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Johnson takes reins of city law


Former US Treasury boss James Johnson has been named the city’s top lawyer.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Johnson will be the new Corporation Counsel of New York City.

Johnson will head the New York City Law Department, overseeing a staff of nearly 1,000 lawyers and 700 support staff who represent the City government in legal matters.

“New York City’s Law Department doesn’t just represent the City, it fights for the values of fairness, justice and tolerance that New Yorkers hold, and it needs leaders who have spent their lives on the front lines of that fight,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“Throughout his exemplary career, James Johnson has shown he knows the power of our laws to hold the corrupt to account, protect the defenseless, and strengthen the voices of those who have been, for far too long, ignored.

“After a national search, I know he’s the right person for the job to lead the Law Department into an even brighter future.

Johnson, 58, brings a career of public service and public legal advocacy from New York and across the country to the Law Department.

After serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Johnson held several roles in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement under President Clinton.

After leaving government, Johnson became Chairman of the Board for the Brennan Center for Justice from 2004 to 2011 and remains a Senior Fellow there, where he studies national best practices on criminal justice reforms.

He was also a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration and led New Jersey’s Advisory Committee on Police Standards. In 2017, he ran to be the Democratic nominee for Governor of New Jersey.

He succeeds Zachary Carter, who retired in August after serving as Corporation Council for nearly six years, and Acting Corporation Council Georgia Pestana.

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