Ilann Maazel | Partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP

Ilann Margalit Maazel

Ilann M. Maazel is nationally recognized for helping the most vulnerable: survivors of sexual abuse, disability abuse, bullyingpolice abuse, prison abuse, wrongful convictions, and all forms of discrimination. Mr. Maazel helped save the High Line in New York City, led the 2016 presidential recount effort in Pennsylvania, and has brought class actions to end the tampon tax, end delays in Bronx Criminal Court, provide services to disabled preschool children, reduce violence in New York City prisons, and defend millions of Americans surveilled by the National Security Agency.

As a commercial litigator, Mr. Maazel defeated Donald Trump and has represented Martha Stewart, the Apollo Theater, Everytown for Gun Safety, the NAACP, Newegg, the Children’s Aid Society, The New York Foundling, the New York City Council, and executives and employees in financial services, health care, fashion, advertising, academia, and the non-profit sector.

Mr. Maazel is one of City and State’s 2023 Law Power 100, an eleven-time “Super Lawyer” (2012-2022), Lawdragon 500 Leading Civil Rights Lawyer (2021-2022), Legal Services Pro Bono Leader, Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Publico award winner, Coro Leadership fellow, former Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and recipient of an Echoing Green Public Service Fellowship, awarded to “outstanding individuals who are committed to public service work.”

Mr. Maazel has been published in USA TODAY, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and the National Law Journal. He blogs for, writes the civil rights litigation column for the New York Law Journal and is a frequent commentator on civil rights issues in the national media. His work has been featured on The Weekly, NPR, The Brian Lehrer Show, and the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. He has guest lectured at Columbia Law School and The Cooper Union.

Mr. Maazel joined the firm after clerking for the Hon. John M. Walker, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Mr. Maazel is also a writer, pianist, and composer.

Representative Cases:

  • Disability Rights: cases include the “Bronx Zoo” case ($6 million settlement and reform), Jonathan Carey ($5 million settlement), J.H. ($3 million settlement), B.W. ($2.25 million settlement mid-trial), Eddie Velasquez ($2.25 million settlement), K.C. ($2.25 million settlement), M.F. ($1.25 million settlement), G.B. ($1.25 million settlement), and Ricky Weisenberg.
  • Children’s Rights: represent victims of bullying and harassment (T.E., $4.48 million settlement), school misconduct (including the P.S. 186 case), and foster care abuse. Also represent students in academic and non-academic disciplinary matters throughout the country in universities, and public and private elementary and high schools.
  • Wrongful Conviction and Prisoners’ Rights: Represent wrongfully convicted prisoners (including Kareem Bellamy, $8 million settlement; Martin Nnodimele, $2 million settlement). Helped free Christopher Ellis, Anthony Sims, and Amaury Bonilla. Co-counsel in Ingles v. Toro, resulting in one of the most sweeping injunctive settlements in the history of the New York City prison system and $2.2 million in damages for the named plaintiffs.
  • Wrongful Death/Personal Injury: represented families of the three Badger girls who died in the Stamford Christmas Day fire (over $12 million in settlements), Esther Penn (confidential settlement), and Kim Barry (confidential settlement).
  • Employee rights: represent victims of racial, national origin, sexual, disability, and religious harassment and discrimination in employment.
  • Executive Employment: represented executives and employees in employment and severance matters with JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Bear Stearns, hedge funds, and other companies in financial services, health care, fashion, advertising, and in the non-profit sector.
  • Voting Rights: litigated voting rights cases in the 2016, 2008, and 2000 presidential elections.
  • Land Use: represented the New York City Council and Friends of the High Line in the case that helped save the High Line from imminent demolition.
  • Criminal Defense: clients have included Martha Stewart in United States v. Stewart.
  • Commercial Litigation: represent clients in wide variety of commercial disputes, including partnership, contract, malpractice, and real estate matters. Defeated $45 million real estate lawsuit by Donald Trump.


How to Win a #MeToo Case,” New York Law Journal and ALM Litigation Daily, May 17, 2023

The Adult Survivors Act: A Window of Opportunity,” New York Law Journal, July 14, 2022

Criminal Injustice in New York State,” New York Law Journal, December 15, 2021

Men-only Military Draft is a Vestige of Anti-Women Bias. Supreme Court Should Strike it Down,” USA Today, June 8, 2021

False Confessions, Mistaken Identification and Wrongful Convictions,” New York Law Journal, March 10, 2021

Reforms for 2021,” New York Law Journal, December 16, 2020

Police Reforms in New York State,” New York Law Journal, October 8, 2020

Seize the Moment: 9 Ways to Curb Police Brutality and Honor the Memory of George Floyd,” USA TODAY, June 14, 2020

Coronavirus, the Law, and You,” New York Law Journal, March 16, 2020

Decision Sets Forth ‘So Egregious’ Standard for Respondent Superior Liability,” New York Law Journal, December 13, 2019



SCOTUS Goes One for Two in Police Decisions,” New York Law Journal, July 11, 2019



Suits for Sexual Abuse: Deadlines and Statutes of Limitations,” New York Law Journal, March 22, 2019

The New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act,” New York Law Journal, December 18, 2018

Prison Excessive Force Cases: A Primer,” New York Law Journal, July 11, 2018

“Time to End Qualified Immunity?” New York Law Journal, March 23, 2018

Short of impeachment, 6 ways Congress can limit Trump damage to America,” USA TODAY, November 8, 2017

“Bivens on the Ropes,” New York Law Journal,  July 12, 2017

A Civil Rights Refresher for 2017,” New York Law Journal, March 17, 2017

Jill Stein has done the nation a tremendous public service,” Washington Post, December 15, 2016.

Stand up to GOP on Supreme Court,” USA TODAY, November 16, 2016.

“Malicious Prosecution and Fair Trial Claims in a Section 1983 Case,” New York Law Journal,  September 27, 2016

“When Is a Wrongful Conviction Verdict Too Large?” New York Law Journal, March 28, 2016.

Limit justices to one 18-year term,” USA TODAY, March 23, 2016.

A Fine Balance of Protecting America and Preserving Individual Freedom,” National Law Journal, January 4, 2016

A Constitutional Checklist,”, November 24, 2015

“Qualified Immunity Revisited: When Are Police Accountable?” New York Law Journal, November 20, 2015

“Police Use of False Statements and the Doctrine of Intervening Cause,” New York Law Journal, July 30, 2015

“How Do We Stop School Bullying,”, May 13, 2015

“Liability Questions Where DNA Evidence Was Lost and Found,” New York Law Journal, March 20, 2015

“How to Start Policing the Police,”, December 4, 2014

“How to Get Out of Jail (If You’re Innocent),” New York Law Journal, November 4, 2014

“Wrongful Convictions and Prosecutorial Immunity,” New York Law Journal, July 15, 2014

“A Victory for Privacy,”, June 27, 2014

“Surveillance USA,”, April 11, 2014.

“Civil Rights Claims Against Municipalities and Individuals,” New York Law Journal, November 5, 2013

“Defining Privacy: Phone Tracking, GPS, Government Surveillance,” New York Law Journal, July 31, 2013


“Section 1983 and State Criminal Convictions,” New York Law Journal, May 21, 2013


“Questions Persist Concerning Review of Punitive Damage Awards,” New York Law Journal, October 31, 2012


“Arrests, Probable Cause and the First Amendment,” New York Law Journal, July 17, 2012


“Punitive Damages and Indemnification,” New York Law Journal, March 20, 2012


“Bullying, Schools and the Constitution,” New York Law Journal, October 27, 2011


“Bullying and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,” New York Law Journal, July 22, 2011


“Raising Qualified Immunity as a Defense Post-Trial,” New York Law Journal, March 16, 2011


“Government Conduct and the Class-of-One Doctrine,” New York Law Journal, October 22, 2010


“Identifying a Doe Defendant Within the Statute of Limitations,” New York Law Journal, June 28, 2010


“Secrecy and Public Access to the Courts,” New York Law Journal, March 5, 2010


“A New Approach to Nominal Damages,” New York Law Journal, October 8, 2009


“Navigating First Amendment Retaliation Claims After Garcetti,” New York Law Journal, July 23, 2009


“Re-examining Civil Rights Statutes As New Era of Change Takes Hold,” New York Law Journal, March 6, 2009


“Defining Qualified Immunity,” New York Law Journal, October 9, 2008


“The State Secrets Privilege,” New York Law Journal, July 24, 2008


“Weighing Whether to Plead Monell,” New York Law Journal, May 21, 2008


“When Should Courts Address Qualified Immunity?” New York Law Journal, March 7, 2008


“Loss of Life Damages,” New York Law Journal, January 9, 2008


“Civil Rights Actions Against Private Actors,” New York Law Journal, October 1, 2007


“Should I Take the ACD?” New York Law Journal, July 23, 2007


“Discoverability of Personnel Records in Section 1983 Cases,” New York Law Journal, April 30, 2007


“Civil Rights Actions Arising from Wrongful Convictions,” New York Law Journal, February 21, 2007


“Substantive Due Process Claims of Relatives in Wrongful Death Cases,” New York Law Journal, January 10, 2007


“Emotional Damages in Civil Rights Cases,” New York Law Journal, November 27, 2006


“Protecting the Rights of Domestic Violence Victims in the Workplace,” New York Law Journal, August 1, 2006 (with O. Andrew F. Wilson)


“Closing the Billionaire Loophole,” Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2003


“Wrongful Death Actions Under Section 1983,” 19 Touro Law Review 707 (2003) (excerpt from the Practicing Law Institute’s 18th Annual Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation Program)


“Mulloche v. Netherlands: A Marshallian Discourse on Modern Europe,” 35 University of West Los Angeles Law Review 1 (2003)


“What Is the European Union?” 16 Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law 243 (2002)


“Why Civil Rights Lawsuits Do Not Deter Police Misconduct: The Conundrum of Indemnification and a Proposed Solution,” 28 Fordham Urban Law Journal 587 (2000) (with Richard D. Emery)


Attorney News


University of Michigan, J.D., magna cum laude, 1997

Order of the Coif

Harvard University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1993

Harvard National Scholar (in recognition of “unusual academic, extracurricular and personal distinction”)
Harvard Scholarship for “academic work of high distinction”


U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
New York


The Federal Bar Council
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (Civil Rights Committee, Federal Legislation Committee)
The New York County Lawyers’ Association (Federal Courts Committee)