Catherine A. Christian is a highly experienced trial lawyer with more than 30 years of public service in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and as a prominent leader within the New York legal community.
Ms. Christian began her legal career in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under the legendary Robert M. Morgenthau. Her experience includes several decades of trial and investigative experience, including felony jury trials, at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor. In these offices, she held various leadership positions, including Special Assistant District Attorney for External Affairs, Senior Trial Counsel, and Director of Legal Staff Training. In 2014, District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. appointed her Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit, where she oversaw the investigation and prosecution of thousands of cases involving crimes against elderly victims.
As an Assistant District Attorney, Ms. Christian also supervised investigations and prosecutions of financial fraud, conducted long-term wiretap investigations of multi-defendant international criminal organizations, and reviewed convictions where there were credible claims of innocence or wrongful conviction. She has also served as Assistant Counsel for the New York State Commission of Investigation where she investigated corruption, fraud, and mismanagement by public officials. She briefly left public service to work in private practice as a trial attorney where she garnered an enviable record of criminal court acquittals.
As president of the New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA), a bar association of over 8,000 lawyers, Ms. Christian administered a multimillion-dollar annual budget and expanded the bar association’s pro bono program. She was the first African American, the youngest person, and the second woman to be inducted as president of NYCLA since its founding in 1908.
She is a member of the Appellate Division First Department’s Attorney Grievance Committee and Character and Fitness Committee. She has held numerous leadership positions in the New York City and New York State Bar Associations as well as the New York Women’s Bar Association.
Ms. Christian co-chairs the recently launched New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on the Modernization of Criminal Practice, which works to modernize criminal law practice in the State of New York in order to improve safety, fairness, equality, access to justice, and technological efficiency in the administration of criminal justice.
- White Collar Defense, Internal Investigations, and Criminal Referrals
- Professional and Business Ethics
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Commercial Litigation
Awards & Accolades
Ms. Christian has received numerous awards, including the New York State Bar Association Kay Murray Award, Dickinson School of Law Hon. Sylvia Rambo Award, New York County Lawyers Association President’s Medal, and American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Section Liberty Award for Advancing Diversity in the Legal Profession. Ms. Christian was recognized by the New York Law Journal with its 2014 Lawyers Who Lead by Example Public Service Award.
- Dickinson School of Law (J.D., 1988)
- Hofstra University (B.A. with High Honors in Political Science, 1985)
- Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Executive Education (Certificate, Mastering Negotiation Program, 2014)
- New York
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- Principal Law Clerk to the Honorable Rosalyn Richter, Supervising Judge Bronx Criminal Court
- New York State Bar Association House of Delegates (2000-present); Vice President, 1st Judicial District (2012-2015); Executive Committee (2012-2015); Nominating Committee (2004-2010); Co-Chair, Working Group on Civil Rights Law 50-a (2018-2019); Chair, Committee on Attorneys in Public Service (2012-2014); Professional Discipline Committee (2019-present); Professional Ethics Committee (2021-present)
- New York City Bar Association Judiciary Committee (adjunct 2018-present, 2009-2012; 1999-2002); Rule of Law Task Force (2022-present); Council on Judicial Administration (2022-present)
- New York County Lawyers Association Executive Committee (2021-present); Board of Directors (2008-present)
- American Bar Association House of Delegates (2009-2014; 2006-2008); Criminal Justice Section White Collar Committee (2022-present); Intellectual Property Law Section (2022-present)
- New York Women’s Bar Association Co-Chair, Criminal Law Committee (2019-2022)
- NYS Chief Judges Attorney Emeritus Pro Bono Advisory Council (2011-present)
- NYS Judicial Committee on Elder Justice (2015-present
- District Attorneys Association of the State of New York; Chair, Elder Abuse Subcommittee (2020-2022); White Collar Crime Task Force Money Laundering Subcommittee (2012-2013)
- Mayor Bloomberg’s Task Force on Prescription Painkiller Abuse Prevention and Treatment Subcommittee (2012)
- Legal Services NYC Board of Directors (2002-2010); Chair, Nominating Committee (2008-2010)
Community Leadership and Public Service
- Transition Team, Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark, Chair, Internal Review Subcommittee (2015)
- Transition Team, Kings County District Attorney Kenneth Thompson Prosecution Integrity Subcommittee (2013)
News & Publications
- Interview, “Shaking Down Grandma: Older people can be subject to financial abuse.” Psychology Today, October 16, 2018
- Interviewed during “Senior Scam Prevention Week” series broadcast by NBC and Telemundo 47 news, December 10–17, 2015
- Guest on “Monday Scoop,” NCTV program spotlighting various experts on issues that affect people over the age of 55, April 8, 2019
- “Collateral Consequences: Role of the Prosecutor,” 54 HOWARD LAW JOURNAL 749 (2011) (Author of article arguing that prosecutors have an ethical obligation to prevent unjust collateral consequences and suggesting several pre-conviction actions prosecutors should take.)
- Speaker, National Academy of Sciences, Conference on Elder Abuse and Elder Fraud (July 2020)
- Speaker, American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging Conference (October 2019)
- Speaker, National Association of Women Judges Global Judicial Leadership Conference (June 2019)
- Speaker, American Conference Institute AML & OFAC Compliance for the Insurance Industry (January 2017, January 2018, January 2019)
- Speaker, North American Securities Administrators Association Conference on Financial Exploitation (May 2016)