Meet Irwin

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Irwin defends the rights of poor and powerless New Yorkers. As the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice’s New York County office, Irwin oversees the representation of thousands of clients every year. Now in his 48th year with The Legal Aid Society, Irwin still fights every day to make justice a reality for our clients.

New York’s Public Defenders

this work is probably the most important work in the legal profession.

In New York County, our Criminal Defense Practice (CDP) is the primary public defender for New Yorkers in need. As Irwin explains, our CDP represents a majority of New Yorkers charged with crimes in Manhattan, ranging from minor crimes to homicide: “that is our mandate that is what we do.” In his role as Attorney-in-Charge of the office, Irwin oversees over 180 employees, including staff attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals, and support staff. Irwin has seen The Legal Aid Society grow into what it has become today. But for him, “the core values of The Legal Aid Society have never changed.” In fact, Irwin firmly believes that, even after all these years, “this work is probably the most important work in the legal profession.

 While our core values have remained constant, the scope and impact of our work has continued to grow. Over the years, Irwin has seen a number of additions that have helped us build the premier public defense program in the nation. From the expanded use of social workers and investigators, to improvements in attorney training and supervision, Irwin has seen The Legal Aid Society become an integral part of our city’s legal landscape.

Building On Our Success

Even now, Irwin is looking forward. A Brooklyn native, he’s optimistic about initiatives like our Decarceration Project. The Project fights against New York’s antiquated money bail system, which keeps more than 47,000 New Yorkers behind bars each year.  As Irwin explains, “the constitution says you are innocent until proven guilty. And yet, you can be held in jail while awaiting trial.” These are the injustices that keeps Irwin fighting for his clients. Thankfully, with Irwin at the helm, the Criminal Defense Practice’s New York County Office is making equal justice a reality for New Yorkers in need.

Want To Join The Fight?

With your help, Irwin and his colleagues can make equal justice a reality
for even more New Yorkers in need.