The New York Public Library Appoints Bridget Smith as General Counsel

Smith returns to the Library following three years as Senior Counsel at The Ford Foundation

January 22, 2024—The New York Public Library announced today the appointment of Bridget Smith as General Counsel and Secretary. Serving as chief legal officer reporting to President Anthony W. Marx, Smith will be responsible for all NYPL legal affairs, playing an integral role in supporting the organization and maintaining its continued growth and reputation. Smith will start at the Library on January 29.

For over a decade Smith served as one of the Library’s in-house lawyers and worked with former Vice President, General Counsel Michele Coleman Mayes, who will be retiring from the Library at the end of February. In 2020, Bridget joined the Ford Foundation as Senior Counsel, where she oversaw operations and the contracts team at Ford, as well as serving as the attorney for Ford’s Southeast Asia regional office in Jakarta and the Central America regional office in Mexico City. Smith also held positions at Davis, Polk & Wardwell and Skadden, Arps, Meagher, Slate & Flom, LLP, as well as serving as law clerk for the Honorable Robert L. Carter of the U. S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.  She is admitted to practice in New York State and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York federal courts.   

"Bridget is an outstanding attorney with not only an extensive understanding of the law and as a valued former colleague returning to us, she knows the historic role the Library plays in supporting New Yorkers and the City. Her legal and philanthropic acumen will be an extraordinary benefit to the Library’s patrons and staff. All of us are delighted to welcome Bridget back to the Library and look forward to working with her. We also want to thank Bridget’s predecessor, Michele Colman Mayes for her extraordinarily skillful guidance and direction; we are confident that under Bridget’s stewardship, the Library will continue to thrive,” said Anthony W. Marx, President of The New York Public Library

"I am honored to have been selected as the next General Counsel for The New York Public Library. It is exciting to be a part of this community. I look forward to supporting the mission, vision and core values of the Library," said Smith. 

Smith received her BA at Wellesley College, a Master in Public Policy and Urban Planning at Harvard University, and her JD at the University of California at Berkeley, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law.  Smith was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship (New York) while at Wellesley and was also featured in the Harvard Business Review Press book Geeks and Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders

About The New York Public Library

For over 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With over 90 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives millions of visits through its doors annually with millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at





Media Contacts

Amy Geduldig | 212.592.7177 |