Mayor Appoints Lisa Zornberg as New City Hall Chief Counsel

Lisa Zornberg speaks at her appointment as the incoming City Hall Chief Counsel. Image Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.On July 26, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams announced the appointment of Lisa Zornberg as the new City Hall chief counsel. Zornberg will serve as chief counsel to both Mayor Adams and City Hall, and will oversee the following agencies: he Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary, the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, the Mayor’s Office of Risk Management and Compliance, the New York City Business Integrity Commission, the New York City Commission On Human Rights, the New York City Department of Records and Information Services, the Office of the Administrative Justice Coordinator, and the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Zornberg graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She previously clerked for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor when Justice Sotomayor served in the Southern District of New York as a U.S. District judge. Zornberg was chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. She oversaw the office’s investigations and prosecutions, and supervised approximately 170 federal prosecutors. 

Zornberg is currently a litigation partner at Debevoise & Plimpton as a member of the White Collar & Regulatory Defense group. Her practice focuses on white collar defense, internal investigations and regulatory enforcement actions. 

Zornberg is co-chair of the United Jewish Appeal’s White Collar & Securities Enforcement Executive Committee, a Board member of the Federal Bar Council, and a Board member of the Office of the Appellate Defender. She is a former national vice chair of the American Bar Association’s White Collar Committee. Zornberg previously received the U.S. Department of Justice Marshall Award and the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation’s Federal Prosecutor of the Year award. 

Zornberg is assuming the role following the departure of current Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire next month.

Mayor Adams stated, “It is my great honor to announce Lisa Zornberg as New York City’s next chief counsel. She is a dedicated public servant who has taken on the corrupt and the criminal, keeping our nation and our city safe. She knows what it takes to ensure justice is served and democracy is protected, and was even once dubbed ‘the tiny tornado’ for her work. We know she will now be a force for good for our city’s residents. Without question, she is the right leader for the right time, and ready to pick up the baton where Brendan McGuire is leaving off. I want to thank Brendan for his service to this city, and for being one of my most trusted advisors and a close friend. Since day one, he has been an independent thinker and he has never shied away from telling me like it is. He is a great legal mind, and he will be missed around City Hall.”

Incoming City Hall Chief Counsel Zornberg stated, “This is the greatest city in the world, and being able to serve New Yorkers as part of the Adams administration is exciting beyond words.  A government run with integrity and passion for solving real problems remains, in my view, the best way to lift up people and communities, and that’s what I’m here to do. I’m looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned and every skill I have to work on behalf of New Yorkers.”

Departing Chief Counsel McGuire stated, “It has been a privilege to be a part of this team, and I’m grateful to Mayor Adams for giving me the opportunity to serve the city I love. In Lisa, the city is gaining a dedicated, rigorous, and strategic leader who will hit the ground running in support of the administration and all New Yorkers. I’m confident she’ll excel as our city’s next chief counsel.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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