New York, NY (May 5, 2014)—Steven Banks, a renowned New York public interest lawyer and civil rights leader, will address the graduates at New York Law School’s 122nd Commencement on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at Carnegie Hall at 5:00 p.m. Banks will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his long career in legal advocacy, including 33 years with The Legal Aid Society, which embodies the Law School’s values of advancing justice and serving the needs of modern society. In addition, the President’s Medal will go to Trustee Kathleen Grimm (Class of 1980), Deputy Chancellor of Operations at the New York City Department of Education.
“Recently, America has commemorated the anniversary of pivotal moments in the fight for equality and social justice in our country, including the March on Washington, the War on Poverty, Brown v. the Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. As New York’s law school, it is therefore fitting at this time that we honor Steven Banks and Kathleen Grimm. For decades, these two remarkable New Yorkers have served as agents of positive social change, distinguished by their commitment to serving the people of the City of New York,” said Anthony Crowell, Dean and President of New York Law School. “These moments serve as a critical backdrop as New York Law School prepares for its 125th Anniversary and takes bold steps to build its public interest law and advocacy programs and services.“
Steven Banks has dedicated his entire career to improving the lives of New Yorkers most in need and is recognized as one of New York City’s leading public interest lawyers. From 2004 until his appointment this year as Commissioner of the City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA), he was the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society, the country’s oldest and largest not-for-profit legal services organization. Over three decades, he rose through its ranks, from law student intern to staff attorney to a series of major leadership positions. He is credited with helping reach a landmark settlement with the City in 2008 over its treatment of homeless children and adults, which resulted in the establishment of a permanent enforceable right to shelter for homeless families in New York City. Now, as HRA Commissioner, the largest social services agency in the country, which serves over 3 million New Yorkers, Mr. Banks oversees a budget of over $9 billion. He has the opportunity to work from the inside and provide communities in need with the services they need.
Kathleen Grimm’s career is inspiring for both its diversity and achievement. She has worked for the past 12 years as the Deputy Chancellor of Operations at the New York City Department of Education. Prior to that, she was First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance and New York State Deputy Comptroller responsible for monitoring the fiscal affairs of the City of New York. Together, she has served five City Mayors, one State Comptroller, seven City Commissioners, and four City Schools Chancellors. She oversees a $20 billion operating budget and a $12 billion capital budget. In addition to her role as a member of the Law School’s Board of Trustees, Ms. Grimm has been an Advisor to the Center for New York City Law, an adjunct professor, and former Alumni Association president. In 2007, she was honored at the Law School’s Annual Gala.
With this ceremony, NYLS returns to the site of its first commencement in 1892, Carnegie Hall. Both institutions opened in 1891 and have long celebrated innovation and the pursuit of excellence. After nearly 125 years, each remains an integral part of New York City’s heritage.
The School will graduate 433 candidates for the Juris Doctor (J.D.) and 74 candidates for the Master of Laws (LL.M.).
About New York Law School
Founded in 1891, New York Law School (NYLS) is an independent law school located in the heart of New York City’s legal, government, financial, and emerging tech centers. Known as “New York’s law school,” NYLS embraces the City as its classroom by complementing a rigorous legal education with an innovative and diverse set of “uniquely New York” experiential learning opportunities. Since opening our doors nearly 125 years ago, we have produced graduates who have gone on to hold high elected and appointed office in the City, lead large and small firms, and gain broad recognition as captains of business and industry. Our renowned faculty of prolific scholars has built the School’s strength in such areas as constitutional law, civil and human rights, business and finance law, media and information law, tax law, real estate, and a number of interdisciplinary fields. NYLS has more than 16,500 graduates and currently enrolls approximately 1,200 full-time and part-time students in its J.D. program. The Law School also offers advanced-degree programs in American Business Law and Tax Law. Learn more about New York’s law school at www.nyls.edu.