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Seymour James

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  • Credentials
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Seymour James has over 40 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and focuses on criminal defense, wrongful convictions, and civil rights litigation involving excessive force and other police misconduct. Prior to joining the firm, he served as Attorney-in-Chief for The Legal Aid Society, in New York City, where he was responsible for the overall operation of the Society’s Civil, Criminal, and Juvenile Rights practices. Mr. James began his legal career as a staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society and before serving as Attorney-in-Chief held various supervisory positions in the Criminal Defense Practice, including city-wide Attorney-in-Charge, Queens County Attorney-in-Charge, Deputy Attorney-in-Charge in Queens and Kings Counties, and Supervising Attorney in the Bronx and Kings County. While serving as Queens Attorney-in-Charge, he represented one of the first men exonerated in Queens who had been wrongfully convicted.

Mr. James has taught Trial Practice at CUNY School of Law and lectured on criminal law issues for the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the Queens County Bar Association.

A leader of the organized bar, Mr. James is a Past President of the New York State Bar

Association and the Queens County Bar Association. He is currently a Vice-President of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and serves on the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors and in its House of Delegates. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar’s Criminal Justice Section. He formerly served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense.

Mr. James has served on important State and City commissions and committees including the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, the Governor’s Clemency Advisory Panel, the Chief Judge’s Justice Task Force, the Second Department Judicial Screening Committee, the Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, the Permanent Sentencing Commission, the Moreland Commission, and the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform. In addition, he co-chairs the New York County Lawyers Center Justice Center Advisory Board and serves on the board of directors of the Center for Community Alternatives and the Queens Volunteer Lawyers’ Project. He previously served on the board of directors of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Correctional Association of New York, the New York State Defenders Association, the Osborne Association and the Queens Legal Services Corporation.


  • Lifetime Achievement Award, New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, New York Law Journal
  • Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division Award, American Bar Association
  • Robert L. Haig Award, New York State Bar Association Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
  • Outstanding Public Defense practitioner, New York State Bar Association Criminal Justice Section
  • Public Servant of the Year, Metropolitan Black Bar Association
  • Life of Commitment Award, Feerick Center for Social Justice
  • Jane M. Bolin Award, The Judicial Friends
  • New York Metro Area Super Lawyer 2021, 2022, 2023


  • New York State Bar Association – Former President
  • American Bar Association – Board of Governors
  • Queens County Bar Association – Former President
  • New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – Vice President
  • New York County Lawyers Association
  • New York City Bar Association

Contact Mr. James online or by calling (888) 779-0267.

  • J.D. Boston University Law School - Graduate School Boston, MA
  • Brown University - University Providence, RI
  • New York State Courts
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Practice Areas

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