Neil Kelly joined the Federal Defenders of New York as an Assistant Federal Defender in 2021, after serving as a Special Assistant Federal Defender in the office. Prior to joining the Federal Defenders, Neil was an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where he represented clients in a broad range of matters, including criminal investigations and defense, regulatory enforcement proceedings, and complex commercial litigation. Neil also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul A. Crotty, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
As part of his pro bono practice, Neil was a member of the legal team that successfully litigated United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013), which struck down the key provision of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Neil has also been awarded the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award in recognition of his work on behalf of indigent criminal defendants.
Neil graduated magna cum laude from New York University and Cornell Law School. Neil served as editor-in-chief of the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy, in which his note “Lessening Cumulative Burdens on the Right To Vote: A Legislative Response to Crawford v. Marion County Election Board” was published. Neil was also elected to the Order of the Coif.