The Chief Defenders Association of New York (“CDANY”) was created to meet a need for an organization whose sole purpose would be to advocate for those who administer organizations providing mandated legal representation, their staff, and their clients. Since its inception, CDANY has grown into a vibrant organization, providing a single voice for those who represent clients unable to afford counsel statewide.  CDANY has also proven an invaluable resource for mutual support amongst chief defenders.

Mission Statement
The Chief Defenders Association of New York (CDANY) is a vibrant organization uniting the leadership of New York State’s providers of the right to counsel. CDANY was founded to advocate for people facing loss of liberty, family separation and related consequences in the legal system. We do this by:

  • Strengthening the effectiveness of our members and their staff.
  • Collaborating on best practices for the provision of high quality and effective legal representation.
  • Seeking to increase resources for our offices and programs to best serve our clients.
  • Advocating for legislation and policies to ensure fairness and justice in our legal systems.
  • Engaging with the communities we serve.

​CDANY initiatives have included:

Issue Advocacy

  • Lobbying the Legislative and Executive branches to invest more resources in indigent defense;
  • Advocating for or against legislation that impacts providers of mandated representation or their clients;
  •  Studying the potential impact of legislative measures on institutional defender organizations and assigned counsel programs;
  • Working with the Office of Indigent Legal Services to discuss issues unique to defense providers, and how to collectively promote greater resources for defender organizations;
  • Educating the community on the important role of defense counsel in our system of justice.

Mutual Support

  • Enhancing networking and sharing of information among chief defenders;
  • Encouraging regional collaboration and meetings among defense providers;
  • Providing CLEs unique to chief defenders and the issues they confront;
  • Offering assistance to new chief defenders; 
  • Collaborating with other defense organizations to advance the goals of the membership.

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