Nick Hentoff has worked as a trial lawyer and an independent investigative journalist.
By the time he graduated from law school, Nick had published bylined articles in The Wall Street Journal and multiple op-eds in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Nation among other publications. Nick Hentoff also hosted a well regarded public affairs radio talk show – Citizen Lawyer Radio – based in Phoenix, Arizona (www.CitizenLawyers.com)
After clerking for a U.S. District Court Judge, Nick Hentoff joined the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office where he worked as a trial attorney handling everything from misdemeanors to capital murder cases.
From 1993 to 1998, 2001 to 2008 and, starting again in 2011, he operated a solo law practice focusing on criminal defense, prison law, police misconduct, civil rights and constitutional litigation. During this period he initiated and participated in investigations of human rights violations impacting marginalized and vulnerable populations, including the representation in state and federal courts of prisoners assaulted by guards deprived of their basic human rights through the conditions of their confinement and of citizens assaulted by the police. At any given time an average of 25% to 35% of the firm’s active caseload was devoted to pro bono cases, including the representation of Native American defendants in two murder trials (one of them a death penalty case), and the representation of prison inmates in individual civil rights cases and two class action lawsuits challenging the conditions of their confinement. In the first prison class action lawsuit, Does v. Stewart (D. Ariz. 1996), Nick Hentoff was one of seven attorneys who were appointed by United States District Court Judge to represent a class of prison inmates who had been denied protective segregation and were facing imminent death or serious physical injury if they were transferred back into the general population.
In 1995 Nick Hentoff submitted a detailed case-based report to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice that resulted in a 1995 investigation of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for civil rights violations. The investigation resulted in the filing of a lawsuit against Arpaio which was promptly dismissed by then U.S. Attorney Janet Napolitano (who Arpaio later supported in her successful campaign fore Governor of Arizona). Beginning in the mid-90′s, Nick developed an expertise in the defense of use of deadly force justification (self defense) cases).
In 2008 Nick Hentoff closed his law practice and moved to Central Asia where he worked as a legal specialist for the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI). Based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Nick Hentoff designed and conducted training programs for lawyers, judges and prosecutors on issues relating to human rights, the rule of law and trial practice skills. In 2010, shortly after he returned to the United States, Nick Hentoff started an Internet publishing, communications and online advocacy company – Phoenix New Media – based in New York City. He is currently admitted to practice law as an Attorney in New York State.