Senator John Llewllyn Sampson, Leader of the Democratic Conference from June 2009 to December 2012, was elected to the New York State Senate in 1996. He represents the 19th Senatorial District which encompasses Canarsie, East New York, Spring Creek, parts of Brownsville, Georgetown, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Flatlands, Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay.
Born to American and Guyanese parents, John’s family moved from Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn to the Brownsville/East Flatbush section of Brooklyn where he grew up. Senator Sampson was educated in New York City's Public School 233, and in 1983 graduated from Tilden High School in Brooklyn. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1987 from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. While in college, he was employed as a paralegal for the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York. Following his graduation, Mr. Sampson worked for Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn as a litigation assistant. In 1988, he enrolled at Albany Law School. While at law school, he worked with the Department of Environmental Conservation until his graduation in 1991.
In April 1992, John was admitted to the New York State Bar, at which time he became a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of New York, representing clients in administrative and housing court proceedings. In 1993, he began working in private practice representing clients in Real Estate, Criminal and Election matters.
In acknowledgment of his many achievements, Senator Sampson has been recognized by the Brooklyn Borough President and is the recipient of numerous awards from many organizations, including: The Legal Aid Society; The Kings County Housing Court Bar Association; 100 Women for Justice; Metropolitan Jewish Health System; the Mid-Bedford Lions; the Greater New York Business League. He has also been honored with the Outstanding Young American Award; and the Congressional Legal Service Award.
As an active participant in community affairs, the Senator has conducted free legal clinics, immigration and foreclosure workshops. He has held round table discussions regarding health disparities and has organized annual information days and events for the district. A strong advocate for community development, John initiated “Community Reinvestment” - an agenda that focuses on improving the lives of residents of the 19th Senate District.
The Senator currently serves on two Boards of Trustees - Albany Law School and New York Medical College. He a past Trustee of Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. Mr. Sampson is a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association and other distinguished legal organizations. He is an affiliate of the Thomas Jefferson Club, New Era PAC and Rosetta Gatson Democratic Club.
Senator Sampson has the distinction of being the first African American to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also served as Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate Administrative Regulations Review Commission.
Senator Sampson conducted the confirmation hearings for Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals, Judge Jonathan Lippman. While Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Sampson made his commitment known to improving diversity within the New York State Court System calling for more hiring of minorities and women for judgeships.