As an attorney and civic leader with over two decades of experience in the legal, regulatory, and public sectors, Julie Menin serves as the Director of NYC Census 2020 and as Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel at the NYC Law Department. She has led three New York City agencies including serving as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs (a prosecutorial agency with a staff of 500.)
In her current role as NYC Census Director, she is responsible for ensuring that New York City receives its fair share of over $650 billion in federal funding allocated nationwide as well as fighting attempts to undercount immigrant communities. This task is critical given that the City’s self-response rate to the Census in 2010 was 61.9%. In her senior role at the New York City Law Department, she develops cases in which the federal government or fraudulent corporations are taking actions that harm New Yorkers. She most recently helped bring a lawsuit charging 22 national e-cigarette sellers with deceptively marketing and selling their product to minors. She also participated in a historic win at the U.S. Supreme Court on defeating the federal government’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Menin previously served as Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, where she reinvigorated the agency by increasing consumer restitution by 70 percent, instituting 25 reforms to lower fines on small businesses where there was no consumer harm, implementing the Paid Sick Leave law, and launching trailblazing legal investigations into for-profit colleges, debt collectors, banks, predatory lenders and other industries preying on New Yorkers. She also settled the largest case in the agency’s history providing consumer relief to over 5,000 New Yorkers and initiated a groundbreaking fuel fraud case with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office resulting in the indictment of nine companies and 44 defendants. She also launched a new Earned Income Tax Credit initiative that resulted in over $260 million being returned to low income New Yorkers. Moreover, Menin created a new city initiative to seed over 10,000 kindergarteners with a college savings account and chaired the board of New York City Kids Rise, a not-for-profit organization charged with implementing this program.
Menin also previously served as Commissioner of Media and Entertainment where she implemented dozens of initiatives to increase gender equity. Faced with industries that were not diversified and lacked gender equity, Menin launched new programs to increase women’s representation and opportunities in film, TV, theater, and the music industry. These programs have been held up as a national model and utilized as a paradigm for other cities. Menin also negotiated the deal to bring the Grammy Awards back to New York in 2017, resulting in a $200 million economic benefit for New York City.
She previously served as a seven-year Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1 and is widely credited with helping to lead Lower Manhattan’s resurgence after 9/11. Several weeks after 9/11, she founded the not-for-profit organization Wall Street Rising, which focused on the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan and developed it into an organization with over 30,000 members. As Chairperson of Community Board 1, she facilitated the building of three new schools in Lower Manhattan, new parks, and affordable housing, and led the charge in favor of the Islamic Cultural Center and mosque downtown. As an outspoken advocate for New York City, she unearthed that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a board she previously served on, was hiring a fraudulent contractor for the Deutsche Bank deconstruction and sitting on over $150 million of funds belonging to the community. Menin has also successfully implemented legislation at the city and state level, including winning a two-year battle to mandate life-saving epi-pens on all ambulances statewide.
Menin previously practiced law as a regulatory and litigation attorney at one of the nation’s largest law firms in Washington, D.C. and served as Senior Counsel at a Fortune 500 Company. She has served on the boards of the Women’s Campaign Fund, where she helped launch She Should Run, a nationwide initiative that has encouraged thousands of women to run for elected office, and Eleanor’s Legacy, a statewide organization in New York focused on electing more Democratic women statewide. In addition, she has served on the boards of the Downtown Hospital, the Municipal Arts Society, and currently serves on the boards of Vera Institute of Justice’s Reform Leadership Council, the September 11th Memorial Foundation and the WTC Performing Arts Center.
She served as an adjunct professor of law and public policy at Columbia University and serves on the board of trustees of Columbia, from which she graduated magna cum laude.
Menin has been recognized as a Women’s Campaign Fund’s Rising Star, Citizen Union’s Civic Leader, City and State’s “40 Under 40”, “Power 100 Women” and “Top 25 Women in Public Service”. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards including Columbia University’s John Jay award and the League of Conservation Voters Public Service award. She has served as a frequent national commentator on law and politics and has appeared nationally on CNN, The Today Show, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and other outlets and previously hosted and co-produced a NBC cable news show focused on politics and law.