March 13, 2017

Leadership

Executive Board and Staff of ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Union-Wide Constitutional Officers

Deborah Wright, President, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Douglass College, Rutgers University, and is a 1998 graduate of New York Law School.  Deborah began her legal career at The Legal Aid Society in the Manhattan Criminal Defense Trial Office.  In 2005, Deborah became the specialized mental health attorney for the office until she was elected President of ALAA in June 2007.  Deborah is currently serving in her third full term as President.  In addition to member representation and negotiating collective bargaining agreements, Deborah is experienced in lobbying for Legal Aid Society funding, and legislation that furthers the interests of her members and clients.  Through her direct lobbying efforts in 2008, all public interest attorneys employed in New York State were finally included in the New York State Loan Forgiveness Program that had previously only been available to District Attorneys.  Also that year, Deborah played an integral role in the creation and passage of landmark legislation capping the number of cases that New York City public defenders can carry within a year.  Deborah is committed to social justice issues, and works closely with the Attorneys of Color and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Queer caucuses within ALAA to promote inclusiveness in the workplace.  Deborah is an appointed member of Chief Judge Lippman’s Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Services and Chair of the Technology Working Group.  Deborah works closely with ALAA’s parent union, the United Auto Workers, as well as the Working Families Party.  Deborah is an elected Democratic Committeewoman in Monmouth County, NJ, where she now resides.

Bret Taylor, Financial Secretary-Treasurer, grew up in Oldsmar, Florida in a union household where his parents were public school teachers who encouraged his early political activism. He earned his B.A. at the University of Florida, where he fought a corrupt sorority/fraternity system in student government as Senate Minority Leader. Bret lived in Taiwan for 3 years teaching English before earning his J.D. from Georgetown. He joined the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division in the Manhattan trial office in 2004 where he served as union delegate and office vice president. Representing clients in our unjust and discriminatory criminal justice system drove home the need for reform and a belief in Labor and our union’s pivotal role in that fight. ALAA’s Financial Secretary/ Treasurer since 2014, Bret manages the union’s finances, lobbies on issues important to our clients, communities and members, and serves ALAA members fighting grievances and navigating work issues. Bret lives in Brooklyn with his partner James and two friendly cats.

Beth Hofmeister, Recording Secretary, currently works in the Homeless Right Project of the Civil Practice’s Law Reform Unit.  She started her career as an attorney in Manhattan’s JRP office where she represented youth on child welfare and delinquency proceedings before moving into the JRP Special Litigation and Law Reform Unit rotator position. Prior to this position she represented the Juvenile Rights Practice membership as a Vice President and as a delegate for the Manhattan trial office. Beth has helped develop ALAA’s training curriculum since 2007.  Beth is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law where she was a Civitas ChildLaw Fellow. She is also a proud board member of the Coalition for Homeless Youth.

Thomas F. Bomba, Guide, was born in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago in 1949.  Grandfather belonged to labor union in Chicago stockyards when Upton Sinclair was writing The Jungle.  Worked 6 months in iron-copper mine as underground laborer for Cominco Limited, British Columbia 1969–1970–elected secretary of United Mine Workers local.  Studied Glasgow University, Scotland 1970–1971.  Graduated Antioch College, double major: Chemistry-Mathematics, Philosophy of Religion.  Law school: St. Louis University.  Involved in union movement at Lawyers’ Cooperative Publishing Company, Rochester, New York 1977–1979.   ALAA Senior Attorney Representative 1992–1996; Guide 1997–present. General Manager, Bronx LAS softball ‘Liberators’ 2002–present.

Deronn Bowen, Sergeant-At-Arms

Kenneth Schaeffer, Trustee

Mary Peppito, Trustee

Ellen Davidson, Trustee

Staff

Alexi Shalom, Organizer, was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College, Hunter College and the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the City University of New York. He has been involved in multiple political, labor, and social movement organizations, including Communication Workers of America, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, UNITE HERE, Students United For a Free CUNY, among others. He has worked with low wage workers and labor unions at companies as diverse as Bank of America, Sodexo, and Guitar Center to secure justice and respect through collective action. He has also organized extensively with community and student groups throughout New York City to demand an end to budget cuts, police brutality, mass deportation & incarceration, and for a city which truly represents and reflects the people who make it run.

Legal Aid Society (NYC)

Civil Practice 

Johan Byssainthe-Charles, Vice President (Water Street), is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and the City University of New York School of Law.  Johan is currently a staff attorney in the City-wide Health Law Unit and serves as Vice President for Civil, ALAA. She previously served as Citywide Junior Attorney ALAA Representative and as a local delegate for the Queens Neighborhood office. Prior to her current position in the health law unit, Johan was a staff attorney in the Domestic Violence/Family Law Unit and has also worked as a staff attorney in the housing and government benefits unit in the Queens Neighborhood Office.

Kat Meyers, Vice President (Water Street), is a staff attorney in the Civil Practice Law Reform Unit in which she represents clients to effect systemic change to housing policy and law.  Prior to her current positions, she was a staff attorney in the Tenant Rights Coalition and a delegate in the Bronx Neighborhood Office.  Kat received her B.A. in contemporary race relations and human rights from New York University and her J.D. from City University of New York School of Law.

Courtney Libon, Vice President (HCLO), is a Vice President for the Civil Practice. She previously served as Alternate Civil Vice President and as a delegate. Courtney works as a staff attorney in the Tenants Rights Coalition and is based at the Harlem Community Law Office. She graduated from Fordham Law School in 2012.

  • Lisa Edwards, Alternate Vice President (HCLO)
  • Michelle Quinn, Alternate Vice President (Bronx)
  • Robert Soriano-Hewitt, Alternate Vice President (Bronx)
  • Jill Waldman, Alternate Vice President (Immigration)
  • Helene Busby, Alternate Vice President (Brooklyn)

Criminal Appeals/PRDU/Special Litigation

Elon Harpaz, Vice President – Water Street

  • Jeff Dellheim, Alternate Vice President – Water Street

Criminal Defense Practice

Daniel Ades, Vice President – Brooklyn

Michael Pate, Vice President – Brooklyn

  • Jeremy Fredericksen, Alternate Vice President – Brooklyn

Josh Hadas, Vice President – Bronx

  • Madeline Moore, Alternate Vice President – Bronx
  • Jeremy Davidson, Alternate Vice President – Bronx
  • Gail Geltman, Alternate Vice President – Bronx

Sean Parmenter, Vice President – Manhattan

  • Tara Collins, Alternate Vice President – Manhattan
  • Sarah Trent, Alternate Vice President – Manhattan
  • Julie Sender, Alternate Vice President – Manhattan

Diego Freire, Vice President – Queens

Maria Martinez, Vice President – Queens

  • Pauloma Martinez, Alternate Vice President – Queens
  • Allen Popper, Alternate Vice President – Queens
  • Edwin Novillo, Alternate Vice President – Queens

Gillian Kress, Vice President – Staten Island

  • Joshua Benjamin, Alternate Vice President – Staten Island

Juvenile Rights Practice

Eileen Malunowicz, Vice President – Bronx & Water Street Appeals/Special Lit

Robin Karasyk, Vice President – Brooklyn & Staten Island

  • Amy Serlin, Alternate Vice President – Brooklyn & Staten Island

Jessica Bash, Vice President – Queens & Manhattan, is a Staff Attorney in the Juvenile Rights Practice in Queens.  She attended the CUNY School of Law.  Currently, she serves as the VP for Queens and Manhattan JRP.  Previously she served as a delegate, alternate VP and alternate delegate.

  • Andrew Ford, Alternate Vice President – Queens & Manhattan
  • Karen Levit, Alternate Vice President – Queens & Manhattan

At-Large Representatives

Frank Witty, Senior Attorney Representative

  • Steve Wasserman, Alternate Senior Attorney Representative
  • Richard Torres, Alternate Senior Attorney Representative

Anthony Graniere, Middle Attorney Representative, has practiced in the Manhattan Criminal Defense Division for six years.   He received a JD from Hofstra University Law School in 2009 and an LL.M. with a focus in Criminal Law and Procedure from New York University School of Law in 2010.

  • Keisha Godfrey, Alternate Middle Attorney Representative

Diana Nevins, Junior Attorney Representative

  • Robin Gordon-Levitt, Alternate Junior Attorney Representative
  • Melissa Friedman, Alternate Junior Attorney Representative

Jane Sampeur, Attorneys of Color Representative

  • Adan Soltren, Alternate Attorneys of Color Representative
  • Shomari Ward, Alternate Attorneys of Color Representative

Jason Wu, LGBTQ Representative, is an attorney in the Civil Practice of the Harlem Community Law Office (HCLO), Housing Development Unit. Jason attended the UCLA School of Law and previously served as an ALAA Delegate.

  • Jared Trujillo, Alternate LGBTQ Representative

Ruth Appadoo-Johnson, Affirmative Action Representative

  • Izel Fortunato, Alternate Affirmative Action Representative
  • Cynthia Rivera, Alternate Affirmative Action Representative

Rigodis Appling, Part-Time Representative

Federal Defenders of New York

Douglas Morris, Unit Chair of the Federal Defenders of New York graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in history and German, magna cum laude, with High Honors in history, and earned a J.D. from N.Y.U. Law School, after having served on the Law Review.  He worked at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before joining Federal Defenders in 1989.  In 1998, Mr. Morris received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York for serving “as pro bono counsel to a human being under a sentence of death.”

Legal Aid Society of Orange County – Legal Aid Society Lawyers Organization

Colleen Foley, Unit Chair

Legal Aid Society of Nassau County – Society of Legal Aid Professionals

Jenna Suppon, Unit Chair