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Name and Title: Michael A. Cardozo, corporation counsel Age: 66 Like A Big Law Firm: The New York City Law Department represents and provides legal counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the City Council, other elected officials and city agencies. Cardozo heads a staff of 1,300 employees, 690 of them attorneys grouped into 17 legal divisions. Cardozo works mostly in the department’s headquarters near City Hall, but oversees offices in each of the city’s five boroughs and maintains a desk inside City Hall. His staff vets $4 billion in contracts each year. According to Cardozo, the department is the third-largest law firm in New York City and operates in much the same way as a large firm, except for the pay � the average starting salary is $55,000. Still, Cardozo said, the excitement and the responsibility to which city employees are exposed more than make up for the money. Legal Team: New York City gets sued approximately 200 times every week, and about 65 cases go to trial each week. To staff all of these cases, Cardozo frequently relies upon his first- and second-year attorneys, but also borrows lawyers from large New York firms. “Unfortunately, because of the economics of the law industry, it’s hard to give new associates trial practice. But if they’re here for their first year at the firm, they’re assigned to one of our trial offices. We win, the law firm wins,” Cardozo said. The law department sometimes refers cases to outside firms. In 2004, for example, New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom took on a case involving a shooting incident in a city jail. The firm assigned summer associates at no charge to the city. “It’s a terrific help,” Cardozo said. “The generosity of the private bar is just terrific. It’s not just generosity; they gain from it.” Cardozo maintains an active affirmative litigation division, and recently argued, and won, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, establishing the city’s authority to charge property tax against foreign embassies that use their buildings to house employees. Cardozo counsels the mayor on legislation, including the city’s bans on smoking in bars and restaurants and use of trans fats by restaurants. He helped launch police searches of passengers’ bags on the subway system following the 2005 London transit system bombings. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks generated 9,000 lawsuits against the city, including claims by workers that they had become sick while cleaning up the ruins of the World Trade Center. “This was huge, huge litigation,” he said. Outside Counsel: The city “very, very rarely” retains outside counsel, Cardozo said. Exceptions occur when city attorneys are conflicted out of a case or lack the necessary legal expertise. Litigation arising from the fatal 2003 Staten Island Ferry accident, for example, required retention of Freehill Hogan & Mahar, a firm specializing in admiralty law, as well as another New York firm, Debevoise & Plimpton. Federal regulations require the city to outsource the work involved in selling municipal bonds; firms doing that work have included Sidley Austin, Fulbright & Jaworski and Boston-based Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge. The city turns to outside experts in medical malpractice litigation arising from the 14 municipally run hospitals; they have included McAloon & Friedman and Martin Clearwater & Bell, both of New York. For litigation arising from city pension investments, the office has turned to firms including Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll of Washington, Grant & Eisenhofer of Wilmington, Del., and Labaton Sucharow & Rudoff of New York. Conflict counsel have included Seiff Kretz & Abercrombie and Peltz & Walker, both of New York. The city chooses among firms that respond to a formal request-for-proposal process. Diversity: Cardozo prides himself on the diversity within his office. Women make up 65% of his staff and whites perhaps less than 50%, he said. According to Cardozo, the office has the largest number of gay and lesbian attorneys of any municipal law department in the country. “We are a very representative microcosm of society,” he said. Route To Present Position: The Sept. 11 attacks convinced Cardozo, then a partner at New York-based Proskauer Rose, to contribute more to the city in which he was born and spent much of his life. At the time, he was co-chairman of the firm’s litigation department and had an active practice, representing the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer in antitrust and labor cases. “The city was on its knees. But this was an opportunity to give back, so when the mayor offered me the job, I said, ‘Yes,’ ” he said. “This is my absolute dream job. We make a difference. You can stand up in court and say, ‘I represent the city of New York’ � there’s a lot of meaning behind that. That’s a powerful statement. It’s very satisfying.” Cardozo served as president of the Bar Association of the City of New York from 1996 to 1998, and said that it helped prepare him for his job’s management and executive duties. He graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1963 and earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1966. Daily Duties: Cardozo starts his day at 9 a.m. with meetings in City Hall with the mayor and other officials. Then he’ll usually head back to his office to confer with aides on management issues and with lawyers working on individual cases. He tries to visit each of his offices every week, has frequent meetings with judges and attends charity and bar association events. One task the mayor assigned Cardozo was to help lead a parade safety task force. Bloomberg set up the panel after a wind gust blew a helium-filled balloon into a lamp post and injured two people during the 2005 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It followed a similar incident involving a Cat in the Hat balloon in 1997. “We realized this was something serious,” Cardozo said. “We came up with a new protocol for measuring wind � that’s something I didn’t learn in law school.” Personal: The Scarsdale, N.Y., resident enjoys attending the theater with his wife, Nancy, and spending time with daughters Hedy and Sheryl, and 3-year-old twin grandchildren, Joshua and Lucy. He is an avid New York Yankees fan, and likes to “putter around the garden.” He runs three days a week on a treadmill and relaxes in the evenings by reading. Last Book and Movie: Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Sicko.

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