Cynthia Pong, Esq., is a former public defender who practiced in the Bronx, New York, at The Legal Aid Society. As a defense attorney, she carried a caseload of 100 to 120 cases at a time and represented clients facing charges ranging from trespassing to attempted murder. All her felony trials resulted in acquittals. She is extremely familiar with working in a high-stakes, high-stress work environment from her time advocating for clients and trying cases in court.
After her career as a public defender, Cynthia followed her true passion and founded Embrace Change Consulting, which provides wellness trainings and workshops to lawyers and other professionals. Embrace Change’s mission is to help organizations build positive work environments and cultures so that employees are happier and healthier, and can do their best work. Cynthia is the creator of a 3-program wellness series for professionals, How to WorkHappier, and has several guided mindfulness meditation videos available on Embrace Change’s YouTube channel.
Cynthia has received high praise for her talks and presentations, including her popular webinaron mindfulness for lawyers, Ethics in a High-Stress, High-Stakes Legal Work Environment: Using Mindfulness and Restorative Practices. Her webinar has been viewed by over 875 people, with a 91% recommendation rate. Cynthia previously presented a conference lecture at the International Institute for Restorative Practices in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on restorative justice and the criminal court system. A related article of hers, Separate and Apart: Why True Restorative Justice Cannot Exist in the Criminal Court System, won the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s 2015 Public Service Fellowship/Criminal Justice Section Essay Contest. Other prior speaking engagements include: co-presenting a lecture at the National Association of Counsel for Children Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, about the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk program and the profiling of youth of color; speaking on a panel about the school-to-prison pipeline in Brooklyn, New York; and guest lecturing at Alfred University Downstate about the formation of nonprofit organizations. She will be presenting an Ethics CLE on mindfulness for lawyers on February 9, 2017, at the New York County Lawyers’ Association.
Cynthia brings to her work years of experience working as a lawyer and public defender, as well as expertise in mindfulness and meditation, restorative practices, and facilitation. Prior to working as a public defender, Cynthia clerked for Justice James E. Graves, Jr., on the Mississippi Supreme Court. She holds a law degree from NYU School of Law (cum laude) and a BA from Brown University in Ethnic Studies (magna cum laude). She is admitted to practice law in New York and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.