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Steven Banks

Steven Banks is Attorney-in-Chief at The Legal Aid Society, which has a staff of 1,600, including 1,000 lawyers, and provides legal assistance in all five boroughs in 300,000 legal matters annually through its Criminal, Juvenile Rights and Civil Practices. Motivated by a commitment to represent indigent New Yorkers, Mr. Banks began his career there thirty-one years ago as a Staff Attorney. Throughout his career he has developed a reputation as someone who understands the importance of diversity in the public interest legal model. Towards that goal, working with the Legal Aid management team, the Association of Legal Aid  Attorneys, the Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid, and 1199 SEIU, he has led efforts to implement several diversity initiatives, including revamped recruitment initiatives, innovative investigator and law student internship programs, “Awareness Month” events, and a new mentoring program. Among the Society’s diversity achievements are: two of the three leaders of its Practices are persons of color and two are women; 40% of the Criminal Defense and Juvenile Rights borough management consists of persons of color; diverse applicants made up half of the early offers for the 2012 Criminal Defense staff attorney class; and half of those hired for the 2011 Criminal Defense class consisted of diverse law graduates and attorneys.