Fall 2011


You've seen Alumni Notes in the CUNY Law magazine. Now you can view expanded notes about your classmates — including e-mail and web addresses and photos — online!

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Read more about our alumni on the alumni news page.


1986 - 1990 | 1991-1995 | 1996 - 2000 | 2001 - 2005 | 2006 - 2010


1986

ROBERT BANK has been traveling extensively in the developing world since joining American Jewish World Service as executive vice president in 2009. Under his leadership, the organization completed a strategic plan in October 2011 to optimize the organization's position for growth and impact over the next five years. AJWS is an international development organization that is inspired by Judaism's commitment to justice and works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world.

Robert with the women at Awaaz e Niswan, a Mumbai-based organization aims to empower women without ethnic, religious, political and linguistic biases, paying special attention to marginalized and disadvantaged women.

Robert with a child at Challenging Heights, an organization based in Winneba, Ghana, that works to prevent child trafficking through public education and holistic support to survivors of child trafficking (Photo credit: Will Berkovitz).


TOM FAZIO is a partner in the firm of Blodnick, Conroy, Fazio & Diglio, P.C., in Garden City, New York, a general civil practice with a concentration in representing doctors and practice managers. He is president-elect of the Mineola–Garden City Rotary Club, whose current project is getting potable water into parts of Haiti where it is still unavailable. His grandchildren will turn 9 and 2 this fall, and in between those birthdays he and his wife will celebrate their 12th anniversary.


Judge PAM JACKMAN BROWN, acting supreme justice in Queens Supreme Court, was nominated to the Supreme Court of Queens County for the election on November 8, 2011, for a term to begin January 2012.


VIN MAHER still loves teaching business law, business ethics, and health care management at Iona College as a full professor. He's half way through an MFA in creative writing—even enjoying some initial success as a published poet. He is looking forward with great pride to the December 2011 graduation from college of his daughter, Elisabeth, with her degree in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University.


Justice DICCIA T. PINEDA-KIRWAN has been sitting in the New York State Supreme Court, Queens County since January 2010. Prior to her election to the Supreme Court, she served as a judge in the Civil Court of the City of New York, Queens County since January 2003. She is the first Latina elected to the bench and to public office in the history of Queens County, and she is also the first female Dominican born judge to be elected in the state of New York. Prior to serving as a judge, Justice Pineda-Kirwan worked in the judicial branch for more than 13 years – first as a Law Assistant (Court Attorney) in the Civil Court, then as a Principal Law Clerk in the New York State Supreme Court.


BARBARA HENRY TRAPASSO is of counsel to the Nesenoff & Miltenberg LLP law firm in New York City, handling commercial litigation matters as well as real estate commercial transactions. She is also presently vice president of the Board of Education for the Garden City Union Free School District and has been a trustee for the last eight years.


1987

RIC CHERWIN is known as the singing auctioneer. He is also a former editor at the NY Daily News, concert producer, musician, composer, recording artist, practicing psychotherapist, and attorney. While Ric still practices law, he puts bread on his table mostly through music and auctions, as well as a private therapy practice.


MARTHA S. JONES is now the codirector of the Program in Race, Law & History at the University of Michigan Law School.


BARBARA J. KING was the recipient of the 2011 Schenectady County Human Rights Commission's Justice Award. Barbara received the award at the Commission's 28th Annual Human Rights Breakfast in May.


DEBBIE MALKIN lives in Santa Cruz, CA, and has three children. Her son joined the family through birth, and her two daughters joined the family through adoption. They are active with Pact, an organization that supports transracial adoptive families. Debbie continues to practice in trusts and estates, focusing on conservatorships (guardianships) and special needs trusts for people with disabilities. Anyone from CUNY who comes to Santa Cruz is invited to contact her!

Debbie and her daughter Reyna.


AMY PELLMAN was appointed California superior court judge by the governor in November 2008. She continued to work in family trial court for six years before transferring to her current assignment, juvenile dependency. She teaches at Southwestern Law School. She also coauthored an article, "A Child-Centered Response to the Elkins Family Law Taskforce," that was accepted by the William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal. Her spouse, Joni Lucarelli, has been working happily as a Doula for the past four years. Her stepdaughter, Michelle, graduated from UCLA School of Public Policy in Child Welfare and is working as a child social worker for the Department of Children and Family Services. Her stepson, David, is doing well and working hard.


1988

JIM MISKIEWICZ has been appointed acting chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. Since 2009, he has served as deputy chief of the office's Long Island Criminal Division.


SUSAN M. SCHARBACH is the deputy bureau chief of the Real Estate Finance Bureau of the New York State Attorney General.


1989

CONCETTA MENNELLA teaches paralegals at the New York City College of Technology.


MARIA TIMONEY has been practicing with Southwest Virginia Legal Aid in the Appalachian area of southwest Virginia since she graduated from CUNY. She is currently one of three managing attorneys and particularly enjoys her area of concentration in consumer and bankruptcy law. She is serving a three-year term on the Bankruptcy Law Section for the Virginia State Bar.


1990

In April 2011 DIANA SANABRIA became the new Chief Clerk of New York County Surrogate's Court. She has the pleasure of working with former CUNY Law School Dean Kristin Booth Glen who (alongside the Hon. Nora S. Anderson) is one of the two surrogates in New York County.


1991

ANNA LEVINE is doing mediation/advocacy work.


ELLEN POBER RITTBERG continues to lecture about parenting topics and her humorous how-to book, 35 Things Your Teen Won't Tell You So I Will (Turner Publishing). Her piece on top parenting tips for parents of teens appeared in Reader's Digest. She also gives poetry readings. Her book Consider the Constellations was published last year. Her website is www.ellenpoberrittberg.com. Her twitter name is @ellen_rittberg. She is seeking a publisher for her novel The Boy.


MARIE TATRO is starting her second year at the General Theological Seminary in the master of divinity preordination program. She and her partner recently adopted a new baby, Chloe Grace. She and her big sister Ryan are doing great. Her partner, Meghan Faux (Georgetown Law, '99), is still the director of the Foreclosure Prevention Project at South Brooklyn Legal Services.

(left) Marie Tatro ('91), her partner Meghan Faux, and (right) their daughters Chloe and Ryan.


1992

WAYNE ANDERSON has completed his 60th jury trial (not guilty of primary charge; guilty of lesser included) in his now nearly 11-year stint as a deputy public defender. He loves being a trial attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area and credits CUNY Law School for providing him with so many excellent opportunities to train and develop as a lawyer. His eldest daughter recently graduated from high school and is headed to New York City to go to college; his two younger children are keeping him busy and humble. He would love to hear from any alumni, especially in the Bay Area, and can be found on LinkedIn.


GREGORY M. GINA and (spouse) BERNADETTE CROWLEY ('94) established the Douglaston Mediation Center, LLC in August 2010.


1993

DAVID HYLAND continues his career as a full-time labor arbitrator/ mediator. It involves a fair amount of statewide travel but he loves it. He has much more flexibility than a traditional judge and perhaps the best part is learning about jobs he barely knew existed. His time at CUNY was pure magic. He credits Sharon Hom for teaching him Contract law, John Cicero for his in-depth of knowledge in Labor law, and Rick Rossein for his excellence in teaching Employment Discrimination law. He is also grateful for the time he spent with Rhonda Copelon and Celina Romany in the International Women's Human Rights Clinic. He considers himself lucky to have been given so many gifts, chief among them the confidence—miles ahead of the prevailing wisdom—that he could be openly gay and choose whatever job he wanted. It may be commonplace today, but it was hardly commonplace in 1990 when he sat in his first class.


1994

ELIZABETH ALEXANDER continues to practice labor and employment law as a Senior Associate at Marrinan & Mazzola Mardon, P.C. in New York, NY. The firm acts as General Counsel for the International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO serving the interests of union members from Maine to Texas, the Great Lakes, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Elizabeth proudly announces the marriage of her daughter Rose Yndigoyen to her longtime partner Jen Nagle. After a ceremony in Ogunquit, Maine, when New York passed the Marriage Equality Law, Rose and Jen tied the knot again, this time in Central Park.

The wedding ceremonies of Elizabeth Alexander's daughter.


The Hon. TODD M. TURNER is seeking reelection to the City Council in Bowie, MD. First elected in 2005 and reelected in 2007, he was selected to serve as mayor pro tem, the first African-American to hold the position in the City's history. Todd; his wife, ANITA GAUHAR TURNER ('94); and two daughters have lived in Bowie since 2002.


KAREN SIMMONS, executive director of the Children's Law Center New York, and DIANA YU ('09), staff attorney, attended the ABA Center on Children and the Law's 14th Annual National Conference in July, which focused on the results and observations from the Broken Adoptions trend study conducted at the Children's Law Center during 2011. Diana co-led the "Preventing Adoption and Guardianship Failures" workshop. For more information about the Children's Law Center New York, visit www.clcny.org.

Karen Simmons ('94), third from left, and Diana Yu ('09), second from right, at the ABA Center on Children and the Law's annual conference.


1995

KIM DVORCHAK is executive director of the Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to excellence in juvenile defense and advocacy, and justice for all children and youth in Colorado. Kim is travelling Colorado to train attorneys on how to zealously defend children prosecuted in adult criminal court.


Dr. SAM OAKLAND, adjunct professor of law at the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University in Oregon and a teaching park ranger with the U.S. Forest Service on Mt. Hood, has received his second grant from the Law Fulbright Program in Belarus, where he will teach Law & Literature at Belarusian State University. Sam will also tour the public libraries of the country giving talks on Law As Seen in American Film, and readings from his new poetry book titled The Midnight Sun.


1996

TRACEY BING-HAMPSON'S daughter Kia, who attended the CUNY Day Care Center, began her freshman year at Tulane University in August. In June, Tracey was honored by the Midtown Community Court "in recognition of her commitment to the Dads United for Parenting Program." Tracey is the director of the Family Law/Domestic Violence unit at Manhattan Legal Services in Harlem where she works with her colleagues and friends MARIBEL MARTINEZ-GUNTER ('95) and LENINA TRINIDAD ('00). The CUNY family at MLS also includes MONTEL CHERRY-SLACK ('99) and JULIA ROSNER ('96).

Tracey (right) and her daughter Kia at a scholarship dinner.


JUSTIN C. FRANKEL, a partner in Frankel & Newfield, P.C., has been named by Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top New York metro area lawyers for 2011.


JOSEPH B. MAIRA, has a general law practice in New Jersey in addition to his New York office and is happy to accept your referrals: www.mairalaw.com


OSCAR ODOM III is the chairperson/professor of the Criminal Justice Division at ASA Institute. He is currently pursuing a doctorate of education in educational leadership and management from Capella University.


PETER J. PADOVANO lives in Massachusetts. He is a business consultant for a national human resources company helping companies contain costs in benefits and providing HR outsourced support.


1997

AMY VASQUEZ shares that her husband, Peter Fiorentino, "a brilliant litigator and defender of individual rights and great husband and father to their daughter Marcy," died suddenly in the courthouse in July. She thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers.


1998

LIDELFO A. FRANCO is a solo practitioner and Of Counsel to the Law Office of William Gallina in the Bronx. His practice areas are personal injury, civil litigation, and criminal defense. He is married and has a two-year-old boy, Lee, Jr., and they reside on Manhattan's Upper West Side.


JEFFREY H. WARD, has his own law firm concentrating in creditors' rights, contract litigation, bankruptcy, and general civil litigation. He has offices in Essex and Monmouth Counties in New Jersey and in Manhattan.


1999

MAE WATSON GROTE and her husband were thrilled to adopt Stella this spring, bringing their happy family to three girls under age five! The Financial Clinic, the nonprofit financial development firm Mae founded, celebrated its 5th anniversary. The Clinic has improved the financial security of thousands of working poor New Yorkers through a combination of financial coaching and legal services on personal financial issues.


MARI INOUE (née Maemoto) continues the immigration practice firm she established in 2002. She also volunteers as a New York representative of Human Rights Now (HRN), a Japanese NGO. Recently she assisted HRN in drafting an opinion paper requesting Japanese government to re-evaluate its policies on evacuation, decontamination, food safety standards, and other human rights issues to protect people affected by the nuclear accident in Fukushima.


KAREN ANDRA O'CONNOR returned to the States and now lives in Michigan after a decade of giving motivational and inspirational talks to high school students in Soweto and adults in the greater Johannesburg area. She is currently working on a trilogy of inspirational works drawn from her 21 years with the NYPD and 10 years in South Africa. This work is due out in the fall of 2012. Karen is looking to reconnect now that she is back. She may be contacted at karen@karenandraoconnor.com.


RACHEL HAYNES PINSKER is now the deputy director of the YWCA Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


RAY SANTIAGO has been nominated to run for the New Jersey State Senate in the 11th Legislative District. If elected, he will be the only Latino senator in the state, joining one Latina.


2001

NANCY CHUPP lives in Seattle with her husband and two children, Annika and Keyan. She is a partner at the Public Interest Law Group, PLLC where she focuses on employment discrimination, wage and hour violations, and prisoner civil rights. She recently published a chapter on "Religious Discrimination," in the Employment Law Deskbook, published by Washington State Association for Justice.


2002

REV. CHRYLL D. CREWS has been approved for entrance as a candidate for admission to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) roster of ordained pastors, as one ordained in another Christian tradition. She currently serves as the vicar of the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Brooklyn, NY. Chryll was ordained in the Baptist church 22 years ago.


IAN F. HINONANGAN, recently won a cancellation of removal appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals for an undocumented mother with three U.S. citizen minor children in July. (See, in the Matter of Calagos.) Through his eight-year-old solo practice in Jersey City, Ian continues to focus on deportation defense and advocate for immigration reform through reFORM Mondays, a movement that melds art with the call for reform as to humanize the immigrant experience in America.


DEBRA MALONE and PETER KHRINENKO recently welcomed their daughter, Cassidy Agnes. Peter was selected by Super Lawyers to the list of "Rising Stars" for the year 2011.


2003

JESSICA BASH works at Legal Aid's Juvenile Rights Practice in Queens. She and her husband, Eric Schaefer, recently welcomed a daughter, Ella Frances Schaefer.

Ella Frances, daughter of Jessica Bash ('03)


2004

IRMA E. DOMINGUEZ divides her time between her children, Antonio and Benjamin, and private practice and her community organization, CAMINOS.

Irma Dominguez's sons, Antonio and Benjamin


JOHN FREEMAN was recently named supervising attorney of the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition State Support office. John worked at the office as a staff attorney for five years prior to taking over supervisory duties. The office provides coordinating and support activities for Minnesota's justice community, including poverty law training, community legal education, client and advocate website development, and management of other innovative technology projects.


BEN MASTAITIS is an assistant district attorney in his native Albany, NY, in the Major Offense Bureau, prosecuting robbery, burglary, assault, and grand larceny cases. KATE MASTAITIS ('04) is employed by the firm Donnelon and Knusssman in Ballston Spa, NY, specializing in matrimonial, child support, and custody actions, as well as acting as a law guardian. Ben and Kate have two children, Eleanor and Greta.


FARHID SEDAGHAT-POUR, got married to Albert Neman at Temple Emanuel in Great Neck.


2005

JACKIE DEVORE and her husband, Patrick Murphy, recently welcomed their daughter, Violet June DeVore Murphy. They live in Bogota, NJ, and Jackie continues to litigate in the Special Education Unit for the New York City Department of Education General Counsel's Office.

Violet June, daughter of Jackie DeVore ('05)


KIMBERLY TATE-BROWN represented Enrique T. in State v. Enrique T., which found unconstitutional the section of Mental Hygiene Law Article 10, the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (sex offender civil commitment law) that requires confining the individual (either in prison or a secure psychiatric facility, after the completion of his prison sentence) before a trial is held to determine the need for civil confinement, without providing a less restrictive alternative. While a federal court judge had previously declared this section of the statute unconstitutional, this is the first time a state trial court judge had.


2006

RINAD BSHARAT is living in Washington, DC and consulting for the US Department of Justice.


MICHAEL DAVIDOV, an elder law and estate planning attorney, is co-authoring a book on legacy and estate planning with Sanford Fisch and Robert Armstrong (co-authors of the E-Myth Attorney). He recently passed the Certified Financial Planner certification exam. He may be reached at md@davidovlaw.com.


KELLY KUTERBACH, welcomed twins Benjamin & Charlotte.


DAVE PALMER, executive director of the Center for Working Families, played a key role in the passage of the Power New York Act of 2011, which will help the state raise billions of dollars for home energy efficiency improvements to combat climate change and create good, green jobs. In May, Dave married Paloma Gomes of Salvador, Brazil; the couple is expecting a baby girl.


YOGI PATEL launched the Patel Law Firm in February 2011 after working as an associate attorney for Shebitz Berman Cohen & Delforte, P.C. and as assistant general counsel to F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. Practice areas include commercial litigation, labor and employment, and removal (deportation) defense.


CHARLES T. STOLL works as a domestic violence prosecutor in Navajo Country, New Mexico's "Four Corners Region," for the 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Farmington, NM.


2007

LISA ANNE D'ORAZIO is currently a deputy state public defender with the Office of the California State Public Defender in San Francisco. The office handles all automatic appeals for indigent people who have been through trial, convicted and sentenced to the death penalty in California.


MELISSA (MISSY) GOULD received her LL.M. degree, with honors, from the University of Cambridge (UK), focusing on comparative constitutional law. She lives in Michigan with her husband and is a lecturer at Oakland University and handles consumer protection cases in federal court.


2008

JULIETTE FORSTENZER ESPINOSA was appointed to the faculty of the George Washington University Department of Health Policy in Washington, DC, as an assistant research professor in January. Juliette will work in the areas of health reform implementation, health care consumer rights, and global health workforce issues, as well as teach courses on health insurance appeals and private health insurance. Juliette continues to represent clients in New York City through the Health Care Rights Initiative, the nonprofit she started with fellow CUNY alum JOANNA DONBECK ('08), which operates out of the CUNY Incubator for Justice in Manhattan. CUNY TV is currently producing a segment on the mission and work of the Health Care Rights Initiative.


PAUL KILMINSTER is an associate at Fusco, Brandenstein and Rada, P.C., which handles workers compensation, Social Security disability, municipal pension, and personal injury. He can be reached by email at Pkilminster@FBRlaw.com or by phone at (516) 496-0400 extension 4448.


TAÍ MEREY NICKEL is working with the Center for Court Innovation at the Harlem Community Justice Center. She recently married Cristobal Josh Alex in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


MEAGAN NUNEZ works as a solo practitioner in San Diego, CA, securing free appropriate public education for students with special needs.


PATRICIA POWIS will serve on the board of directors of the Columbian Lawyers of Association of Queens. She has expanded her elder law and estates practice with an office in Garden City, New York. She recently sent her second child off to college and hopes to have both a biologist and electrical engineer in the family within the next few years.


AVI RUDNICK has a new law practice, Rudnick & Daniel-McCarter, LLC with OWEN DANIEL-MCCARTER (‘07). The firm specializes in providing affordable, zealous, and affirming legal services to people living in the greater Chicago area. They are committed to using legal advocacy as a tool for activism in the transgender, queer, bisexual, lesbian, and gay rights movements, the immigrant rights movement, the disability rights movement, and the anti-racist movement. Their practice areas are in civil rights law, contract review, criminal defense, estate planning, family law, immigration law, LGBT legal planning consultations, and public benefits law.


MOLLY TIMKO is now director of quality management/ corporate compliance at Ulster-Greene ARC in Kingston, NY, a nonprofit agency that serves individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in the mid-Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain regions. She also serves as the chair of the Community Service & Pro Bono Committee for the New York State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section.


2009

After graduating, JULIETTE-NOOR HAJI clerked for Judge Cassini of the Criminal Division of Essex County Superior Court. Since completing her clerkship, she has been working as a public defender for the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society in Queens, NY.


NATE TREADWELL is finishing a clerkship with Judge Roanne L. Mann in the Eastern District of New York and will be starting at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley in Yonkers, taking over a position previously held by CHRISTA DOUAIHY ('08).


2010

STEPHAN EDEL misses CUNY Law but is excited by his position as the green and equitable economies organizer at the Center for Working Families where he works with fellow CUNY Law alums and has been working hard to help create good green jobs in New York State.


JONATHAN HARRIS is a Skadden Fellow with the Public Justice Center's Workplace Justice Project in Baltimore. His project focuses on assisting Maryland's working poor and recently unemployed to rebuild their financial lives in the wake of the recession through integrated legal services and systemic advocacy in employment and consumer law. In September, he successfully lobbied for new rules requiring greater proof from debt buyers—companies that buy unpaid credit accounts for pennies on the dollar—when suing consumers in Maryland courts. He also recently filed an amicus brief in the Maryland appellate court arguing against windfall attorneys' fees for debt collectors.


BRIAN TURNER passed the February 2011 California Bar Exam. He is working at Glancy Binkow and Goldberg as a contract attorney in securities law.