Susan G. Kellman, Esquire

2021 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Second Circuit

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA—Susan G. Kellman has been selected to receive the prestigious 2021 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Second Circuit. As the principal of her own law firm since 1981, Kellman is a criminal defense attorney who has tried more than 130 federal felony cases before juries in district courts around the country and argued more than 50 appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She has also been designated as lead counsel on several cases eligible for the death penalty.

“Solo practitioners are all too infrequently recognized by the legal profession for the extraordinary contributions they make to our criminal justice system,” writes Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court of the United States, who wrote on behalf of Kellman’s nomination for the award. “I dare say that I have met few attorneys more dedicated to their clients, and more hard-working on their behalf, than Susan.”

In addition to her work on behalf of her clients, Kellman is deeply committed to mentoring young lawyers. She has co-chaired the Criminal Justice Act Panel’s mentoring program in the Eastern District of New York since 2016. In that role, she identifies potential mentees, matches them with experienced federal litigators, and outlines course work that will enhance their learning. Since 2011, she has herself served as a mentor for the Criminal Justice Act Panel’s mentoring program for the Southern District of New York, incorporating mentees into her own work as a way of preparing them for eventual roles as assigned counsel under the Criminal Justice Act. She has also represented more than 200 indigent defendants as assigned counsel as a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panels of both districts since 1981.

Kellman has been a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers since 2010. She is a member of the New York Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Federal Bar Council. She has been cited as a “Super Lawyer” since 2013.

Earlier in her career, Kellman served as an administrative aide and counsel in the New York State Legislature and as legal counsel to the chancellor of the New York City Board of Education. She earned her undergraduate degree in anthropology magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany in 1972, then received a law degree from Albany Law School of Union University in 1978.