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.
Matthew_Fishbein-135x170Matthew Fishbein, Esq.
Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Mr. Fishbein is a litigation partner whose practice focuses on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations and complex commercial litigation. He has tried over 25 criminal and civil cases in federal and state court and argued numerous appeals in the Second Circuit and other appellate courts. He has also helped lead the defense of several major international corporations in multi-jurisdictional criminal investigations. Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Fishbein served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1993 to 1997, and Chief of the Criminal Division from 1995 to 1997. Mr. Fishbein received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in recognition of his pro bono representation of several clients in death penalty trials and appeals. He is a member of the White Collar Crime Committee of the New York City Bar and serves on the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Historical Society.
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.
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.
Robin SteingbergRobin Steinberg
(Ex-officio)
Executive Director, The Bronx Defenders
Ms. Steinberg has been a public defender since graduating from NYU School of Law 1982, and is a leader and a pioneer in the field of indigent defense. In 1997, Ms. Steinberg founded The Bronx Defenders, where she has developed the “holistic defense” model. Prior to creating The Bronx Defenders, Ms. Steinberg started 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, and went on to become a founding member and Deputy Director at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Ms. Steinberg 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. Ms. Steinberg has also been honored by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the New York Bar Association, and Harvard Law School for her dedication and many contributions to public interest law and indigent defense.
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.