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Prison Law 2018

Author(s): Michael E. Cassidy, Betsy Ginsberg
Practice Area: Litigation, Pro Bono
Published: Nov 2018
PLI Item #: 222002
CHB Spine #: 133

Michael Cassidy is the Managing Attorney of the Plattsburgh Office of Prisoners' Legal Services of New York (PLS), as well as the statewide PLS Litigation Coordinator.  He has litigated and supervised numerous prison cases in both state and federal courts.  These have included cases involving excessive force, as well as deliberate indifference claims involving failure to protect and denial of medical care.  He has also litigated and handled exhaustion issues under the PLRA, religious rights claims, retaliation claims, and various types of challenges to solitary confinement, including many state and federal procedural due process claims involving prison disciplinary issues.  

He received his Juris doctor, cum laude, from Vermont Law School in 1991 and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont in 1987. He served as a staff attorney at PLS from 1991-1996 and Managing Attorney for Litigation from 1996-1998.  He engaged in private practice in Burlington, Vermont and Portland, Maine from 1998-2002, before returning to the PLS as the Plattsburgh Office Managing Attorney.  Since 2017 he has also served as the statewide Litigation Coordinator for PLS, which has offices in Albany, Ithaca, Buffalo, and Plattsburgh.

He is admitted to the state bars of New York, Vermont and Maine.  He is also admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the District of Vermont, the District of Maine, the Northern District of New York, and the Western District of New York, as well as the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, and D.C. Circuits.

Betsy Ginsberg is a clinical law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she directs the Civil Rights Clinic.  Previously, she taught in Cardozo’s Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic and before that was a member of the Lawyering faculty at NYU School of Law.  Before she began teaching, she worked as a Staff Attorney at the Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, where she litigated class action lawsuits seeking to reform jails and prisons in New York City and New York State with respect to disability rights, mental health care, and prison guard brutality. She has been the recipient of two public interest fellowships: the Soros Justice Postgraduate Fellowship, to support her work at the Prisoners’ Rights Project, and the NAPIL Equal Justice Fellowship, which funded her work at the Prison Law Office in San Quentin, CA, where she litigated class action institutional reform lawsuits on behalf of California prisoners and parolees.  She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, cum laude, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow.