New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) said it will honor Barbadian-born Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix with its 14th Annual Diversity Trailblazer Award on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
NYSBA’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion will present the award during the association’s 142nd Annual Meeting at the New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas.
“Associate Justice Hinds-Radix of the Appellate Division, Second Department, will be honored for her extraordinary efforts to create opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds, mentor other lawyers and promote equality and diversity in the workplace,” said NYSBA in a statement.
“While Justice Hinds-Radix was growing up, her parents encouraged her to be anything she wanted to be and taught her to treat everyone as if they were a king,” it added. “These words have guided her throughout her career.
“All those who enter her courtroom are shown courtesy and respect,” NYSBA continued. “And she has made it her mission to mentor law students and to foster the leadership development of colleagues at work and those she meets through her bar activities.”
NYSBA noted that Justice Hinds-Radix was the first administrative judge in Kings County (Brooklyn) Supreme Court of Caribbean descent.
During her tenure, NYSBA said she developed a summer internship program for law students at the Supreme Court, which still serves 120 students from diverse backgrounds annually.
It said Justice Hinds-Radix is co-chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section’s yearly program on career strategies for attorneys of color.
“She regularly meets and speaks with public school students throughout Kings County, and she and her family spend their Saturday mornings tutoring students at the Barbados Ex-Police Association,” NYSBA added.
It said Justice Hinds-Radix migrated to the United States from Barbados while in her teens and earned her Juris Doctorate (law degree) from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
She was elected to the Kings County Civil Court in 2001 and to Kings Country Supreme Court three years later, where she served until her appointment to the Appellate Division in 2012.
“Justice Hinds-Radix is a leader and a role model with a heartfelt interest in the well-being of others,” NYSBA said. “She truly is a trailblazer.”
While stating that the Appellate Court on which she sits is the busiest in the nation, Justice Hinds-Radix has described as “interesting and fulfilling” her role on the New York court.
“The challenges are different from sitting on the trial court,” she told Caribbean Life earlier this month in an exclusive interview.
“The Appellate bench helps to shape the law in the State of New York,” she added. “It has been interesting and fulfilling, because it gives me an opportunity to help shape the law and have an impact on things statewide and community wide.”
Justice Hinds-Radix, who is married to Grenadian-born dentist Dr. Joseph Radix, said the Appellate court on which she sits gets more than its fair share of appellate cases in the state of New York.
“People on the bench have integrity, and they work every day to ensure the public gets the representation they need and deserve,” she said.
Justice Hinds-Radix said she is probably the first Caribbean-born justice to sit on the New York Appellate court.
“It’s a significant lesson,” she said. “Who could envision coming from an island (that is) 166 square miles (in size) to ascend to this position?
“I’m thankful to the governor and the community for re-electing me,” Justice Hinds-Radix added. “It’s an affirmation to my community, and I will endeavor to live up to the people’s trust as I go forward.”
Justice Hinds-Radix was re-elected to another 14-year term in the Midterm elections in November.
She said she was “quite happy” that her daughter, Jovia, graduated from law school, passed the bar examination, “and will continue in my footsteps,” adding: “I expect she’ll be better.”
In November 2012, Justice Hinds-Radix was appointed as an associate justice of the NYS Appellate Division, Second Department, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Prior to her appointment, she served as administrative judge for Civil Matters in the Second Judicial District for 39 months.
In her capacity as administrative judge, she oversaw both the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term and the New York City Civil Court, which also encompasses the Housing Court of the City of New York. She supervised both the judges in these courts and the non-judicial staff.
Justice Hinds-Radix was elected to the Supreme Court, Kings County, in November of 2004 and served as a New York City civil court judge, from 2002 through 2004, spending her first year in the Criminal Court of Kings County.
In 1985, soon after graduating from Howard University School of Law, Hinds-Radix joined the legal staff of District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services, where she remained until her Civil Court election in 2001.
While at DC 37, the largest union for public employees in New York, she practiced in the areas of civil practice, bankruptcy and landlord/tenant, and was the general counsel of the immigration program, a program which she was instrumental in founding.
In addition to her professional responsibilities, Justice Hinds-Radix is on the board of directors of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association, and is vice president of the Supreme Court Justices Association of the City of New York.
Justice Hinds-Radix said she has a passion for interacting with children and young adults, which she incorporates with her love of the law by being “a mentor and advisor to those who seek a career in the legal profession.”
Every year, the judge said she participates in career day programs at several schools, where she educates young people on a career in law and the function of the judiciary.
In her role as administrative judge, she said she developed a summer internship program for law students, where over 120 students, annually, were able to participate in workshops and visit other courts to observe and learn the role of each court.
Justice Hinds-Radix earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Long Island University.
In addition to being admitted to practice law in the state of New York, Justice Hinds-Radix is admitted to the United States Federal Court: Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Justice Hinds-Radix and Dr. Radix are the proud parents of three daughters.