COMPLETE VIDEO: 170th CityLaw Breakfast with James E. Johnson, Corporation Counsel

James E. Johnson, Corporation Counsel, speaks at the 170th CityLaw Breakfast.

On December 3, 2020 James E. Johnson, Corporation Counsel, spoke at the 170th CityLaw Breakfast. Mr. Johnson spoke on “The Common Good and the Municipal Lawyer: Managing Risk and Building Trust.” Professor Ross Sandler, Director of the Center for New York City Law provided opening remarks and Dean Anthony W. Crowell provided closing remarks. This Breakfast was sponsored by ConEdison, Greenberg Traurig, and Verizon. This was the fourth virtual CityLaw Breakfast as in-person events are not feasible at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Johnson began his talk by reflection on how “the common good” has changed over the year he has been Corporation Counsel. Mr. Johnson discussed his approach to risk management, and highlighted how important it is to identify and address problems as soon as possible to prevent them from escalating into crises. Risk management helps reduce costs in litigation, reduces further harm and helps maintain trust in government systems. According to Mr. Johnson, “risk management is another way of showing that the government cares about its citizens.” Mr. Johnson reflected on the Law Department’s use of risk management in response to the aftermath of 9/11, and how that has grown into weaving risk management into all areas of the Law Department. 

Mr. Johnson discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, reflected on losses and difficulties of the past nine months, and how it has been a lesson in management and mismanagement. Having to work remotely led to enormous collaboration between the Law Department, City agencies and courts, but collaboration across City government was more important than ever in tackling the pandemic. Efforts by the Law Department have helped defend COVID-19 restrictions in court and transactional work helped acquire crucial PPE for hospitals and health care workers. Mr. Johnson remarked that working with his Law Department colleagues during this difficult time has been inspiring and motivating, and highlighted the Law Department’s values of serving the City with integrity.

Mr. Johnson emphasized the importance of serving the community as part of achieving the common good, and that “the pursuit of the common good is a dynamic process, not the destination.” He called on New Yorkers to find ways they can continue to serve their communities, whether it be through volunteering or donating blood, to lawyers volunteering pro bono services to the Law Department to help address COVID-related issues.

To watch the breakfast, click here.


One thought on “COMPLETE VIDEO: 170th CityLaw Breakfast with James E. Johnson, Corporation Counsel

  1. A growing number of New Yorkers continue to register their disappointment with the performance of the present City Administration in the areas of education logistics, city infrastructure maintenance, the operation of New York’s civil authority especially in the area of social justice, and the administration of this city’s health delivery systems during the COVID-19 emergency.

    We have also been informed by the current mayor of his intent not to seek another term in office. However, we have not seen the usual full array of candidates for that position.

    How would risk management processes work to identify, encourage and support a robust candidacy participation and ultimate selection of someone qualified to lead our city to a post-pandemic recovery?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.