News Release

Chicago, IL Attorney Todd S. Pugh Sworn In as Treasurer of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Oct. 24, 2023) – Todd S. Pugh was sworn in to serve as Treasurer of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's Fall Meeting in Washington, DC. Mr. Pugh is the managing partner of the criminal defense firm of Breen & Pugh in Chicago. His firm focuses on defending all types of federal and state criminal cases, professional responsibility defense, and selective civil matters. Breen & Pugh is the preeminent Chicago law firm in defending cases of alleged public corruption. 

Mr. Pugh has tried hundreds of cases in defense of the accused, achieving both high- and low-profile acquittals. He has succeeded not only in the trial courts, but in the appellate courts as well. Mr. Pugh and his firm have earned outright reversals in some of Illinois’ most memorable and complicated cases. He began his career at the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office in their investigation and mitigation department. There, Mr. Pugh learned that there were no "small" cases or clients. For persons accused of any crime, that predicament was the defining moment in their life and deserved his full attention. Three decades later, Mr. Pugh still brings this same approach to his practice, and he passes this along to the attorneys he trains.

Mr. Pugh is an alumnus of DePaul University College of Law, where he has been an adjunct professor since 2013. He is also an alumnus of Northwestern Law School’s legal clinic, where he played a supporting role in overturning wrongful convictions in two notable capital cases. It was during the trial, acquittal, and exoneration of Rolando Cruz that Mr. Pugh met his mentor and now partner Thomas Breen.

Mr. Pugh frequently lectures on trial practice, cross-examination, and forensic evidence. He has received national attention for his trial skills and is widely lauded as an expert in cases involving abusive head trauma, bloodstain pattern analysis, cause and manner of death, and ballistics. One veteran prosecutor dubbed him "the expert witness’s worst nightmare." Since 2012, Leading Lawyers has listed Thomas Breen and Todd Pugh among the ten best criminal defense lawyers in Illinois.

Mr. Pugh is a proud alumnus of Florida Atlantic University, where he received the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. He is a Life Member of NACDL, serving as the Co-Chair of the Fourth Amendment Committee. He is also a fellow and advisory board member with the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Mr. Pugh serves as a trustee with NACDL's Foundation for Criminal Justice and supports several other non-profit and charitable organizations on the local level. In his free time, Mr. Pugh tours globally on, and races motorcycles. In 2016, he founded to support the motorcycle road racing community. 

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Kate Holden, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Strategist, 202-465-7624 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.