Jonathan S. Abady is a founding member of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (ECBA), one of the leading civil rights firms in the country. Mr. Abady has more than 25 years of experience litigating a broad spectrum of civil rights cases, including those involving police misconduct, voting rights, prisoner rights and the First Amendment. Most recently, Mr. Abady represented the family and estate of Tamir Rice, the 12 year-old boy shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014. Mr. Abady was also one of the lead lawyers in two historic class action cases that have led to major institutional reform in jail conditions at Rikers Island in New York. He and his firm litigated important voting rights cases in the Bush-Gore and Obama-McCain presidential elections.
Mr. Abady has spoken and written extensively about issues of race and civil rights, including on 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC and other major media outlets. In addition to his work in civil rights, Mr. Abady has represented a number of artists, entertainers and public figures.
Some of the individuals and clients Mr. Abady has represented over the years include Harry Belafonte, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, internationally acclaimed artist Donald Sultan, former world heavyweight boxing champion Tim Witherspoon, Pulitzer prize nominated photojournalist Arthur Grace, author and activist Philip Agee, recording star Ronnie Spector, former Chief Investment Officer at Citigroup Marc P. Weill, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Penguin Putnam, Urban Box Office Network, and numerous high-level executives in contract negotiations and employment disputes.
Mr. Abady also has substantial experience in class action and multi-party litigation. Along with other members of the firm, he represented family members of victims who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in a historic lawsuit that resulted in a $2.7 billion settlement with the government of Libya. Mr. Abady was one of the lead lawyers in Ingles v. Toro, a large class action lawsuit, which established major reform in the jail system at Rikers Island in New York City.
In the area of civil rights, Mr. Abady has represented numerous plaintiffs in wrongful death actions, police misconduct cases, First Amendment litigation, and voting rights cases. In 2000, Mr. Abady was a member of the team of lawyers who litigated voting irregularities in Florida in the Bush-Gore Presidential election. In 2008, Mr. Abady was one of the lead lawyers in successful federal litigation connected to the Obama-McCain Presidential election.
Mr. Abady began his legal career as a trial lawyer, and was then a supervising attorney with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a national demonstration project in New York City that provides criminal defense services to indigent residents of the Harlem community. Prior to entering law school, Mr. Abady lived in Latin America and worked in international human rights. In 1987, he presented testimony to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland concerning the war in Nicaragua.