New York Attorney General-Elect Letitia James has announced her incoming chief of staff and choices to lead two major divisions at the state attorney general’s office in January.
The announcement is the first glimpse into the team James will continue to build over the next two months as she transitions from her position in city government to the state’s top lawyer.
James said she will bring Ibrahim Khan over from the Office of Public Advocate to serve as her chief of staff. Khan was James’ campaign manager during the race for state attorney general this year but previously served as first deputy public advocate.
It’s not the first time Khan will serve as chief of staff to James. He held the same position in the public advocate’s office before becoming the first deputy public advocate. He was also a top adviser to her campaign for public advocate.
James also announced her picks to lead the attorney general’s divisions of social justice and criminal justice—two of the office’s largest teams.
Jennifer Levy, the current supervising attorney of the civil law reform unit at the Legal Aid Society, will serve as the chief deputy attorney general for social justice. Levy previously served in the public advocate’s office as general counsel in charge of litigation.
José Maldonado, the current head of a strategic consulting firm in the New York City metro area, will be the chief deputy attorney general for criminal justice. He was most recently a senior adviser at the New York City Civil Service Commission, where he gave legal advice on personnel determinations initiated by city agency commissioners.
Both attorneys have extensive backgrounds in law, which James highlighted in a statement with the announcement on Tuesday.
“In order to have an Attorney General’s Office doing everything possible to stand up for the rights of New Yorkers, we must have the best and brightest leading the office,” James said. “With decades of experience in government and the law, these three individuals will bring unparalleled expertise to the office and to the frontlines to protect all New Yorkers. I am confident they will lead our state forward.”
Khan is not an attorney, but he has been active among Democrats and a close adviser to James in recent years. He previously worked for former state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who was elected to Congress in 2016. He was also a legislative director in the State Assembly and worked as a regional field organizer for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign for president.
“There’s no greater calling than public service and, during these times, no better place to serve than the New York Attorney General’s Office—a bulwark against those who wish to roll back our rights,” Khan said in a statement.
Levy and Maldonado’s backgrounds are grounded in the legal industry, with the former showing a focus on legal services.
Levy was director of Bronx Legal Services and previously worked in other legal services programs before joining the public advocate’s office. She focused on housing litigation as a legal services attorney, which could translate well in her work overseeing the attorney general’s civil rights bureau. That bureau handles cases of housing discrimination.
“I am honored to be a part of making Letitia James’ vision for the Office of Attorney General a reality,” Levy said in a statement. “I have spent my career fighting to advance social justice and will continue to fight tirelessly on behalf of the people of New York under Attorney General James’ leadership.”
Maldonado worked as counsel and a senior policy adviser to the New York City Fire Department before joining the legal team at the New York City Civil Service Commission. He’s also held positions in the private sector. He was a partner at Pitta & Giblin for two years until 2012 and was previously a vice president at UnitedHealth Group.
“The New York State Attorney General’s Office has long been the strongest office we have to protect New Yorkers, and I know this legacy will only grow stronger under Attorney General Letitia James,” Maldonado said in a statement. “I am proud to join this administration and help use its power to take on the forces that seek to challenge our rights and rollback our progress.”
James announced her transition team last week, which includes big names like former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Chief Judge of New York Jonathan Lippman. She will be sworn into the office in January.