Creating New York City’s first living wage bill, negotiating with New York State for wheelchair-accessible cabs, ensuring mental health services for justice-involved youths, and banning advertising of alcohol products that target young people throughout the MTA system—these are just a few of the ways Jamin Sewell has made a difference during his more than two-decade career as an attorney and social justice advocate.
A staunch supporter of voter protection, Sewell has participated in numerous campaigns across the state and nation as a member of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council. “I work in voter protection to ensure that no eligible voters are denied access to the polls,” he explains. “This is the most basic form of democracy and we have to contribute in whatever way we can.”
Sewell’s résumé includes operating his own law firm since 2016 and several other appointments, such as serving as a judicial hearing officer for the New York City Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings, director of Policy & Advocacy for the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies of New York, Legislative Counsel to a New York City Council Member, and organizer, 1199, SEIU, Health & Human Service Employees Union.
Since 2019 when he joined the faculty of St. Thomas Aquinas College as an adjunct professor, Sewell has been sharing his insights and experience he’s gained in the legal field with undergraduate and graduate students interested in law and politics. His courses include Labor Relations, Constitutional Law, Law and Society, and his favorite, Administrative Law. “This is the area of the law that people interact with most in daily life,” he says. “Traffic rules, environmental protection, and NCAA eligibility are all examples of administrative laws. The U.S. Supreme Court also issues frequent decisions on the power of government agencies, which is fun and important for us to discuss in class.”
In 2023, Sewell was appointed program Director of St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Master of Public Administration in Criminal Justice (MPA-CJ).
“Our students are eager to understand how complicated systems work so that they can become leaders in this world,” he says. “In the MPA-CJ program, students learn about how systems of power and governance operate, so that they can bring positive change to society. One of my goals for the program is that we provide students with the opportunity to understand how to advocate for change, through the classroom experiences as well as a robust internship program.”
Such real-world experiences, he adds, enable students to discover the career path they want to pursue and also develop key skills sought by today’s employers.
Sewell earned his Juris Doctorate at Brooklyn Law School and a bachelor’s degree at the New School for Social Research. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1999 and the Federal Courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York in 2000. An executive board member of the Workers Defense League, he is also a member of the New York State Bar Association and a life member of the 504 Democratic Club.
Although he is still settling into his new role as the director of the MPA-CJ program at STAC, Sewell has already mentored many students and looks forward to helping many more prepare for successful careers in law and social justice.
Originally from Champaign, Illinois, Sewell played varsity soccer and was the lead singer of a punk rock band. Now a Bronx resident, he is still an avid soccer fan and especially enjoys cheering his daughter on at her soccer games and tournaments around the country. He also likes going to concerts and traveling. His favorite destinations include London, Negril, Jamaica, and Washington, D.C.