We are the voice for those who suffer in silence, face oppression, and struggle to access justice because of poverty. Since 1876, we have proudly advocated for our clients, changing the laws one case at a time, one reform at a time. We are fiercely committed to advancing equal justice for all New Yorkers, every single day in every single way.
We Demand Equal Justice
Working tirelessly in the courtroom and in the community
to ensure all New Yorkers receive fair treatment.
We Stand With The Powerless
Serving those who are served least
by ensuring their voice is heard.
We Put Our Clients First
Communicating with the people we serve
to give them the options they need to thrive.
We Never Give Up
Tenaciously working with our clients and colleagues
to overcome the systematic barriers our clients face.
We Hold Ourselves To The Highest Standard
Embodying our mission and ensuring that every client
receives the exceptional legal services they deserve.
Chief Executive Officer
Janet Sabel serves as the Attorney-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer of The Legal Aid Society. A Legal Aid Society alumna, Janet spent 25 years with Legal Aid before leaving in 2011 to join the New York State Attorney General’s Office where she served initially as the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice and finally as a Chief Deputy Attorney General.
While at the Attorney General’s Office, Janet oversaw a number of high-profile actions, including a landmark antitrust case involving the sale of Alzheimer drugs, the state’s first enforcement of mental health parity laws, and a resolution of a redlining investigation of a Buffalo bank. She also played a key role in the AG’s challenges to the Trump administration’s immigration, travel ban and sanctuary city policies. She oversaw successful litigation efforts to restore federal health care funding for tens of thousands of low-income New Yorkers, as well fraud litigation against Trump University.
Prior to joining the AG’s Office, Janet held a number of top positions at The Legal Aid Society including General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer. She began her decades long commitment to Legal Aid as a staff attorney first in the Civil Division’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Office and then in the Civil Appeals and Law Reform Unit, where she worked on federal and class action litigation on disability and health issues. She also served as managing attorney of the Lower Manhattan Neighborhood Office and Attorney-in-Charge of Legal Aid’s citywide Immigration Law Unit.
She received her B.A. from Harvard/Radcliffe College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar.
Adriene serves as Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Practice of The Legal Aid Society and has devoted her entire professional career to challenging poverty and racial injustice for the advancement of equal rights. Adriene is responsible for managing the provision of comprehensive civil legal services through a network of neighborhood offices, courthouse based offices, and specialized city-wide units serving all five boroughs of New York City with more than 500 staff working on nearly 49,000 cases each year. Prior to her appointment to Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Practice, Adriene served as Attorney-in-Charge of the Harlem Office; practiced law as a staff attorney in the Law Reform Unit of the Civil Practice; and began her career as a staff attorney in the Harlem Office Housing Law Unit.
In addition to her formal duties, Adriene also serves as a member of the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice, and is an executive board member for Housing Court Answers, and previously served as a Tenant Representative on the New York City Rent Guidelines Board for 10 years. Adriene has also served as an adjunct professor at The New School and as a volunteer instructor at Columbia Law School.
Often called upon to work on the Society’s legislative agenda, Adriene frequently testifies before legislative bodies on the city and state levels. She also is consulted on various legal and policy matters impacting low-income communities by the media, law schools, and policy or governmental agencies.
She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Thurgood Marshall Award - recognition of service as pro bono counsel to an individual under a sentence of death; The Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Award for work on the Alabama Pro Bono Death Penalty Project; New York Moves Magazine – Power Woman; Earl Warren Legal Scholar and a Reginald L. Lewis Fellow by her law school and a Melvin C. Steen Fellow by The Legal Aid Society when she started her employment. Adriene received her B.S. in Political Science from Spelman College, and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Criminal Defense Practice
Tina has served as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice since 2014 where she is responsible for the daily operation of all of the practice’s trial, appellate, post-conviction, law reform and parole defense work conducted on behalf of over 200,000 clients. She leads a citywide team of 12 senior managers who, in turn, manage the practice’s over 1100 staff. Prior to her appointment as the organization’s chief defender, she served as the Deputy Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice. She began her Legal Aid career in September 2002 as a staff attorney in the New York County trial office of the Criminal Defense Practice and was promoted to Supervising Attorney in the same office in 2007 where she continued to directly represent clients, as well as train and manage her team of attorneys, paralegals and investigators.
Prior to joining the Society, Tina served as Vice President of Operations for the National Council for Unity, a nonprofit organization implementing gang intervention/prevention programs in New York City schools and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. There, she spent over a decade in charge of the organization’s financial, development, communication and human resource staff. In that role, she negotiated and managed the organization’s city, state and private funding and was the organization’s liaison with the Department of Education, Department of Youth and Community Development, United Federation of Teachers and Council of Supervisors and Administrators,
In her current role, Tina happily dedicates much of her time working on ways to create best practices within the Society. She plays an active role in the development of the Criminal Defense Practice’s training programs, networks across the country with other criminal justice leaders on ways to improve the overall public defender profession and plays a key role in many of this City’s criminal justice reform initiative. She is the President-Elect of the Chief Defender Association of New York, former Chair of the American Bar Associations’ Task Force of Comprehensive Representation, Steering Committee Member of the National Association for Public Defense, member of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Council and member of the New York State Bar Association Committee of Quality Mandated Representation.
Juvenile Rights Practice
Dawne’s wealth of experience includes a stint as a staff attorney with the New York Legal Assistance Group for 3 years, prior to joining JRP as a staff attorney in 1996. She became a supervising attorney in 2001, and the Deputy AIC of the Bronx JRP office in 2006. In 2011, she was promoted to the Attorney-in-Charge of the Bronx JRP office.
Dawne has been an integral part of the JRP staff and management team for over 20 years and has a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of the Juvenile Rights Practice. Dawne has utilized her expertise, critical thinking and passion for the work as an advocate for JRP and our clients with stakeholders, judges and other parent and children providers in forums across the city. These attributes, in addition to her commitment to justice for our clients, will serve her well as she assumes this new position and continues the tradition of excellence in JRP leadership.
Secretary and General Counsel
Scott has served as the General Counsel of The Legal Aid Society since 2011. Scott is responsible for overseeing all legal matters in which the Society is the principal, including compliance with federal, state, and local laws, and not-for-profit governance and regulation. He plays a key role in the negotiation and enforcement of contracts; audits; real estate transactions and lease compliance as well as coordinates the involvement of outside counsel in legal matters where The Legal Aid Society is a principal.
Chief Financial Officer
Ezra has served as the Chief Financial Officer since 2016, overseeing the Society’s financial operations and professional staff. Previously, he spent nearly 12 years in the capacity of Senior Director of Finance, overseeing the Society’s financials in internal reporting, budgeting, and forecasting, as well as the Society’s analytical capabilities. Ezra’s function included implementing new technology, including the transition to a state of the art non-profit financial ledger platform, Blackbaud Financial Edge, and other operational efficiencies. Prior to joining The Legal Aid Society, Ezra worked in the retail sector as Senior Director of Finance and Controller at Delia’s and as a Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis at Tiffany’s. Ezra began his career in a manufacturing environment, for a division of Unilever, in the capacity of Management Accountant.