Past Honorees

At Central Synagogue

Barry Scheck, Esq.
2003 Defense Attorney and Professor

Barry Scheck is a nationally recognized and acclaimed defense lawyer and professor hailing from New York City. From staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society in the Bronx, to president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, his successful career has spanned 35 years, during which time he has helped to reform and reshape the United States justice system. He is perhaps most famous for co-directing The Innocence Project, which he founded at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1992 with Peter Neufield, also his partner in their law firm dedicated to civil rights, Neufield Scheck & Brustin, LLP.  The Innocence project is a non-profit organization dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions through the use of DNA testing, and has exonerated over 300 men and women who served or were still serving prison sentences for crimes they did not commit.

Scheck is also known for serving on the defense team of O.J. Simpson in his highly publicized 1995 murder trial, as well as serving as the personal lawyer for other high profile defendants, including Hedda Nussbaum and Louise Woodward. Scheck has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including the New York State Bar Association gold medal in 2013, National Trial Lawyers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and the 2009 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law. He has additionally been named one of the 100 Best Lawyers in America multiple times.

Born in 1949 in Queens, Scheck graduated from Horace Mann School in Riverdale, went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1971, and later his JD from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley in 1974. He is currently a professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he has been a faculty member for 30 years.