Former New York Court of Appeals Judge, Leslie E. Stein, To Lead Government Law Center

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Leslie Stein

The Honorable Leslie E. Stein ‘81, who retired as an Associate Judge on the New York Court of Appeals in June, will be the new Director of the Government Law Center (GLC) at Albany Law School starting full-time in January 2022. She currently serves on the law school’s Board of Trustees.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Judge Stein’s experience and capabilities to lead the Government Law Center,” said Alicia Ouellette, Albany Law School’s President and Dean. “She is a brilliant, kind, visionary, and experienced leader who will create new opportunities for the GLC as she mentors and works with our public service-minded students and builds connections across all three branches of government.”

“I am deeply honored to have been given the opportunity to serve Albany Law School and the public as the next Director of the Government Law Center,” said Stein. “As a graduate of Albany Law School, a long-time resident of the Capital District, a member of the New York State bar, and of the judiciary, I am keenly aware of the outstanding work that the Government Law Center has achieved in the community and beyond.” 

The GLC was established in 1978 and serves as a bridge between government and academia, providing diverse services to government leaders, public officials, students and the community. For more than 40 years, the Government Law Center has provided nonpartisan legal research and analysis that state and local governments need to better serve their communities. While bringing together a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers, students, scholars, and community partners, the GLC prepares students for careers as skilled and leading attorneys in public service. 
Previous GLC Director and Associate Professor Ava Ayers stepped down earlier this year to return to her role as a full-time faculty member. 

“We felt it important that the next director—in order to be able to focus completely on the work of the GLC—not also have the demands of a faculty member,” said Ouellette. “I’ve been fortunate to work with Judge Stein during my time at Albany Law and I know the level of commitment and determination she brings to everything she does. The Government Law Center does tremendously valuable work in our community and I know that with Judge Stein’s leadership the potential to grow the breadth and depth of the GLC’s work is exponential.” 

“I look forward to building upon the exceptional accomplishments of my predecessors in serving as a resource to assist state and local governments in their ability to better serve their communities, in connecting the law school to the Capital District community, and in working with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the legal profession to prepare the next generation of skilled lawyers and leaders for excellent public service,” said Stein.

After graduating from Albany Law, Stein began her legal career as the law clerk to the Schenectady County Family Court Judges. She practiced matrimonial and family law with the Albany law firm of McNamee, Lochner, Titus & Williams, P.C. where she made partner. During that time, Stein was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In 1997, she left private practice to begin her judicial career as an Albany City Court Judge and Acting Albany County Family Court Judge. She was elected to the New York State Supreme Court, Third Judicial District for a term commencing in January 2002. She served as the Administrative Judge of the Rensselaer County Integrated Domestic Violence Part from January 2006 until February 2008, when she was appointed a Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department. In October 2014, Judge Stein was nominated by former Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals and her nomination was confirmed by the New York State Senate on February 9, 2015.

“Judge Stein brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and government service to her new role as Director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School,” said Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York.  “Judge Stein’s distinguished judicial career, including nearly six-and-a-half years as an Associate Judge of the New York’s highest court, was marked by her passionate interest in improving the administration of justice and her professional leadership and service on numerous institutions dedicated to government reform. I am delighted that we will continue to benefit from Judge Stein’s life-long commitment to public service. No one is better equipped to lead the Government Law Center in carrying out its dual mission of training the next generation of public service leaders and helping our state and local governments better serve all New Yorkers.”

Stein is a past co-chair of the NYS Unified Court System Family Violence Task Force. She was a founding member of the New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and chaired the Third Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee from 2001 to 2005. She has also served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, as an officer of the New York State Association of City Court Judges, and as a member of the Board of the New York Association of Women Judges. Stein has lectured and developed curricula for continuing legal education of attorneys and judges on multiple topics. She has a long history of involvement in various state and local bar associations and in a number of other professional and civic organizations.

Stein received her J.D. from Albany Law School in 1981, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the school since 2012 but will step down to assume the position with the GLC. She received her B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.