Jeannette Molina ’93 Administrative Assistant District Attorney and Director of Legal Hiring, New York County District Attorney’s Office
Since she graduated from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, Jeannette Molina ’93 has been working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. She started out as a prosecutor, and she chose that position because she was committed to working in the public sector — a commitment that was solidified by her time at Hofstra Law.
“I wanted a job that would impact people’s lives and ensure the safety of our community,” says Molina. “I also wanted to be an advocate for individuals while trying cases. There is no better job to accomplish those goals than as a prosecutor.”
While studying at Hofstra Law, Molina was particularly inspired by her criminal law and constitutional law courses, experiences working in the Criminal Justice Clinic and participation on trial advocacy teams under the guidance of Lawrence Kessler, the Richard J. Cardali Distinguished Professor of Trial Advocacy and then-director of the Trial Techniques Program.
Molina recommends that law students interested in prosecuting criminal cases follow a similar path of study and get as much hands-on experience during their law school years as possible. “That will be the best evidence of your commitment to this job,” she notes. “Being a prosecutor is not for everyone, and it requires a true commitment to serving the public and the community, as well as integrity and an innate desire to achieve fair results for both victims and defendants.”
“The best way to know whether you have those qualities and whether you have the commitment to doing this job is by spending time in prosecutors’ offices,” she adds.
Molina’s career path is certainly a shining example. Her role in the district attorney’s office has grown greatly since she joined the team. She originally served as a line assistant district attorney in the trial division for eight years, where she tried dozens of cases and specialized in sex crimes and violent crimes. She then moved into the frauds bureau, where she worked for eight years and ultimately served as deputy bureau chief. Following her many successes, she was appointed to the office’s executive staff when Cyrus Vance, Jr., became the New York County district attorney in 2010.
Molina’s current functions are to assist in the overall management and oversight of the internal operations of the office. As director of legal hiring, she oversees the Permanent and Summer Legal Hiring boards and makes recommendations to the District Attorney on the hiring of the legal staff. She chairs the diversity committee, whose mission is to promote respect for diversity among the office’s attorneys and staff, as well as within the communities they serve.
Molina’s commitment to her profession goes far beyond her work in the DA’s office. She is an active member of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and serves as a member of the Law-Related Education Committee and Youth-at-Risk Subcommittee. In addition, she has served as an adjunct instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy program at Hofstra Law since 1999 and for the New York County District Attorney’s Office Trial Advocacy Training Program for junior lawyers since 2007.