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We are public defenders.

Our Board of Directors

Jay Cohen, Esq.
Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP
As a partner, co-chair of the Litigation Department, and a member of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP’s Management Committee, Mr. Cohen is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and corporate counselor, particularly with regard to his comprehensive expertise in media, antitrust, securities, intellectual property and general complex commercial disputes. Mr. Cohen is one of a select group of nationally recognized trial lawyers in Legal 500, and he is also recognized in Benchmark/Institutional Investor, Chambers USA, and Legal 500 as one of the leading media and entertainment lawyers in the United States, and in The Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in commercial litigation, antitrust, media law and intellectual property.
Dassin_Lev_102x126Lev Dassin, Esq.
Board Secretary          Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
As a partner based in the New York office, Mr. Dassin’s practice focuses on enforcement matters and complex commercial litigation. Mr. Dassin represents prominent corporations and individuals in criminal and regulatory investigations in the U.S. and internationally, as well as in complex commercial disputes in federal and state courts.  Before joining Cleary, Mr. Dassin served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as the Acting U.S. Attorney, the Deputy U.S. Attorney, and the Chief of the Criminal Division, and earlier in his career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.  Mr. Dassin teaches trial practice at Columbia University School of Law, where he has been a member of the adjunct faculty since 1999.
Estela-Diaz-135x167Estela Díaz, Esq.
Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP
As a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, Ms. Díaz focuses on commercial litigation and labor and employment matters. Ms. Díaz has represented companies and individuals in a variety of criminal and regulatory investigations involving state and federal governmental authorities. In addition, Ms. Díaz has experience conducting internal investigations involving allegations of misconduct against senior executives of public companies. In the employment context, she has litigated employment discrimination suits and putative class actions involving wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law. Ms. Díaz is currently a member of the New York office’s diversity committee. She is also a member of the Minorities in the Courts Committee of the New York City Bar Association and the Hispanic National Bar Association.
Ben_DukeP. Benjamin Duke, Esq.   Board Treasurer 
Partner, Covington & Burling LLP
As a litigation partner and a member of the Insurance Practice Group at Covington & Burling, LLP, Mr. Duke represents policyholders in a broad range of complex litigation, arbitration and advisory matters involving all types of insurance – from general liability to D&O, professional liability, and other specialized coverages. Mr. Duke has broad experience litigating both in state and federal courts and in numerous arbitration forums. He has advised and helped obtain significant insurance recoveries on behalf of clients in many industries, including the financial services, technology, energy and pharmaceutical industries. In addition to his insurance recovery experience, Mr. Duke has extensive trial experience representing financial institutions in the defense of securities-related claims and other financial disputes.
Earl WardEarl Ward, Esq.
Board Chair
Partner, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, LLC
A partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, LLC, Mr. Ward is one of New York’s preeminent and most successful trial lawyers, with 26 years of experience as a criminal defense and civil rights attorney. Before joining Emery Celli Brinckerhoff and Abady, Mr. Ward had his own firm where he handled serious felony matters. Mr. Ward’s clients have spanned a broad spectrum, from indigent criminal defendants to high profile figures and corporate executives. Mr. Ward has lectured extensively on trial practice, including as guest lecturer at New York University School of Law, Cardozo Law School, and the United States District Court for the Southern District, Pro Se Trial Advocacy Program. In addition to his position on the Board of The Bronx Defender, Mr. Ward is also Chair of the Board of Housing Works, an organization committed to helping homeless men and women with HIV/AIDS, and Chair of the Board of Esperanza, an alternative to incarceration program for at risk adolescents.

Nicole Smith Futrell
Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Defenders Clinic at CUNY School of Law

Nicole Smith Futrell is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Defenders Clinic at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where she and her students represent clients in a variety of defense-related cases such as, state court misdemeanor matters, clemency and parole petitions, school suspension hearings, and conviction sealing applications. Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Smith Futrell was a staff attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice of the Bronx Defenders, where she litigated misdemeanor and felony cases and conducted criminal law trainings for new attorneys and local community groups. She has also worked as an advisor in the Center for Public Interest Law at Columbia University Law School. Professor Smith Futrell’s scholarship, which has been featured in both academic and popular publications, analyzes the relationship between social justice movements and the reform of criminal law and policy. She chairs the Law School Engagement Committee of the Black Public Defenders Association and serves on the Corrections Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Professor Smith Futrell holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University.

Matthew Kaplan
Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Matthew Kaplan is Debevoise & Plimpton’s Chief Financial Officer and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. He was Deputy Chair of the firm’s Corporate Department from 2017-2018 and is the Co-Head of the firm’s Capital Markets Group. Mr. Kaplan regularly represents issuers, private equity firms, and underwriters in public and private offerings of debt and equity securities, and he also counsels public and private companies on disclosure, corporate governance, finance and general corporate matters. Mr. Kaplan is currently the Vice-Chair of the Securities Law Opinions subcommittee of the Federal Regulation of Securities Committee (FRSCM) of the American Bar Association and a member of the FRSCM and the FRSCM Disclosure Effectiveness Working Group. Mr. Kaplan has also served as a member of several committees of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Business Law Section, including the Executive Committee, the Insurance Law Committee and the Securities Regulation Committee. From 2010 to 2011, he was Chairman of the Insurance Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the NYSBA, and from 2010 to 2012 he was a member of the Financial Reporting Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr. Kaplan was a member of the NYSBA Diversity Mentors Council in 2013 and is an accredited attorney with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Kaplan joined Debevoise in 1996 and became a partner in 2005. He was resident in the London office from 1999 to 2001. Mr. Kaplan received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1996 where he was a Stone Scholar. He received his B.A. with honors from Colgate University in 1993.

 

Omar Khan
Partner, WilmerHale LLP
As a litigation partner and a member of the Appellate and Intellectual Property Litigation groups at WilmerHale, LLP, Mr. Khan represents clients in a broad range of complex and high-stakes intellectual property matters at the trial and appellate levels. He has successfully litigated some of the largest and most important intellectual property matters for today’s leaders in the biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, computer hardware and software, telecommunications and financial services industries. His courtroom experience includes jury and bench trials in federal district courts, PTAB proceedings, ITC proceedings, and domestic and international arbitrations. Mr. Khan also has an extensive pro bono practice for which he has received numerous awards and recognitions, including from the Federal Circuit Bar Association, MFY Legal Services and the New York State Bar Association.
Ronald-Minkoff-113x167Ronald Minkoff, Esq.
Partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC
Mr. Minkoff is a partner in the Litigation Group and Head of the Professional Responsibility Group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC. Mr. Minkoff is also one of New York State’s leading practitioners in the field of attorney ethics and professional responsibility, representing attorneys in a wide variety of matters including law firm partnership disputes, disciplinary cases, legal fee disputes and legal malpractice and professional liability cases on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. Mr. Minkoff is a member of several Bar Ethics Committees, including the Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct and the Committee on Professional Discipline of the New York State Bar Association. He is the Chair of the Task Force on Professionalism of the New York County Lawyers Association, and was recently appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court, New York County.
Mark_Racanelli_158x202

Mark Racanelli, Esq.
Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Mr. Racanelli is partner in O’Melveny’s New York office and a member of the White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Practice. Mr. Racanelli has extensive experience counseling clients in and litigating white collar, regulatory, criminal and civil antitrust and a wide-range of general commercial matters. Before joining O’Melveny, Mr. Racanelli served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for five years. During that time, Mr. Racanelli prosecuted a variety of criminal cases—including fraud, money laundering and RICO cases—handled complex grand jury investigations and tried numerous cases to verdict, including trials involving RICO and money laundering charges. Mr. Racanelli also has experience as an appointed monitor of businesses in connection with the resolution of criminal and regulatory investigations.

Leke Osinubi
Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

Mr. Osinubi is chief risk officer for the Core Engineering business unit at Goldman Sachs, where he is responsible for technology risk governance and measurement. He also serves as co-chair of the Black Engineers Network. Previously, Mr. Osinubi managed the Technology Risk Measurement Operations team, responsible for risk and control services, internal and external audit management, and establishing analytics for anomaly detection and risk thematics. He joined Goldman Sachs as a vice president in 2012 and was named managing director in 2017. Prior to joining the firm, Leke worked as a senior manager in the Securities Technologies Practices Group at Accenture. Leke earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering and Information Systems Technology from Syracuse University in 2001.
Michele Roberts
Michele Roberts, Esq.
Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association
Michele Roberts is the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. She is the first woman to hold that position and the first woman to head a major professional sports union in the United States. Prior to joining the National Basketball Players Association, Ms. Roberts was a litigation partner with the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. She successfully litigated 100 cases to jury verdicts in fields as diverse as product liability, racketeering, securities, and job discrimination. Ms. Roberts was previously an attorney at Washington, D.C.-based firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Shea & Gardner, where her work primarily focused on white-collar litigation. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Roberts was a criminal defense attorney and the Chief of the Trial Division at the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C.Ms. Roberts was born and raised in the South Bronx. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin (U.S.D.J. Ret.)
JAMS Panel Member, Of counsel Stroock law firm

Former United States District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin is a member of the Litigation Practice Group at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and serves as an arbitrator/mediator under the auspices of JAMS. Judge Scheindlin, who was appointed to the bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, has presided over numerous criminal and civil cases during her 22-year tenure with the Southern District of New York. Among many important cases, her opinions in electronic case management are recognized as case law landmarks, and she is the coauthor of the first casebook on electronic discovery. Judge Scheindlin previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, a Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of New York and General Counsel for the New York City Department of Investigation. Earlier in her career she spent many years in private practice, including a stint as a litigation associate at Stroock. Judge Scheindlin is a frequently published author and lecturer and has been an adjunct professor for more than 30 years, teaching at Brooklyn and Cardozo Law Schools. She has also served on several committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and is a former chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association.
Abbe SmithAbbe Smith, Esq.
Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Professor Smith is Director of the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Co-Director of the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program, and Professor of Law at Georgetown University, where she has been on the faculty since 1996. Professor Smith teaches and writes on criminal defense, legal ethics, juvenile justice, and clinical legal education. In addition to numerous law journal articles, she has authored and co-authored several publications, including Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Story, Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics, and Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct In Minority Communities. Professor Smith is actively engaged in indigent defense—as both a clinical supervisor and member of the Criminal Justice Act panel for the DC Superior Court—and frequently presents at public defender and legal aid training programs in the US and abroad.