M. Patricia Smith is currently the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor and co-chair of New York State’s Economic Security sub-cabinet. She oversees the New York State Department of Labor with an annual budget of $4 billion, with 3,700 employees in 80 offices throughout the state and serves as advisor to Governor David Paterson on workforce and labor policy.
Previously, she served for 20 years in the Labor Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the last eight as Bureau Chief. Her responsibilities included representing the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board in all State and Federal litigation and advancing an affirmative docket enforcing New York’s Labor Laws.
In 1996 and 1997, she argued and won two Employment Retirement Income Security Act cases before the United States Supreme Court. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, she worked for a variety of legal services organizations representing unemployment claimants, minimum wage workers, workers in federal job training programs and job seekers. She is an honors graduate of Trinity College in Washington, D.C. and received her law degree, cum laude, from the New York University School of Law.