New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix Named Keynote Speaker at New York Law School’s 132nd Commencement

Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix

Ceremony’s Theme Is “Civic Fame” Recognizing the Contributions of Public Service Lawyers

The Honorable Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, New York City’s Corporation Counsel, will deliver the keynote address at New York Law School’s 132nd Commencement Ceremony. She will also accept the Civic Fame award on behalf of the lawyers of the New York City Law Department in honor of their courageous leadership through the immense challenges New York City has faced throughout its history.

The event will be held at Beacon Theater on Monday, May 20, 2024, with 350 total J.D. and LL.M. candidates graduating this year. 65% of this year’s graduates are women, one quarter are first-generation college graduates, and over half the class is from New York.

“We are honored that the Honorable Sylvia Hinds-Radix will join us as the first sitting Corporation Counsel to address our graduating class,” said Anthony W. Crowell, NYLS Dean and President. “As a senior leader in New York, and former Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, she has much wisdom and inspiration to share with our graduating class. The Corporation Counsel is a history-maker, as the first African American and Caribbean woman to hold the highest-ranking legal position in City government, overseeing one of the largest municipal legal agencies in the nation. New York Law School is proud that one third of our graduates enter public service and public interest, and that we are consistently one of the best represented law schools in new classes of attorneys that enter the Law Department and City service overall. It is only fitting that we celebrate NYLS and the Law Department’s integral role in the fabric of New York’s civic life.”

“New York Law School alumni have made a tremendous impact on the legal landscape of our city,” said New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix. “They are among the many dedicated attorneys working tirelessly at the Law Department to further the city’s vision for a better New York. I look forward to addressing this year’s graduates, many of whom will be making the noble choice of entering public service to help the city meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

Judge Hinds-Radix will also accept the Law School’s Center for New York City Law’s Civic Fame award recognizing the indispensable service of the Law Department’s attorneys and staff on behalf of the people of New York City. The Civic Fame Award is given annually by the Center, which is directed by Professor Ross Sandler, in recognition of those who have made significant and long-term contributions to the civic life of New York City. It is named after the iconic bronze Civic Fame statue, which sits atop the Municipal Building overlooking City Hall. The New York City Law Department’s nearly 850 lawyers and 750 support professionals work tirelessly to provide the City of New York with the highest quality legal representation in countless matters and NYLS is immensely proud to count so many alumni within its ranks.

In a year when the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is celebrating “Courage in Action” in legal education and the profession, the Law Department’s attorneys continue to be embodiments of this theme daily. In handling every conceivable matter and crisis, the Law Department’s attorneys have always provided a steady hand, ensuring that City government follows the law, while representing the best interest of New Yorkers. Therefore it is only fitting to honor the Law Department’s countless contributions this year, and as NYLS celebrates its Commencement in the iconic landmark institution Beacon Theater, which opened in 1929, sixteen years after Civic Fame was installed on top of the Municipal Building, the seat of municipal government.

In recent years, NYLS commencement speakers have included New York Governor Kathy Hochul, TV icon Judge Judy Sheindlin ’65, then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, New York Attorney General Letitia James, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, the Emmy Award-winning co-creator of “Making a Murderer” Laura Ricciardi ’96, then-New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), and the late Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Robert A. Katzmann.

About Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix

Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix was appointed as the 81st Corporation Counsel of the City of New York on February 25, 2022. In this role, she is the attorney for the City of New York, the Mayor, the City Council and all City agencies—both Mayoral and non-Mayoral. Prior to her appointment as Corporation Counsel, the Honorable Hinds-Radix served as an Associate Justice of the NYS Appellate Division, Second Department from 2012. 

In December of 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo designated Justice Hinds-Radix as a member of the NYS Constitutional Bench. Before joining the Appellate Division, she served as Administrative Judge for Civil Matters in the Second Judicial District. In that capacity, she oversaw both the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term and the New York City Civil Court, which also encompasses the Housing Court of the City of New York. She was elected to the Supreme Court, Kings County in November of 2004 and served as a New York City Civil Court Judge, from 2002 through 2004, spending her first year in the Criminal Court of Kings County. In 1985, soon after graduating from law school, she joined the legal staff of District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services, where she remained until her Civil Court election in 2001.  While at DC 37, she practiced in the areas of Civil Practice, Bankruptcy, Landlord/Tenant and was the General Counsel of the immigration program; a program which she founded.

Hon. Hinds-Radix is the President of the Caribbean American Lawyers Association (CALA), and a former President of the Nathan K. Sobel American Inns of Court, the Supreme Court Justices Association of the City of New York, and the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association. She is a Board Member of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board, the Women in the Courts Committee, the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, and JALBCA. 

She is a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Gabriel’s Senior Citizens Center and the St. John’s Bread and Life Agency. She is also a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association, the New York State Association of Supreme Court Justices, the New York State Bar Association, Columbian Lawyers of Brooklyn, the Association of Black Women Attorneys, Puerto Rican Bar Association, Latino Judges Association, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, The Tribune Society, the National Bar Association’s Judicial Section, and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.

She is the recipient of many awards, including The Gold Crown of Merit, which was conferred upon her by the Governor General of Barbados on the nation’s celebration of its 39th anniversary of its independence, one of the nation’s highest honors. She has also been honored with the Shirley Chisholm Award given to her by the Barbados Consulate in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Barbados’ Independence. She has been honored with the Golda Meir Award, bestowed by the Jewish Lawyers Guild, as well as the Beatrice M. Judge Award and the Sybil Hart Kooper Award by the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, the Distinguished Judiciary Award and the President’s Award by the Catholic Lawyers Guild, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Advancement of the Caribbean Diaspora and was named one of the Top Women in Business by the Home Reporter. She is also the recipient of the 2019 New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Trailblazer Award, the 2021 Hon. Theodore “Ted” Jones Lifetime Achievement Award from the Unified Court System’s Committee to Celebrate Black History Month and the 2021 Hon. William C. Thompson, Sr. Black History Month for Judicial Excellence. Most recently, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Gamma Iota Lambda Chapter’s PHI Award, the Medgar Evers College’s Caribbean Research Center’s Women’s Heritage Award, the NYC Correction Department’s Women’s History Month Award, the Network of Bar Leaders’ NoBL Award, the New York State Bar Association’s Trial Lawyers Section’s Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Vanguard Award, the Judicial Section of the National Bar Association’s Outstanding Member Award, and the Defense Association of New York’s Outstanding Public Service Award.

She earned her B.S from the University of Massachusetts, her Master’s in Political Science from Long Island University and received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law. She also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Metropolitan College of New York. In addition to being admitted to practice law in the State of New York, Hon. Hinds-Radix is also admitted to the United States Federal Court: Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.           

Hon. Hinds-Radix is married to Dr. Joseph Radix, and they are the proud parents of three wonderful daughters.