice-chair since 2005. He replaces Alan Levine, partner in charge of Cooley's New York office, who served as chairman from 2006-2010.

Before joining Weil in 1981, Mr. Davis did a four-year stint as assistant secretary for enforcement and operations of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he assisted in developing the U.S.-Iran Hostage Release Agreements of 1981.

Mr. Davis said yesterday in an interview that tough economic times have increased the demand for civil legal services by people who cannot afford representation. "The reality is that we have to figure out how to provide increased representation to individuals who can't afford it, when they are dealing with issues that threaten how they are able to live," ranging from benefits to housing and immigration status, he said in an interview. Legal Aid, which has a budget of $165 million and 850 lawyers, said the group handles 300,000 cases a year. — Noeleen G. Walder