Preeta Bansal

  • Fall 2003

Preeta Bansal is the former Solicitor General of the State of New York, a position she held during the first three years of Attorney General's Eliot Spitzer's administration. As Solicitor General, she helped supervise a staff of six hundred lawyers in the New York Department of Law, and directly oversaw forty-five lawyers in the Solicitor General's Office. During her tenure as Solicitor General, Ms. Bansal helped articulate a proactive role for state attorneys general in the wake of the "new federalism". She also focused on strengthening the credibility of the Attorney General's office with the courts, and public relationship-building with the New York state legal and judicial communities.

Ms. Bansal currently serves as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a nine-member, bipartisan federal agency that advises the President, Congress, and
Secretary of State on how best to promote religious freedom abroad. She was appointed to serve in this part-time capacity by Senate Minority Leader Daschle in May 2003.

Ms. Bansal is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe College, and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. She served as a law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court (1990-1991) and to Chief Judge James L. Oakes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1989-1990). Prior to her appointment as New York Solicitor General, Ms. Bansal practiced First Amendment/media and appellate law with law firms in Washington, D.C. (1991-1993) and New York City (1996-1999). She served in the Clinton Administration (1993-1996) as Counselor in the U.S. Justice Department and as Special Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel, and also served as Counselor to Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein (now Chancellor of the New York City school system) in the U.S. Department of Justice (Antitrust Division).

Preeta has received awards and recognition from several local and national legal associations and immigrant community groups, and has been active in numerous community and social service activities. She is a regular volunteer at community soup kitchens, has served as a life skills mentor to inner New York City children, and serves on the national boards of several nonprofit organizations. She was born in India and immigrated with her family to the American Midwest at the age of three. She will return to private law practice and public service/political involvement in New York City in 2004.

She will lead a month-long study group on "Courts, God and Politics" during October 2003.