Committee Members

Committee Members

Mayoral Selections:

  • Charles DeStefano currently runs his own law practice, and is actively involved in his community on various boards, including El Centro de Trabajadores, Jacques Marchais Tibetan Museum of Art, the Richmond County Bar Association, the Pro Bono Scholars Program of the Second Department Appellate Division, and through pro bono work with St. Mary’s Church and Our Lady of Good Counsel. He is the Immediate Past President of the Staten Island Trial Lawyers Association and serves on their Board of Directors. DeStefano is a graduate of Fordham University and received his J.D. from Pace University.

  • Celina Cabán Gandhi is currently a Staff Attorney with Manhattan Legal Services' Family Law Unit and represents survivors of domestic violence in New York Supreme Court divorce proceedings.  She is also the Founder of the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program ("SCS JIP"), which places high school and law school students of diverse backgrounds in internships with state and federal judges, and is the Vice President of the High School Division; she received the 2019 Ms. JD Women of Inspiration Award for her work founding the SCS JIP.  Previously, Ms. Cabán Gandhi worked as an Agency Attorney with the New York City Police Department's Trials Division, clerked with Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Denny Chin, and clerked with Criminal Division Judge Wendel E. Daniels in Ocean County, New Jersey. Ms. Cabán Gandhi is a 2008 graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University and a 2014 graduate of City University of New York ("CUNY") Law School. 

  • Ally Hack was a Member of the Commercial and Real Estate Litigation departments at Cozen O'Connor, P.C. where, for over 10 years, he helped clients in all aspects of complex commercial litigation, with a particular focus in real estate. Prior to that, Mr. Hack was a Litigation Associate at Belkin, Burden, Wenig & Golman, LLP, at Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., and at the law firm of former New York City Human Rights Commission member Omar T. Mohammedi, LLC. Mr. Hack has recently re-joined Mr. Mohammedi as a partner in the firm, where the two are working to grow their respective law practices together. In addition to the practice of law, Mr. Hack serves as a board member of the Association of Muslim American Lawyers and is member of the American Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and New York County Lawyer’s Association.  Mr. Hack is a graduate of University of New Mexico and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

  • Sateesh Nori is currently the Attorney in Charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Queens Neighborhood Office. He was the Director of Housing Litigation at Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services and worked for many years as a housing staff attorney in Brooklyn and in Upper Manhattan. He has served as Chair of the Housing Court Committee of the New York City Bar Association. He is currently a member of the Housing Court Advisory Council. Nori is a graduate of John Hopkins University and New York University School of Law.

  • Ishrat Ruhi is currently a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society, where she represents low income tenants in housing court and advocates on their behalf to the New York City Human Resources Administration and various charities to help obtain assistance with rent arrears. She previously interned at South Brooklyn Legal Services, Catholic Charities, and the Legal Aid Society, working in the areas of immigration law, education law, pensions, and employment law. Ruhi is a graduate of the City College of New York and Brooklyn Law School.

  • Robert Sanderman is a Staff Attorney at Queens Legal Services, where he represents tenants facing evictions, works with community stakeholders on anti-displacement initiatives, and engages in legislative advocacy on behalf of low income New Yorkers. He was an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he conducted legal research and drafted legal memoranda regarding racial justice and government misconduct. Robert received his undergraduate from City College of New York and his JD from Northeastern University School of Law.

Selections of the Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, 1st Department:

  • David DeStefano runs a solo law practice focusing in criminal defense and civil litigation, and previously served as an associate with Meringolo and Associates, P.C. He has also volunteered as an advocate and trainer for the Unemployent Action Center, Inc. DeStefano is a graduate of Fordham University and New York Law School.

  • Jean Callahan is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Brooklyn Neighborhood Office of the Legal Aid Society. Previously, she served as Director of the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College. From 1999 to 2010 she worked at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she was Director of two demonstration projects: The Guardianship Project from 2005 to 2010 and Adolescent Portable Therapy from 1999 to 2005. Callahan served as a White House Fellow at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration, and started her legal career as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society in 1994. She currently serves on the New York City for Elder Abuse Center’s multi-disciplinary team in Brooklyn. She previously served as a member of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging and New York City Housing Court Advisory Council. Callahan received her undergraduate degree from New York University, her MSW from the Hunter College of School of Social Work, and her JD from Rutgers University School of Law.

Selections of the Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, 2nd Department:

  • Charles J. Thomas currently serves as a Judicial Hearing Officer for the New York State Unified Court System. He also has 22 years of experience as a Supreme Court Justice in the State of New York Eleventh Judicial District and six years prior to that as a Civil Court judge. Thomas is a graduate of Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School.

  • Steven Bamundo is currently a Managing Partner at Bamundo, Zwal & Schermerhorn, LLP, and has previously served as Managing Partner at Cooper, Bamundo, Hecht, and Longworth. He is also the Executive Director of the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn. Bamundo is a graduate of Fordham University and New York Law School.

  • Sandra M. Muñoz currently runs a solo practice specializing in family and matrimonial law. She previously served as a staff attorney for Her Justice, where she co-created Poder Latina, an educational initiative for immigrant Latina women in Manhattan and Queens. Muñoz is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College and the City University of New York School of Law.

Selections of Law School Deans:

  • Corinthia A. Carter is currently a Staff Attorney at Legal Services NYC, where she represents tenants to prevent evictions in Housing Court and NYCHA hearings. She is also a tenant organizer and advocate at the Livingston Street Tenant Association, where she connects tenants with legal services and community organizations. Previously, Carter worked as a Tenant Right Coalition Pro Bono Scholar and was a legal intern that worked with clients on worker’s rights and immigrant’s rights cases at Legal Services NYC, and she also interned for NYS Supreme Court Justice Diccia T. Pineda-Kirwan. Carter is a graduate of Long Island University and City University of New York Law School.

  • Heather Leifer works as Associate General Counsel at the City University of New York, where she advises the General Counsel, University CIO, and other senior university officials on legal and business risk analysis. She is a Small Claims Arbitrator at NYC Civil Court and a former member of the New York Law School Alumni Association Board of Directors. Leifer has held multiple roles in city government and a non-profit criminal justice agency including Agency Attorney at New York City Financial Information Services Agency, Court Liaison and Probation Officer at New York City Department of Probation, and Supervisor of Criminal Court Services at Queens Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime. Leifer is a graduate of Indiana University and New York Law School.

  • Julia McNally currently works as a Supervising Attorney at The Legal Aid Society and is an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Law. She holds 14 years of experience as an Attorney at the Legal Aid Society and the New York City Housing Authority Law Department, with expertise in administrative law and housing law. She also served as a Founding Director of Pathways Togo, a 501c3 organization that provides young women scholarships and funds small-scale community development programs. McNally is a graduate of Middlebury College and New York University School of Law.