Council Member Letitia "Tish" James was lucky enough to be born in Brooklyn, and except for her law school education at Howard University in Washington, D.C., she has lived in Brooklyn all her life. She loves her community, in all its diversity, and has devoted her life to helping it thrive.
As Counsel and Chief of Staff to state assembly members, she saw, up close, that government could be made to work in the public's interest. For example, James worked on a law that gave grandparents rights in family court, and negotiated a bill that allocated money for reconstruction of the Franklin Avenue Shuttle and Atlantic Terminal Station. She also negotiated legislation pertaining to childcare, health care and the protection of transit workers. In Albany, she worked with the Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caucus, and other progressive Democrats.
During her law career, James served as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society and represented countless young individuals in the criminal justice system. In the administration of NYS Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, she was appointed the first Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office. In that capacity, she resolved hundreds of consumer complaints and investigated predatory lenders who prey on first-time homebuyers. She assisted the Civil Rights Bureaus investigation of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy and cracked down on firms engaged in deceptive business practices including violations of human rights, environmental laws and immigration scams.
James founded the Urban Network, a coalition of minority professional organizations that raises money and distributes college scholarships to inner city youth. She attended New York City public schools and CUNY's Lehman College prior to Howard University Law School. In 2003, she completed her Master's in Public Administration at Columbia University's Graduate School of International and Public Affairs.