Bronx Defenders Founder to Step Down as Executive Director

September 20, 2017, New York, NY —Bronx Defenders founder Robin Steinberg will step down as executive director at the end of this year, leaving the public defense office that she founded two decades ago.

The announcement was made at the organization’s 20th anniversary gala last night, which was attended by over 300 supporters and hosted by the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-Winning actor Jimmy Smits.

A national search has been launched for her successor.

“I have had the immense privilege to lead this organization for its 20-year history. Throughout the past two decades, I have worked alongside brilliant, passionate and dedicated advocates who built, grew and nurtured what has become the most innovative and effective public defender office in the nation. We have, put simply, redefined public defense,” said Steinberg. “Our model of holistic defense has set new standards for excellence, challenging others to do more in courts and disenfranchised communities, while disrupting the system and striving for new solutions to entrenched criminal justice realities.”

Steinberg founded The Bronx Defenders in 1997 with a small group of lawyers, an investigator, and a social worker. Over her 20-year tenure as executive director, she turned the organization into one of the leading public defense offices in the country and a pioneer in the field of holistic indigent defense. Today, The Bronx Defenders counts with a staff of over 300 advocates working in interdisciplinary teams that span several legal practices, including in criminal, family, housing, and immigration courts. The organization serves over 35,000 Bronx residents every year and has provided training and technical assistance to countless defender offices across the country.

“Over the past 20 years, The Bronx Defenders has grown into a formidable force for justice in the Bronx and beyond,” said Earl Ward, Chair of the Board of The Bronx Defenders. “Seeing the model that Robin envisioned all those years ago become the gold standard of indigent defense is nothing short of remarkable.”

“While I am sad to leave The Bronx Defenders to embark upon my next adventure, I do so with complete confidence in the abilities and vision of our amazing management team, supervisors, and staff,” said Steinberg. “With the guidance of our incredible Board of Directors, I am confident that the best days of The Bronx Defenders lie ahead as we build upon our history and lead the movement in this country—at long last—towards real change and the creation of a more equitable and humane legal system.”