William Hellerstein is an expert in criminal law and procedure and, in particular, constitutional litigation. The New York State Bar Association has honored him twice with awards for “Outstanding Contribution to the Delivery of Defense Services” and “Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Criminal Law Education,” and the New York Civil Liberties Union has honored him for his contribution to the cause of civil liberties. Brooklyn College has also awarded him its Distinguished Alumnus Medal.
He has been a member of the faculty at Brooklyn Law School since 1985. He is also an experienced civil rights litigation and appellate advocacy authority, having served for 16 years as Attorney-in-Charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau, where he was also the founder of the Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project and Parole Revocation Defense Unit. He has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the New York State Courts.
Professor Hellerstein served for many years as special counsel for pro bono matters at Proskauer Rose, where he coordinated the pro bono program. He is also a former vice president of the New York City Bar, and chairperson of its Executive Committee and of its Council on Criminal Justice. He was also co-chairperson of the New York State Commission on Indigent Defense, a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Wrongful Convictions, and he is a Permanent Member of the New York State Justice Task Force, established by New York’s Chief Judge to investigate the causes of wrongful convictions.