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ALEXANDRIA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Zachary W. Carter, Esquire has been selected to receive the prestigious 2019 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Second Circuit. Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will present the award during the Judicial Conference of the Second Circuit on September 10 in New York, New York.

Since 2014, Carter has been the corporation counsel of the city of New York. “There is no one more emblematic of the ideals of the Inns of Court Professionalism Award and no attorney more deserving than Zach Carter,” says Edna Wells Handy, Esquire, who nominated Carter for the award.

Carter oversees a law department with more than 900 attorneys and is a chief legal advisor to the mayor and city agency heads. “Zach has worked to promote a fairer and more just city for all of its citizens,” says Georgia M. Pestana, Esquire, who became the first woman to serve as the city’s first assistant corporation counsel when Carter promoted her. As Pestana’s story suggests, Carter is deeply committed to mentoring lawyers—especially women and people of color—as well as other members of the legal community. “Zach Carter has been a leader and mentor to thousands of lawyers in New York City over the many years of his illustrious career,” says former colleague Alan Vinegrad, Esquire. Under Carter’s leadership, the law department also established a professional development program for paralegals, investigators, and others in his office and created a career counselor position to provide guidance to support staff seeking new opportunities.

Prior to becoming corporation counsel, Carter was a partner in the New York firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP, overseeing the trial group in the New York office and co-chairing the white collar crime and civil fraud practice. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Carter as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The first African American to hold that position, Carter oversaw civil rights prosecutions against the police officers who tortured Abner Louima and against the rioters who killed Yankel Rosenbaum during the Crown Height riots. Carter has also served as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and as a judge in the New York City Criminal Court.

Carter graduated from Cornell University in 1972 and received his law degree from New York University School of Law in 1975.

The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, inspires the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring. The organization’s membership includes more than 31,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in nearly 380 chapters nationwide. More information is available at


American Inns of Court

Cindy Dennis

Awards & Scholarships Coordinator

(571) 319-4703

[email protected]