Legal Aid Society


LAS Welcomes Twyla Carter as Attorney-In-Chief and Chief Executive Officer

The Legal Aid Society has announced the appointment of Twyla Carter, a national leader in public defense, civil rights, and access to justice work, as Attorney-In-Chief and Chief Executive Officer. Carter becomes the first Black woman and first Asian American to serve in this role in its over 145-year history. Carter will assume this role full-time in August 2022, as reported by the New York Law Journal.

Carter will depart her role as National Director of Legal and Policy at The Bail Project, a nonprofit organization that provides free bail assistance and pretrial support to thousands of low-income people every year. In this position, Twyla created the unit’s strategic mission and directed the legal, policy, and advocacy efforts at the federal, state and local levels, and successfully fought efforts in multiple states to eradicate or limit the work of charitable bail organizations.

Prior to joining The Bail Project, Carter served as a Senior Staff Attorney in the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union where she litigated local and state bail inequities and right-to-counsel protections in the federal courts and designed alternative bail and representation policies and procedures for targeted jurisdictions. Notably, Carter litigated Booth v. Galveston County, a pretrial bail case in Texas where the magistrate court held that people accused of crimes have a right to counsel in initial bail hearings under the Sixth Amendment, one of the only jurisdictions in the nation to guarantee legal representation at this critical stage of trial.
Carter was also a public defender for ten years and the Misdemeanor Practice Director for the King County Department of Public Defense. She also served as a Staff Attorney with The Defender Association on felony and misdemeanor cases.

“It’s truly an honor to join the nation’s oldest and largest public law firm serving low-income people on a myriad of issues ranging from criminal defense to tenant rights, access to justice for young New Yorkers, and so much more,” said Carter. “Now more than ever, vulnerable New Yorkers need Legal Aid, and I look forward to further enabling and positioning the organization to strengthen bedrock direct services, policy advocacy and impact litigation work. Our clients deserve nothing less.”

“Legal Aid has played an incomparable role in New York City for well over a century, connecting vulnerable New Yorkers with critical legal services to address a myriad of needs,” said Zachary Carter, Chair of the Board of Directors at The Legal Aid Society. “We are thrilled that Twyla Carter, a prominent member of the national public defender and civil rights community, will serve at the helm of Legal Aid, positioning the organization to meet the challenges that face our clients and the communities we serve.”