Robin Steinberg is a Gilbert Foundation Senior Fellow of the Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law. She is the founder and former executive director of The Bronx Defenders, a nationally-recognized public defender office known for its pioneering work on holistic defense, a client-centered and community-based model of legal representation that seeks to address both the underlying causes and collateral impacts of criminal justice involvement. During her 20-year tenure, The Bronx Defenders grew from a team of 8 advocates to an interdisciplinary staff of over 300 serving more than 35,000 low-income New Yorkers annually. In 2016, Steinberg and a group of Bronx Defenders took the holistic defense model to Oklahoma, the state with the highest per capita number of incarcerated women, and launched Still She Rises, the first public defender office in the nation dedicated to the representation of mothers in the criminal justice system.
In 2017, Steinberg launched The Bail Project, an unprecedented national effort to combat pre-trial incarceration. Modeled on the success of The Bronx Freedom Fund, a community bail fund started by Steinberg and David Feige in 2007 to support Bronx Defenders clients, the new initiative works in collaboration with public defender offices and local partners in high-need jurisdictions across the United States to pay bail for low-income people. As part of UCLA’s partnership with The Bail Project, Steinberg will work with students and faculty on bail reform initiatives and research.
Steinberg received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and J.D. from New York University School of Law. She has taught trial advocacy and other courses at Harvard, Columbia, Seton Hall and elsewhere. She has been recognized with the Impact Award by New York Law Journal, the Service of Justice Award by New York State Defenders Association, and Alumna of the Year by New York University School of Law among other notable achievements. Her publications have appeared in law reviews, policy journals and books, including the Hamishpat Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, NYU Review of Law & Social Change, Yale Law & Policy Review, and Harvard Journal of African-American Public Policy. Steinberg is a frequent commentator on criminal justice issues and has contributed opinion pieces to The New York Times, The Marshall Project, and USA Today.