About the MACJ

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

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George J. Silver, Chair

Silver is a native Bronxite, who attended public schools from elementary school until his graduation from Christopher Columbus High School. After graduation, he attended New York University where he was conferred a MS in Accounting and Management. He graduated from Hofstra University School of Law and later obtained an MBA in Finance from New York University Stern Graduate School of Business in 1992. At the time, he was working full time as in-house counsel for five private bus companies. Thereafter, he joined Fields & Rosen, a firm specializing in maritime law, commercial and real estate matters and personal injury actions. After several years, he became an equity partner in the firm which became Fields, Silver & Santo, L.L.P. and ultimately Silver & Santo, L.L.P. In 2004, he was elected to the Civil Court of the City of New York, initially assigned to Civil Court, Kings County until he was re-assigned in 2009 to Family Court, Bronx County where he presided over juvenile delinquency matters. In 2010, he was appointed as Supreme Court Judge by designation and assigned to Supreme Court, New York County where he presided over the approximately two thousand motor vehicle cases pending in that county. From April 2011 until October 5, 2015, he presided over the Trial Assignment Part in Supreme Court, New York County. In 2012, he was tasked to handle potential early settlement of Medical Malpractice Cases as part of a specialized grant program and in the same year was elected to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. In October 2015, he was asked to preside over a newly created Mediation Part called J-Med. In July 2017, he was appointed by Chief Judge DiFiore to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Judge (“DCAJ”) for New York City Courts, where he oversaw the day-to-day court operations for the Trial Courts. He simultaneously served as the interim Administrative Judge (“AJ”) for New York County until December 2017. Thereafter, in addition to his role as the DCAJ for New York City Courts, he again assumed dual roles as interim AJ for Bronx County from January 2018 until December 2018 and as interim AJ for Queens County in 2019 and part of 2020. In October 2021, Silver retired from the bench in order to open his own Mediation company Silverstar Mediation and Arbitration LLC.

RoseAnn Branda

Branda is an Executive Partner and Co-Director of the Family and Matrimonial Law department at Abrams Fensterman, LLP. Her professional focus and concentration encompasses all areas of matrimonial and family law. She is an experienced lawyer in both settlement negotiation and trial litigation. Branda graduated Brooklyn Law School in 1984. She began her career at Caruso & Caruso, P.C., and later became a Partner in the firm of Caruso, Caruso & Branda, P.C. In 2014, Branda was appointed as a member of the Matrimonial Practice Advisory and Rules Committee by then Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York, the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti. She was also appointed by both Judge Prudenti and Judge Randall T. Eng, then Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department as the Chair of the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the Second and Thirteenth Judicial Districts. She was also appointed a member of the Committee on Character and Fitness for the Second, Tenth, Eleventh and Thirteenth Judicial Districts and serves as a member of the Judicial Hearing Officer Selection Advisory Committee for the Second, Eleventh and Thirteenth Judicial Districts. She was the former President of the Brooklyn Bar Association, the Bay Ridge Lawyers Association, and Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn. She is presently the Co-Chair of the Family Law Section of the Brooklyn Bar Association and serves on the New York State Bar Executive Committee for the Family Law Section as a representative of the Second District. She has been designated as a New York Super Lawyer every year since 2007 and more recently recognized as one of New York’s Women Leaders in the Law. She has earned one of the most prestigious distinctions in the country from Martindale- Hubbell being named a Top-Rated New York Women Leader for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.

Michael T. Cahill

Cahill, has been President and Joseph Crea Dean of Brooklyn Law School since 2019. Prior to his return to Brooklyn Law School, he had been Co-Dean and Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School. Before departing in 2016 to assume the Rutgers deanship, he was a member of the Brooklyn Law faculty for 13 years. He also served Brooklyn Law School as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (from 2010 to 2013) and as Vice Dean (from 2013 to 2015). As dean, Cahill holds the Joseph Crea Chair in Law. He is also a tenured Professor of Law on the faculty. Dean Cahill received JD (magna cum laude) and MPP degrees from the University of Michigan and his BA from Yale University. After graduating from law school, where he was a note editor for the Michigan Law Review, he served as a law clerk to Judge James B. Loken of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He then was involved as staff director and consultant, respectively, for major criminal-code reform projects in Illinois and Kentucky. Before joining the Brooklyn Law School faculty in 2003, Professor Cahill taught at Chicago-Kent College of Law as a visiting assistant professor of law.

Monica Drinane

Drinane was a Family Court Judge from 2004 to 2014. During that time, she served as the Supervising Judge in Bronx Family Court. She also maintained a caseload of neglect, abuse, delinquency, custody and support cases. Prior to joining the bench, she was the Attorney-in- Charge of the Legal Aid Juvenile Rights Practice, where she supervised a staff of attorneys, social workers, paralegals and investigators in all five boroughs of New York City. After retiring from the bench in 2014, she serves on the boards of The Edge Foundation, which places coaching services in inner city schools in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York City. She also serves on the board of Reserve, a foundation placing retirees in public schools and city service positions for supportive services. She has continued her membership on The Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, a statewide advisory board to the Chief Judge of the state courts, and also works with Family Court Judges in Queens County as a coach and advisor since her retirement. Prior to becoming Attorney-in-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice at the Legal Aid Society, she was a staff attorney in the Criminal Appeals Bureau and the Juvenile Rights Practice in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Drinane was a Root Tilden scholar at NYU Law School where she participated in the Women’s Prison Project at Bedford Hills, NY. She has a master’s degree from Fordham University in Theology. Prior to law school, Drinane taught in inner city areas in Providence Rhode Island, NYC and Appalachia.

Muhammad U. Faridi

Faridi is a Partner in Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP's Litigation department. His practice spans several industries, including commercial real estate, hedge funds, REITs, insurance, manufacturing, software, pharmaceuticals, and non-for-profit organizations. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law, teaching and writing extensively on commercial litigation. He is the co-editor of Commercial Division Practice Guide (Bloomberg), a treatise that focuses on litigation in the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court. Faridi is also a contributor to the American Bar Association Section of Business Law's annual review of business courts. In 2021, Faridi was elected to the American Law Institute. He has also served as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, as well as the Chair of its Committee on Capital Punishment. He also serves in the Board of Directors of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Faridi received his JD from the City University of New York School of Law and his BA from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Prior to joining Patterson Belknap, he was a law clerk to the late Honorable Jack B. Weinstein, Senior U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of NY.

Keisha-Ann Gray

Gray is a trial lawyer and partner in the Labor & Employment Department of Proskauer Rose LLP where she focuses on employment discrimination litigation and conducting workplace misconduct investigations. Her recent professional recognitions include Crains New York Business Leading Women Lawyers New York City, Hollywood Reporter Power Lawyers - New York’s Top 20 Entertainment Attorneys; New York “Super Lawyers”; Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers; Variety Legal Impact Report 2021; Benchmark Labor & Employment Stars and; The National Law Journal Employment Law Trailblazer. Prior to joining Proskauer, she served in the United States Attorney’s Office (Civil Division) - Eastern District of NY, and also as a former federal law clerk to Honorable Jaime Pieras Jr., Senior US District Judge in the US District Court of Puerto Rico. She currently serves on the Board of the Attorney Grievance Committee for the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division, 1st Judicial Dept., the Board of the Federal Bar Council, the Board of the Eastern District Association, and she co-Chairs the Federal Bar Council’s Employment Litigation Committee, as well as, Proskauer’s Workplace Investigations Practice Group. Gray grew up in East Elmhurst Queens after her family emigrated to the US from Jamaica when she was 4 years old. She attended Saint Gabriel’s Elementary School, and thereafter, Dominican Academy High School for Girls. Gray received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her law degree from NYU School of Law.

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 36 years in private practice, he has tried numerous cases to verdict. Currently, Gutierrez is a former Chair of the New York State Grievance Committee of the Appellate Division, Second Department for the 2nd, 11th and 13th Judicial Districts and a former Vice President to the Executive Committee, 11th Judicial District (Queens County) of the New York State Bar Association. He is also a past President of the Queens County Bar Association and the Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County. He received his undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and his law degree from Seton Hall University Law School.

L. Priscilla Hall

Hall is currently an Arbitrator and Mediator with Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, JAMS, and a member of the Legal Expert team of retired judges to the Federal Monitor. She 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. 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.

Everett Hopkins

Hopkins is the managing attorney of Hopkins Law Group, LLC. The firm’s history began in 1990, and from 1999 to 2008 was known as Hopkins, Lawrence, and Bailey, L.L.C. which later branched into two law firms: Hopkins Law Group, L.L.C. and Bailey and Bailey, L.L.C. with Lamont R. Bailey, as "of counsel" to the Firm. Hopkins received his undergraduate degree from the City University of New York at Hunter College in 1979 and earned his law degree at the University of Buffalo in 1982. During his career he served with distinction for eight years as General Counsel and Director of Administration for the New York City Criminal Justice Agency. Prior to this position, he held key positions with the NYC Housing Preservation and Development and Fraud Enforcement with the Internal Revenue Service. Over the last twenty years, Hopkins has also served as Adjunct Professor at Medgar Evers College, York College, Baruch College and the College of New Rochelle.

Judy Harris Kluger

Kluger serves as the Executive Director at Sanctuary for Families since 2014. Since assuming the role she has secured substantial new sources of private and public funding, growing the agency budget from approximately $15 million to a budget of $27 million today. Under her leadership, Sanctuary’s Legal Center launched new programs to address the unique needs of college sexual assault survivors, incarcerated gender violence survivors, and Orthodox Jewish survivors. Sanctuary has also expanded its innovative Economic Empowerment Program, launched the first worker coop initiative for current and former clients, realigned the organization’s clinical practice to a family-focused, evidence-based therapeutic model to help rebuild parent-child relationships, and shifted all services to virtual platforms to increase client accessibility. Prior to joining Sanctuary, Kluger served for 25 years as a judge in New York State, most recently as Chief of Policy and Planning for the court system, a position through which she oversaw New York State’s 300 problem-solving courts. Kluger currently serves on the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) Advisory Council and the advisory board of New York Nonprofit Media. She is also a member of the Chief Judge’s Justice Task Force and the Independent Commission on NYC Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform. Kluger has received many honors and awards including the New York State Bar Association’s 2013 Award for Excellence in Public Service, the New York Women’s Bar Association’s 2019 President’s Special Award, and the Fund for Modern Courts’ 2020 Career Public Service Award. She is a graduate of NYU and St. John’s University School of Law.

Martin LaFalce

LaFalce is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at St. John's University School of Law. He began his career as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society, representing clients at Rikers Island who were charged with violating the terms of their parole. From 2011 to 2020 he represented clients in Manhattan who were charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. Most recently, LaFalce coordinated Legal Aid's criminal justice legislative agenda. He and his Legal Aid colleagues successfully advocated for the repeal of New York's gravity knife ban and drew public attention to the humanitarian crisis at Rikers Island. LaFalce grew up in Buffalo, NY, graduated from Georgetown University in 2003, and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2008.

William F. Mastro

Mastro is the former Senior Associate Justice of the Appellate Division Second Department. He served as a member of that court from 2002 to 2021. During this period, he served as Acting Presiding Justice from December 2011 through September 2012, and from January 2021 to May 2021. In 1972, Mastro served as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy until his honorable discharge in 1974. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Villanova University, and his JD from New York Law School. In 1979, Mastro began his career in State Government, upon his appointment as a staff attorney for the now Mental Hygiene Legal Service in New York City. In 1981, he served as a Law Assistant to NYC Civil Court Judge Michael L. Pesce before beginning an eleven-year tenure as the Principal Law Clerk to the Honorable Louis Sangiorgio in Supreme Court, Richmond County. Maestro’s judicial career began in 1992, after being elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court in Kings County. In 2002, he was appointed to the Appellate Division Second Department. Previously, Mastro served as president and board member of several community and civic organizations. He retains memberships in several bar associations and served on the Second District Committee for Litigation Cost and Delay, created by Chief Judge Kaye. He served for many years as Chair of the Ethics Commission for the Unified Court System and is also a member of the New York Bar Foundation.

Angélicque M. Moreno

Moreno is the Managing Partner and a Senior Trial Attorney at Avanzino & Moreno, PC, with over 25 years of experience representing injured victims in a wide variety of automotive, workplace, medical malpractice and wrongful death actions. Among her many professional affiliations, Moreno is a Past-President of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and the President-Elect of the Puerto Rican Bar Association. She was appointed to and has served on the New York State Court of Appeals Judicial Screening Committee, on behalf of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the Judicial Screening Committee, on behalf of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. She has lectured throughout New York City on a wide range of topics, including New York State Labor Law and Trial Practice Skills. As an interested community leader, Moreno has served as President of the Brooklyn Bridge Rotary Club and is a two-time honoree as a Paul Harris Fellow as well as the recipient of the 2016 Brooklyn Service Cornerstone Award. Moreno received her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University and her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

Christopher Morel

Morel is a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. He primarily focuses his practice on antitrust and general commercial litigation. He is a member of the board of Manhattan Legal Services, an organization committed to providing free legal representation low-income borough residents. He is also a member of the Attorney Grievance Committee of the First Judicial Department. He graduated from Fordham University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and received a JD from Columbia Law School in 2018, where he was a Stone Scholar, an articles editor of the Law Review and the President of the Latino/a Law Student Association. While attending law school, he also participated in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, providing pro bono legal representation to low-income clients. Following his graduation, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Margo K. Brodie of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Vianny Paulino Pichardo

Pichardo is a former commercial litigation shareholder of a mid-size New York law firm and former corporate associate of a large international law firm. She is currently a member of Beazley’s Cyber and Executive Risk Group where she provides strategic advice and leadership concerning insurance coverage for Tech E&O, IP, media, advertising, cyber and privacy liabilities. She has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro Rising Star 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. Pichardo has held various high-profile leadership roles including as President of The Dominican Bar Association representing the interests of Latino lawyers, judges, and law students in the United States and as founder of The DBA’s Women’s Committee, Las Mariposas. She is also a past member of the Latino Justice PRLDEF’s Líderes Board. She is currently a member of the Attorney Grievance Committee of the First Judicial Department.

Thomas Principe

Principe has been a partner at Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore, representing injured parties in the specialty of personal injury and medical malpractice for 33 years. He was a former prosecutor with the Queens County District Attorney’s Office rising to the rank of Deputy Bureau Chief of the Supreme Court Trial Bureau. He then practiced as defense counsel in the field of medical malpractice/personal injury. Principe served in the New York Army National Guard for 33 years, retiring as a Brigadier General, with the Legion of Merit, awarded by the United States Army and the Conspicuous Service Medal, awarded by the State of New York. He was Staff Judge Advocate to 53rd Troop Command for 9 years and served during our 9/11 National Disaster in that capacity. Principe is a member of many professional associations and was Past-President of the St. John's University School of Law Alumni Association. He is a graduate of St. John’s University and St. John’s University School of Law.

Ronald Richter

Richter is the CEO and Executive Director of JCCA formerly the Jewish Child Care Association, one of New York’s oldest human services organizations. For three decades, he has worked to create a more just child and family services system by placing the utmost value on the wellbeing of each child and family. As JCCA’s CEO, he has expanded the agency’s academic enrichment services, and helped the organization become a premier provider of support services for children with complex trauma, chronic illness, or severe emotional disturbance. Richter is a former New York City Family Court judge, former Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), and former attorney with The Legal Aid Society. During his time leading ACS, he spearheaded a landmark shift in child welfare evidence-based practices geared towards helping parents and children avoid foster care placement, heal from past traumas, and reduce time spent in the system. Richter has an undergraduate degree from Tufts University and a Master of Science and JD from Boston University. He currently serves on the boards of ChildTrends, Chelsea Day School, the NYS Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health and is a member of the Child Welfare League of America’s National Commission for Policy and Practice. He is an adjunct professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.

Julian Yap

Yap is Co-Founder and President of Realm, an audio entertainment company with more fiction podcasts in the top charts than any other company. In 2021, Realm landed in Apple's Top 10 Subscription Podcast Networks. Prior to founding Realm, he served as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy. At the Department of Justice, he crafted policy on a wide variety of legal issues including constitutional law, data privacy, gun control, foreign relations law, national security, civil rights, criminal justice, and intellectual property. He also worked on judicial nominations, vetting over a dozen judicial candidates and guiding nominees through confirmation. He served as an advisor to the Biden-Harris Transition Team where he provided legal and policy analysis to the Department of Justice Agency Review Team. Yap clerked for the Supreme Court of Texas and held the Public Law Fellowship at Duke University School of Law. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, master’s from the University of Pennsylvania, and his JD/LLM from Duke University School of Law.

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.