Judge Eunice Lee was a career public defender. She served for 21 years in the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York and for two years as an Assistant Federal Defender with the Federal Defenders of New York.
Judge Lee has represented more than 380 indigent clients on direct appeal, in post-judgment motions, and in habeas proceedings.
Judge Lee was an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law, where she co-designed and taught the Criminal Appellate Defender Clinic, a program that allows students the opportunity to represent Office of the Appellate Defender clients in pending cases.
Upon confirmation, Judge Lee became the longest-serving public defender to ever serve as a judge on a U.S. Court of Appeals. She also became the only active judge on the Second Circuit, and the first since 1978, with experience as a public defender. Of the eleven other active judges on the court, six of them have experience as prosecutors.
Upon confirmation, Judge Lee became the only active Black woman judge on the Second Circuit, and the first since 2002.