Earl S. Ward | Partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP

Earl S. Ward


One of New York’s preeminent and most successful trial lawyers, Earl S. Ward has thirty years of experience as a criminal defense and civil rights attorney. Before joining Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, Mr. Ward had his own firm where he handled serious felony matters including numerous homicide, death penalty, and federal civil rights cases. Mr. Ward’s clients have spanned a broad spectrum, from indigent criminal defendants to high profile figures and corporate executives. Mr. Ward has lectured extensively on trial practice, including as guest lecturer at New York University School of Law, Cardozo Law School, and the United States District Court for the Southern District, Pro Se Trial Advocacy Program.

Mr. Ward is a former Commissioner on the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), an independent oversight agency established in New York City in 1993 to investigate allegations of police misconduct. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) from 2007-2010. Currently, he is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Bronx Defenders, a leading and innovative indigent defender organization in New York. He is also Chair of the Board of Housing Works, an organization committed to helping homeless men and women with HIV/AIDS; and Chair of the Board of Esperanza, an alternative to incarceration program for at risk adolescents.

Mr. Ward began his career with the criminal defense division of the Legal Aid Society. Thereafter, he worked as a staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), where he handled police abuse and First Amendment litigation. Prior to entering private practice in 1996, he was a supervising attorney at the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem.

Mr. Ward has been named a “Super Lawyer” since 2011.

Representative Cases:

  • Secured a $6.7 million settlement for the widow of Israel Vasquez, who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for more than 12 years for a 1995 homicide he did not commit. Vasquez v. City of New York, et al., Index No. 10 Civ. 6277 (S.D.N.Y.); Vasquez v. The State of New York, Claim No. 117272 (Ct. of Claims).


  • Brian McNamee v. Roger Clemens – Represents Brian McNamee in connection with the Roger Clemens/steroid controversy.


  • People v. Joan Weil etc. – Represented with civil rights attorney Norman Siegel eighteen grandmothers who were arrested, tried, and acquitted for protesting against the war in Iraq.


  • Weizmann v. County of Suffolk, et al. – Obtained a jury award of nearly a half million dollars on behalf of a New York City man who was assaulted and subjected to anti-Semitic taunts by Suffolk County police officers.


  • Black Radio Network v. City of New York – Represents Black Radio Network in federal court in a First Amendment lawsuit against the New York City Police Department for denial of press credentials.


  • People v. Donna Cobb – Acquittal of Murder for a battered woman charged with killing her husband.


  • People v. Damon Williams – Acquittal of Murder for man charged with double homicide.


  • People v. Paven Ortiz – Acquittal of Murder for man charged in murder for hire scheme.


  • People v. Ronald Ballard – Acquittal of Murder for man charged with conspiring and participating in murder.


  • People v. Greg Brooks – Acquittal of Murder for teenager charged with murder.


  • People v. Ronald Davis – Acquittal of Murder for young man charged with killing a neighborhood bully.


Attorney News


New York University School of Law, J.D., 1985

Rutgers University, B.A., 1982



U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
New York


New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Bronx Defenders, Board Chair
Esperanza, Board Chair
Housing Works, Board Chair
New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, Former Board Member, 1997-2003