About the MACJ

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

Click a name, or press the enter key on a name, to reveal the bio.

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. Jody Adams (Ret.)

Adams was a Family Court Judge from 1994 to 2012. She presided over cases involving child abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, adoptions, child custody and visitation, juvenile delinquency, and civil protective orders. After retiring from the bench, Adams served as the Special Advisor for Child Welfare Policy to the Commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, the agency that oversees the City’s foster care, juvenile justice placement and early childhood education systems. Subsequent to that, she served as the Special Advisor for Children and Families in Shelter to the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services. Until February, 2019, Adams was a Volunteer Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Office of the Attorney General, serving in the Civil Rights and Health Care Bureaus. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Adams worked in law firms in Paris and in New York City. At the Vera Institute of Justice, she was the principal author of The Family Court Disposition Study, an analysis of the adjudication of juvenile delinquency and status offense cases in the New York City Family Court. Adams is a cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College, Harvard University, and a graduate of the Yale Law School.

Hon. Helen E. Freedman (Ret.)

Freedman grew up in the Bronx graduating from Smith College and New York University School of Law. After her Bar admission she became a staff attorney at the American Arbitration Association. Thereafter, she held a number of positions, including associate, law secretary and senior attorney. Her judicial career began in 1979 when she served as Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York. In 1984, she was appointed Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department. Then, in 1988, she was elected Supreme Court Justice, New York County. After serving on the Appellate Term, First Department from 1995-1999, Justice Freedman was reelected to the Supreme Court in 2002. During her term, she served in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court and was designated Presiding Judge of the Litigation Coordinating Panel for multi-district litigation in New York State. In 2008, Governor David Paterson appointed her Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. After serving 36 years on the New York State bench, she stepped down and joined Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS) in 2014. She currently serves as Secretary of the Historical Society of the New York Courts and Editor of its publication Judicial Notice. Since 1994, she has served as Vice Chair of the Pattern Jury Instructions Committee of the Supreme Court Justices Association. She also remains an adjunct professor at New York Law School.

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.

Hon. L. Priscilla Hall (Ret.)

Hall, currently a Special Master, Second Department, Appellate Division and Judicial Hearing Officer in Civil Court, had served on the bench since 1986, including nine years as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department and one year as the Administrative Judge of Kings County Supreme Court, Criminal Term. After retiring from the bench, Hall became a member of the Federal Monitoring Team overseeing compliance with the federal court orders in the Stop and Frisk litigation. When she was first appointed to the bench, she presided in Criminal Court and subsequently in New York State Supreme Court before serving as an Associate Justice on the Appellate Division. She was also an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law teaching New York Criminal Procedure. Early in her career, Hall served as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County, an Inspector General for the New York City Department of Employment and New York City Human Resources Administration. Hall graduated from Howard University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, received a Master of Science with Honors from Columbia University School of Journalism, and graduated from Columbia Law School.

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.

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 founder and adjunct professor of a cosmetics regulation course at Fordham University School of Law. She is currently contributing to a nutshell on fashion law with the law school’s Fashion Law Institute. Nadal is also legal counsel for a small entertainment company. 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, 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 Paulino Pichardo

Paulino Pichardo is a commercial litigator and former shareholder in Anderson Kill's New York office. Her practice focuses on commercial matters, including insurance recovery exclusively on behalf of policyholders. She was 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. Ms. Paulino 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 Anderson Kill, Ms. Paulino 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, Ms. Paulino 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. Ms. Paulino Pichardo was also a Judicial Intern in the Bronx Supreme Court to the Honorable Sallie Manzanet-Daniels. She is the immediate Past President of The Dominican Bar Association and former member of the LatinoJustice Líderés and NYU CAS alumni boards. She is currently a member of the First Judicial Department’s Attorney Grievance Committee.

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 the Chief Strategy Officer of Legal Hand, Inc., an organization that provides free legal information, assistance and referrals to residents of the most vulnerable neighborhoods in New York City. Stapel was previously President of Nonprofit New York, formerly known as the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC), which provides information and resources, as well as guidance services, to nonprofit organizations throughout New York City, Long Island and Westchester. Prior to that she served as 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, she was recognized by former 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 Of Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Mr. 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 2009 – 2020, Mr. Zornow was the global head of Skadden's Litigation/Controversy practices. From 1983 to 1987, Mr. 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. Mr. Zornow is a Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. He obtained his J.D. degree from Yale Law School and his B.A. degree from Harvard College.