177 Livingston Street 7th Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 254-0700 info@bds.org



Luis Enrique Díaz-Páez was born in the city of Bucaramanga, Colombia. He attended School of Law at Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, United States (American Bar Association Law School) where he received his Juris Doctor Degree. He also has a Law and Political Sciences Degree from the School of Law at the Libre University of Colombia and postgraduate education in Legal Informatics and New Technologies from Externado University (Colombia) and Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). Luis is a dual licensed Attorney in Puerto Rico (U.S. Jurisdiction) and the Republic of Colombia.

As an immigrant, a native Spanish speaker, and Immigration Attorney, he is sensitive and passionate about helping the immigrant population in the United States. Luis is a member of the New York City Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.


Stephany is a Mitigation Specialist in the Adolescent Criminal Defense Practice and Education teams at BDS. She received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Forensic Science and Sociology from Syracuse University and obtained her Master in Forensic Psychology from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

During her second year in the master’s program she was placed at BDS in the Adolescent Representation Team as a Pinkerton Graduate Community Fellow. During her 14 month internship placement she witnessed the crucial role the agency plays when defending and empowering individuals facing criminal charges, and as a defense-based advocate, her role was not only to ensure that the best outcome was achieved for the client, but ensure she humanized the client and their experience. During her internship experience she felt extremely passionate about the work she was doing and knew that working at BDS would provide her with the kind of work environment she wanted, and continue to inspire and challenge her youth social justice work. Shortly after graduating, she was thrilled to return back to BDS as a full-time mitigation specialist.

While pursuing her master’s degree she worked on several different research projects, including her thesis, which focused on the impact of gender and culture on the therapeutic alliance between workers and justice-involved adolescents.

Stephany is excited and honored to part of the Adolescent Criminal Defense Practice and Education teams at BDS, where she can continue to advocate for system-involved adolescents, and help cultivate a culture that is committed to humanizing the experiences of justice involved individuals.

Stephany is also fluent in Spanish.


Jordan Hall was born and raised on the west side of Baltimore City. He moved to Brooklyn, NY in 2016 to change the narrative within the justice system and leave his footprint.

Jordan received his Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice from Virginia State University. There he was very involved, from becoming Mr. Freshman to President of a mentoring organization to having a dual internship with Blandford Academy Alternative School and the Petersburg Bureau of Police.

Prior to BDS, he obtained a wealth of knowledge at the Brooklyn Criminal Court working with Safe Horizon, where he served as a Senior Case Manager, then promoted to Coordinator. There he helped victims of crime in an array of ways within the criminal justice system. There he sparked a program named, The Young Men’s Initiative, where the focus was to help alleviate some of the hidden struggles that come with having a court case.

Jordan believes that individuals in the criminal justice system frequently do not see a reflection of themselves while going through the process. He is committed to make a difference and spends his Saturdays in the Brownsville community mentoring with The Brooklyn Combine, teaching STEM, Law/Mock Trials, critical thinking, social justice and activism.

Jordan joined the BDS Family in the Fall of 2018 as a Youth Advocate with the Adolescent Representation Team.


Collin Pelletier Poirot joined Brooklyn Defender Services’ Immigration practice in September 2018. Collin is a staff attorney on the Youth and Communities team and holds a B.A. and B.S. from the University of Texas, as well as a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Before joining BDS, Collin worked in immigrant legal services as part of the Harvard Immigration Project and the Harvard Crimmigration Clinic. Collin’s clinical work focused on asylum applications, Padilla advisals, and policy advocacy regarding the ‘particularly serious crime’ bar to admission. Collin also spent time at the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, where he contributed to the Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada and Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez Berzaín human rights litigation, bringing claims against the former President and Minister of Defense of Bolivia under the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

Collin also has significant experience in community lawyering and movement lawyering, first as an Ella Baker Fellow at the Community Justice Project in Miami, and later at the People’s Law Office in Chicago, where he was honored to work closely with Palestinian freedom fighter and political prisoner Rasmea Odeh. Finally, Collin also served as co-chair of the Harvard Law School chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and has organized and participated in more than a dozen panels and speaking engagements, including as a plenary speaker at the national conventions of Students for a Democratic Society in 2016 and 2017.


Rebecca Kinsella is very excited to have joined BDS’ Brooklyn Adolescent Representation Team in June of 2015.

Rebecca graduated from Columbia University School of Social Work in May 2013 with a Master of Science in Social Work. It was during this time that Rebecca became passionate about working with individuals in the justice system. While in graduate school, Rebecca was an intern at the Mental Health Project of the Urban Justice Center. At the Mental Health Project, she coordinated a community advocacy course for individuals with mental illness that provided education around advocacy strategies both on an individual and systems level. Following graduate school, Rebecca worked as a Social Worker with the Center for Court Innovation, providing adolescents in the criminal justice system with support and advocacy as they navigated Brooklyn criminal court.

Prior to graduate school, Rebecca worked as a Program Manager in digital advertising, coordinating projects for brands such as JP Morgan Chase. Rebecca holds a Bachelors in Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communications from the University of Missouri.

While a Texas native, Rebecca is proud to call New York home. She likes to spend her free time enjoying all the outdoor activities New York City has to offer.



What if Michael Brown’s story had ended differently?

A teenager. A misdemeanor. A cop. But then, instead of bullets, what if Mr. Brown had received a granola bar, a “safe space” to discuss concepts like choice, and an invitation to make a collage as part of a deal to erase the arrest from his record?

In Mr. Brown’s hometown of Ferguson, Mo., and beyond, American teenagers who are born poor and dark are routinely arrested for things that others get away with. Sometimes, guns fire and lives disappear. More often, the encounter can risk destroying a life more slowly. But in Brooklyn — which was infamous for crime before becoming known for artisanal whiskey — an experiment is testing whether these early police encounters can be reinvented as an opportunity: to reach out to troubled youth, get them help and bend their perception of the law.

Terrell, 17, was an apt candidate for bending. A high school graduate bound for community college, he had already endured two rounds of “stop-and-frisk,” a pre-emptive police tactic that a judge eventually found unconstitutional. Then this summer he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.

When he arrived for his court date, his public defender informed him of a new program for 16- and 17-year-old defendants: Instead of pleading guilty, performing community service, having a criminal record and being supervised for up to a year by probation officers, he could participate in something called Young New Yorkers that afternoon. If he did, his case would be dismissed and sealed — erased from public records. (The Times agreed not to publish his last name and details of his arrest in exchange for his cooperation.)

Surprised, Terrell took the deal.

The United States, which accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners, is in the midst of a great rethinking of its criminal justice system, including changes in sentencing laws, more lenient marijuana policies and so-called restorative justice efforts.

The Brooklyn program is part of these changes. It is rooted in the belief that the criminal justice system often takes decent but mildly troubled young people and, instead of reforming them, turns an ephemeral circumstance — a crime — into an enduring identity: criminal.

“Theoretically, it’s supposed to be correctional,” said Judge George A. Grasso, who supervises the Brooklyn program. “But most people going through, it’s not correcting.”

Judge Grasso calls the program “collaborative justice.” Various parties — the judge, prosecutors, public defenders, probation officers, even the city’s Department of Education — work together to decide which program each defendant should enter (Young New Yorkers is one of a handful).  Read More


Jacob McClain Lipsky is a resident of Brooklyn. He grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts area and graduated from Brookline High School in 1988. He received a B.A. in political science from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2006, Mr. Lipsky received his juris doctorate from the Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Lipsky joined Brooklyn Defender Services in the fall of 2006.

While attending Northeastern School of Law, Mr. Lipsky participated in the Prisoners’ Rights clinic where he successfully represented a client serving a 2nd degree life sentence for murder at his first parole hearing. Mr. Lipsky also participated in the Criminal Advocacy Clinic and was active in the Black Law Students Association, Kemet Chapter of Northeastern School of Law. He also held internships with Federal Magistrate Judge the Honorable Judge Ronald Ellis, of the Second Circuit; National Public Radio in Washington D.C.; the Criminal Defense Division of The Legal Aid Society of New York City, Queens Office; and the Miami-Dade Office of the Public Defender.



Every year more than 300,000 people are arrested in New York City and roughly 100,000 people cycle through the city jail system at a cost to the taxpayer of $167,731 per incarcerated person per year. Most people held on Rikers Island and other borough specific facilities — 75 percent — are awaiting the disposition of their cases and are, thus by law, innocent.  More