Robin Steinberg is a leader and a pioneer in the field of indigent defense. A 1982 graduate of the New York University School of Law, Robin has been a public defender for her entire career. After starting out as a criminal trial lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County and the Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Division in New York City, Robin went on to become a founding member and Deputy Director at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. In 1997, Robin created The Bronx Defenders, where she has developed holistic defense – a client-centered model of public defense that uses interdisciplinary teams of advocates to address both the underlying causes and collateral consequences of criminal justice involvement.
Today, Robin advocates nationally and internationally for holistic defense – delivering papers, conducting training sessions, providing technical assistance to defender offices, and hosting visitors from around the world. She is a frequent commentator on local and national media outlets, and travels across the country to deliver lectures on indigent defense. Robin has been honored by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association for her, “exceptional vision, devotion, and service in the quest for equal justice,” and by the New York Bar Association for her, “outstanding contribution to the delivery of defense services.” Harvard Law School awarded Robin its Wasserstein Fellowship in recognition of her “outstanding contributions and dedication to public interest law.” Robin has taught trial skills at various law schools, and is currently a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches a seminar on holistic defense.
Robin is the author of four articles: “Heeding Gideon’s Call in the 21st Century: Holistic Defense and the New Public Defense Paradigm” (Washington and Lee Law Review, Summer 2013), “Beyond Lawyering: How Holistic Lawyering Makes for Good Public Policy, Better Lawyers, and More Satisfied Clients” (NYU Journal of Law and Social Change, 2006), “Unprotected: HIV Prison Policy and the Deadly Politics of Denial” (Harvard Journal of African-American Public Policy, 2005), and “Cultural Revolution: Transforming the Public Defender Office” (NYU Journal of Law and Social Change, 2004). She is also the author of a chapter, “Fair Play,” in the book, How Can You Represent Those People: Criminal Defense Stories, edited by Abbe Smith and Monroe Freedman (Summer 2013).
- In the Bronx, justice is delayed & denied
- U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor Speaks at The Bronx Defenders
- The Nation: How an Unusual Team Helps Extricate Bronx Residents From NYC’s Criminal-Justice System
- New York Times: State’s Chief Judge, Citing ‘Injustice,’ Lays Out Plans to Alter Bail System
- The Problem with NYC’s Bail Reform
- Vice News: NYC to Eliminate Bail for Many Non-Violent Offenders
- The Indypendent: The Poor Man’s Lawyer: Inequality in the Courtroom
- NPR: Should A Criminal Record Come With Collateral Consequences?
- Robin Steinberg and Scott Levy are panelists at Cardozo Law Review Symposium
- The Bronx Defenders Reacts to Grand Jury Decision On Eric Garner’s Killing by NYPD
- New York Daily News: Robin’s Steinberg’s Op-Ed – The wrong way to reform NYC’s pot policing policy
- Sixteen Bronx Defenders staff members presenting as panelists at the 2014 National Legal Aid & Defender Association Conference
- Truthout: Film the Police!
- Robin Steinberg to speak at UCLA School of Law on November 3
- Huffington Post: Prisoners’ Rights Advocates React To Retirement Of Rikers Official Who Oversaw Violent Facility
- WNYC’s The Takeaway: Confronting The Hard Realities of Race and Criminal Justice Through Ferguson
- The Bronx Defenders responds to US Attorney report on deplorable conditions facing adolescents at Rikers Island
- The Guardian: The war on drugs has become a war on occasional pot smokers of color
- NBC 4 New York: Low-Level Suspects Seriously Hurt
- WNYC: When ‘Broken Windows’ Leads to Busted Heads
- Watch Robin Steinberg’s Keynote Speech from Yale Law School’s 2014 RebLaw Conference
- Graham + West blog interview with Robin Steinberg on changing the criminal justice system
- Robin Steinberg to speak on Bureau of Justice Assistance conference panel about holistic defense in tribal justice systems.
- WNYC: Bailing Out Those Who Can’t Make Bail
- Riverfront Times: ArchCity Defenders – Meet the legal superheroes fighting for St. Louis’ downtrodden