Carol Robles-Román ’89, a dedicated public servant and civil rights advocate who helped make New York’s courts more accessible, passed away on August 20.
“Carol was a tremendous lawyer and a champion for civil rights throughout her career,” says Dean Troy McKenzie ’00. “Her passion and dedication to serving her community will leave an indelible mark on the Law School and the legal profession.”
A New York City native, Robles-Román’s career spanned government service, higher education, judicial matters, and civil rights. She most recently served as general counsel and dean of faculty for Hunter College in New York.
From 2002 to 2013, Robles-Román was New York City’s deputy mayor for legal affairs and counsel to then-mayor Michael Bloomberg. In this role, Robles-Román updated and improved court policies on language translation, oversaw numerous agencies including the city’s commission on human rights, and created four Family Justice Centers, which provide comprehensive social services to victims of domestic abuse.
A longstanding advocate for women’s and Latinx rights, Robles-Román took nonprofit leadership positions after leaving the Bloomberg administration. She served as CEO of Legal Momentum, a civil rights organization focused on women’s rights, and then as co-president and CEO of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality, where she led legal efforts and strategy to advance constitutional equality for women. She became general counsel and dean of faculty at Hunter College in 2019.
At the Law School, Robles-Román served on the NYU Review of Law & Social Change and was a member of the Unemployment Action Center, which provides representation to claimants seeking unemployment benefits. At her graduation, she was a recipient of the Vanderbilt Medal, which honors graduating students who have made extraordinary contributions to the Law School community. Robles-Román was both a director of the Law Alumni Association (LAA) and, from 1999 to 2000, president of the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association, now called the Law Alumni of Color Association (LACA). She joined the LAA Board in 1996, served as vice president in 2003, and became an LAA honorary director in 2006. In addition to her service for both associations, she served on her reunion committees, was a mentor with the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center, and received a distinguished service award from LACA.
Robles-Román was a member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and a board member of the Latino Judges Association Foundation. Prior to the mayor’s office, she served as a New York State assistant attorney general in the civil rights division, and as special inspector general for bias matters and special counsel for the New York State Unified Court Systems. She earned a bachelor of arts in media studies/journalism and political science from Fordham University.
Posted August 22, 2023.