In the News

“’Move On,’ Judge Tells Defense Lawyers in Corruption Trial”

By New York Times
February 14, 2018

NYLS Faculty: Rebecca Roiphe

For a while, defense lawyers’ attacks on the star prosecution witness in a sprawling New York corruption case were the most exciting part of a trial otherwise focused on contracts, agencies and bureaucratic acronyms.

They featured fiery insults. They exposed unsavory political back-room deals. They even got the witness, Todd R. Howe, a disgraced former Albany lobbyist, thrown in jail, after the lawyers cornered him into admitting he had tried to defraud his credit card company.

But as the attacks have continued — and continued — with defense lawyers reiterating over more than 18 hours how Mr. Howe had lied, deceived and manipulated, Judge Valerie E. Caproni of Federal District Court in Manhattan has apparently had enough. “Move on,” she has said more than once.

The trial of Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, is in its fourth week — and its sixth day of Mr. Howe’s testimony — and Judge Caproni’s impatience with defense lawyers’ strategy is apparent. She has reprimanded them for focusing more on Mr. Howe’s crimes than on the actual charges at hand. She has pointed out that jurors seem to be falling asleep. And she has reminded them, not unkindly, that their tactic may backfire.

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“NYC’s Immigration Court Erodes Accommodations for Children Without Attorneys”

February 13, 2018

NYLS Faculty: Lenni Benson, Safe Passage & NYLS mentioned

When interviewed by City Limits, directors for the four organizations that work with unrepresented children inside the courthouse each questioned Martin’s statement, saying the court schedules children’s cases throughout the month and often fails to separate juvenile and adult proceedings.

“They’re just not doing that. On the last three days of the month, there might still be a juvenile docket but they’re doing [children’s proceedings] every single day,” Benson says. “I was just there on [January 25 — the last Thursday of the month] and the courtrooms I was in were a mix of adults and children. Those were not special dockets.”

Benson — who has access to confidential docket information through the Justice America program — told City Limits that she counted 60 separate dates where children have been scheduled to appear for proceedings between January 8 and April 8, despite the memo’s instructions and the court’s statement about consolidated dockets. Benson also says she counted hundreds of first-time hearings for children spread across 27 different judges. Previously, she says, two or three specific judges handled juvenile proceedings.

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“The Law Firm of Legal & Compliance LLC Adds Associate Svetlana Rovenskaya, Esq., to Accommodate Firm’s Growth”

February 12, 2018

NYLS Alumni: Svetlana Rovenskaya ’10

Legal & Compliance LLC, a national corporate and securities law firm, is pleased to announce that Svetlana Rovenskaya, Esq., has joined the firm in an associate position to add depth to the firm’s expertise in securities, compliance, regulation, initial public offerings and general corporate practice.

Ms. Rovenskaya has spent the last four years working with a New York City securities firm where she specialized in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, reporting requirements and initial public offerings for domestic and international companies. She also oversaw private placements, PIPE transactions and a broad range of complex corporate transactional matters.

From 2012 to 2013, Ms. Rovenskaya served as an examiner/investigator in the Division of Consumer Affairs-Bureau of Securities for the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, where her duties included active investigations into securities law violations and review of registration applications for investment advisors switching from SEC to state registration under the purview of the Dodd-Frank Act. Prior to that, she worked for Abraham, Fruchter & Twersky LLP and for Labaton Sucharow LLP, both in New York City.

Ms. Rovenskaya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University and her Juris Doctor degree (magna cum laude) from New York Law School.

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“You Can Put a Suit on a Problematic Witness, but Will Jurors Believe Him?”

By New York Times
February 12, 2018

NYLS Faculty: Rebecca Roiphe

In a small victory for prosecutors, a federal judge overseeing a sprawling New York corruption case will allow the government’s key witness to wear a suit in court — rather than jail attire — after his arrest last week for a likely violation of his bail conditions.

But whether the sartorial choices of the witness, Todd R. Howe, will be enough to distract jurors from the inconvenient fact of his incarceration remains to be seen, as defense lawyers are sure to seize upon his arrest as confirmation of their arguments that Mr. Howe is unreliable, untrustworthy and out to save his own skin.

Mr. Howe is a disgraced former lobbyist who pleaded guilty to eight felonies and is cooperating with government in the case against Joseph Percoco, once one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s top aides, and three other defendants.

Mr. Howe was arrested in Manhattan on Thursday night, after a cross-examination in court that afternoon revealed that he had attempted to defraud a credit card company after his cooperation agreement was finalized in 2016. Mr. Howe had his bail revoked and was taken into custody at his hotel room and transported to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan.

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“Wanted: Lawmakers who shoulder responsibility”

By The Hill
February 12, 2018

NYLS Faculty: David Schoenbrod

Washington may have enacted a budget deal early Friday, but bitter divisions laid bare along the way. Now the failure to grapple with how to pay for the increased spending bode ill for our government’s ability to resolve the multitude of pressing — but still gridlocked — issues.

Both Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the polarization that feeds the gridlock. Yet, the polarization will continue regardless of the party in charge. It began decades ago after elected officials of both parties started taking credit for popular promises but shifting responsibility for unpopular consequences.

Polarization in Congress and among political activists widened in the 1990s, but not so much among “normal people,” according to Stanford University Professor Morris Fiorina. Now, an increasing share of voters are independents.

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“How the Russian Doping Scandal Caused a War Between World Sporting Authorities”

By Observer
February 09, 2018

NYLS Faculty: Robert Blecker

Today the Court of Arbitration of Sport (C.A.S.) rejected the appeal of 45 tainted Russian athletes and two coaches, whom the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) had already banished from these Olympics, to be allowed participate in the PyeongChang games. Their crime: participating in the most sophisticated, organized doping operation in history. Speculation had surrounded the high court’s decision, as they had already reversed the I.O.C.’s decision to strip Russian athletes of their ill-gotten medals won in Sochi in 2014, and overturned the I.O.C.’s lifetime ban of the worst offenders.

This cheating scandal involved more than individual athletes and their coaches. Russian scientists developed a technology to tamper with tamper-proof bottles; ranking members of the Russian Ministry of Sport controlled and corrupted the Olympic testing laboratory, swapping clean samples for dirty ones under the supervision of Russian intelligence agents.

Largely on the basis of two detailed investigations led by Richard McLaren, a prominent Canadian lawyer, the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) stripped dirty Russian athletes of their medals “won” in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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“Mayor Appoints Eight New Court Judges”

By Bronx Chronicle
February 08, 2018

NYLS Alumni: Alonso Marisol Martinez '01

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of two judges to Family Court and six as interim Civil Court judges. These judges have a wealth of experience in the public and private sectors and are uniquely qualified to serve all New Yorkers.

“I am proud to appoint this group of diverse, committed, and impartial judges to serve the people of New York,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am confident they will work tirelessly in the best interest of all who call this great city home.”

The Mayor appointed the following judges:


Judge Lisa Friederwitzer

Judge Friederwitzer spent the majority of her career, nearly 20 years, with the New York State Unified Court System, serving as a Court Attorney Referee in Supreme Court and as a Support Magistrate and Court Attorney in Family Court. Prior to that, she was a solo practitioner.

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“On Tour With Notorious R.B.G. Judicial Rock Star”

By New York Times
February 08, 2018

NYLS Mentioned and NYLS Faculty: Nadine Strossen

They say that Bob Dylan, 76, is on a never-ending tour. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is eight years older and has a day job, seems to have acquired Mr. Dylan’s taste for the road.

In the space of three weeks, she is set to make at least nine public appearances. They follow a pattern: a thunderous standing ovation from an adoring crowd, followed by gentle questioning from a sympathetic interviewer.

Justice Ginsburg mixes familiar stories with insights about the Supreme Court and the law. She lands a couple of jokes. She promises not to step down so long as she can “do the job full steam.” She describes her friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.

The audience swoons, and the show moves on to the next venue.

She seems to enjoy the attention. “I am soon to be 85,” she said on Tuesday at New York Law School, “and everyone wants to take their picture with me.”

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“Ben Ostrer is honored for defending those in need”

By The Chronicle
February 07, 2018

NYLS Alumni: Ben Ostrer ‘76

Chester attorney Ben Ostrer has contributed many hundreds of hours over the years to defending people in need. That hard work has earned him a high honor, the New York State Bar Association’s 2017 Outstanding Pro Bono Volunteer award.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said Ostrer, when asked why he puts in so many free hours. “There’s a certain satisfaction about providing assistance to people who are in need.”

Ostrer received the award at the “Justice for All” luncheon, during the bar’s annual meeting at the Hilton Midtown in New York City on Jan. 25. Every year, the bar honors individual attorneys and several law firms as Empire State Counsel honorees.

It’s not the first time Ostrer has been honored by the state bar. In 2016 he received the Charles F. Crimi Memorial Award as Outstanding Private Criminal Defense Attorney in New York State.

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“Lindabury Expands its Trusts & Estates Practice With New Attorney”

By Tap
February 07, 2018

NYLS Alumni: Elizabeth Candido Petite ’11

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C. announced today that Elizabeth Candido Petite has joined the firm in its Westfield New Jersey office. Elizabeth will focus her practice in the areas of Estate Planning and Administration and Tax law.

“Elizabeth brings additional depth and experience to our firm. She has the talent and experience to help us expand our presence and continue the growth of the firm. We are very happy to have her on board,” said David R. Pierce, president of the firm.

Elizabeth, a 2011 graduate of New York Law School, advises fiduciaries on the administration of trusts and estates and works on all types of non-tax issues that arise in the course of estate administration. She is also experienced in elder law, special needs planning and guardianships.

She is an active volunteer with the Junior League of Morristown and serves on the board of DMF Youth, Inc., a dance, fitness and life skill development program for underserved children in New York City.

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