David S. Yassky (born March 3, 1964) is the Dean of Pace University's Elisabeth Haub School of Law[1] where he has served since 2014. He is also a former member of the New York City Council and was first elected in 2001. As a City Council Member, he represented the 33rd Council District, which includes parts of downtown Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO, Boerum Hill and Park Slope.

Yassky is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.[2] He was a budget analyst for the New York City Office of Management and Budget. He then served as chief counsel to the House Subcommittee on Crime, a subcommittee chaired by Charles Schumer. Yassky was a member of the faculty of the Brooklyn Law School.[3]

In 2006, Yassky ran for U.S. Congress in Brooklyn, losing to Yvette Clarke. On September 29, 2009 he lost the run-off election for the Democratic nomination for New York City Comptroller. In 2010 Yassky was appointed chairman of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.[4]


He has been married to Metropolitan Opera CFO Diana Fortuna since 1990,[5] and they live in Brooklyn Heights with their two daughters.

City Council

Yassky was elected to the New York City Council in 2001. He is chair of the Council's Small Business Committee. Yassky was one of 29 councilmembers who voted in 2008 to extend term limits for themselves effectively ignoring two previous public votes imposing a limit of two terms. Hours before the final vote on term limits, Yassky proposed an amendment from the floor that would have altered the legislation to require approval by popular vote before term limits could change. The amendment failed by a vote of 28-22, but Yassky voted for the extension anyway[6][7]

2006 Congressional campaign

In 2006, Yassky ran for the Democratic Party's nomination for the 11th Congressional District seat, an open seat held by the retiring Congressman Major Owens. He was part of a four-way race which also included New York State Senator Carl Andrews, New York City Council member Yvette D. Clarke and Major Owens's son Chris Owens.

During the primary, Major Owens called Yassky a "colonizer", Al Sharpton called Yassky "greedy", and City Council member Albert Vann sent an email to black elected officials stating that "we are in peril of losing a 'Voting Rights' district ... as a result of the well financed candidacy of Council Member David Yassky, a white individual".[8] The area had been represented by black politicians since the election of Shirley Chisholm in 1968.[9]

On August 30, 2006, The New York Times endorsed Yassky, citing his "stellar record on the Council" and criticizing his rivals for not making a substantial case for their election, and the Democratic leadership within Brooklyn for failing to find qualified black candidates for this seat.[10]

In a primary election held on September 12, 2006, Yassky garnered 26% of the popular vote. The final winner was Yvette Clarke, with about 30%.[11]

2009 Comptroller election

In 2009, Yassky ran for the office of New York City Comptroller. He was endorsed by much of the press,[12][13]Ed Koch and his former boss, Sen. Charles Schumer.[14]The New York Times on August 23, 2009, attributed its endorsement to his "skill, intelligence, and independence."[15] In the Democratic primary held on September 15, 2009, Yassky was the runner-up with 107,474 votes, or approximately 30% of the votes cast. He lost in the run-off with 44.4% of the vote to John Liu, who had more support among union members and minority groups.

Pace University's Elisabeth Haub School of Law

On February 26, 2014 Pace University's Law School announced that Yassky was named the new Dean. He assumed the position in April 2014.[16][17] Since his appointment, Pace Law’s distinctive “Path to Practice” curriculum has developed into a model of forward-thinking legal pedagogy, based on curricular concentrations that enable students to develop concrete skills suited to particular areas of legal practice, and that fully integrate experiential learning with traditional classroom instruction. Yassky has also championed innovative programs such as Pace Law’s “Semester in Practice” initiative, which allows third-year students to spend an entire semester in supervised practice at a law firm or government agency. Under Dean Yassky's leadership, Pace University received the largest philanthropic gift in its history. In recognition of the law school's long-standing partnership with the family of the late Elisabeth Haub, a tireless environmental advocate and philanthropist, and a generous donation from the Haub family, Pace renamed its law school the Elisabeth Haub School of Law . The gift is establishing an endowment for the Law School, strengthening the school's renowned environmental law program and funding innovative teaching initiatives.[18]


  1. ^ "Message from Dean Yassky | Pace Law School". law.pace.edu. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 
  2. ^ NYC Council: District 33 - David Yassky
  3. ^ New York City 2009 General Election Guide, NYC Campaign Finance Board
  4. ^ http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/html/about/chair_bio.shtml
  5. ^ "Diana Fortuna, State Aide in Capital, Is Married to David Yassky, a Lawyer". New York Times. July 1, 1990. 
  6. ^ Chan, Sewell; Hicks, Jonathan P. (2008-10-23). "Council Votes, 29 to 22, to Extend Term Limits". New York Times, City Room Blogs. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  7. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (2008-10-27). "Yassky Defends His Vote on Term Limits". New York Times, City Room Blogs. 
  8. ^ "'A White Individual': How the Voting Rights Act promotes racial polarization". Wall Street Journal. 2006-06-20. 
  9. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (2006-08-25). "Rivals In House Race Debate White Candidate's Motives". New York Times. 
  10. ^ "Editorial: For Congress in Brooklyn". New York Times. 2006-08-30. 
  11. ^ 2006 Congressional Primary Results. NY1 News.
  12. ^ Daily News endorsement of Yassky
  13. ^ NY Post endorsement of Yassky
  14. ^ Endorsements
  15. ^ "For New York City Comptroller", New York Times", August 23, 2009, accessed September 25, 2009
  16. ^ "Pace Picks Yassky, Ex-Taxi Chief, as Its Law School Dean". New York Times. February 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ "David Yassky | Pace Law School". www.law.pace.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-18. 
  18. ^ "Pace University Renames Law School in Honor of Renowned Environmental Conservationist | Pace Law School". law.pace.edu. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ken Fisher
New York City Council, 33rd District
Succeeded by
Stephen T. Levin
Preceded by
Matthew W. Daus
New York City
Taxi and Limousine Commission

Succeeded by
Meera Joshi