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Alumni Highlights and Class Notes
January 2017 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.
Melissa Kucinski ('06) knew that she wanted to practice international family law since college. "Long before I began law school, I had decided that I wanted to practice in an area of law where I could have daily interactions with people with different backgrounds and needs. From there, I pursued that end goal in every way I could." Prior to attending Pace, Melissa received her Bachelors Degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Rochester. She then went on to receive her Masters from American University's School of International Service in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Melissa chose law school after she realized that her masters degree alone would not allow her to pursue a career path that was as dynamic as which she wished.
At Pace, which Melissa chose primarily due to location, she did well in the required courses. Naturally, she was particularly interested in the family law course and the matrimonial law course. Her favorite course, although, was Conflicts of Laws with Professor Don Doerberg. She also had the opportunity to draft a paper on New York’s recognition of same sex marriage, with the help of the school’s faculty, that was ultimately published in a law journal, the Family Law Quarterly. Melissa also took advantage of Pace’s connections within the local legal community, and clerked for a Special Referee in the Matrimonial Part of the New York Supreme Court.
After graduating from Pace, Melissa immediately entered private family law practice in the DC metro area. Less than five years after becoming licensed, Melissa was offered a faculty position at a local DC law school. Melissa began teaching International Family Law, as an adjunct faculty memberat The George Washingon University School of Law. She also began advising on matters for the US Department of State, and served as a private sector advisor and US delegation member twice, the first time to meetings in the Hague and second, in 2014, to meetings in Tokyo, Japan, where Melissa also trained Japanese family mediators to handle international child abduction cases.
In 2013, Melissa was offered an opportunity to serve as a consultant to The Hague Conference on Private International Law. She was chosen to provide input and counsel on matters related to two international family law treaties, working directly with the First Secretary in charge of those conventions.
When Melissa returned from the Hague, she was in a position where there were not any job openings that suited her background and career desires. As a result, she founded her own law firm, MK Family Law. MK Family Law is based in Washington, D.C., and Melissa serves as an attorney, mediator, consultant, and is routinely designated as an expert on child abduction prevention. "Family law can be an extremely stressful and emotionally draining area of practice, but it is also the most rewarding in my opinion. It is an area of law where I can really help people and make an immediate impact in a person’s daily life."
Because of her expertise and her neverending quench for knowledge, Melissa is published quite often and also makes many academic presentations throughout the year. Most recently, Melissa presented in Canada on "Alternatives to Hague Abduction Proceedings" at a conference held by the American Bar Association, Family Law Section. She also holds several appointments and is a member of a variety of legal organizations both family law oriented and not. Melissa's hard-work and dedication does not go unrecognized, as she has received several acknowledgements from the American Bar Association, been voted a Superlawyer and has a Avvo rating of 10.0/10.0.
Though it is hard to believe that Melissa has spare time, she spends a portion of it volunteering. She enjoyed her experience at Pace and is consistently willing to mentors students at Pace, at the law school where she teaches, and at her undergraduate school.
Melissa lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area and, when not working, spends a portion of her time traveling both for work and personally. She also enjoys baking, playing tourist in her own city, and cheering for the Baltimore Ravens.
Philip M. Halpern, while continuing to maintain a busy trial schedule, has taken a position as adjunct professor at Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. He will be teaching a course entitled “The Anatomy of Trial Strategy: The Burden of Proof” to students in the Juris Doctor program.
Karen M. Mazza was promoted from General Counsel to Deputy Executive Director at the New York City Employee Retirement System, the country's largest municipal pension fund.
Harold E. Kaplan, (BBA '72, JD '83) is a Board Certified Health Law Attorney who has relocated to Asheville, N.C. and has established Kaplan Dispute Resolution. He is an arbitrator and neutral dispute resolver for the American Arbitration Association - Health Care and Mergers and Acquisitions Panels, and for the American Health Lawyers Association - Dispute Resolution Service.
Marcia A. Jacobowitz has been named a partner with Jacobowitz and Gubits, LLP.
Harold R. Burke received a favorable decision on June 9, 2016 when the NY Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case he argued on May 5th, S.L (Anonymous) v. J.R. (Anonymous). The case successfully challenged a procedure used by the Westchester Family and Supreme Courts stripping a parent of child custody in violation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. You can read more about Harold’s law practice here.
John M. Vorperian received the first-ever "Front-Line Professional of the Year Award" from the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association (ERISCA) at its 53rd Annual Training Conference May 2, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, SC. He is an Assistant County Attorney with the Westchester County Attorney's Office, Family Court Bureau.
Brian M. Rothery is now a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP. Previously he was a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.
Jeff Jacobson was appointed CEO of Xerox Corp.
Carol Lambos, will receive the 2016 Connie Award presented by the Containerization & Intermodal Institute (www.containerization.org) in Newark, NJ on Monday, December 5. Carol is a partner of The Lambos Firm LLP, who has provided a broad range of legal services and counsel to the international maritime industry.
Lisa M. Delsante was recently named Senior Vice President, General Counsel at REC Solar, part of Duke Energy. Lisa is also President and Co-founder of Children of the Sahara Foundation (www.saharachildren.org).
Ben Steven Chazen has been living in La Jolla for the past 7 years with his wife and two children. He also established his own National Search Firm specializing in Real Estate & Construction towards the end of 2014. You can read more on his website at http://criticalpathsearch.com. And, his 8 year old son just won the World Putting Championship for his age group!
Tiffany N. Gagliano now works for the Orange County Department of Law as the Chief Assistant County Attorney - Family Law & Juvenile Justice.
Lisa B. Kelly and her husband, Michael Lombardi, are happy to announce the birth of their son, Alexander Deivid Kelly-Lombardi. Alexander was born on Thursday, August 4, 2016, weighing 7 lbs., 8 oz., and was 21 inches long.
Nathan Zezula has been promoted to the position of partner at Pastore & Dailey LLC.
Michelle Beltrano, JD, RN, has been elected president of the At Home in Greenwich board of directors. She is principal and founder of her firm, Beltrano Law, LLC.
Jason T. Komninos was elected to the position of Secretary of the Municipal Court Practice Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association on May 19, 2016. He previously served as the Section’s Junior Legislative Coordinator from 2014-2015 and as the Section’s Senior Legislative Coordinator from 2015-2016.
Allison G. Cappella has joined the law firm of Jacobowitz and Gubits, LLP (J&G) as an associate.
Stephanie Chow has recently joined the Academic Success team at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University as an Associate Director. Formerly, Stephanie was Director of Student Services and Residential Life at the School.
Jeannette Arlin Koster (LLM) opened a law practice in Yorktown Heights focusing on municipal law and general practice. In June 2016, she was elected president of the Yorktown Bar Association. She is a member of the executive board of NYSBA Local and State Government Law Section, Westchester County Bar Association, Yorktown Rotary Club, and Business Networking International (BNI).
Donato Palumbo has accepted an associate position with Shewmaker & Shewmaker, in Atlanta, GA. The firm specializes in family law, criminal law and military law. Additionally Donato and his wife Jessica Palumbo (2009), are expecting their second child in November.
Kristen D. Romano is now an associate with McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.
Ben Sosne left the Appellate Division, Second Department at the end of April to move with my family up to Williamstown, MA. He has been working for a very successful museum developer and director named Thomas Krens. Thomas Krens founded the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MOCA) in North Adams, and then became director of the Guggenheim Foundation, which he did for over 20 years. Ben is now assisting Thomas Krens in some of his latest ventures, including several museum and developmental projects, such as the “Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum” and an adjacent luxury art hotel and spa. Ben has been doing a variety of development work for Mr. Krens, both legal and non - technically as a “senior project manager and legal advisor” - the company is called EMRCA, Inc.
Laura Jensen has started a new position as Law Clerk to Justice Ellen A. Gorman in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
Alix Cotumaccio was named Associate Director of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law Environmental Program at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.
J. Justin Woods, JD, MPA ’16, has been appointed to a one year full-time lecturer position in Pace University’s Department of Public Administration. He will be teaching graduate courses in sustainable development and research methods, supervising graduate student capstone projects, and advising MPA students.