New GC at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
Sometimes lawyers need counsel, too. The nonprofit community law organization New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) has chosen Miranda Massie as their new general counsel. Massie is serving as GC while continuing in her role as the organization’s legal director.
NYLPI provides legal advice and representation to individuals in New York City’s underserved communities, partnering with the private bar to offer pro bono services. The organization focuses many of its advocacy efforts on defending the rights of the disabled in the city, as well as tackling health and environmental issues, like PCBs in New York’s public schools.
Massie, who started as an environmental justice staff attorney at NYLPI five years ago, told CorpCounsel.com that she is quite pleased by the prospect of helping the organization move forward during a time of growth.
“It’s a tremendous honor and I’m really very grateful,” she said.
Much like her in-house colleagues in the private sector, Massie explained that a GC in the nonprofit world also faces her fair share of ethics, compliance, and regulatory challenges.
“Continuing to grow in an increasingly pressured environment—financially and in terms of regulatory provisions—is complicated, and it’s good to have a point person on deck,” she said of her new role.
Before coming to NYLPI, Massie was a civil rights impact litigator. Her work included successfully representing student interveners looking to defend affirmative action at the University of Michigan in the landmark 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case, Grutter v. Bollinger.
Massie was also lead counsel in defense of the Los Angeles school district’s voluntary school integration plan. She has served as lead counsel for numerous other constitutional and civil rights cases in the past involving reproductive rights, sexual harassment, police misconduct, and first amendment affairs.
The newly minted GC said that her civil rights work helped prepare her for the NYLPI position by teaching her how to balance a bold approach with a “methodical and prudent” attitude towards the law. “You always have to have something like a general counsel hat on, you have to be thinking about risk management, compliance issues, what the case on the other side will be,” she said.
In a statement from NYLPI announcing her new position, McGregor Smyth, executive director of the organization, praised Massie’s qualifications.
“As NYLPI continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of New York City’s underrepresented communities, we need a general counsel dedicated to both risk management and wrestling with the complex legal issues that often arise from our unique community-based model,” he said. “Miranda is a great fit for this challenge.”
Massie graduated from New York University School of Law, and earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Cornell University and a master’s in American Studies from Yale. She has been honored with fellowships from the Fletcher Foundation and the WEB DuBois Institute, among others, and currently serves on the board of the Center for Popular Democracy.