Published on: Monday, February 26, 2024

Anthony L. Ricco, a native of Harlem, New York, is one of the premier criminal defense attorneys in the nation.

His career has been defined by his unwavering dedication to criminal defense and social justice. He has tirelessly championed the rights of individuals facing legal challenges, particularly those from marginalized communities facing the death penalty and lengthy sentences.

Ricco has fearlessly tackled some of the most challenging and high-profile cases, including the World Trade Bombing conspiracy case and serving as learned counsel on more than 45 federal death penalty cases across the country. Before the New York State death penalty was declared unconstitutional in 2004, he served as capital counsel on over a dozen death eligible case.

Ricco, a past President of the New York Criminal Bar Association and Criminal Justice Act Panel Representative for the Eastern District of New York, has also been a dedicated mentor to countless attorneys. He has been a vocal advocate for diversity in the legal profession, actively supporting and uplifting lawyers from underrepresented backgrounds.

The recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Ricco serves as a National Resource Counsel for the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project, which provides expert assistance and backup for counsel engaged in defense of federal capital cases nationwide. He is on the faculty of the Bryan R. Schechmeister Death Penalty College, an instructor at the Capital Case Defense Seminar—hosted by the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the California Public Defenders Association—and an adjunct professor teaching trial advocacy at the Fordham University School of Law.

Ricco is well-known for frequently saying, ubuntu (a Zulu term signifying ‘humanity to others’)

In celebration of Black History Month, the Training Division is honoring black legal minds in the United States who have advanced civil rights and continue to inspire advocates to dismantle systems of oppression and work for a better tomorrow.   

Defender Services and the Federal Defender family are committed to attracting, retaining, and advancing the most diverse and talented pool of professionals possible. If you are interested in opportunities to not only serve the public, but also to advance your career by working with some of the best legal minds in the United States, browse Federal Defender job opportunities.