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Alumni Highlights and Class Notes
July 2016 Alumni Highlight
Keep up-to-date with your fellow Law School Alumni
Pace Law would like to keep up-to-date on your personal and professional news. If you have recently moved, had a career change, a job promotion, gotten married, had a child, or were given an honor or award, please share!
The Law School reserves the right to edit all Class Notes submissions.
Gregory Saracino ('04), a partner at Milber Makris Plousadis & Seiden, LLP, recently secured two wins in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a data security case, and the other a religious discrimination case.
On April 15, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a jury's verdict in Gordon v. Softech, et al., a data privacy case in favor of defendant Arcanum Investigations, the company that operates the website Docusearch.com. After a 5-day trial, an 11-person jury found for Greg's client, Arcanum. The plaintiff, seeking over $6 million in damages, appealed the verdict on a number of issues, including judicial conduct and the introduction of evidence and expert witness testimony. The Court of Appeals in a unanimous decision rejected the plaintiff's appeal and upheld the verdict. [Citation: 2016 WL 1534001]
On March 23, 2016, in Bernstein v. The Village of Wesley Hills, et al., the Second Circuit upheld District Judge Kenneth Karas's order granting summary judgment to defendant Village of Pomona. The federal case, brought in 2008 by the leaders of the Chofetz Chaim sect of Orthodox Judaism, sought $100 million in damages, claiming violations of the Free Exercise, Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses. The matter was dismissed in summary judgment in favor of Greg's clients and the appeals court, after briefing and argument by Greg, unanimously upheld the ruling. [Citation: 2016 WL 1129182]
Greg's firm, Milber Makris, with 70-lawyers, specializes mostly in the commercial defense arena, however, "I get many of the esoteric cases - from discrimination, to products liability, to bodily injury, to cyber law and (oddly enough) improper burial. I am grateful for the variety. Many attorneys hyper-specialize in certain areas—and that's great of course—but this keeps me on my toes. I'm constantly learning new aspects of the law and review new appellate decisions almost daily. My education at Pace, especially through the skills and practical courses, definitely gave me a head start."
After graduating from law school, Greg obtained his first position through an ad in a Pace Law newsletter. A medical malpractice plaintiff's lawyer was looking for an associate. Greg was hoping to do some environmental work, but interviewed anyway at the urging of his (now) wife. The attorney (who has since passed on) was, Greg says, of the "old guard," getting his law degree in in the early 1960's and was in his twilight years of practice. "It was just the two of us. I'd start work at 9 a.m. but he wouldn't get to the office until 3 p.m. and we'd work well after midnight on motions. I certainly grew a thick skin in that environment."
Fortunately, shortly thereafter Greg ran into fellow Pace alumni and former classmate, Otto Cheng (2004), at Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains. Otto asked Greg if he was interested in interviewing at Milber Makris, where Otto was working as an associate. Greg interviewed the next week. "I always say Otto got me the job, but he'll say that he merely got me the interview." Otto and Greg forged a friendship during the first day of orientation week at Pace in 2001, and their kinship persist to this day. Both are partners at Milber Makris now.
Greg holds the distinction that of being the youngest person to be made partner at the firm at 31 in 2011, and the shortest-time out of law school. "I fortuitously won a series of dispositive motions around that time and naturally billed a lot of hours. I suppose they liked that!" However, he feels lucky that he found a firm where he never knows what to expect from one case to the next. "One day I can find myself in the hallowed halls of federal circuit court, and the next day in the tightly crowded, charged atmosphere that is Supreme Bronx."
Greg learned early on in law school that regardless of where you sat, or how well you thought you hid – you should always be prepared. One specific memory sticks with him – it was Greg's first day of contracts at Pace with Professor Jim Fishman. "I purposefully planted myself on the back benches to avoid getting called on. Useless! I was picked the first week—I think the case was Hadley v. Baxendale—I was so nervous when Fishman called my name that as I reached to turn the page my hand banged into mug of water which spilled all over the table and down the sides. Everyone laughed." Greg is grateful for learning the lesson of preparedness early on and maintains that it has helped him through his career as a lawyer.
Greg has been named to the prestigious Super Lawyers publication as a Rising Star three years running: 2014, 2015 and 2016. Greg enjoys spending time with his three children, playing the drums and gardening. He lives in Valhalla.
Hon. Francesca (Leibold) Connolly was appointed by NYS Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti to the position of Associate Justice of the Appellate Term of the Supreme Court, second Department, Ninth and Tenth Judicial Districts. In this capacity, she will hear appeals from the District, City, Town, and Village courts in Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess, and Putnam counties. This assignment is in addition to her current duties as a Supreme Court Justice, Ninth Judicial District, where she presides over a general civil calendar and the Ninth Judicial District Environmental Claims Part. She has been serving as a Supreme Court Justice since 2009.
Fredric I. Green has been appointed chief of the Special Prosecutions Division and a second deputy district attorney.
Joseph A. Saccomano was elected to the Board of Directors for the Business Council of Westchester. Joseph is the Office Managing Shareholder of the White Plains and Albany offices of Jackson Lewis P.C.
Dr. Nader J. Sayegh was praised for his “countless contributions to society” in a statement issued by Rep. Eliot L. Engel. Dr. Sayegh’s passion for community involvement was noted, specifically through his service on various Boards.
Robert J. Waine has joined the firm of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. He will practice out of the corporate department and work with the real estate group.
Susan M. Corcoran was honored as a Distinguished 2014 Empire State Counsel by the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) for her extraordinary pro bono efforts in 2014.
Joseph A. Ruhl has joined Orange Bank and Trust Company as a regional president. Previous to this he was with Hudson Valley bank as seinor vice president and division executive in charge of its legal services division.
Marla E. Wieder was elected Secretary of the New York State Bar Association Environmental Law section. She also received the Environmental Section Council Award this year.
Nicholas M. Ward-Willis was elected to a one year term on the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Environmental Law section.
R. Nadine Fontaine was appointed Assistant Counsel to the Governor with a focus on Human Services. Prior to this, she was at Epiq Systems, Inc., where she was a Director.
Carl L. Finger (LLM) was elected as a trustee for the Village Board in Scarsdale. Carl is a member of Fingers & Finger, P.C., a White Plains law firm.
Joseph A. Sarcinella was elected to Partner at Thompson & Knight LLP. His practice is concentrated on real estate, finance, and corporate matters.
David I. Aboulafia’s first book, a dark psychological horror novel entitled “Visions Through a Glass, Darkly,” will be released by Cosmic Egg Books, an imprint of John Huint Publishing in Summer 2015. His second book, a collection of comedic essays entitled “Snapshots from my Uneventful Life,” will be released by Library Tales Publishing at the same time.
Eric S. Andreas’ novel Origins Rising has been recognized as a finalist in the 17th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards for Young Adult Fiction. This is Eric’s debut novel which “tells the story of how people re-evolve after a catastrophic asteroid strike into flyers, swimmers, and swift runners. Click here to read more.
Bridget A. Short joined Fox Rothschild LLP as a partner in their New York office. Her practice areas are copyrights, intellectual property, IP Litigation, Patent Prosecution & Transactions, and Trademarks.
David P. Steinberger joined Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP in their environmental and natural resources practice. He is a partner based out of their Denver office.
Elizabeth Verrier delivered the keynote address for the 31st annual Kalon Leadership Scholarship Day on February 21 at Bethany College. Elizabeth is Vice President and Senior Counsel at American Express.
Maiaklovsky Preval formed the Maiaklovsky Law Firm, PLLC.
Jinhi Park taught international business law as a full time lecturer at Pai Chai University in Korea after 9 years of teaching as well as working as a Foreign Legal Consultant/Attorney for E.M. Hwang & Partners in the trademark department. In March, Jinhi started working as a partner at Heis Law Office in Seoul, Korea as a foreign attorney.
Dev B. Viswanath received a proclamation from the NYC Council in October 2014, on the eve of the Diwali Celebrations at City Hall. The proclamation was for contributions to the City of New York and community service.
Janice Dean was elected to a three year term on the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Environmental Section as a member at large. She also co-authored an article published in Environmental Law in New York entitled “Too Early or Too Late? Statutes of Limitations in Hazardous Waste and Oil Spill Claims.”
Jennifer A. Lofaro was promoted to partner at Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP. She advises and represents regional and national institutional lenders and developers, as well as individual and corporate borrowers, in residential and commercial real estate transactions.
Carlisle McLean was appointed by Maine Governor Paul LePage to serve on the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC is an agency that plays a key role in energy matters that are part of Governor Paul LePage’s policy priorities. Carlisle became Governor LePage’s chief legal counsel in 2013. Prior to that, she practiced with Preti Flaherty in environmental, land use, and climate strategy law.
Danielle Bifulci Kocal had her article “Creating an Asynchronous Distance Learning Class” published in The Learning Curve, which is the publication for the Academic Support section of the American Association of Law Schools.
Nicholas E. Bowers recently celebrated five years of his firm, The Law Office of Nicholas E. Bowers, PLLC, being in business. In 2014, Nicholas closed numerous transactions on the purchases and sales of coops, condos and houses in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. He also continued to conduct commercial lease reviews and negotiations and managed numerous real estate litigations.
Jason S. Herman is currently Deputy Counsel at the New York City School Construction Authority.
Rosario M. Patane was promoted to Shareholder at Golden Rothschild Spagnola Lundell Boylan & Garubo, P.C.
Neal E. Kumar is a third year Associate in the Washington, DC office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. In October 2014, he married Sweta Lamichhane.
Erika C. Otocka has joined Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara. She will be representing individuals in all aspects of family and matrimonial law. Previously, she practiced with the Law Offices of Gary I. Cohen, P.C. in Stamford, CT.
Alisandra B. Carnevale was elected to the Board of Directors for the Pennington Business and Professional Association. She is an attorney concentrating in Family and Divorce Law at The Law Office of Alisandra B. Carnevale. Read more on her law practice here.
Lane Marmon was named a New Leader in the Law by the Connecticut Law Tribune (2014) and 10 Best Attorneys – Client Satisfaction Award by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (2014). She is a senior associate at Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin, LLC.
Joshua A. Roman was offered and accepted a position as Law Clerk to the Honorable A. Kathleen Tomlinson, United States Magistrate Judge, E.D.N.Y. The clerkship will begin in the fall of 2015 and conclude in the fall of 2017.
Christine E. Goodrich will be joining the New York office of Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP. She will continue to practice securities arbitration and litigation.
Gloribelle J. Perez was sworn-in as President of the Dominican Bar Association.
Craig Relles was featured in The National Jurist on how the Pace Community Law Practice (PCLP) helped him get his start as a solo practitioner. Craig’s firm is named the Law Office of Craig Relles and he was one of the first to take part in the PCLP as a legal fellow. Read more here.
Kerriann Stout and Pouyan Darian founded Darian Stout, LLP. Kerriann and Pouyan previously worked together as Fellows at the Pace Community Law Practice (PCLP). Their new law practice is housed at and incubated by the PCLP.
Joseph E. Fornadel published his article entitled The Community Risk and Resiliency Act: Building on the New York State Legislature’s Climate Change Framework in the January/February volume of New York Zoning Law and Practice Report, published by Thomson Reuters. Joseph is a Senior Court Attorney at the New York Court of Appeals.
Justin M. Guido started working as a prosecutor at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office immediately after graduation. Since then he has had approximately 20 jury trials, wrote an appeal, and continues to litigate on a daily basis. He recently obtained a guilty verdict in a case that was published in the Miami Herald. Click here to read more.
John D. Scherer has joined Masini Law Group PC in Garden City as an associate attorney.
Benjamin S. Lowenthal has joined Harrington, Ocko & Monk, LLP in White Plains, NY. His areas of practice will be commercial litigation, corporate and business law, and real estate law.