Cynthia Feathers is the ILS Director of Quality Enhancement for Appellate and Post-Conviction Representation. She chairs the Appellate Defender Council—appellate leaders from throughout the State, who meet periodically on policy, practice, legislative, and training matters in criminal defense and parental representation. Ms. Feathers works closely with the ILS-supported Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act Statewide Defender Task Force, which convenes monthly to strategize about ways to effectuate the statutory scheme providing for alternative prospective sentences and resentencing for certain survivors of domestic violence. As an ILS liaison to the six Regional Immigration Assistance Centers, Ms. Feathers supports efforts to provide effective advice regarding potential immigration consequences to attorneys representing non-citizens in criminal, Family, and appellate courts. On the ILSAPP listserve, Ms. Feathers provides a Decisions of Interest column. In offering summaries of selected appellate decisions from the prior week, this feature seeks to keep busy counsel up-to-date on key developments relevant to their practice. Upon request, Ms. Feathers also provides consultation services to appellate counsel.
Ms. Feathers graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University’s School of Journalism. After nearly a decade in writing and editing positions in Chicago and Boston, she graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School and then devoted her career primarily to appeals. She clerked at the Appellate Division, Third Department; was an assistant attorney general in the Opinions & Appeals Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office in Albany and then a staff attorney at the Center for Appellate Litigation in Manhattan; and served as Legal Director of the Appeals Program of the Rural Law Center of New York, which handles criminal and family appeals for multiple rural counties. In addition to her institutional experience, Ms. Feathers also ran a solo practice, handling civil and criminal appeals as retained, 18-B and C.J.A. appointed counsel. She was an Adjunct Professor in Appellate Practice at Albany Law School; has published articles and lectured on appellate matters; and served as co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction, when she helped create its Pro Bono Appeals Program.