Barbara Underwood


Barbara D. Underwood has served as New York’s Solicitor General since 2007, except for the period from May through December of 2018, when she served, by appointment of the state legislature, as New York’s 66th Attorney General, the first woman to hold that position.

She received her A.B. from Harvard University (Radcliffe College) and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she finished first in her class. She then served as law clerk to Chief Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Early in her career, she was a tenured Professor of Law at Yale Law School, an adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School, a visiting Professor at NYU School of Law, and — while on leave from Yale — a trial attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

She has served as an appellate litigator and supervisor, and member of the executive staff, in a series of public law offices: she was Chief of Appeals and Counsel to the Brooklyn District Attorney, Senior Executive Assistant for Legal Affairs to the Queens District Attorney, and Chief Assistant and Counsel to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

From 1998 to 2001 Barbara served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General and then Acting Solicitor General of the United States, the first woman to head that Office. She has argued 23 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, including the successful challenge to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, and the defense of New York’s handgun licensing law against a Second Amendment challenge.

She has served as Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee and its Council on Criminal Justice. Among many awards, she is especially proud of the Professionalism Award she received from The American Inns of Court, honoring her many years of mentorship.

Barbara Underwood

Solicitor General, State of New York

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