About Eliza

Eliza Orlins is a Manhattan public defender and outspoken advocate for our city’s most vulnerable. For more than a decade, she has represented over 3,000 New Yorkers who otherwise would not have been able to afford a lawyer.

During this time, Eliza has developed a reputation as a relentless champion for the underdog. She has taken on the toughest of fights for the very people our system is rigged against, including our black and brown neighbors and those in lower-income communities.

In 2020, Eliza announced her candidacy for Manhattan DA, with a platform designed to transform criminal justice and make New York safer for everyone.

Time and again, Eliza has demonstrated the courage and tenacity to take on powerful, entrenched interests—including DA Cyrus Vance and his cronies—to prevent moms and dads from being thrown in cages for “offenses” as petty as putting a bag of groceries on an extra seat in the subway.

Eliza’s victories on behalf of the vulnerable have been profiled in the New York Times.

In addition, she has developed a reputation as a powerful advocate for justice in the court of public opinion. Her columns have been published in Gotham Gazette and Blavity.

As a criminal defense attorney for The Legal Aid Society, Eliza has litigated in both New York State Supreme Court and New York State Criminal Court. She also trains new lawyers to argue for bail, win suppression hearings, cross-examine witnesses, and compose powerful closing arguments.

Eliza has been a proud union member with the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys Local 2325, part of UAW 9A, since 2009.

Eliza is a graduate of Syracuse University and Fordham Law School, where she was symposium editor for the Urban Law Journal and led a symposium on the constitutionality of lethal injection.

In 2004, she competed on CBS’s Survivor, an experience that netted her a national following, which she uses to advocate on behalf of criminal justice reform and other social justice issues.