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Faculty, Yale School of Medicine, Law & Psychiatry Program

Former Federal Defender


Paul Thomas is Of Counsel with Duffy Law. He has decades of experience in state and federal courts, assisting clients with sensitive advice and zealous representation. His successes at trial include, among others, acquittals in criminal cases involving charges of corporate criminal negligent homicide, violation of environmental laws, narcotics distribution and possession of a firearm in connection with drug distribution. He has obtained six and seven-figure jury verdicts in civil cases involving claims of violation of civil rights by law enforcement, racially hostile workplace and breach of employment contract based on sexual harassment/retaliation. He has advocated on behalf of hundreds of defendants in seeking and obtaining favorable plea agreements and reasonable sentences in cases where trial was not the best option.

Attorney Thomas has been recognized and honored by the Bar for his professionalism: in 2007 he was given the Champion of Liberty Award by the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association; in 2014 he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers; and, in 2018 he received the Richard Law Award from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut for his service with distinction to the court.


Attorney Thomas serves as a consultant to other attorneys who seek his perspective and wisdom on challenging cases they’re working. His consulting activities range from reviewing briefs to establishing and/or evaluating trial strategy to working with families of the accused. His consulting work focuses on criminal civil rights, police misconduct cases, and federal sentencing mitigation.


Attorney Thomas graduated with honors from both Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He served for two years as law clerk for U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns, before practicing law for almost 15 years at Zeldes, Needle & Cooper in Bridgeport, CT. He then joined the Office of the Federal Defender, where he was New Haven branch chief until he returned to private practice and joined Duffy Law in 2015.

Having appeared hundreds of times in court to rigorously advocate for clients at every stage and type of criminal proceeding, and having conducted over 40 jury trials to verdict, Attorney Thomas is widely respected for both his legal skill and his courtroom manner. He has a long track record of success in even the most challenging cases including:

  • Pre-indictment investigations that ended without criminal charges
  • Post-arrest bails hearings that obtained release over government objection
  • Suppression motions that resulted in dismissal of criminal charges
  • Trials ending in dismissal or acquittal
  • Sentencings that achieved significant below-Guidelines results
  • Reversals of convictions on appeal
  • Plaintiff’s civil rights claims

He has been an attorney trial referee in the Connecticut Superior Court and was on the federal court Grievance and Magistrate Selection Committees. Since 1996 he has been on the faculty of the Yale University School of Medicine in the Law & Psychiatry Program, where, in 2020, he received The Law & Psychiatry Teaching Award.

How Can We Help?

How Can We Help?

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  • Office of the Federal Defender
  • Zeldes, Needle & Cooper PC, Bridgeport, Connecticut Partner
  • United States District Court, District of Connecticut, Law Clerk to the Honorable Ellen Bree


  • State of Connecticut
  • United States District Court, District of Connecticut
  • United States District Court, Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • Second Circuit Court of Appeals


    • Connecticut Bar Association


  • 2007 Champion of Liberty Award, Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • 2018 Richard Law Award, U.S. District Court
  • 2020 Yale School of Medicine Law & Psychiatry Program Teaching Award


  • Faculty, Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Law & Psychiatry Program.