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 Counsel at Center for Popular Democracy, Lecturer in Law at Columbia University Law School, and a Scholar with the Institute for Social Policy & Understanding.
Kumar has worked for a range of large and small rights organizations in the United States and abroad throughout his career, including currently the 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.
In 2012, he was selected as a Leadership Institute Fellow at the Center for American Progress, in Washington, D.C., where he joined other professionals of color in leadership training and policy development on issues that affect communities of color. Prior to law school, Kumar worked at the internet research firm Jupiter Media Metrix, and held internships at several other companies including MasterCard, Sony Music, and the brokerage house PaineWebber.
Throughout his career, 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. He 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. Kumar 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.
Kumar’s advocacy and political commentary has been published in the New York Times, Huffington Post and Vibe Magazine, and he has been interviewed for several media outlets, including Canadian Television Nightly News, HuffPo Live, Al-Jazeera, Village Voice, and CUNY TV.