About the MACJ

About the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary (MACJ)

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Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick (Ret.), Chair

Ciparick was born in New York City on New Year's Day in 1942. Reared in the Washington Heights community of New York, she received her undergraduate degree from Hunter College and, in 1967, was awarded a Juris Doctor degree from St. John's University School of Law. A staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society from 1967 to 1969, she left that position to assume the responsibilities of Assistant Counsel for the Judicial Conference of the State of New York. In 1972, she was designated Chief Law Assistant of the Criminal Court of the City of New York. In 1978, Mayor Edward I. Koch appointed Judge Ciparick to the Criminal Court bench and in 1982 she was elected to the New York State Supreme Court. On December 1, 1993, Governor Mario M. Cuomo announced her nomination for appointment to the Court of Appeals as the Court's first Hispanic member and on January 4, 1994, she took office. She was re-appointed by Governor Eliot Spitzer in November 2007 to serve until December 2012. She is now "Of Counsel" to the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, co-chairing its Appellate Practice Group. She advises clients on appellate matters, litigation strategy and mentors Greenberg Traurig's junior lawyers. She remains active in public service and serves on the Chief Judge's Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services, the New York Courts Historical Society and the New York State Indigent Legal Services Board. She was also appointed by the Chief Judge to co-chair the New York Justice Task Force that examines the causes of wrongful convictions.

Hon. Barry A. Cozier (Ret.), Vice Chair

Cozier maintains a litigation practice, where he represents institutions and individuals in complex business and commercial litigation, real estate litigation, estates litigation, partnership disputes, federal and state appeals, arbitration and mediation, and advisory litigation strategy. He is affiliated with Hubell & Associates LLC, of counsel. Previously, Cozier was Special Counsel at Fensterstock & Partners LLP (2016-2017); a member of LeClairRyan (2012-2016); and a member of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. (2006-2011). He was formerly an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department (2001-2006), Justice of the New York Supreme Court (1993-2001), Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York State Courts (1994-1998), and a Judge of the Family Court of the State of New York (1986-1992). Prior to his judicial service, Cozier was in private practice and served in various public sector legal positions. Cozier currently is an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law, an Examiner on the Committee on Character and Fitness for the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, a Mediator in the Civil Appeals Mediation Program for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a member of the Board of Directors of New York University School of Law Alumni Association, a Fellow of the New York Bar Foundation, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association. Cozier received his Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.

Hon. Luis A. Gonzalez (Ret.)

Gonzalez' legal career has been one primarily dedicated to public service. Upon his graduation from Columbia Law School in 1975, Gonzalez served as an Examining Attorney for the New York City Department of Investigation. From 1978 to 1980, he held the position of Counsel to the National Director of the Government of Puerto Rico, and from 1981 to 1984, he was a Hearing Officer for the New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal. In 1985, Gonzalez was appointed as a Housing Court Judge in the New York City Civil Court. Two years later, he was elected Judge of the Civil Court in Bronx County. In 1992, he was elected to the New York State Supreme Court and in 1998, was elevated to the Appellate Term, First Department – the first Latino to hold that position. One year later, Gonzalez was appointed Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court, Bronx County. In March 2002, he was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. In March 2009, Governor David A. Paterson appointed Gonzalez as Presiding Justice of the First Department – the first Latino appointed to that position. Gonzalez is a member of the Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage, where he served as its president from 1989 to 1993. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Judicial Hearing Officer Selection Advisory Committee for the First Judicial Department, member of the Twelfth Judicial District’s Task Force on Reducing Litigation Costs & Delay, and as an Instructor at Lehman College.

Richard Gutierrez

Gutierrez began his legal career as a staff attorney with the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society in Queens County. In 1986, he entered private practice and opened an office in Queens, concentrating in criminal defense, civil rights and personal injury litigation. During his 28 years in private practice, he has tried numerous cases to verdict. Currently, Gutierrez is the Chair of the New York State Grievance Committee of the Appellate Division, Second Department for the 2nd, 11th and 13th Judicial Districts and a Vice President of the New York State Bar Association, representing Queens County. He is also a past President of the Queens County Bar Association and the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County. He graduated from Seton Hall University Law School.

Craig Kaplan

Kaplan has been practicing law for more than three decades. In 2006, he became counsel to Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C. representing not-for-profit organizations and specializing in the area of wills, trusts and estates. He also works on various litigation and transactional matters. He was previously a partner at Levinson and Kaplan and served as Counsel to the Voter Protection Project of America's Families United. Kaplan had also worked in the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society, was a political and organizational consultant for not-for-profit organizations, and was a member of the faculty of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He previously served as a member of the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary during the Dinkins administration. Kaplan received his law degree from New York University School of Law, where he was Root-Tilden Scholar.

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger (Ret.)

Kluger became Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families in January 2014, after serving 25 years as a judge in New York State. Prior to joining Sanctuary, Kluger served for five years as Chief of Policy and Planning for New York State's Unified Court System. In that role, she oversaw 300 problem-solving courts and helped develop innovative policies and strategies to improve the delivery of justice, particularly in the area of gender violence. Most recently, she led the effort to open the state's Human Trafficking Intervention Courts. Kluger was also responsible for the statewide implementation of the Integrated Domestic Violence Courts, a one family/one judge model for the adjudication of domestic violence cases. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she headed the Domestic Violence Bureau in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office. Kluger received her J.D. from St. John's University School of Law.

Glenn Lau-Kee

Lau-Kee is a partner in the firm of Lau-Kee Law Group, PLLC, located in Manhattan, and practices real estate and business law. He began his law career in 1975 in the Hong Kong and New York offices of the international law firm of Coudert Brothers. He then became partners with his late father, Norman Lau Kee, in the firm of Kee & Lau-Kee, the predecessor to his current firm. He served as president of the New York State Bar Association from 2014-2015. He was a member of the New York City Housing Court Advisory Council, and has served on the New York State Judicial Screening Committee, First Department. He has served, and continues to serve, on the boards, committees and foundations of various bar associations and non-profits, and was the president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York from 1997-1999. He has been appointed to several commissions by Chief Judges of the State of New York. He is also the chair of the Board of Trustees of the US-Asia Institute in Washington, DC. Lau-Kee received his law degree from Boston University School of Law.

Chanwoo Lee

Lee is a solo practitioner specializing in criminal and family law. She was previously an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division. She is a former President of the Queens County Bar Association. She is also a member of the Korean American Lawyers' Association of Greater New York and the Asian American Bar Association of New York. She was a former member of the Character and Fitness Committee of the Appellate Division, Second Department. She has served on the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary since 2002. Lee received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Leila Maldonado

Maldonado was born in Jersey City, New Jersey after her parents relocated from Puerto Rico. While living in Jersey City, she was active in the girl scouts, church choir and also volunteered at the local hospital for a number of years caring for newborns and the elderly. She relocated to New York to attend Hunter College where she majored in history and political science. Maldonado attended CUNY Law School where she did her clinical studies in labor law/labor relations and at the battered women’s clinic assisting undocumented women in applying for citizenship. While attending law school, she was offered and accepted a position as an intern at the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (“ILGWU”) working with union organizers, taking affidavits in Spanish from aggrieved union members and filing charges with the National Labor Relations Board. After graduating law school with honors, she was hired as a full time associate with the ILGWU broadening her duties which included assisting in arbitrations, contract negotiations, legal research and drafting legal briefs. After the ILGWU merged and became UNITE, she continued to work for the Union as outside counsel and simultaneously started her own law practice specializing in labor law, family and matrimonial law. Today, Maldonado continues her busy law practice in Manhattan and volunteers regularly assisting in the relief efforts in Puerto Rico and helping undocumented New Yorkers whenever needed.

Vanessa Nadal

Nadal is legal counsel for 5000 Broadway Productions, a small entertainment company, and a project attorney with the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. She is currently collaborating on a publication about cosmetic law with the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University School of Law. Nadal was a litigation associate at Jones Day for six years where she handled commercial international litigation and arbitration cases, with special interest in Latin American matters, as well as cases involving the False Claims Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Her pro bono matters have included asylum applications and Hague International Abduction cases. During law school, Nadal was a judicial extern for the Hon. Rolando T. Acosta, N.Y. App. Div., First Dept., interned at boutique entertainment firm, King Ramsey Perry & Howell, LLP, and studied law for a semester in Madrid, Spain, at Universidad Pontificia Comillas ICADE. Before beginning her legal career, Nadal was a research and development scientist in personal care products for Johnson & Johnson. Nadal received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Vianny Pichardo

Pichardo is an attorney in Anderson Kill's New York office. Pichardo's practice concentrates in insurance recovery, exclusively on behalf of policyholders, in corporate and commercial litigation. She is a member of Anderson Kill's Cyber Insurance Recovery Practice Group as well as the firm's Women's Initiative Group and the Diversity Committee. Pichardo has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro Rising Star for Insurance Coverage since 2015. She recently received the 2018 Hispanic National Bar Association’s Top Lawyers under 40 award and Fordham LALSA’s 2017 Andrew A. Rivera Alumni Achievement Award. Prior to joining the firm, Pichardo was an associate in the corporate group of a large international law firm where her practice focused on large corporate transactions and litigation matters. While attending Fordham University School of Law, Pichardo was a member of the Fordham Urban Law Journal; participated in the Housing Rights Clinic and the Social Justice Clinic; and was a member of the Minority Mentorship Program and the Academic Enrichment Program. She received the Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award. Pichardo was also a Judicial Intern in the Bronx Supreme Court to the Honorable Sallie Manzanet-Daniels. Pichardo is the immediate Past President of The Dominican Bar Association.

Thomas Principe

Principe has been a partner at Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore, practicing in the specialty of personal injury and medical malpractice representing injured parties since April, 1989. He is a former Queens County Assistant District Attorney, rising to the position of Deputy Bureau Chief of the Supreme Court Trial Bureau. He then practiced as defense counsel in the field of medical malpractice/personal injury. A Brigadier General (Retired) in the New York Army National Guard, he was Staff Judge Advocate to 53rd Troop Command for 9 years, and served during our 9/11 National Disaster in that capacity. He retired in July 2006 after 33 years of service with the Legion of Merit, awarded by the United States Army and the Conspicuous Service Medal, awarded by the State of New York. Principe is a member of many professional associations and was Past-President of the St. John's University School of Law Alumni Association.

Ben Rubinowitz

Rubinowitz is the Managing Partner of Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf. He is an experienced trial lawyer, having tried more than 200 cases to verdict. Prior to joining his firm, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County. Among other law related organizations, Rubinowitz is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has taught trial advocacy both nationally and internationally at law schools including Harvard, Cardozo, Hofstra, Emory, and Fordham as well as courses in Scotland and Japan. Rubinowitz has lectured to law students, lawyers, and physicians throughout the country on trial practice and medical malpractice. He serves on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) and in 2019, will be the NITA’s Board Chair. In addition to his work at his firm, Rubinowitz has served as an expert commentator on Court TV and writes a regular column on trial advocacy for the New York Law Journal. Rubinowitz received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law.

Jane Spinak

Spinak is the Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. A member of the Law School faculty since 1982, Spinak co-founded the Child Advocacy and Family Advocacy Clinics. She currently directs the Adolescent Representation Clinic, which represents adolescents and young adults aging out of foster care. During the mid-1990s, Spinak served as attorney-in-charge of the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society of New York City. From 2001 to 2006, she was the director of Clinical Education at the Law School. In 2002, she became the founding chair of the board of the Center for Family Representation (CFR); she continues to serve on CFR’s board. Spinak co-chaired the Task Force on Family Court in New York City created by the New York County Lawyer’s Association from 2008 to 2011. Spinak is a member of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. She has served on numerous task forces and committees addressing the needs and rights of children and families. Her current scholarship focuses on the history and effectiveness of the Family Court. In 2005, the ABA Human Rights Magazine named Spinak a Human Rights Hero for her work on behalf of children. In 2008, she was awarded the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare by the New York State Bar Association. In 2018, she received the Kathryn A. McDonald Award from the New York City Bar for her service to the Family Court. She obtained her J.D. degree from New York University School of Law.

Sharon Stapel

Stapel is President of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC). NPCC provides information and resources, as well as guidance services, to Nonprofit Organizations throughout New York City, Long Island and Westchester. Stapel was previously the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) which is the country's largest organization dedicated to ending hate, sexual, and intimate partner violence affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. In 2011, Stapel was named a White House Champion of Change for her LGBTQ intimate partner violence work and in 2013 Sharon was recognized by President Obama for her work on an LGBT-inclusive Violence Against Women Act. Prior to joining AVP, Stapel directed domestic violence legal programs at South Brooklyn Legal Services and the Legal Aid Society and created Legal Aid's first dedicated domestic violence project. Stapel received her law degree from CUNY Law School.

Earl Ward

Ward is a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, LLC, where he concentrates on criminal defense and civil rights. He was previously a solo practitioner handling police brutality cases and serious felony matters. His clients have spanned a broad spectrum, from indigent criminal defendants to high profile figures and corporate executives. Ward has lectured extensively on trial practice, including as guest lecturer at New York University School of Law, Cardozo Law School, and the United States District Court for the Southern District, Pro Se Trial Advocacy Program. He is currently the Chair of the Board of the Bronx Defenders, the Board of Housing Works (an organization committed to helping homeless men and women with HIV/AIDS), and the Board of Esperanza (an alternative to incarceration program for at risk adolescents). Ward graduated from New York University School of Law.

Mary Whiting

Whiting has been a registered patent attorney before the United States Patent and Trademark Office since 1982 and has prosecuted numerous patents from application filing through Appellate practice, along with trademarks and copyrights. She began her career as an associate attorney in the intellectual property firms of Eric D. Offner, author of the seminal treatise on International Trademark Law, and Lackenbach & Siegel. She was a founding member of the law firm of Pocchia & Whiting, where she concentrated her work litigating intellectual property cases in Federal Court, and Environmental compliance cases in NY State Courts. In 1987 she joined Verizon, was the Director of the Environmental Department, and presently specializes in transactional negotiations. She was an Administrative Law Judge for NYC's Department of Finance, and an Adjunct Professor at NYS Empire State College. She received her Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School. She is a Staten Islander and member of the Richmond County Bar Association.

Milton Williams, Jr.

Williams joined the firm of Walden Macht & Haran LLP in May of 2017. He was formerly a partner with Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard and has litigated cases against numerous Fortune 100 companies. Prior to joining these firms, Williams was a Deputy General Counsel and the Chief Compliance Officer at Time, Inc. Before working at Time, he was in private practice at Jackson Lewis, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. His last assigned unit in the United States Attorney's Office was the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Prior to becoming a Federal Prosecutor, Williams was an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office. He has tried over fifty (50) cases (both civil and criminal) to verdict. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

David Zornow

Zornow is the global head of the Litigation/Controversy practices at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and a member of the firm's Policy Committee. Zornow, who founded the firm's white-collar criminal defense practice in 1989, represents both corporations and individuals in federal and state grand jury investigations and at criminal trials. From 1983 to 1987, Zornow served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he supervised the investigation of corruption at the New York City Parking Violations Bureau and was a member of the trial team that obtained the RICO conviction of Stanley Friedman, the Bronx Democratic leader. He then served from 1987 to 1989 as an Associate Independent Counsel for the Iran/Contra matter and was a member of the prosecution trial team in the case of United States v. Oliver L. North. From 1994 to 1996, he served as chair of the N.Y.C. Civilian Complaint Review Board. Zornow is a Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. He obtained his J.D. degree from Yale Law School.