Keegan Stephan

 

Associate

E-mail:kstephan@blhny.com

Tel: 212-277-5820

Stephan Headshot - Square.jpeg
 

Keegan joined BLH in 2022 after clerking for Judge Pamela K. Chen in the Eastern District of New York, Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in the Southern District of New York, and Justice Barry T. Albin on the New Jersey Supreme Court.

 

Before clerking, Keegan was a fellow for the Cardozo Civil Rights Clinic, where he litigated First Amendment, freedom of information, and prisoners’ rights cases, including two significant class actions: one representing everyone incarcerated at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center after the 2019 polar vortex, and one representing everyone on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola), challenging their automatic placement in permanent solitary confinement -- a case that resulted in substantial reforms to the prison’s policies. Prior to his fellowship, Keegan worked with the Civil Rights Clinic during law school -- first as a clinic intern and then as a Pro Bono Scholar, which allowed him to take the bar exam during his third year of law school and work full-time for the Clinic during his final semester.

 

In law school, Keegan was also a clinic intern at the Innocence Project, where he assisted with the reinvestigation and litigation of several wrongful convictions, including the case of Huwe Burton, a Black teenager who was wrongfully convicted of killing his mother in 1991, exonerated in 2019, and later represented by BLH. In 2018, Keegan was a Summer Associate in Civil Rights at BLH, where he focused on class action litigation over police misconduct, including the case of McLennon v. City of New York, which challenged an NYPD policy of racially discriminatory motor vehicle stops and led to significant reforms. Keegan was also an executive board member of the Cardozo Law Review and Cardozo Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, graduated magna cum laude, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and received the Telford Taylor award for outstanding achievement in the fields of constitutional law and human rights.

 

Before law school, Keegan was a writer and political organizer in NYC for nearly 10 years, focusing on issues of racial, economic, and environmental justice. In that capacity, Keegan served as a plaintiff in several important lawsuits, including a freedom of information lawsuit that forced the NYPD to accept and respond to information requests by email, and a § 1983 case that established—through the nation’s first circuit court opinion on the issue—that the use of Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) against protesters can constitute an excessive use of force under clearly established Supreme Court precedent.

Education

 

Cardozo Law School (J.D. 2019, magna cum laude)

Sarah Lawrence College (B.A. 2007)

Practices
 

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Police and Governmental Misconduct

Wrongful Death

Wrongful Convictions

First Amendment

Freedom of Information

Bar Admissions

 

United States District Courts, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

New York

 

Professional Activities

Member, National Lawyers Guild

Member, National Police Accountability Project

Affiliate Member, NYC Bar Association, Civil Rights Committee

Member, Federal Bar Council, Civil Rights Committee

Member, Federal Bar Council, Inn of Court

Selected Publications

Note: Conspiracy: Contemporary Gang Policing and Prosecutions, 40 Cardozo L. Rev. 991 (2018)

 

Portland isn’t Portlandia. It’s a capital of white supremacy, Washington Post (June 1, 2017), https://‌www.washingtonpost.com/‌opinions/‌the-‌hate-‌crime-‌in-‌super-‌progressive-‌portland-‌should-‌surprise-‌no-‌one/‌2017/‌06/‌01/‌d3b99782-‌46d8-‌11e7-‌a196-‌a1bb629f64cb_‌story.html

 

CityViews: We Need the NYPD out of Vision Zero, CityLimits (July 26, 2016), https://‌citylimits.org/‌2016/‌07/‌26/‌cityviews-we-need-the-nypd-out-of-vision-zero

 

From Abu Ghraib To Black Lives Matter: Meet The NYPD’s Most Notorious Anti-Activist Cop, Gothamist (Sept. 23, 2015), https://‌gothamist.com/‌news/‌from-‌abu-‌ghraib-‌to-‌black-‌lives-‌matter-‌meet-‌the-‌nypds-‌most-‌notorious-‌anti-‌activist-‌cop

 

Eric Garner’s Death Marked With Week-Long Protests In NYC, ANIMAL New York (July 20, 2015), http://‌animalnewyork.com/‌eric-garners-death-marked-with-week-long-protests-in-nyc

 

Street Artists Paint Touching Tribute To Kalief Browder, ANIMAL New York (July 13, 2015), http://‌animalnewyork.com/‌street-artists-paint-touching-tribute-to-kalief-browder

 

The FBI’s Response To Another Killer Cop Set Free? More Surveillance of Protestors, AlterNet  (May 24, 2015), https://‌www.alternet.org/‌2015/‌05/‌fbis-response-another-killer-cop-set-free-more-surveillance-protestors

 

Nothing Yet Garden Becomes the Nothing Anymore Garden: The Need for Open Space in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, CityLand (May 30, 2013), https://‌www.citylandnyc.org/‌nothing-yet-garden-becomes-the-nothing-anymore-garden-the-need-for-open-space-in-williamsburg-and-greenpoint