Seymour W. James Jr. Named Touro Law’s Public Interest Lawyer in Residence

October 12, 2015

Touro Law Center Dean Patricia Salkin is pleased to announce Seymour James, Esq., attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, has been named the 2015 Public Interest Lawyer in Residence. He will visit Touro Law on October 19 and 20. As part of his visit to Touro Law, James will present a public lecture on Monday, October 19 titled “Drugs, Race and the Right to Counsel” at 6:30 pm. The lecture is free of charge and open to the public.

Touro Law’s unique Public Interest Lawyer in Residence Program was initiated to introduce law students to the critically important work of public interest lawyers by recognizing attorneys who have made a significant contribution to society through such work. Dean Salkin stated, “Having worked with Seymour James while he was President of the New York State Bar Association, and watching his inspired leadership throughout his career in dedicating his life’s work to providing equal justice, he simply exemplifies every quality a public interest attorney should possess and is an excellent role model and example to law students across the country.”

Seymour James, Jr. was appointed the Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society in New York City in July 2014. Mr. James, who has devoted his entire legal career of 40 years to ensuring that poor New Yorkers receive high quality representation, heads the nation's oldest and largest not-for-profit legal services organization with a staff of 1,100 lawyers and more than 700 social workers, investigators, paralegals and support and administrative staff. Annually, the Society handles more than 300,000 cases and legal matters for clients with civil, criminal, and juvenile rights problems. Its law reform work benefits an additional two million low-income New Yorkers.

James joined The Legal Aid Society in 1974 as a staff attorney in the Brooklyn Office and has served in various supervisory capacities including Supervising Attorney in the Bronx County Office, Deputy Attorney-in-Charge of the Kings County and Queens County Offices and Attorney-in-Charge of the Queens County Office. James was the first attorney of color to head a borough trial office in the Criminal Practice as well as the first attorney of color appointed as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice. In the 10 years he has served as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Practice, the largest public defender organization in the country and the primary indigent defender in the City, the Society's Criminal Practice has earned a national reputation for excellence. 

Through the Public Interest Lawyer in Residence program, Touro Law Center recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to society by representation of individuals or groups historically denied access to justice. Honorees visit the Law Center to meet with students, guest teach classes and deliver a public lecture. The program attracts distinguished visitors who are active in the field of public interest who inspire and teach members of the Touro Law community. Past honorees include such notables as Elaine Jones, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund director-counsel; Judith Lichtman, Women's Legal Defense Fund president; Daniel L. Greenberg, Executive Director and Attorney-in-Chief, The Legal Aid Society of New York; Janet Benshoof, Center for Reproductive Law & Policy president; David C. Leven, Prisoners' Legal Services of New York executive director; and Stephen B. Bright, Director, The Southern Center for Human Rights among many others.

For more information about the Public Interest Lawyer in Residence speech or to RSVP, please email or call (631) 761-7064.


Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center’s 185,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art law school is located adjacent to both a state and a federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York. Touro Law’s proximity to the courthouses, coupled with programming developed to integrate the courtroom into the classroom, provide a one-of-a kind learning model for law students, combining a rigorous curriculum taught by expert faculty with a practical courtroom experience. Touro Law, which has a student body of approximately 650 and an alumni base of more than 6,000, offers full- and part-time J.D. programs, several dual degree programs and graduate law programs for US and foreign law graduates. Touro Law Center is part of the Touro College system.

Touro Law’s newly implemented Portals to Practice is a cutting-edge, experiential learning program that reconceives and restructures the law school experience. Portals to Practice expands the scope and quality of legal education by focusing on the development of legal professionals, from pre-law through post-graduation. 

About the Touro College and University System 
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to:

For more info contact:
Patti Desrochers
Director of Communications
(631) 761-7062

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