Lauren Shapiro is the director of the Family Defense Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services which represents over 2,500 parents each year in child welfare cases in Brooklyn Family Court. Ms. Shapiro oversees an interdisciplinary staff of over 80 attorneys, social workers and administrative staff and directs the litigation and policy activities of the practice. She founded the practice over 10 years ago as an office of Legal Services NYC – one of three institutional parent representation offices funded by the City of New York. She moved the practice to Brooklyn Defender Services in 2013 where parents receive comprehensive legal representation in all matters related to their child welfare case.
Ms. Shapiro has devoted her legal career to representing low income communities. After graduating from New York University School of Law in 1986, she worked at South Brooklyn Legal Services for over 20 years where she was director of the Family Law Unit for 10 years and the director of the HIV Project for seven years before that.
Ms. Shapiro is the chair of the NYC Bar Association’s Council on Children and co-chairs the ASFA Task Force, a collaboration of child welfare advocates and agencies. Ms. Shapiro co-chaired the Kings County Family Court Domestic Violence Working Group for many years. She taught a civil externship class at Brooklyn Law School for six years, including a semester with the Kings County Family Justice Center which she helped found. Ms. Shapiro has published extensively on child welfare and family law, including Moving On: UCCJEA, The Hague Convention, and Relocation, Appellate Division First Department, Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence, Fourth Edition (2005): Representing Domestic Violence Victims in Neglect Proceedings, Appellate Division First Department, Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence, Third Edition (2000) and Co-author, Charging Battered Mothers with “Failure to Protect”: Still Blaming the Victim, Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. XXVII (February 2000).