Kumar Rao is a New York City based attorney. He holds a Juris Doctor cum laude from New York University School of Law and a Bachelor of Business Administration with Honors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
He is currently Senior Director of Policy & Strategy at the New York Working Families Party, a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia University Law School, and a Scholar with the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding. He also serves on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Services.
Kumar has worked for a range of large and small rights organizations in the United States and abroad throughout his career, including the Center for Popular Democracy, International Legal Foundation, Center for Constitutional Rights, The Bronx Defenders, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and Washington Square Legal Services.
He has also extensive experience in the private sector, including as a litigation associate at the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, & Jacobson LLP.
Kumar has advocated on the full gambit of progressive legal matters in the public interest, including criminal defense for the indigent, immigrant rights, human rights, and civil rights. While Director of Justice Transformation at the Center for Popular Democracy and CPD Action, he advised grassroots community organizations, candidates, and local and federal elected officials on a range of policy matters related to issues of public safety, policing, and the criminal legal system. Kumar has represented clients in state and federal court, in both criminal and civil litigation matters, and has tried more than a dozen cases in New York State, including serious felony jury trials. He also has experience in strategic planning and project management, and was responsible for a major re-branding process at The Bronx Defenders, including the development and management of its new website, social media presence, and design scheme.