Hon. Betty Staton: “Leadership and Service”

Hon. Betty Staton ’79 attended NYU School of Law on a full scholarship. After graduation, Staton worked at Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services (BSCLS) for eight years, during which she served as the deputy director and director of community outreach and education. As part of her position, she developed curriculum in various legal areas and trained laypeople to advocate for and represent clients at administrative hearings. She also conducted outreach seminars at schools, senior citizen centers, and youth centers.

In March 1987, Staton left BSCLS to become a founding partner in the law firm of Boyd, Staton & Cave, the first African-American female law firm in New York state. Staton was a partner in the firm until April 1991, when Mayor David Dinkins appointed her to a 10-year term on the New York State Family Court, assigned to Kings County. In 2001, she was reappointed to a 10-year term by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and served until her mandatory retirement. After a career of almost 20 years on the bench, including a period as a judicial hearing officer, Staton returned to BSCLS. She currently serves as president of the consolidated Legal Services NYC organization Brooklyn Legal Services.

Staton has served as an adjunct lecturer at several colleges, including New York City College of Technology, where she taught business law for more than 15 years. She is a member of several law-related associations and community organizations and was a founding member of the St. Paul Community Christian School, a private school for students pre-K through ninth grade in Brooklyn. In 1978, Staton, who traveled to the 1963 March on Washington, was among the students who organized NYU Law’s Black and Latino Alumni Association, which later became the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association and now the Law Alumni of Color Association (LACA). Staton graduated cum laude from Brooklyn College in 1973, which she attended after an absence of 18 years and while raising two young sons.