Staff Attorney, Criminal Defense Practice
Nkasi Akpaka joined Brooklyn Defender Services in September 2017. She was born in Memphis, TN and lived in upstate New York for most of her life. Ms. Akpaka received her Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY University at Albany. She majored in Political Science and Sociology and minored in Women’s Studies. In her senior year in college she worked in the New York State Senate as a Legislative Aide. In this role, she helped draft legislation and shape public policy in state government.
Before starting law school, Ms. Akpaka joined AmeriCorps City Year in Chicago, IL. In this program, she dedicated a year of her life to mentoring and tutoring 5th to 12th grade at-risk students in the Chicago Public Schools to reduce the dropout rate. During her service, she gained firsthand knowledge the effects of social injustice which are rooted in educational and economic inequality as well as excessive violence.
She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Pace University School of Law. In her first year of law school, Ms. Akpaka was a Pro Bono Volunteer in the Pace Immigration Clinic, where she assisted in screening immigrant youth who may be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and employment authorization in the United States. In the following academic year, she was the President of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International and Vice President of Black Law Student Association. In that same year she interned at the Legal Aid Society in the Bronx, in their Criminal Defense Practice. In her final year in law school, she was a Student Attorney in the Barbara C. Salken Criminal Justice Clinic, where she represented indigent clients charged with misdemeanor offenses in the Bronx County Criminal Court, from arraignment through sentencing.
Ms. Akpaka is passionate about advocating for underrepresented and indigent individuals who are unable to advocate for themselves due to social barriers. She believes service and zealous advocacy are instruments that can truly be used to enforce and establish equal opportunity and justice. She feels honored and blessed to join Brooklyn Defender Services.
“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” ― Shirley Chisholm