Judge Bios

Kravitz, Neal

Appointed: January 14, 1999

Mr. Kravitz began his legal career in 1983 as a law clerk to The Honorable Henry A. Politz. In 1984 Mr. Kravitz joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia as a staff attorney. For six years Mr. Kravitz represented indigent criminal defendants and juvenile respondents in all stages of the criminal process in the District of Columbia Courts.

He was lead defense counsel in more than 20 D.C. Superior Court jury trials involving indigent defendants charged with murder, rape, armed robbery, and other serious offenses, and he briefed and argued more than 10 criminal cases in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Mr. Kravitz left the D.C.Public Defender Service in early 1990 to become Executive Director of the New Hampshire Public Defender, a statewide public defender program with 50 lawyers in six offices across New Hampshire. As Executive Director, Mr. Kravitz managed and directed daily activities of the statewide public defender program, represented the interests of indigent defendants before the state legislature, and litigated several complex trial and appellate matters in the New Hampshire state courts.

Mr. Kravitz returned to the District of Columbia in late 1991 to accept a position as Special Investigative Counsel to the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. Mr. Kravitz worked closely with several Senators investigating allegations that the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia failed to released all of the American prisoners of war still alive in captivity at the end of the Vietnam War.

Mr. Kravitz became a staff attorney at the Washington Lawyers; Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in early 1993, at the conclusion of the Senate POW/MIA investigation. Mr. Kravitz spent the majority of his time at the Lawyers’ Committee serving as co-lead counsel for six African-American Select Service officers who sued the Denny’s Restaurant chain on behalf of a nationwide class alleging a corporate practice of racial discrimination against African-American customers. Mr. Kravitz won a landmark settlement against Denny’s consisting of extensive injunctive relief and a record monetary award ultimately shared by more than 100,000 African-American victims of racial discrimination.

Mr. Kravitz returned to Capitol Hill in 1994 to serve as the Principal Deputy Democratic Special Counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. Mr. Kravitz advised the Senators on the committee and participated in all aspects of the committee’s investigation, including the questioning of senior White House officials and other witnesses at public hearings and depositions.

Mr. Kravitz left the Senate in early 199 to accept an appointment at the United States Department of Justice as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. In this position, Mr. Kravitz assisted the head of the Civil Rights Division in coordinating the federal government’s law enforcement response to hate crimes, church arsons, and acts of violence committed against providers of reproductive health services. Mr. Kravitz remained as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights until his appointment by President Clinton to the Superior Court bench.

Mr. Kravitz graduated from Yale College in 1979 and from Harvard Law school in 1983. He was a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow-in-Residence at Harvard Law School in 1995-1996.

Mr. Kravitz has been a member of the Board of Directors of the City Lights School in Northeast Washington since 1996. He was a trombonist with the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1979 through 1983 and with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra from 1975 through 1979.

Mr. Kravitz is married to Melissa G. Reinberg, the Legal Director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Mr. Kravitz and Ms. Reinberg have an eleven-month old son, Noah.