Karen Friedman Agnifilo


Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor 1992

University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1988

Bar Admissions

New York State

Eastern and Southern Districts of New York

Karen Friedman Agnifilo has a three-decade background in Criminal Justice, litigation, and trials.  In private practice since 2021, her practice focuses primarily on criminal defense, both in state and federal courts, from accusation to investigation to arrest and trial.  In addition to criminal defense, she also represents plaintiffs in civil and employment matters and individuals in Title IX matters.  Her practice also focuses on internal investigations relating to misconduct, discrimination, and sexual assault.

She previously served as an Executive, Chief of the Trial Division, and Chief Assistant District Attorney until 2021 at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. During her time as the Chief Assistant District Attorney, Ms. Friedman Agnifilo helped re-define the role of a prosecutor’s office in modernizing and reforming the criminal justice system and reducing unnecessary incarceration. As the second in command in the office, she would often serve as Acting District Attorney when the DA was out of town or unavailable. In addition to supervising complex and high-profile cases in the office, she supervised all hiring and personnel related matters including EEOC related claims.  She managed a staff of 1500 with a $120 million dollar budget and helped restructure the office and redefine criminal justice policy for New York City. During her tenure, the office ended the prosecution of several crimes of poverty, expanded diversion opportunities, introduced implicit bias analysis and training, and focused on alternatives to incarceration, collateral consequences, and reentry. At the same time, she helped create the Antiquities Trafficking Unit, the Human Trafficking Unit, the Hate Crimes Unit, the Terrorism Unit and the Cyber Crimes Bureau, to name a few.

Ms. Friedman Agnifilo worked closely with the press, advocates, and other external groups including the Governor’s office, the Mayor’s Office and the NYPD.   She helped to create and participated in the Inside Criminal Justice program within the DA’s Office, partnering prosecutors with incarcerated individuals who are working to re-enter the community.  She was instrumental in the creation of the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative which invests in youth, families, and communities, as well as the national Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Elimination Grant Program.

During her time with the Manhattan DA’s Office, she participated in two Executive Sessions:  Reimagining the Role of the Prosecutor in the 21st Century; and, Adolescents and Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System.  She also served as co-chair of the Mayor’s steering committee to help facilitate the closing of Rikers Island and the planning of borough based local jails.

Ms. Friedman Agnifilo rejoined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 2010 as Executive ADA and Chief of the Trial Division, leaving her position as General Counsel to the New York City Mayor’s Office’s Criminal Justice Coordinator where she worked for Mayor Mike Bloomberg on issues of criminal justice policy. In that capacity, she managed multi-agency criminal justice policy initiatives and projects, and helped shape New York City’s criminal justice legislative and policy agendas. Her areas of focus have included human trafficking – including serving as the co-chair of the New York City Anti Human Trafficking Task Force, implementing numerous citywide human trafficking initiatives, internet safety, sexual assault, DNA, domestic violence, mental health, technology projects, juvenile justice, identity theft, and fraud.

A veteran of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Ms. Friedman Agnifilo previously served for 14 years as an Assistant District Attorney, including four years as Deputy Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit. She also served in the Homicide Investigation Unit, the Family Violence and Child Abuse Bureau, and the Asian Gang Unit.


Lectures and Presentations

Karen has extensive experience lecturing and giving presentations nationally and internationally.