Haub Alumni of the Month: Steven Epstein '92

A Passion for Helping Others

Steven Epstein ’92 is a founding partner of Barket, Epstein, Kearon, Aldea & LoTurco, LLP and head of the firm’s DWI and Vehicular Crimes group. He is also an adjunct professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law and the head of the Steven Epstein DWI Defense Institute. The Steven Epstein DWI Defense Institute is an educational program designed to teach lawyers how to defend DWI cases.

Did you always desire to go to law school and become a lawyer?

Yes, for as long as I can recall I had a passion for helping others, it was this that led me to become an attorney.

What sticks out to you as memorable from your time at Pace?

As a student, it was the friendships I made and the many fun times we had outside of the classroom. As an adjunct professor, it is seeing students head into court as attorneys and move on to great careers as trial lawyers. As a parent, my daughter attending the same law school as me and watching her enjoy all that Haub Law has to offer really stands out.

Who were some of your favorite professors and classes while at Pace?

I had many, but definitely Professors Michael Mushlin, Faith Colangelo, Marianna Hogan, and Barbara Salken. As far as classes, I really enjoyed Evidence and participating in the Criminal Defense Clinic, both of which have proved useful in my career.

How did you begin teaching at Pace?

I knew Professor Lou Fasulo through my work with the Legal Aid Society. I started by volunteering to coach the trial teams with Lou and after coaching for several years, Lou gave me the opportunity to teach and  more than 20 years later it is as fulfilling and fun as it was the day I started.

Your daughter is going into her third year at Haub Law – how did you feel once your daughter decided to pursue law and then attend the same law school as you?

I was thrilled that she found for herself a career that she had a passion for. Alexis has always wanted to make an impact on this world and she found law as a pathway to do that. It was an added bonus that she chose to study law at the same school as me. She is on track to graduate in 2021 and I am very proud.

Can you describe your career path?

I began my career as a public defender with the criminal defense division of the Legal Aid Society of New York City where I worked from 1992 to 1997. After leaving Legal Aid and working for a small firm for just under two years, I opened my own solo practice, which I ran until 2012. At that point, I formed my current firm, Barket, Epstein, Kearon, Aldea & LoTurco, LLP. We are a boutique litigation firm with offices in Manhattan, Garden City and Huntington. We handle matters in criminal defense, personal injury law, commercial litigation, civil rights litigation and appeals. I am also head of the Steven Epstein DWI Defense Institute, an educational program designed to teach lawyers how to defend DWI cases, which has established a relationship with Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. I have specialized in representing clients accused of DWI, vehicular homicides and other criminal offenses and have been lecturing nationally and locally on the topic of DWI for over 20 years. Over the last 28 years I have tried over 100 DWI cases to verdict. I serve as a Faculty Member, New York State Delegate and Northeast Regional Delegate of the National College for DUI Defense. I am also Vice President of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and serves as the chair for their CLE committee.

One of my proudest achievements was when I successfully challenged New York’s discovery statute and obtained and enforced an order directing the State to turn over to every defendant in New York State the full records of gas chromatography that relate to the certification of the simulator solution used for every person charged with a DWI who submitted to a breath test. This ruling subsequently resulted in a change to New York’s legislation. The resulting new discovery statute now entitles every defendant to the full records of gas chromatography that relate to the certification of the simulator solution.

Can you speak about the Steven Epstein DWI Defense Institute – what do you hope attorneys gain from attending?

The Steven Epstein DWI Defense Institute is a learning center designed to teach the pathway of a DWI case in New York from arrest through trial.  The first year’s curriculum which is taught over a ten month period will include a 24-hour National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Course. The Institute has a faculty who are leaders their fields and includes nationally renowned expert witnesses in the fields of breath testing, blood testing, accident reconstruction and standardized field sobriety testing. Their work has led them to be some of the most sought-after expert witnesses in DWI defense in the nation. Their knowledge is then paired with the trial skills needed to defend DWI cases and the first year concludes with a mock trial of a breath test case. It is my hope that attorneys will gain the knowledge of the science and tools needed to defend a DWI case at a high level and then pair that knowledge with real trial skills so that they are best equipped to be leaders in the defense of DWI cases. The Institute will also serve as a center for advocacy for the defense community to address state wide issues and handle actual cases.

What would your advice be for future or current law students?

There is nothing in this life that is worthwhile that comes easily. The most rewarding things in life take the most amount of work. So find what it is you want, do not let anyone or anything get in your way of accomplishing it and most importantly work as hard as you can to accomplish that goal.