David Patton

Executive Director and Attorney-in-Chief


(212) 417-8738

David Patton has been the Executive Director and Attorney-in-Chief of the Federal Defenders of New York since July 2011. From 2002 to 2008, he worked at the Federal Defenders as a trial attorney in the Manhattan office. During that time, he also served as an Adjunct Professor at N.Y.U. School of Law, where he taught the Federal Defender Clinic. In 2008, Mr. Patton began teaching full time as an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Alabama. From 2010 to 2011, he was a Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Stanford Law School where he founded the school’s first trial-level criminal defense clinic. He currently teaches Professional Responsibility in Criminal Law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at N.Y.U. Mr. Patton is also on the faculty of the Gideon's Promise, a non-profit organization dedicated to training new public defenders. Among other publications, he is the author of The Structure of Federal Public Defense: A Call for Independence, 102 Cornell L. Rev. 335 (2017); Policing the Poor and the Two Faces of the Justice Department, 44 Fordham Urb. L.J., 1431 (2017); and Federal Public Defense in an Age of Inquisition, 122 Yale L.J. 100 (2013).

Mr. Patton is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as an editor of the Virginia Law Review. He clerked for the Honorable Claude Hilton of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Prior to joining the Federal Defenders in 2002, Mr. Patton was an associate at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.