Seymour W. James, Jr.
Immediate Past President
Seymour W. James, Jr., of New York City, took office on June 1 as the 115th president of the 76,000-member New York State Bar Association. His one-year term ended June 1, 2013.
James is the attorney-in-charge of the Criminal Practice of The Legal Aid Society in New York City. In that capacity, he is responsible for the Society's trial, parole revocation and appellate criminal practice.
Active in the State Bar since 1978, James most recently served for the past year as the Bar Association's president-elect. As president-elect, James chaired the House of Delegates and co-chaired the President's Committee on Access to Justice. He previously served three terms as treasurer.
He is a member of its House of Delegates, the Finance Committee, the Membership Committee, and the Special Committee on Strategic Planning. Within the Criminal Justice Section, James serves as a member-at-large of its Executive Committee.
He served as the vice president for the 11th Judicial District from 2004-2008 and on numerous committees, including the Nominating Committee, the Special Committee on Association Governance, the Committee on Legal Aid, the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service, the Task Force on Increasing Diversity in the Judiciary, and the Committee on Diversity and Leadership Development. He is a Fellow of the New York Bar Foundation.
James is a past president of the Queens County Bar Association and has served on its Judiciary Committee. He serves as a member of the board of directors for the New York State Defenders Association and as a member of the Defender Policy Group of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. He also is a member of the Macon B. Allen Black Bar Association and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association.
A resident of Brooklyn, James received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law. He is married to Cheryl E. Chambers, a judge in the Appellate Division, 2nd Department.