June 14The New York Public Library announced today the appointment of Michele Coleman Mayes as Vice President, General Counsel. Serving as chief legal officer reporting to President & CEO Anthony Marx, Mayes will be responsible for all NYPL legal affairs, playing a key role in the transformation of the Library through creative entrepreneurship.Mayes will begin in August.

"Michele is an acclaimed and award-winning attorney with a broad and deep understanding of the law. The New York Public Library and the communities we serve will benefit greatly from her extensive background and trusted counsel. We are thrilled to welcome her to New York City and look forward to her stewardship,” Marx said.

Before joining The New York Public Library, Mayes was Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Allstate Corporation, which she joined in 2007. At Allstate, she guided the company on legal and regulatory matters. Prior to the Allstate Corporation, Mayes was General Counsel for Pitney Bowes, Inc.  She also held leadership positions at Colgate-Palmolive Company and the Unisys Corporation. From 1976 through 1982, she served at the United States Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit and Brooklyn.

Widely recognized as a leader in legal and philanthropic circles, Mayes has been the recipient of numerous professional awards including the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Award; the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Trailblazer Award; Ethisphere® Institute’s 2011 “Attorneys Who Matter” list of general counsels; and The National Law Journal’s 2009 “Most Influential General Counsels” list.

“The opportunity to join The New York Public Library is a great honor, combining my passion for the law with the joy of helping others,” Mayes said. “I look forward to working with the dedicated trustees, staff, and patrons of the Library. It is with a great deal of excitement that I enter the non-profit arena, supporting my soon-to-be fellow New Yorkers and library users around the world.”

Mayes received her BA at the University of Michigan and JD at the University of Michigan Law School.