Ithaca native Aaron Lavine ’01, J.D. ’04, was appointed as the new City Attorney of Ithaca by Mayor-elect Svante Myrick ’09 at a Common Council meeting last week.
“I’m excited to work with [Myrick] to make Ithaca better, because I have known and loved Ithaca my entire life,” Lavine said.
Myrick expressed confidence in Lavine’s qualifications in an interview Monday night.
“I’ve known him for over a year and I have been extremely impressed with his work ethic and his intelligence,” Myrick said. “Plus he’s local, he knows the area very well and he’s eager to serve the city.”
Lavine currently works as a lawyer in Ithaca, specializing in civil litigation, but was previously part of the New York City legal firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. There, he practiced civil litigation, as well as appeals and internal investigations involving banking and securities law. He represented a number of clients on a pro bono basis, as well.
Lavine said he left his high-profile job in New York City, however, to return and give back to his hometown.
Lavine has been working at the Miller Mayer firm, the largest law firm in Ithaca, since his return. He will leave his job at the firm to pursue the position of City Attorney full time, he said.
“Both my wife, Lindsey, and I grew up in and loved Ithaca. We wanted to come back at one point and get involved in public service,” Lavine said.
Lavine will face new challenges in his latest legal position as City Attorney. Specifically, he discussed the need to address hydrofracking in Ithaca, especially with the city’s recent ban on the practice on municipal land.
Fil Eden ’10, Myrick’s campaign manager, said the city’s ban on hydrofracking presents a potential legal challenge, pointing to the recent lawsuit against the Town of Dryden.
“The Town of Dryden is being sued by [The Anschutz Exploration Corporation] and needs a very qualified and competent attorney,” Eden said.
Myrick praised Lavine’s potential to protect the city of Ithaca’s environment by upholding the ban on fracking.
“We are going to have to deal with the potential impacts of fracking. And as we attempt to regulate it and restrict it, [Levine] will be an asset in our plight to regulate natural gas and to protect our environment and our water,” Myrick said.
Lavine said he was ready to defend the recent ban, as well as to promote growth and development in the city of Ithaca.
“I hope to assist [Myrick in running] Ithaca as smoothly as possible and to achieve smart and focused development, while protecting Ithaca from the ills of fracking and maintaining the water quality of the city,” he said. “Both [Myrick] and I agree about the importance of a safe water supply, and, in general, making the Ithaca city government better and trying to make housing more affordable.”
Lavine graduated from Cornell with a degree in Policy Analysis and Management from the School of Human Ecology in 2001 and graduated from the Cornell Law School three years later, earning a J.D. magna cum laude.
Sophie Lin contributed reporting to this article.
Original Author: David Fischer