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Alumni Highlights and Class Notes
February 2016 Alumni Highlight
Keep up-to-date with your fellow Pace Law School Alumni
Pace Law School 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!
Pace Law School reserves the right to edit all Class Notes submissions.
Adrienne J. Arkontaky’s (’03) journey to law school was unlike most others. It was her personal life that inspired Adrienne to pursue a degree in law. Thirty years ago, Adrienne married her husband, Peter. From there, they had three children, Justine, Jordan, and Jenna. Now, 23, Adrienne’s daughter, Jordan has severe disabilities and is a young adult with special needs who is living a full life at the Center for Discovery in Harris, New York. After having Jordan, she encountered issues with obtaining the services that Jordan was entitled to and deserved. At the urging of her friends and family, Adrienne decided to pursue a legal career in order to advocate for persons with disabilities. She was (and remains) committed to “raising awareness of the unique needs of families with loved ones with disabilities.”
Prior to attending law school, Adrienne received a degree in business administration from Iona College. Following her passion, she also worked as a Family Services Medicaid Service Coordinator at Family Connection located in the Westchester Institute for Human Development in Valhalla. In this role, she was responsible for the coordinating services for families of children with disabilities and assisting families to obtain necessary supports through Medicaid Waiver programs.
From there, Adrienne enrolled in Pace Law School. It was Pace’s location and flexible programming that were appealing to Adrienne, along with the curriculum. After visiting the campus and meeting with (then) Assistant Dean for Admissions, Angie D’Agostino, she knew that Pace was a place where she could feel at home and also be close to home. During her time at Pace, Adrienne grew close with Dean D’Agostino, who is now Dean for Students & Campus Affairs, along with her professors, in particular, Leslie Garfield and Michelle Simon. She notes that “they encouraged me even when I was overwhelmed or stressed and I would not have been able to finish law school if it were not for their support. Aside from my daughters and my husband, they were my biggest cheerleaders.”
After graduating, Adrienne was first an associate with Duane Morris LLP in the financial products group. She had spent time at the firm as a clerk during law school and helped spearhead several pro bono projects for the firm. Those projects and her desire to assist families of loved ones with disabilities led her to other firms. There, she developed a practice devoted to special needs planning, guardianship special needs trust administration and litigation and special education law representing families to advocate for appropriate educational services for their children.
It was the experience she gained in these positions, along with her self-motivating, not just “can-do”, but “will-do” attitude that landed her the position she had been waiting for – vice president and managing attorney of The Cuddy Law Firm’s office in White Plains. At Cuddy, Adrienne manages and supervises attorneys and staff of the White Plains office. She also develops seminars, workshops, and training sessions for families of loved ones with special needs and professionals dedicated to serving individuals with special needs. Adrienne is able to devote her practice to the laws surrounding special needs – special needs trust administration, special education advocacy and litigation, guardianship, Medicaid, and administrative appeals. The firm also takes on many special education cases on a sliding scale basis in an effort to assist low income families access appropriate special education services.
Currently, Adrienne is the co-chair of the Special Education Committee of the Elder Law and a member of the Special Needs Planning Committee of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the New York State Bar Association, Past Co-Editor of the Elder Law and Special Needs Law Journal, Co-Chair of the Education Committee and Past Co-Chair of the Lawyering and Parenting Committee for the Westchester Women’s Bar Association. She is the statewide Co-Chairperson for the Special Education Update CLE sponsored by several sections and committees of the New York State Bar Association. She is also a member of the Disability Rights Committee for the New York State Bar. She was named “A Rising Star” in Super Lawyers 2013 and one of the Top Attorneys in the Metro Region for 2014 and 2015. Her story has been featured in several publications, most recently in the Special Need Moms Network- www.specialmomsnetwork.com/the-arkontaky-family.
Not one to sit still, Adrienne serves as the Chairperson for the Board of the John A. Coleman School, with campuses in New York City and White Plains. She is a member of the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA). Adrienne lectures frequently to advocacy groups and other professional organizations on special needs planning and the importance of understanding special education laws.
Adrienne lives in Hawthorne with her husband, Peter, and their three children. In what spare time she does have, Adrienne enjoys spending time with her family and her two rescue dogs. Whenever possible, she loves to read and bake.
In closing, Adrienne is eternally grateful to the faculty and staff at Pace. “They gave me the skills necessary to succeed as a knowledgeable, very competent and zealous advocate for my clients.” She is also grateful to her fellow classmates of ‘03. “I had an incredible group of friends during law school who I still am in contact with even after all these years.” Most of all she credits her perseverance through law school and her successful legal career to her family-as she puts it, they did it all “together”.
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.