legal counsel

Iyer Named Director of the NJ Division on Civil Rights

State Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin has appointed Sundeep Iyer to serve as the director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. As required by statute, the appointment was also approved by Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Commission on Civil Rights. Sundeep will begin his new role on Jan. 3.

“I am thrilled that Sundeep Iyer has been appointed to lead the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights,” said Murphy. “Sundeep is a brilliant attorney who has used his considerable talents to champion the cause of equal justice, including by working as a special attorney for the prosecution in the trial for George Floyd’s murder. I know Sundeep will fight tirelessly to safeguard the rights of all New Jersey residents, and I thank Attorney General Platkin for this outstanding appointment.”

“Enforcing New Jersey’s powerful civil rights laws is a top priority for me and the Murphy administration. As the rate of bias incidents rises across our state and our country, and as we confront systemic inequalities like housing discrimination that plague our society, we must continue to work tirelessly to protect the civil rights of every person in New Jersey,” said Attorney General Platkin.

Iyer, a New Jersey native, currently serves as Assistant Attorney General and Senior Counsel to Attorney General Platkin. In that capacity, he is the Attorney General’s principal advisor on civil rights matters. He oversees the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights and coordinates department-wide civil rights initiatives. He also works with the Office of the Solicitor General on appeals involving matters of constitutional law, statutory interpretation, civil rights, and criminal law.

Prior to joining the Office of the Attorney General, Iyer was a senior associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP. During his time at the firm, he served as a special attorney for the State of Minnesota in the prosecution of the four former police officers charged in connection with the death of George Floyd. He was part of the legal team that obtained a conviction of Derek Chauvin on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, and he briefed, argued, and won key legal motions for the State at trial.

Iyer was also part of the litigation team that obtained an injunction against President Trump’s travel ban and defended that injunction before the U.S. Supreme Court. He represented federal death-row inmates in a challenge to the Trump Administration’s federal lethal injection protocol. And he was one of the lead attorneys for a group of eight plaintiff organizations challenging President Trump’s rescission of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the next Director of the Division on Civil Rights, and I thank Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin for entrusting me with this role,” said Sundeep Iyer, incoming Director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. “This is a critical time for civil rights in New Jersey, and I look forward to working with the dedicated public servants in the Division to enforce our State’s civil rights laws and ensure that no New Jersey resident faces discrimination in our State.”

Iyer previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer, as well as for then-Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He received his A.B. from Harvard College and J.D. from Yale Law School. Prior to graduating law school, Sundeep was the Principal Quantitative Analyst at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where he directed statistical research on voting rights, campaign finance, and redistricting issues.

Iyer will succeed Rachel Wainer Apter, who served as the Director of the Division on Civil Rights from October 2018 until she was confirmed as an Associate Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court in October 2022.

“During her tenure, and in every aspect of her career, Rachel Wainer Apter has been a champion for justice and equal rights,” said Attorney General Platkin. “I am deeply grateful for her work advancing the cause of civil rights as Director of the Division on Civil Rights.”

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