BY: Alumni Office | DATE: Jan 03, 2023

Sharing news about alumni careers, celebrations, and calls to action with the CUNY Law community.

Ruth D. Lowenkron ’86, Director of the Disability Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, receives the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) 2022 Public Policy Leadership Award during the 40th annual NYAPRS conference.

Fred Rooney 86 is working on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme with pioneers of the attorneys affiliated to “INSAF” Legal Incubator, after extensive training in legal, sports, and marketing fields. INSAF is getting ready to start a new phase of a project aimed at promoting professional competence, sportsmanship, social responsibility, and the rule of law in Palestine.

Prof. Martha S. Jones ’87 wrote an article for The New York Times entitled “Finding Traces of Harriet Tubman on Maryland’s East Shore,” in which a historian follows the routes that the freedom fighter used to liberate Black people. This November, Jones provided the inaugural Belinda Sutton Distinguished Lecture at Harvard Law School, an annual series organized by Guy-Uriel E. Charles, the faculty director of the Charles Hamilton Institute for Race and Justice.

Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelson ’88 is expected to oversee the day-to-day operations of the New York Statewide court system. Governor Kathy Hochul today announced her strong support for Judge LaSalle’s intention to appoint the Honorable Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson to serve as Chief Administrative Judge, if Lasalle is confirmed by the Senate, following Hochul’s nomination as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. In a recent New York Law Journal article, Judge Richardson-Mendelson is described as “a Judge who can get things done,” with her roots in reforming the courts, especially family court. Further, Richardson-Mendelson is awarded Jurist of the Year by the Metropolitan Black Bar Association at its 38th Annual Awards Gala. She is also nominated by the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission for her dedicated work on Equal Justice in the Courts.

Wilfredo Cotto’s ’89  retirement is profiled in the New York Daily News after three decades in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

Hon. Toko Serita ’89, Statewide Coordinating Judge for Problem-Solving Courts, was honored at the Asian American Judges’ Association of New York’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Month celebration held in May 2022.

Rev. Theresa Ora Wyatt 89 announces her debut in the music recording and book publishing industries. Her Christian/gospel music single, “Jesus, It’s You,” debuted on over 150+ music outlets, radio stations, and stores worldwide. In addition, her first two independently published books, “Forsaking One Fling Too Many…For Love In Many Ways” (February 2, 2022) and “Love In Many Ways: Poems About Love” (March 28, 2022) are available on Amazon.

Bryanne Hamill ’90 is quoted in The Imprint for her work as chair on the forthcoming federal inquiry to investigate possible violations of Black families’ civil and constitutional rights by the New York child welfare system.

Haydeé Rosario ’90 is one of eight arbitrators appointed for a six-year term to the roster of Independent Arbitrators to hear doping disputes in Olympic and Paralympic sports. Haydeé is also named to the National Mediation Board Roster of Arbitration, another prestigious appointment.

Rev. Marie Tatro 91 was seated as a Cannon of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, Long Island, at a ceremony on November 6, 2022.

Arthur Aidala ’92 was featured July 9, 2022 in The New York Times “Sunday Business” section article about his famous and infamous clients.

Felicia Pasculli ’93, elder law and estate planning law partner at Futterman, Lanza & Pasculli, LLP, is named to the “Top 100” by SuperLawyer for the twelfth consecutive year and is also nominated as the Bethpage “Best Of” on Long Island.

Hon. William F. Ramseier ’93 is elected to one of four open seats for State Supreme Court judge in the 5th Judicial District. Since 2012, Judge Ramseier has been principal law clerk to Judge McClusky, with whom Ramseier will now serve in the 5th Judicial District.

Michael R. Sweeney 93, who is credited with modernizing the Mass Lottery and guiding it through its most successful years for sales and profits, joins the law firm of Fletcher Tilton PC as its new Executive Director.

Cynthia Weaver ’94 presented on a panel on Reproductive Justice at Howard Law in her capacity as Director for Human Rights Campaign’s Impact Litigation Program.

Jaribu Hill 95 is quoted in several publications, about the resurfacing of the Emmett Till case, including Revolt’s Lost arrest warrant charging a white woman with Emmett Till’s kidnapping found in Mississippi basement.

Devika Kewalramani ’95 is named Chair of the Board of Directors of the New York City Bar Association.

Frank Perrone Jr. 96 has joined Tarter Krinsky & Drogin as a partner and co-chair of its new Matrimonial & Family Law Practice. 

Rev. Dr. Yvette Wilson-Barnes 97, CUNY Law Dean of Students, is elected Vice President of the Board of the Fair Housing Justice Center; she has been involved since its creation in 2004. In December 2022, Wilson-Barnes was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award at the Education 2.0 conference.

Diego Demaya ’99 is working as a human resources adviser and lead provider of ADA technical assistance with the Southwest ADA Center covering a five-state region.

Deidra R. Moore-Janvier 99 is interviewed on the Today’s Verdict show on BronxNet TV on her multigenerational book, From Me, To You: The Power of Storytelling and Its Inherent Generational Wealth, on the legacy of slavery.

Raymond Santiago ’99 has been nominated by NJ Governor Phillip Murphy and confirmed to hold the position of Monmouth County Prosecutor.

Sarah Gillman 00, co-founder of the Rapid Defense Network, is the new Director of Strategic U.S. Litigation at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

Erica F. Buckley ’01 is appointed to the New York State Bar Association House of Delegates, the association’s decision- and policy-making body.

Kiva V. Waters ’01 is now the Project Coordinator for CLRN at CUNY Law, working to advance overall Alumni Engagement & Initiatives, including the reach of our City Counseling program and the success of our first post-pandemic reunion gala. Kiva also manages her boutique firm, focusing on business law and recently published a selfcare tool-book, “Meditation Madness.”

Joshua A. Edwards ’02  is elevated to Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP.

Mira Sun ’02 is featured in California State University’s Californian on her work and retirement.

Savina Playter ’03, who made history by becoming the first Bronx Women’s Bar Association President of South Asian descent, has been named among the Bronx PowerList 2022. These most influential movers and shakers in the Bronx are recognized for their continued commitment, impact, and influence they have sustained on the Bronx existence over the past year.

Alicka Ampry-Samuel ’05 was appointed as the Regional Administrator Region II in New York and New Jersey at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in July 2022, and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development for her inclusion in the City and State’s 100 most influential Black New Yorkers.

Jackie DeVore ’05, a passionate advocate for the rights of children and their families, has taken a position as a Senior Associate at Skyer Law.

Michael Davidov 06 appears in 2022 SuperLawyers in the field of estate planning and probate law and in 2022 Best of Nassau County as the “Best Financial Planner.”

John Orcutt ’06 is selected to be the next Chief of the Tort Division’s Special Litigation Unit of the New York City Law Department.

Dave Palmer ’06 and CUNY Law Board of Visitors Member, begins a new job directing the newly formed Ballot Freedom Project, a joint initiative of Working Families and the New America Foundation that aims to win fusion voting in states across the country, mostly via litigation and ballot measures.

Muhammed Faridi 07 who joined the CUNY School of Law Foundation Board in 2022, was appointed to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. The Mayor’s Committee screens and recommends appointments by the Mayor to the bench in Criminal and Family Courts, and to fill vacancies on Civil Court, pending holding an election to fill the vacancy.

Ephrat Livni ’07, a New York Times reporter, contributed to a New York Times article on Sam Bankman-Fried being released on bond and has been reporting extensively on the Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX.

Mul Kim ’08 is now working at Bronx Legal Services in the Public Benefits Unit with a focus on homecare issues faced by Medicaid beneficiaries.

Angelo Pinto ’08 is an Activist in Residence at Yale School of Public Health, where he will work with students, faculty, and staff to develop the U.S. Health Justice Action Lab to address health inequities.

Dimitry Alper ’09 discusses how his law degree and maritime law practice led to his founding of an international shipping company in Business Matters.

Ron Cerrata ’09 is in a new position as a staff attorney at the Aids Center of Queens County.

Brian Rashid ’09, CEO of Brian Rashid Global, a bilingual branding, marketing, and communications company, created Love Letters to NYC, a vivid collection of New York vignettes about hope, humanity, connection, and travel.

Shirley Lin ’10 has joined the Brooklyn Law Faculty teaching contracts, critical race theory, and employment law.

Jessica Massimi ’10 and Moira Meltzer-Cohen 12 win $49,012 and attorney’s fees from the City of New York as counsel for the plaintiffs National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers Detained in the June 4, 2020, NYPD Attack on Bronx “FTP4” Protest. 

Prof. Talia Peleg ’10, Co-Director of CUNY Law’s Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights, is on the January 2023 AALS panel entitled “The Dangers of ICE’s Unrestrained Rearrest Power.” Talia has also recently been elected as a member of the Board of the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA).

Michael Rivadeneyra ’10 has been promoted to Vice President of Government Relations at the YMCA of Greater New York.

Patrick E. Foster ’11 is appointed Regional Director for NYC at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

David Stanigar ’11, a personal injury litigation associate at Kelner & Kelner, is named a 2022 Rising Star attorney by SuperLawyers.

Cesar Vargas ’11 is quoted in this piece on COVID and immigration via WPIX11. He joined the New York City Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs as General Counsel in April 2022.

New York State Senator Jamal Bailey ’12 has been named among the Bronx PowerList 2022. These most influential movers and shakers in the Bronx are recognized for their continued commitment, impact, and influence they have sustained on the Bronx existence over the past year.

Richard J. Bailey 12 has been appointed as an Immigration Judge in the Elizabeth, NJ, Immigration Court. From 2014 to 2022, he was a staff attorney and then a supervising attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, and, from 2012 to 2014, he served as a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Moira Meltzer-Cohen ’12 and Jessica Massimi ’10  win $49,012 and attorney’s fees from the City of New York as counsel for the plaintiffs National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers Detained in the June 4, 2020, NYPD Attack on Bronx “FTP4” Protest.

Jose Abrigo 13 will serve as HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal Defense, working on national and state impact litigation and policy advocacy.

Hira Amin ’13 has been promoted to Manager, Senior Associate of Business Immigration at EY Law LLP.

Liz Fusco ’13 has joined the New Economy Project as a Staff Attorney after having worked for the organization as an Equal Justice Fellow.

Missy Risser-Lovings ’13, Co-Director of CUNY Law’s Community & Economic Development Clinic (CED), and supervising attorney Chris Adams ’14 are cited in this Nonprofit Quarterly article co-authored by CED’s founder, Professor Carmen Huertas-Noble, who is currently serving as the clinic dean.

Melissa A. Molfetas ’14 is named an Equal Justice Fellow. She performs intakes with Veterans as prospective clients and refers them to the resources they need. Melissa provides direct representation to veterans and serves as a pro bono coordinator assigning benefit claims and appeals to volunteer attorneys.

Zamir Ben-Dan ’15 joined the Temple Law faculty in fall 2022. His interests and emerging scholarship lie in the intersections of criminal law, race and the law, and American history.

Johanna Ocana ’15 is welcomed as the Senior Coordinating Attorney for Pro Bono Initiatives at the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham University School of Law.

Scott Bane ’18 authored the book, A Union Like Ours: The Love Story of F.O. Matthiessen and Russell Cheney, which will be released on June 17, 2023, by UMass Press.

Richard Celestin 18 and CUNY School of Law Foundation Board Member received an award he described as “one of, if not the, highest honors and recognitions to date, as an entrepreneur and youth advocate. The Hempstead Branch of the NAACP awarded me the Entrepreneurial Award for my work with youth in the Hempstead community. In addition, I received two Citations – one from the Nassau County Office of the Executive and one from the Nassau County Legislator.” Richard also recently published his third book, “Evolving into Manhood: How to Think, Act, and Grow into a Successful Man.”

Aggeliki Psonis ’18 performed at Chelsea Table + Stage on June 24 with music director Dayramir Gonzalez and more. Aggeliki is an up-and-coming NYC-based vocal artist from Athens, Greece, focused primarily on ethno jazz, soul, and Greek traditional music.

Christopher Alexander ’19, a graduate of CUNY Law’s first evening class, is the inaugural executive director of the NY State Office of Cannabis Management. Chris was the lead drafter of New York State’s marijuana legalization legislation and was featured in New York Magazine for his work. He received an award from Bronx Defenders at its 25th anniversary in October 2022.

Oscar C. Deonarine ’19 is working as an Associate at Lewis Brisbois, where he primarily handles construction accident cases and general liability matters.

Mariana Negron-Quinones 19 started a new position as Staff Attorney at the Safe Passage Project.

Christina Das ’20 interviews Alyssa Milano via the NAACP LDF on civic duty and staying engaged, even in times of frustration. She also moderates the upcoming Voting Rights panel via the CUNY Law Review.

Donita Macula Krasniqi ’20 is an Associate at Fried Frank concentrating on asset management.

Kate Ryan ’20 presented in CUNY Law’s Equality & Justice Practice Clinic on the special needs of incarcerated women on November 10, 2022.

Shauntrelle Conde ’21 is a Law Clerk to Criminal Court Judge Semaj of the Bronx County Supreme Court.

Leticia Escobar ’21 was promoted to Attorney Advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Daudi Justin ’21, a Staff Attorney at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, is serving as the lead plaintiff in a case brought by the NYCLU, seeking to declare the exclusion of individuals with felony convictions from serving on juries here in Manhattan.

Ludmila Molina ’21 is starting a new position as Immigration Attorney at Services for the Advancement of Women (SEPA Mujer), an organization founded by CUNY Law alumna Alizabeth Newman ’91.

Jason Moor ’21 published “I Am Still Me: Aphasia and the Search for a Voice in the Legal Process” in the May 2022 edition of the ABAVoice of Experience newsletter that he began as a student in CUNY Law’s Disability & Aging Justice Clinic.

Victoria Pilger 21 is serving as a Judicial Clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Cesar Ruiz 21, LatinoJustice’s Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow, presented at the Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention on the landscape of voting rights and the issues plaguing our democratic system. He also joined a CUNY Law Review voting rights panel moderated by Christina Das ’20.

Tom Tortorici ’21 is now the Director of Legal and Support Initiatives at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in New York City whose work is cited in Gotham Gazette.

Shaundi Best ’22 is named a CUNY BMI Stellar Scholar. After completing CUNY Law’s Pipeline to Justice Program and graduating from the part-time program while working full-time, Shaundi is currently working at NYLAG’s Domestic Violence Law Unit.

Bobbie Brown ’22 was named the Executive Director of Young New Yorkers, which combines the arts and criminal justice reform.

Kat Gafycz ’22 presented her groundbreaking paper at the 2022 Climate Change Symposium in Austin, Texas.

Simone Harstead ’22 started a position as Law Graduate at the Tenants’ Rights Unit at New York Legal Assistance Group.


In Memoriam…


Robert Briglio ’86 believed his most significant professional achievements included helping people with disabilities achieve lived equality and integration in the community and educating his many students at CUNY Law about disability justice. Join the CUNY Law community in celebrating the life of Robert Briglio. The Robert Briglio Memorial Fund, established by his classmates and friends, will support CUNY Law students. Gifts — no matter how large or small — will provide needs-based support to CUNY Law students with a passion and interest in disability justice. Read more or contribute to the Robert Briglio Memorial fund here.

Gregory Michael Gina 92 aged 55 years, of Floral Park, Long Island, passed away suddenly at home on June 5, 2022, and was the loving husband of Bernadette Crowley Gina 94. In his obituary, he is remembered: “Gregory served as a guardian and court evaluator for those deemed incapable due to mental health. As co-founder of Douglaston Mediation Center, Gregory mediated along with his wife, Bernadette, whom he met in law school. Together in their Douglaston office and at Lee & Kane on Flatbush Avenue, Gregory led mediation sessions improving communication with disputing parties and creating solutions.”

Jemal Deshong’s 02 tragic death is only exacerbated by how hard he fought to become a lawyer and justice advocate. He was remembered in his obituary: “As an attorney, Jemal was able to tackle the harsh realities of systematic racism and injustices in the court system. Having grown up in Harlem and seeing this firsthand, Jemal wanted to give back to his community and be a catalyst for change. Jemal had his own private practice in Mount Vernon and often took on pro bono cases defending clients who had been wrongfully accused and did not have proper representation.” His full obituary is here.

Arnold H. Bank 05, a physician and attorney of Westbury, NY, died on June 13, 2022, at the age of 81 of pancreatic cancer. His obituary remembers him: Arnold was “Born and raised in New York City and graduated from The Bronx High School of Science in 1958. He earned an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Art History at Columbia College in 1962 and graduated with an M.D. from the Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons in 1966. Following his residency in OB/GYN at The Mount Sinai Hospital, Arnold served in the United States Army as a Major at Fort Lee, Virginia, and was honorably discharged in 1973. Dr. Bank was in private practice in Cedarhurst, NY, for 30 years. After retirement from his medical practice, Dr. Bank enrolled at the CUNY School of Law and became a medical malpractice defense attorney for 16 years. Arnold’s favorite pastime was cruising on his 42-foot Catalina sailboat, often navigating the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean for days while on vacation with his family. Arnold is survived by his wife, Sharon; his daughter, Pamela, an attorney; his son, Matthew, a trauma surgeon; and five grandchildren.”  Published by Newsday on June 17, 2022.