A directory of key contacts is displayed below for your convenience.
Siobhan Atkins received her J.D., summa cum laude, from NYU School of Law, where she was an Articles Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law and a student advocate with the Criminal & Community Defense Clinic and the Children’s Rights Clinic. She also participated in NYU Law’s Prison Reform and Education Project and its Suspension Representation Project. While in law school, she interned with The Bronx Defenders and with the Vera Institute of Justice.
Upon graduation, Siobhan clerked for the Honorable Jesse M. Furman in the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Raymond J. Lohier on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She received a B.A., summa cum laude, with distinction in History, from the University of Pennsylvania.
Siobhan is a member of the Criminal Courts Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
David Bernstein received his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he was Notes Editor of the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, a student advocate with The Innocence Project clinic, and an intern for U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts in the Southern District of New York.
After graduating law school, David worked as a staff attorney in the Appeals Bureau at The Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, where he filed appeals and post-conviction motions in felony, misdemeanor, and sex offender adjudication cases as well as in family court proceedings. He also filed several federal habeas corpus petitions in the Eastern District of New York. In 2017, after nearly ten years of litigation in state and federal courts for one of those cases, U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie granted a writ of habeas corpus in Castellanos v. Kirkpatrick, 2017 WL 2817048 (E.D.N.Y. 2017).
David is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Senior Appellate Counsel
Matthew Bova graduated with highest honors from The George Washington University Law School, where he was a member of the moot court team. He received the Thurgood Marshall Civil Liberties Award for his law school externships with the Public Defender’s Service of D.C. and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Upon graduation, Matthew served as a fellow at CAL, working on post-conviction and direct appeals. He subsequently clerked for Judge Robert S. Smith of the New York Court of Appeals.
Matthew is the co-chair of the Appellate Courts Committee of the New York County Lawyers’ Association. He has also published an article on appellate procedure in the CUNY Law Review, entitled A Sufficiency-of-the-Evidence Exception to the New York Appellate Preservation Rule, 19 CUNY L. Rev. 1 (2015).
Matthew is an active coach with the NYC Mentor Moot and has presented numerous CLEs on New York criminal law.
Senior Appellate Counsel
Julia Busetti is a graduate of CUNY School of Law, where she was a Haywood Burns Fellow in Civil Rights and Human Rights, an Executive Articles Editor of the New York City Law Review, and a student practitioner in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic. As a law student, Julia completed internships with Innocence Project New Orleans, The Center for Death Penalty Litigation, and The Legal Aid Society of New York, Juvenile Rights Practice.
Upon graduating from law school, Julia served as a law clerk in the Staff Attorney’s Office of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. She subsequently represented criminal defendants and victims of civil rights violations with the Law Office of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma.
Julia is a member of the Corrections and Community Reentry Committee of the New York City Bar Association and a former Secretary of the City Bar’s Sex and Law Committee. She holds a B.A. in history from Grinnell College.
Megan Byrne graduated from Stanford Law School with pro bono distinction. During law school, she was involved in the Spark Mentoring Program and served as Vice President of the Black Law Students Association. She also represented clients at the trial and appellate levels in Stanford’s Criminal Defense Clinic and spent a summer working for the New York Center for Juvenile Justice. Upon graduation, she joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP as a litigation associate, where she continued working on criminal appeals pro bono. She holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Indiana University, where she graduated with high distinction.
Robert S. Dean is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Center for Appellate Litigation. He has taught appellate advocacy and post-conviction remedies at the NYU School of Law and Brooklyn Law School. A graduate of NYU Law School with over 40 years of experience as an appellate public defender, he has personally briefed and argued over 350 cases in New York’s intermediate appellate courts, more than 35 cases in the New York Court of Appeals, and one winning case in the U.S. Supreme Court (Cruz v. New York).
Bob is a principal author of the West Book New York Pretrial Criminal Procedure, first and second editions. He was most recently chair of the Committee on Criminal Courts at the New York City Bar Association. He is currently Chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Executive Committee and Vice Chair of the State Bar’s Committee on Mandated Representation. He is on the board of the Chief Defenders Association of New York.
In January 2013 Bob received the State Bar Criminal Justice Section’s Award for Outstanding Appellate Practitioner.
Senior Supervising Attorney
Abigail Everett is a career public defender. She started at The Legal Aid Society of New York, Criminal Appeals Bureau and subsequently joined the team at CAL, where she currently serves clients as a Senior Supervising Attorney. At these two organizations, she has represented countless individuals challenging their criminal convictions. Since 2012, she has also led CAL’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) defense project, working with clients facing legal restrictions resulting from sex offense convictions.
Previously, Abby was law secretary to Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice Colleen McMahon.
Abby is a graduate of NYU Law School, where she was the recipient of the Ann Petluck Poses Memorial Prize for outstanding work in a clinical program. She is also a graduate of Smith College.
Abby is a member of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and received that organization’s 2012 Public Service Award. She previously served as Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Operations Committee.
Alexandra Rafaelian Ferlise received her J.D. degree from Brooklyn Law School. She also holds a B.A., magna cum laude, in History from Seton Hall University. While in law school, Alexandra participated in the Courtroom Advocates Project, coordinated the Brooklyn Trafficking Intervention Pro Bono Project, and interned at the New York Legal Assistance Group’s Domestic Violence Clinical Center. For her public service activities, she received a Pro Bono Leadership Award and an Access to Justice Award.
In her final year of law school, Alexandra was a Public Interest Public Service (PiPs) Fellow. She spent the year working with trial offices to streamline the appeals process for indigent clients.
Alexandra is a member of the Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association.
Brittany Francis received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar and a client advocate with the Community Reentry and Reintegration Clinic. As a clinic member, Brittany represented clients facing criminal-history-based employment barriers. While in law school, she interned with The Bronx Defenders and the Equal Justice Initiative, and served as the Community Service Chair for the Women of Color Collective and the Black Allied Law Students Association.
Upon graduation, Brittany clerked for the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis in the Southern District of New York. She holds a B.A. with honors in Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Communication and Culture from Indiana University.
Senior Appellate Counsel
Rachel T. Goldberg received her J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. She interned with The Legal Aid Society of New York’s Prisoners’ Rights Project and the Orleans Public Defenders and, as a student advocate in the NYU Reentry Clinic, litigated employment discrimination cases on behalf of clients with criminal records.
Prior to law school, Rachel earned her Ph.D. in English and Rhetoric from the University of Washington where her dissertation received the highest departmental honors, and where she received several awards for teaching excellence. She earned her B.A. from Kenyon College and M.A. from New York University.
Maya Hart received her B.A. in Psychology from Williams College, with a special interest in Psychology and the Law. During her senior year, she completed an independent research project with Professor Saul Kassin, culminating in the report “Misperceiving Innocence: Judging the Exonerated.”
Previously, Maya interned at the New England Innocence Project in Boston, where she interviewed exonerees, managed social media, and organized fundraising events.
An avid and accomplished tennis player, Maya was a member of the two-time national champion Williams Women’s Tennis team and was captain her senior year.
Scott Henney received his J.D. from The University of Chicago, The Law School, where he was an Articles Editor on the Chicago Journal of International Law, a Norval Morris Fellow, a student attorney with the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic, a Vice President of Programming for the Defenders student organization, a member of the American Constitution Society, and a research assistant for Professors John Rappaport and Martha Nussbaum. While in law school, Scott interned with CAL and the Denver office of the Colorado Public Defender as well as volunteered with the Arch City Defenders in St. Louis, Missouri and the Berrien County Indigent Defense Administrator in Michigan. During his final year as a law student, Scott participated in litigating a felony case in the Northern District of Illinois.
Scott holds a B.A., summa cum laude, in Philosophy with a minor in Russian and Slavic Studies from New York University, where he received the Founders’ Day Award for academic excellence and High Honors from the philosophy department and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa national honors society.
Lead Appellate Counsel
Jan Hoth received her JD, cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School. She works extensively with CAL's pro bono volunteer program which provides New York area law firm associates an opportunity to brief and argue appellate cases. Every spring she conducts a criminal appeals clinic at Brooklyn Law School where she serves on the adjunct faculty.
Camilla Hsu graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she served as the Training Director for Harvard Defenders, and a student practitioner in the Criminal Justice Institute, the Trauma Learning and Policy Institute Education Law Clinic, and the Prison Legal Assistance Project. During law school, Camilla completed internships with the Federal Defenders of New York and the Southern Center for Human Rights.
As an E. Barrett Prettyman fellow after law school, Camilla represented indigent clients in criminal court, while also supervising student-attorneys and assisting with classroom instruction in Georgetown’s Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic. She subsequently represented clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies as a staff attorney at the Bronx Defenders.
Camilla holds a Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Literature summa cum laude from Yale University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Allison Kahl received her J.D., cum laude, from NYU School of Law. During law school, she was a student attorney in the Juvenile Defender Clinic working at the Legal Aid Society and in the Children’s Rights Clinic working at Advocates for Children. She was also a member of the Journal of Law and Liberty. She interned with Connecticut Legal Services and was a summer associate at Sullivan and Cromwell LLP.
Upon graduation from law school, Allison clerked for Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. After her clerkship, she was an associate at Sullivan and Cromwell LLP. She later clerked for the Honorable Charles S. Haight, Jr. in the District of Connecticut. She holds a B.A. in History and Economics and a B.A.H. from Villanova University.
Senior Appellate Counsel
Carl S. Kaplan received his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was the New York Times Fellow in Law, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and a Columbia Human Rights Fellow at the London-based free speech group, Article 19. He was also a staff editor for the Columbia-VLA Journal of Law & the Arts.
After graduation, Carl worked as a litigation associate at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York. He was also a Markle Information Policy Fellow in the Programme in Comparative Media Law & Policy, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Wolfson College, Oxford. He received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Amherst College, where he majored in English and wrote an honors thesis on Jonathan Swift.
Prior to taking up law, Carl worked as a journalist for many publications, including the late and lamented New York Newsday, where he served as a business reporter. His weekly and later biweekly column, "CyberLaw Journal," published in The New York Times, online edition, covered cutting-edge Internet-related issues such as freedom of speech, privacy, and the copyright wars for a general, international audience.
Carl founded, designed, and co-teaches the externship in criminal appeals at Columbia Law School.
Licensed Social Worker, LMSW
Susannah Karlin received her M.S.W. from Columbia University and her B.A. from the University of Michigan. She has over 20 years of experience in criminal justice settings, including work in the courtroom as a mitigation specialist and as a mental health clinician in NYC correctional facilities. Susannah is a member of the New York State Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.
Katherine Park Kim received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and was awarded the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award. During law school, Katherine interned with the Legal Aid Society, The Bronx Defenders, Womankind, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She was also a law student advocate in the Immigrants’ Rights Project and Vice President of the Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Prior to joining CAL, Katherine was an Immigrant Justice Fellow at the Urban Justice Center. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in History.
David Klem is a cum laude graduate of NYU School of Law, where he was the Managing Editor of the Review of Law & Social Change, the Editor-in-Chief of the law school newspaper, and a recipient of the Anne Petluck Poses prize for outstanding work in a clinic. After law school, he clerked for Judge Raymond J. Dearie in the Eastern District of New York, as well as for Justice Alan B. Handler in the New Jersey Supreme Court, where he handled capital appeals. David taught and ran the Federal Defender Clinic at NYU School of Law for many years and, prior to that, taught legal research and writing at Brooklyn Law School. He has briefed and argued hundreds of cases in New York’s intermediate appellate courts, including nearly 20 in the New York Court of Appeals.
Receptionist and Office Manager
Kathleen Martinez received her B.A. in Psychology and Black Studies from SUNY New Paltz and an M.A. in Urban Affairs from Queens College.
Jacqueline Meese-Martinez received her B.A. from Miami University and her J.D. from CUNY School of Law, where she was the Managing Articles Editor of the CUNY Law Review, Secretary of the Student Government, and Best Oralist at the Nineteenth Annual CUNY Moot Court Summer Competition. Her student note, “Expectations of the Exemplar: An Exploration of the Burdens on Public School Teachers in Absence of Tenure,” was published in the nineteenth volume of the CUNY Law Review.
Jacqueline’s professional experience includes a clerkship with the Honorable Jenny Rivera, Senior Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. Additionally, while in law school, Jacqueline held two federal judicial internships, one with the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis of the Southern District of New York and the other with the Honorable Raymond J. Lohier of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Jacqueline’s other legal work focused on civil rights issues—she interned with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project and with plaintiff-side employment law firm Outten & Golden, and was a constitutional law research assistant. Prior to law school, she worked in education management for six years.
Jacqueline is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Sex and Law Committee. She contributed to the Association’s amicus brief in support of petitioners for Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstadt, 136 S. Ct. 2292 (2016), and is actively involved in the Committee’s policy initiatives.
Alexandra (Lexie) Mitter graduated cum laude from NYU School of Law, where she was the Symposium Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law. While in law school, she helped formerly incarcerated individuals obtain employment licensure through administrative hearings before the Secretary of State.
Upon graduation, Lexie worked as an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP, where she represented corporations and individuals in a wide range of internal investigations as well as complex criminal and civil litigation. She also clerked for the Honorable Andrew L. Carter, Jr. and James L. Cott, both in the Southern District of New York.
Lexie graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with highest distinction in History and Anthropology from the University of Michigan.
Taylor Louise Napolitano received her J.D. from NYU School of Law. During her time in law school, she was the Executive Editor of the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy and participated in clinics with the Innocence Project, Brooklyn Family Defense Practice, and the Equal Justice Initiative.
Prior to joining CAL, Taylor was a litigation associate at Sidley Austin LLP, where she handled complex commercial litigation and maintained an active pro bono practice, including the representation of two capital defendants in Alabama. She holds a B.A. in Italian Literature from Columbia University.
Supervising Attorney and Co-Director, Immigrant Justice Project
Robin Nichinsky is a Supervising Attorney & Co-Director of CAL’s Immigrant Justice Project (IJP). As IJP co-director, she works to coordinate the full range of CAL’s representation of noncitizen clients. She is a veteran appellate criminal defense lawyer with specialized knowledge in post-conviction relief practice for immigrants. In 2017, she was recognized by the Immigrant Defense Project for her work spearheading CAL’s practice in this area. Robin has extensive experience seeking post-conviction relief for clients in the New York trial courts, Appellate Division, and Court of Appeals. Before CAL, Robin was a Supervising Attorney in the Criminal Appeals Bureau of The Legal Aid Society of New York. She is a cum laude graduate of Cardozo Law School, where she was Managing Editor of the Cardozo Law Review. She has a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Stony Brook and an M.S. in Counseling from the College of New Rochelle.
John Palmer received his J.D. from NYU School of Law, where he was a Dean’s Award Scholar. During law school, he was a student advocate in the Criminal Defense and Reentry Clinic as well as the Federal Defender Clinic. He was a member of NYU’s Black Allied Law Students Association and the Prison Reform and Education Project. During summers in law school, John was an intern at the Re-Entry Project of Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services) and The Bronx Defenders’ Criminal Defense Practice. He also holds a B.A. in Economics and B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.
Erika Parry received her B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Vermont. While in school, she conducted research with the Vermont Department of Corrections in an effort to improve family communications. She also worked with Vermont Probation and Parole’s Intensive Substance Abuse Program Team. She received the Outstanding Senior Major in Sociology Award and was selected for Phi Beta Kappa.
Senior Appellate Counsel & Coordinating Attorney, Plea Project
Jody Ratner received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, where she participated in the Poverty Law and Practice Clinic and was a teaching assistant for a first-year Civil Procedure class. Her four quarter-long “co-ops” included working for the Honorable Robert E. Keeton in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the law firm Stern, Shapiro, Weissberg & Garin, and the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
Upon graduation, Jody worked at the Staff Attorney’s Office at Second Circuit Court of Appeals and clerked for the Honorable Anne E. Thompson, then-Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court in New Jersey. Following her clerkships, Jody had a two-year Equal Justice Works fellowship at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she focused on young women’s access to reproductive health services. She has argued over 40 cases, including three in the Court of Appeals and one in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and has litigated more than a dozen successful post-conviction motions, negotiating or receiving reduced sentences for many of our clients.
Arielle Reid received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, graduating as a three-time Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. While in law school, Arielle held leadership positions in a number of student organizations: the Black Law Students Association, the Student Public Interest Network, and the Criminal Justice Action Network. She also served on the board of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law, and as a student advocate in the Mass Incarceration Clinic.
Before joining CAL, Arielle interned with a number of other public defender offices, both in New York City and elsewhere. She holds a B.A. in Political Science, with Highest Honors, from the University of North Carolina.
Hannah Robbins graduated summa cum laude from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was a Public Service Scholar and a Dean’s Distinguished Scholar. At Cardozo, she was a member of both the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic, the president of Cardozo FIRE (For Immigrants’ Rights and Equality), and a staff editor of the Cardozo Law Review. She received the “Inspire” public service award and the Felix Frankfurter Award. While in law school, she interned at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the Immigration Practice at The Bronx Defenders.
Prior to law school, Hannah worked as a paralegal at the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. She received her B.A. from Northwestern University, where she studied Spanish and Gender Studies.
Senior Litigation Specialist
Susan Salomon received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College cum laude and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Before joining CAL, Susan served for many years as a supervising attorney in the New York Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau, and then headed up the appeals unit of the New York Capital Defender Office. In these prior positions and at CAL, Susan has argued many cases in the New York Court of Appeals. Notable cases include those striking down the state’s death penalty on constitutional grounds. Susan has also served on the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics and has taught professional responsibility at Columbia Law School.
John Santoro received his B.A. from Columbia University, where he majored in Political Science and Hispanic Studies. While at Columbia, John was captain of the Varsity Men’s Swimming and Diving Team, and was a member of Columbia Divest for Climate Justice as well as the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee. During college, John was also a tutor at R.N.D.C on Rikers Island with the Petey Greene Program, teaching high school classes to incarcerated minors at the in-facility East River Academy. John is an organizer with the NYC branch of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Ben A. Schatz has represented clients on matters pending in federal and state courts at all levels, including the Supreme Court of the United States and the New York Court of Appeals. Before joining CAL, Ben served as law clerk to the Honorable Ronnie Abrams, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and handled high-profile First Amendment and complex commercial matters at the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. Ben is a past recipient of The Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award and a two-time recipient of Sanctuary for Families’ Above & Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Award. He graduated magna cum laude from Washington University School of Law in 2008.
Madeline Scher graduated with a B.A. from Wesleyan University, earning a double major in sociology and Hispanic literature, and writing an honors thesis in sociology titled “From Penal to Postsecondary: Navigating the College-Corrections Partnership through Second Chance Pell.” While at Wesleyan, she worked for the Center for Prison Education, tutoring students incarcerated in Connecticut who were pursuing postsecondary education. She also worked with juveniles in a high-school credit recovery program. Apart from pursuing her interests in criminal justice, Madeline worked on a community-based project in Middletown, CT, to report the effects of eviction on local residents and increase prevention funds for the city’s housing coalition.
Molly Schindler received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was an editor for the Jailhouse Lawyers Manual and supervised students with the Foundation Moot Court Program. While in law school, she interned with CAL, the Felony Unit of the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Aging and Disabilities Unit of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia.
Upon graduation, Molly worked for The Bronx Defenders as a staff attorney in its Criminal Defense Practice. She holds a B.A. in Classics from Johns Hopkins University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Anokhi Shah received her J.D., cum laude, from NYU, where she was a student attorney with the Equal Justice and Defender Clinic and the Juvenile Defender Clinic, Co-Chair of the Prisoners’ Rights and Education Project, and Competitions Advocacy Editor of the Moot Court Board. While in law school, she interned with The Bronx Defenders, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Capital Punishment Project, and The Legal Aid Society of New York’s Special Litigation Unit, and volunteered for the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project.
Prior to law school, Anokhi interned with the Durham County Public Defender’s Office and received a B.A. in Psychology and Criminology, graduating summa cum laude from North Carolina State University.
Anokhi is a member of the Civil Rights and Liberties Committee of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and the New York Sex Offense Working Group. She volunteers as a mentor for the St. Francis College Post-Prison College Opportunity Program.
Stacey Simone is CAL’s Paralegal Supervisor and has been with our office since its inception. Before joining CAL Stacey also worked as Paralegal Supervisor at The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau in New York City. Stacey received her B.A. from St. John’s University, where she studied Criminology and Justice.
Assistant Managing Attorney
Kate Skolnick coordinates CAL’s practice in the Appellate Term and co-runs our student internship program. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of The Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, a self-help litigation resource for prisoners, and Chair of the Civil Rights Law Society. While in law school, Kate spent her summers at The Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project in New York City and at Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP, a civil rights firm. She was a student attorney in the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic, where she represented clients facing public benefits cuts and developed a database for advocates pursuing systemic change in New York’s social welfare system; an extern with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem; and a volunteer with the Community Oversight of the Police Project and Immigration Law Unit of The Legal Aid Society. She received Kent and Stone Scholar designations and feels grateful to have received a Lowenstein Fellowship to pursue public interest work in the years since completing her degree.
Kate received her B.A. in History, with distinction, from Stanford University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. There, she began her lifelong pursuit of social justice, working on divestment, labor, and other campus campaigns, and serving as a researcher at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project. Before joining CAL, Kate worked as a research scholar at the Center for Institutional and Social Change.
Kate is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Social Welfare Committee.
Senior Appellate Counsel & Coordinating Attorney, Client Support Services
Lauren J. Springer received her J.D. from NYU School of Law. At CAL she represents clients on their direct appeals and in post-conviction proceedings. She has also worked on CAL special projects, including post-release supervision resentencings, SORA, In Forma Pauperis motions, and client support services.
Samuel Steinbock-Pratt received his J.D., magna cum laude, from NYU School of Law, where he was a Tom Stoddard Fellow in the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program. Through his fellowship, Samuel devoted part of his third year working at the Innocence Project’s Strategic Litigation Unit and the New York Legal Assistance Group’s LGBTQ Law Project. He also spent a summer interning with the Voting Rights Project of the national branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
While in law school, Samuel served as a student advocate for the Family Defense Clinic and Criminal Appellate Defender Clinic. He was a Senior Articles Editor for the Review of Law and Social Change, NYU’s premier journal dedicated to publishing scholarship that addresses social justice and inequality. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from McGill University, where he graduated with First-Class Honors.
Director, Justice First and Client Re-entry Projects
Claudia Trupp is founder and Director of CAL’s Justice First Project, which received the New York State Bar Association’s award for Excellence in Mandated Representation in 2015. Before joining CAL, she was a staff attorney with the Criminal Appeals Bureau of The Legal Aid Society in New York City. Claudia is a past recipient of an Outstanding Public Service Award from the New York County Lawyers’ Association and the Reginald Heber Smith Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. She is a board member of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) and Vice-President of the NYSACDL Foundation.
Claudia received her J.D., magna cum laude, from NYU School of Law, where she was Order of the Coif. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Rochester.
Senior Appellate Counsel
John Vang received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he co-founded the Prisoner’s Legal Education Project and was a student attorney with the Philadelphia Defender Association’s criminal defense clinic. After graduating from law school, John worked in the Staff Attorney’s Office of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Before returning to CAL (where he was previously a staff attorney), John was a criminal defense attorney at The Bronx Defenders. John is a co-chair of the LGBT Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York. He has a B.A. in American history from Columbia University and an M.A. in the History of Colonial Southeast Asia from the University of Toronto.
Ben Wiener received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. At Penn, he was an Articles Editor for the Journal of Constitutional Law, Membership Chair of the Prisoners Education and Advocacy Project, and a legal writing instructor. He also interned at the Innocence Project, where his work focused on reforming eyewitness identification procedures. After graduating, he clerked for Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak on the Eastern District of New York. He also holds a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Dartmouth College.
Ben is a member of the Criminal Justice Operations Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Christina Wong received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a student attorney with the Juvenile Justice Clinic, Federal Appellate Litigation Clinic, and the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project, a Comment Editor for the Michigan Journal of Law Reform, and treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. While in law school, she interned with the Honorable Richard R. Clifton on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Hawaii State Office of the Public Defender. She holds a B.A. in English from Amherst College and, prior to law school, worked at a nonprofit advocating for the homeless. Christina is a member of the Criminal Justice Operations Committee of the New York City Bar Association, as well as a member of the New York Sex Offense Working Group.
Supervising Attorney and Co-Director, Immigrant Justice Project
Marianne Yang co-directs CAL’s Immigrant Justice Project, which pursues post-conviction relief for noncitizen clients at risk of immigration detention and deportation as a result of their conviction. Before joining CAL, Marianne directed the Immigration Practice of Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), where she developed and spearheaded BDS’s Padilla unit, its Immigrant Youth and Communities unit, and its assigned counsel role in a first-in-nation assigned counsel program—the New York Immigrant Family Unity Program—for indigent immigrants in detained removal proceedings. Earlier in her career Marianne was a staff attorney and then project director of the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) and, before that, an associate attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s New York and Singapore offices.
Marianne is a past recipient of the New York City Bar Legal Services Award, BDS’s inaugural Harvey Mandelcorn Defender of Justice Award, and The Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award. She is a member of the Judge Robert A. Katzmann New York Immigrant Representation Study Group, an advisory board member of IDP, and an advisory board member of the MinKwon Center for Community Action. Marianne received her A.B., magna cum laude, in American History and Literature from Harvard College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she served on its Law Review as Articles Editor.
Public Interest Public Service Fellow
Gilbert Zelaya is a third-year student at Brooklyn Law School, where he is an advisor for incoming students and a Notes and Comments editor for the Brooklyn Journal of International Law. Gilbert is a Public Interest Public Service (PIPS) Fellow working with CAL to advance indigent defendants’ right to appeal. After graduating cum laude from Binghamton University, where he earned his B.A. in both History and Politics, Philosophy, and Law, Gilbert pursued his interest in assisting indigent clients by working with criminal defense attorneys at Raiser & Kenniff, P.C. in Mineola and The Sheldon Law Firm in the Bronx.
Mark Zeno has been at CAL since its founding, having previously served as appellate counsel at The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau and, before that, practicing civil litigation. A frequent advocate in the New York Court of Appeals, Mark’s clients’ cases have advanced the rights of criminal defendants in the areas of sentencing (e.g., People v. Pratts & Paulin, 17 N.Y.3d 238 (2011)(extending eligibility for reduced sentences under the Rockefeller Drug-Law reforms to parolees)); double jeopardy (e.g., People v. Williams & Rodriguez, 14 N.Y.3d 198, cert. denied sub. nom., New York v. Williams, 562 U.S. 947 (2010)(striking down, on constitutional double jeopardy grounds, statewide practice of correcting offenders’ sentences by adding periods of post-release supervision)); and limitations on homicide offenses (e.g., People v. Suarez, 6 N.Y.3d 202 (2005)(reformulating the elements of New York's depraved indifference murder statute, dismissing client's second-degree murder conviction)). His commitment to protecting the rights of immigrant New Yorkers led to his spearheading the work of our Immigrant Justice Project and his continued supervision of all direct appeals of our noncitizen clients.
A Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School, Mark co-teaches CAL’s Criminal Appeals Externship. Mark is an active member of the New York City Bar Association, currently serving on its Executive Committee, previously serving on its Judiciary and Criminal Law Committees.
Mark received his J.D., cum laude, from Western New England University, School of Law, where he was the Notes & Comments Editor of the Law Review. He received his B.A. in American History from SUNY Albany.
Senior Supervising Attorney
Barbara Zolot received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, where she was a Wigmore Scholar and a member of the Northwestern Law Review. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, in English from SUNY Albany, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
After law school, Barbara worked as a litigation associate at Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays and Handler before joining the Criminal Appeals Bureau of The Legal Aid Society of New York. Barbara joined CAL at its inception, but she also served in New York’s Capital Defender Office from 2000 to 2005, where she participated in arguing the first death penalty case brought under the statute before the New York Court of Appeals, People v. Darrell Harris, winning vacatur of Mr. Harris’ death sentence. Barbara has argued over 20 cases before the New York Court of Appeals, winning broad relief for criminal defendants in the areas of drug law reform and sentencing. In addition to her supervisory duties at CAL, she authors CAL’s “Issues to Develop at Trial,” a newsletter distributed to the statewide defense community, and coordinates CAL’s Court of Appeals practice with Robert Dean.
Barbara received the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s Public Service Award in 2011.