Carol has been active in global, national and local partnerships that enhance access to justice and educational opportunities throughout her career in government, academia and not for profit leadership. She recently retired as Hunter College’s General Counsel and Dean of Faculty where she led the Legal Affairs office and provided the President and college leadership with legal advice and guidance. She championed public higher education and equal opportunity for students at one of our nation’s top urban colleges that has been a gateway to life-changing educational opportunity in New York City for 150 years. She is a former member of the City University of New York’s Board of Trustees for 14 years.
The Guardian noted in a 2018 profile about Carol’s dedication to public service, “For Robles-Román, the drive to fight for social justice is in her DNA. Robles-Román has spent the bulk of her career in different arenas of the global fight for civil rights.” She was CEO of two national women’s rights organizations where she led projects in gender justice, personal safety and access to justice reform. As President/CEO of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality, she led legal and advocacy efforts to advance constitutional equality. Her work was featured in the documentary, “I am Jane Doe” about victims of online sex trafficking and their quest for justice.
Carol was Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs and Counsel to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for 12 years, the first woman to ever serve as counsel to a NYC Mayor. She oversaw 13 city agencies and judicial appointments to the Family and Criminal courts. She spearheaded many reform and operational initiatives with courts, community leaders, advocates, government officials and policy experts to address diversity in the courts, access to justice, immigrants rights, domestic violence, anti-discrimination laws and human trafficking, including:
- Established NYC’s first state-of-the-art Family Justice Centers. The five Centers coordinate over 260 city, private, federal and non-profit staff. She successfully championed expansion of legal services for immigrants in need of defense counsel and immigrants who are domestic violence victims.
- Implemented first-of-its-kind citywide training to recognize signs of trafficking and provide appropriate services at City Family Justice Centers, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation hospitals, and the Administration for Children’s Services.
- Oversaw enforcement of the city’s anti-discrimination laws, and monitored NYC Commission on Human Rights investigations and enforcement.
- Spearheaded the city’s first ever language access Executive Order, which mandated city agencies to implement language assistance plans for limited English proficient persons. The order helps provide better customer service to the more than 2 million New Yorkers who have limited English proficiency.
- Oversaw the drafting and ratification of Executive Orders 34 and 41, protecting confidential city information regarding immigration status, sexual orientation, and status as a sexual assault victim or victim of domestic violence, from disclosure by city employees, except in narrow circumstances.
- Advanced the passage of legislation for Disability Rent Increase Exemptions (DRIE) for the disabled with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.
- Oversaw the historic agreement that transferred prosecutorial authority from the NYPD to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) for substantiated misconduct cases against police officers.
- Spearheaded the creation of the Latin Media and Entertainment Commission to recruit and grow Latin media productions and businesses. The Commission launched Latin Media & Entertainment Week, which bought together leaders in business, entertainment, and media to collaborate on events around Latin media and entertainment.
As a top executive for the NYS judiciary, she served as its first Special Inspector General for Bias Matters appointed by Chief Judge Judith Kaye and later as Special Counsel to the Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman. She served as an NYS assistant attorney general for civil rights.
She has received many recognitions including: the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence to recognize exceptional service and leadership to improving the legal response to domestic violence and sexual assault; the Frank Torres Award for commitment to diversity from the Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage; the Women of Courage Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus; and induction into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame. Carol is a nationally recognized public speaker about trends in the law and courts, women’s rights, immigration, human trafficking and domestic violence.
She is a past Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow and Vital Voices Ambassador which connects global women leaders with women executives. She is past co-chair of the NYC Council Young Women’s Initiative Advisory Council, a first-of-its-kind initiative to create intergenerational leadership for girls of color, and has served on the Boards of the Women’s Forum of New York, the National Association of Women Lawyers, Veteran Feminists of America, and the NFL Domestic Violence Working Group. A lifelong New Yorker, Carol holds a B.A from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and a J.D. from New York University School of Law where she received the Vanderbilt Medal for extraordinary contribution to the law school community. She is married to Judge Nelson Roman and has two children Ariana and Andrés.