Laura Saft is the Deputy Director at BDS and worked on the original proposal at the inception of the organization in 1996. As a career criminal defense attorney, Ms. Saft has practiced her craft in a number of different venues. She started her career as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense Division in Brooklyn where she tried numerous criminal cases, from simple misdemeanors to complex felony matters and handled a number of homicide cases.
After 10 years with Legal Aid, Ms. Saft became a partner in the criminal defense firm, Candal and Saft. She expanded her expertise to include federal criminal litigation and represented clients in Federal District Court and also argued criminal appeals in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She continued a vigorous New York State Court practice, trying many felony matters and also litigating criminal appeals in the Appellate Division, 2nd Department.
In 1996, when the opportunity arose to utilize her talent and expertise in creating a new indigent criminal defense organization, she joined Lisa Schreibersdorf and helped her found Brooklyn Defender Services. She remembers a conversation with Ms. Schreibersdorf during the planning stages of BDS, concerning the unique opportunity of creating an indigent criminal defense office from the ground floor that could be a model for the rest of the defense community. As Ms. Schreibersdorf simply stated, it was a dream come true.
Ms. Saft has an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Florida State University where she graduated with honors. She obtained her J.D. at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts where she learned her love for criminal law through the Criminal Defense Clinic under the auspices of her mentor, John Flym.
In addition to her work at BDS, Ms. Saft is an adjunct professor at St. John’s University School of Law and teaches trial advocacy for NITA. She also is an annual guest teacher for the NYC Corporation Counsel’s Civil Trial Advocacy Program sponsored by Fordham University School of Law.