top of page

Karen A. Newirth

Relentless pursuit of justice.

Unwavering commitment to clients.


Attorney.  Advocate.  Reformer.

For the past twenty years, I have devoted my law practice exclusively to defending the criminally accused and convicted, to seeking justice for those whose civil rights have been violated, and to reimagining the criminal legal system.  

Before starting Newirth Law PLLC, I founded the Mass Exoneration Initiative -- an investigation-led project to “reverse engineer” mass exonerations of those wrongly convicted by known bad actors -- at the Exoneration Project.  My work at the Mass Exoneration Initiative led to the dismissal of more than a thousand criminal convictions that were the work of corrupt NYPD officers; these dismissals resulted from collaboration with the Legal Aid Society and other public defense and innocence organizations and the participation of New York City's district attorneys in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. 

From 2011-2019, I was an attorney at the Innocence Project, where I was a founding member of the organization's strategic litigation department.  I was responsible for all aspects of the Innocence Project's law reform efforts in the areas of eyewitness identification, confessions, and interrogations.  This work led to major changes in how state courts around the country evaluate challenged eyewitness identification and confession evidence and how juries learn about the science relating to this evidence.  My work also expanded available post-conviction claims in cases involving challenged eyewitness identification.

I joined the Innocence Project after nine years in private practice at top law firms: Cleary Gottlieb and Brafman and Associates.  While in private practice, I defended corporations and individuals subject to internal, regulatory, and criminal investigations and prosecutions in state and federal court. These cases included accusations of insider trading, securities and wire fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, extortion, corruption, and violent crimes.  Through my work in private practice, I developed an expertise in federal sentencing advocacy.  I also maintained an active pro bono docket and am proud to have been a part of a team that represented a Tennessee capital prisoner pro bono.  During my time on that case, our team helped to secure the conversion of the client's capital sentence to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.  The team later went on to secure the client's release from prison.  

I began my career as a federal law clerk to the Honorable Whitman Knapp, a senior district court judge in the Southern District of New York.  I am proud to have been mentored by Judge Knapp, who is recognized for his many achievements, including as Chairman of the Commission to Investigate Alleged Police Corruption in the NYPD (the "Knapp Commission").   

In addition to my work as a litigator, I am a sought after trainer, teacher, writer, and speaker on matters relating to wrongful convictions and the criminal legal system.  I am the co-author of the leading textbook Eyewitness Testimony:  Civil and Criminal (LexisNexis) and the author of a forthcoming textbook about guilty pleas and sentences, to be published by LexisNexis. 


1999 - 2002

J.D., New York University School of Law

1992 - 1996

B.A., magna cum laude with honors, Brown University

Contact Us

If you are a person in need of legal assistance, a family member or loved one of someone who has been accused or convicted of a crime, or an attorney, advocate, or legal services organization interested in collaboration, please get in touch.

43 West 43rd Street, Suite 160

New York, New York 10036

*by appointment only

Tel: 917-426-5551

bottom of page