Daniel K. Mayers, Chairman
Stephanie Avakian | Eric D. Balber | Elizabeth Bartholet | Suzanne B. Cusack | Stephen M. Cutler | Edward J. Davis | Jason Flom | Mary Beth Forshaw | Tino Hernandez | Brad S. Karp | Doug Liman | Elaine H. Mandelbaum | Michael Meltsner | Marc L. Miller | Mark C. Morril| Mary E. Mulligan | William C. Paley | Dallas Pell | Raul Russi |Elizabeth M. Sacksteder| Ed Shaw | John J. Suydam | W. Christopher White | B. Diane Williams
Arthur Liman, Founding Chairman
Daniel K. Mayers, Esq., Chairman
Mr. Mayers joined the Legal Action Center Board in October, 1978, was elected Chairman of the Board in 1998 and re-elected in 2001. Daniel Mayers is a recently retired senior partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering, which he joined in 1962 as an Associate. He became a partner in 1967, after spending two years serving as Assistant to Undersecretary of State George Ball. While actively practicing, Mr. Mayers had a broad antitrust litigation and negotiation practice, representing numerous clients in private antitrust litigation and in FTC and DOJ actions and investigations. He has represented Harvard University in a federal investigation and consent decree involving Ivy League financial aid, Intuit in negotiations with the Justice Department involving its acquisition by Microsoft, and the University of Utah in a federal investigation and consent decree involving health care issues. He currently chairs a joint program on election reform law being carried out at Harvard and American University Law Schools. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Educational Television Association, the Visiting Committee of the Board of Overseers of Harvard Law School, and the Sidwell Friends School. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Americans for Peace Now, the Federal City Council, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Area, and the Washington Tennis Foundation.
Stephanie Avakian, Esq.
Ms. Avakian is a vice chair of WilmerHale’s Securities Department, and a member of the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Practice Group. She joined the firm in 2000.
She is resident in WilmerHale’s New York office, where she focuses on securities enforcement and regulatory matters, including internal corporate investigations and securities regulatory investigations, examinations and actions. She represents major investment banks, public companies and individuals before the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, securities self-regulatory organizations and state authorities.
Ms. Avakian has conducted and overseen internal corporate investigations of potential violations of the federal securities laws and has advised on a variety of regulatory compliance issues. She has represented corporations, financial institutions and individuals in a wide variety of government investigations and examinations, including into matters such as IPO-allocation practices, broker sales practices, mutual fund market timing, financial fraud, insider trading, bank fraud, executive compensation disclosure and trading practices.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Avakian worked in various capacities at the SEC from 1995 through 1999. From 1998 to 1999, she served as counsel to Commissioner Paul R. Carey, and from 1995 to 1998, she was an attorney in the Division of Enforcement, serving as Branch Chief from 1997 to 1998.
Eric D. Balber, Esq.
Eric Balber was elected to the Legal Action Center Board in June of 1981. Mr. Balber is a former staff attorney at the Legal Action Center and is currently a partner at Balber & Marshall.
Professor Elizabeth Bartholet
Professor Bartholet joined the Legal Action Center Board in October 1977. Elizabeth Bartholet has been Morris Wasserstein Public Interest Professor of Law at Harvard Law School since 1996, where she has taught since 1977. Professor Bartholet was the Legal Action Center’s founding director and president prior to joining the Harvard faculty. She teaches employment discrimination and family law, and her research and policy work focuses on adoption, child welfare, and reproductive technology.
Suzanne B. Cusack
Ms. Cusack was elected to the Legal Action Center Board in September 1996. She serves on the Board Development Committee. Suzanne Cusack, along with her husband Jim, is the owner and director of Veritas Villa, a free-standing inpatient rehabilitation center for alcohol and drug dependence, and is responsible for many of its administrative functions, as well as conducting educational lectures and acting as liaison between management and staff. Ms. Cusack is particularly interested in the issue of women’s substance abuse problems and the difficulties faced by women in recovery, and is the author of two books on the subject. Ms. Cusack has played a significant role in several organizations which focus on the issue of women and treatment, and was a founding member and past president of the New York Women’s Coalition on Chemical Dependency.
Stephen M. Cutler, Esq.
Stephen M. Cutler is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of JPMorgan Chase and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Operating Committee. Cutler joined the company in February 2007. Previously, he was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and co-chair of the firm’s Securities Department. From to 2001 to 2005, Cutler served as Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, where he oversaw the Commission’s investigations of Enron and WorldCom, as well as those involving NYSE specialists, research analyst conflicts and mutual fund market timing and revenue sharing. Before joining the SEC as Deputy Director of Enforcement in 1999, Cutler was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. Cutler is a 1985 graduate of Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal, and a 1982 graduate (summa cum laude) of Yale University.
Edward J. Davis, Esq.
Mr. Davis was elected to the Legal Action Center Board in May 1998. He is Chair of the Board Development Committee. Mr. Davis worked as a staff attorney at the Legal Action Center from 1988 to 1993. He is now a Partner in the New York office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where he specializes in media and intellectual property issues and business litigation. Mr. Davis advises and represents many leading television, publishing and online media companies, as well as financial enterprises and non-profit organizations. He has represented national coalitions of news organizations, museums and media advocacy groups in significant First Amendment and copyright cases. His pro bono work includes international human rights, intellectual property and privacy matters. Mr. Davis has chaired the Independent Judicial Screening Panel for the New York State Supreme Court and the Committee on Copyright and Literary Property of the New York City Bar Association and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Media Law and Defamation Torts. He has previously served on the New York City Bar Association’s Committees on the Judiciary, Communications and Media Law, Civil Rights and Drugs and the Law.
Mr. Flom is president of Lava Records. He has previously served as the Chairman and CEO of music labels including Atlantic Records, Virgin Records, and the Capitol Music Group. In addition to the Legal Action Center, Mr. Flom is serves as a board member for various charitable organizations including The Innocence Project — of which he is a founding board member — Families Against Mandatory Minimums and the Drug Policy Alliance. In addition, Flom has supported various medical research organizations including The T.J. Martell Foundation and City of Hope. He was honored by the UJA Federation as their first “Music Visionary of the Year” in 2000, was awarded 1999’s “Torch of Liberty” by the American Civil Liberties Union and was the honoree at the 2009 Innocence Project Gala.
Mary Beth Forshaw, Esq.
Mary Beth Forshaw is a Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she is a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee and serves as Administrative Partner. She represents clients in omplex commercial litigation and arbitration, including matters relating to bankruptcy, insurance coverage, cross border disputes and the financial industry.
Ms. Forshaw’s recent experience includes successful representation of a client in a billion-dollar ICC arbitration arising out of the sale of a Korean company, representation of a domestic insurer in a three-month trial before a New Jersey state court relating to allocation and settlement issues, and representation of a Bermuda company in a several-week arbitration concerning accounting issues. In addition to her trial and arbitration achievements, Ms. Forshaw recently obtained an award of summary judgment in her client’s favor on statute of limitations grounds in a lawsuit involving claims for defense and indemnification for several decades of asbestos and environmental losses. She has also represented several debtors in contested confirmation proceedings and other disputes.
Ms. Forshaw received her B.A. magna cum laude in 1984 from Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was elected Phi Beta Kappa. She received her J.D. in 1989 from Yale Law School, where she was a member of the Yale Law & Policy Review and was Director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Project. Ms. Forshaw serves on the Leadership Council of the Barnard College Athena Center for Leadership Studies.
Tino Hernandez was appointed President and CEO of Samaritan Village, Inc. in December 2008. Samaritan Village is one of the largest non-profit providers of community-based substance abuse treatment services in New York State. The agency assists addicted men and women and specializes in services for military veterans. In February 2011, Samaritan opened the first residential treatment facility in the State specifically for women veterans. Samaritan oversees 14 facilities in the city and in upstate New York including residential and outpatient treatment programs, transitional housing and shelters for homeless individuals and an active senior center.
Mr. Hernandez is a mayoral appointee to the City of New York’s Panel for Educational Policy and serves as its Chairman. Mr. Hernandez also serves on the boards of the Board of Education Retirement System, the Legal Action Center and the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies. Prior to joining Samaritan Village, Mr. Hernandez was the second longest serving Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and oversaw a public housing and Section 8 system serving more than 680,000 New Yorkers.
Prior to NYCHA, Mr. Hernandez served as Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Juvenile Justice, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services, Deputy Commissioner for Adult Services at the Department of Homeless Services, and Assistant Commissioner for HIV Program Services at the City’s Health Department.
Mr. Hernandez obtained a B.S. degree from Adelphi University in 1986 and a Masters in Social Work from SUNY Albany in 1988. Mr. Hernandez is married and resides in Manhattan and is the father of two children.
Brad S. Karp, Esq.
Chair of the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Mr. Karp has achieved national prominence as both a litigator and corporate adviser. Mr. Karp has extensive experience defending financial institutions and other companies in “bet the company” litigations and regulatory matters. Prior to being named chair of Paul, Weiss, Mr. Karp co-chaired the firm’s Litigation Department.
Mr. Karp has been profiled as one of the leading lawyers in the United States by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Crain’s, The American Lawyer, The Lawyer (U.K.), The National Law Journal, The New York Law Journal, Chambers, Lawdragon, Best Lawyers in America, Legal 500, Euromoney Institutional Investors, Law360, and Benchmark/Institutional Investor. In 2003, Mr. Karp was profiled in The American Lawyer as one of the 45 leading lawyers in the United States under the age of 45. Mr. Karp’s successful representation of financial institution clients in complex litigations and regulatory matters was featured in a January 2010 American Lawyer story, “Wall Street Bailout” and in a January 2006 American Lawyer cover story, “The Lifesavers,” in which Paul, Weiss was selected as the best litigation firm in the United States. Mr. Karp recently was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the Boardroom by the National Association of Corporate Directors, and Lawdragon named him its 2010 Lawyer of the Year.
Currently, Mr. Karp is lead counsel for Citigroup in numerous matters,including, among others, its subprime and credit crisis-related litigations and regulatory matters; its auction rate securities litigations and regulatory matters; its failed investment litigations and regulatory matters; its Enronrelated litigations and regulatory matters; its Parmalat-related litigations; its research analyst litigations; and a nationwide employment discrimination class action. Mr. Karp also is representing Citigroup in connection with the investigation by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission into the causes of the financial crisis, as well as in lawsuits recently brought by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority arising out of its investment in Citigroup, and by Terra Firma arising out of its acquisition of EMI.
In addition to the matters he is handling for Citigroup, Mr. Karp is representing Bank of America in connection with the litigations and regulatory matters arising out of Bank of America’s 2008 merger with Merrill Lynch. Mr. Karp is lead counsel for JPMorgan/Bear Stearns in the litigations and regulatory matters arising out of Bear Stearns’ March 2008 collapse, and is representing JPMorgan/Bear Stearns in connection with the investigation by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission into the causes of the financial crisis. Mr. Karp also is representing syndicates of Wall Street underwriters in several securities class action litigations, including, among others, class actions arising out of $25 billion of GM/GMAC bond offerings and $20+ billion of AIG bond offerings, as well as class actions arising out of the Ambac and American Home Mortgage bond offerings. Additionally, Mr. Karp is representing Citigroup, JPMorgan/Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon, UBS, Apollo, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, MacAndrews & Forbes, ING, Ericsson, Newmont Mining, Sumitomo, Hexion, Vivendi, Scottish Power, BB&T, OneWest Bank, Eton Park, Fortress, Dresser-Rand and Repsol YPF, S.A., among others, in significant securities, commercial and regulatory matters. Mr. Karp also is handling a range of litigations and special projects for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Sotheby’s and Alcoa.
Mr. Karp is a frequent lecturer and writer, having spoken at more than 250 conferences and published more than 350 articles on business litigation and securities law issues. Mr. Karp has lectured on business litigation and securities litigation at Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School. For the past 25 years, Mr. Karp has written a monthly column for the New York Law Journal, “Second Circuit Review,” which analyzes developments in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mr. Karp is active in the community, serving as a director/trustee of the Legal Action Center, the Riverdale Country School, The Partnership for New York City, Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc., American Friends of The Hebrew University, the New York Bar Foundation, the Program Advisory Board of the Brennan Center for Justice, the Economic Club of New York, the Federal Bar Council Second Circuit Inn of Court, and the United States Supreme Court Historical Society. Mr. Karp also is a founding member of the PriceWaterhouse Leaders Council examining financial services industry regulatory reform. Recently, Mr. Karp was awarded the Torch of Learning Award by American Friends of Hebrew University and The Arthur Liman Public Interest Award by the Legal Action Center.
Mr. Liman was elected to the Legal Action Center Board in May 1998. Doug Liman, son of the Legal Action Center’s Founding Chairman, Arthur Liman, is the Director and Cinematographer of two successful recent films, Swingers (1996) and Go (1999) and director and co-producer of Universal Pictures’ 2002 hit film The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon. He was involved in the creation of Propaganda Independent, through which he directed cutting edge commercials for Levi’s and Sony. He was also the founder of Nibblebox and is the Vice Chairman of Hypnotic. In 1997, he received an MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker.
Elaine H. Mandelbaum, Esq.
Elaine Mandelbaum is a Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of Citigroup Markets & Banking. She is the Head of the Regulatory Enforcement Group, which handles regulatory inquiries and related investigations, sweeps and enforcement proceedings, and works on a broad range of matters initiated by the SEC, Department of Justice, SRO’s and other federal and state securities regulators. She was previously Deputy Head of Litigation, concentrating on litigation and regulatory investigations arising from Citigroup’s investment banking, corporate banking and institutional sales and trading businesses. Prior to starting at Citigroup in 1997, Ms. Mandelbaum was a litigation attorney at the New York office of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, and previously at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. She is a member NYSE Task Force on Electronic Communications and the SIFMA e-records subcommittee. She is a frequent speaker on topics relating to internal and regulatory investigations, document retention and electronic discovery. Ms. Mandelbaum is a graduate of Yale College and of Harvard Law School.
Professor Michael Meltsner
Professor Meltsner is the longest serving current member of the Legal Action Center Board, having been elected in October of 1975. Michael Meltsner is the George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University Law School where he has taught since 1984. He has been a visiting professor and the director of the Harvard Law School’s First Year Lawyering program and a professor at Columbia Law school where he co-founded the School’s first poverty law clinic. His teaching specialties include Constitutional Litigation, Criminal Law and Procedure, Clinical Education, Mediation and Negotiation. He previously served as dean of the law school from 1979 until 1984 and was the first assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1960s. Among his writings are five books: The Making of a Civil Rights Lawyer; Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment; Public Interest Advocacy; Toward Simulation in Legal Education: An Experimental Course in Pretrial Litigation; and Short Takes, a novel. He also cooauthered Reflections on Clinical Legal Education (with Philip Schrag ). He has also published numerous articles on legal topics. In 2000, Professor Meltsner was named a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin, and conducted research into German constitutional law.
Marc L. Miller
Marc Miller is a Partner in KPMG’s Forensic practice in New York City. Marc, a Certified Public Accountant, provides a broad array of advisory services to clients by assisting them in preventing, detecting and investigating fraud and misconduct. Marc has extensive investigative experience and works with clients to respond to incidences of alleged fraud and misconduct, including particular focus on allegations of earnings management and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. His experience also includes auditing, forensic accounting, contract compliance services, financial analysis and litigation support across a variety of industries. Mr. Miller holds a B.S.B.A in Accounting from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. He is a CPA, licensed in New York and Pennsylvania. He is also a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Mark C. Morril, Esq.
Mr. Morril was elected to the Legal Action Center Board in March 1981. He is a member of the Development Committee. Mr. Morril formerly worked as a staff attorney at the Legal Action Center. He is currently Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Viacom Inc., the global media company whose businesses included MTV Networks, BET and Paramount Pictures. He has been at Viacom since moving there in November of 1998 from the company’s former publishing subsidy, Simon & Schuster, where he had been General Counsel since July 1989. Mr. Morril has extensive experience in legal and policy matters including litigation, acquisitions, divestitures and corporate development, rights acquisition and management, electronic rights issues, Internet and on-line development, joint ventures and co-publishing ventures, labor and employment, copyright, trademark, antitrust, and regulatory and government affairs matters.
Mary E. Mulligan, Esq.
Ms. Mulligan joined the Legal Action Center Board in February 2008. Her practice combines white-collar criminal defense and internal investigations with intellectual property litigation. She served from 1997 to 2002 as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, directing investigations and prosecutions of fraud, narcotics, public corruption, and organized crime. She also led the government’s largest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation to date, which involved the alleged payment of tens of millions of dollars in bribes to the president of Kazakhstan in connection with major oil transactions in the 1990s. Ms. Mulligan then served as Senior Director, Business and Legal Affairs, of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, where she handled corporate compliance matters, internal investigations, and privacy issues, and supervised litigation involving copyright, breach of contract, real estate and construction, bankruptcy, employment, and transfer and licensing of technology. Ms. Mulligan has represented individuals and corporations in matters involving allegations of insider trading, stock-option backdating, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, criminal antitrust violations, tax fraud, internet fraud, healthcare fraud, and cyber stalking.
She has extensive experience representing individuals outside the United States in responding to United States inquiries and investigations. She also has conducted internal investigations concerning alleged securities law violations, accounting control issues, and corporate governance practices. Her intellectual property practice has included defending a manufacturer of biological therapeutic products against breach of contract and trade secrets claims, representing a major consumer electronics manufacturer in putative nationwide class actions, and defending a cosmetics company against allegations of false advertising.
Ms. Mulligan graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 1983 and received her law degree cum laude in 1989 from New York University School of Law. At NYU, she was a member of the Order of the Coif, held a Libel Defense Resource Center Fellowship, and received the American Jurisprudence Award in Administrative Law and the Moot Court Advocacy Award. After law school, she served as a law clerk to The Honorable Henry A. Politz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and was a litigator at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP.
In 2009, Ms. Mulligan was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to serve as a commissioner on the Civilian Complaint Review Board. Ms. Mulligan is a board member of the Legal Action Center and is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on White Collar Criminal Litigation. She also serves on the Criminal Justice Act panel for the Southern District of New York representing indigent defendants in federal criminal proceedings. Ms. Mulligan is a member of the New York City Bar and the American Bar Association.
William C. Paley, C.S.A.C.
William (Bill) Paley was born in New York City in March 1948. After many tries at schooling he joined the Army in 1968. Returning from Vietnam where he served as a motion picture photographer he was stationed in Washington. He fell in love with the city and made it his home. His various jobs since then include but are not limited to; boat yard worker, bartender, charter skipper, yacht broker, film maker, bar owner, restaurateur, teen disco owner, playboy, art warehouse manager, electronic media consultant, drug counselor and father. Since 1980 he has been married to the gorgeous and talented Alison VanMetre Paley and has two huge and wonderful sons who are pursuing careers in interactive game design. For the last 20 years Bill has practiced as an alcohol addiction and substance abuse therapist. Bill’s current passion is the relaunching of his Grandfather’s company, La Palina Cigars, producing a boutique, all natural hand rolled tobacco product.
Philanthropic Interests: Clean and Sober Streets Inc.; Sascha Bruce Foundation; The Carter Center; Family Support Center; So Others May Eat; Central Kitchen; The Jerusalem Foundation; The Thelonious Monk Institute;
Organizations: Leadership Washington; Vietnam Veterans of America; Committee to Protect Journalists; Massachusetts Ave. Poker Club
Board Seats: The Legal Action Center; The Oxford Houses of America; Washington Project for the Arts; District of Columbia Art Center (Emeritus); The Paley Center for Media; William S. Paley Foundation; William C. Paley Foundation
Education: Brooks School; Manter Hall School; Cambridge School of Weston; Gstaad International School; Rollins College; New School for Social Research
Certified Substance Abuse & Alcoholism Counselor, VA & DC
Parents: William S. Paley, Founder CBS Inc., President Museum of Modern Art; Barbara Cushing Paley, daughter of Harvey Cushing, Pulitzer Prize Winning Doctor acclaimed as “The Father of Neurosurgery”.
Ms. Pell was elected to the Board of Directors of the Legal Action Center in September 2005. Ms. Pell has a Masters of Arts in Education from Long Island University and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Boston University. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Tony Award winning Trinity Repertory Company in Providence and is Vice-Chairman of Cliff Walk Commission. Ms. Pell has worked as Director for Pell Grants for Public Safety and as the Development Director for the National Museum of American Illustration. Ms. Pell is a passionate supporter of expanding educational opportunities for all, including people with criminal histories. She has volunteered her services to the Learning Leaders of New York City, where she worked with children of all ages to help them develop confidence and success in education. Her background also includes media work as producer, feature writer, literary agent, production Coordinator and staff writer for various companies, including In-flight Videos, Gulf Shore Life Magazine, John Brockman Association, September Productions and the Washington Gazette.
Mr. Russi was elected to the Board of Director of the Legal Action Center in October 2013. Raul Russi is the Chief Executive Officer of Acacia Network, Inc. As such, he provides executive management of the day to day operations for the largest Puerto Rican-founded organization in New York, with an annual budget of more than 150 million in revenue and 246 million in asset dollars. With the affiliation of Promesa Systems, Inc., BASICS, Inc., East Harlem Council for Community Improvement (EHCCI), United Bronx Parents, South Bronx Community Management Corporation, LOUISIDA, Hispanics United of Buffalo and Capital District Latinos, the newly formed Acacia Network employs more than 1200 individuals and serves over 100,000 people a year in the areas of healthcare, substance abuse treatment, housing and economic development. In 2012, Hispanic Business magazine recognized Acacia Network as the 2nd largest Latino Non Profit Organization in the United States.
Raul Russi, born in Patillas Puerto Rico, relocated to Buffalo, New York with his family as a child. His career began in 1971, when he became Buffalo’s first Hispanic police officer. During his fifteen year career there, he arrested and convicted more violent offenders than any other officer in the department’s history. He also implemented recruitment initiatives to increase minority hiring, and was awarded the department’s Purple Heart when he was shot in the line of duty. In 1985, he joined the State Commission of Correction’s Citizens Policy and Complaint Review Council. In 1986, he became Superintendent of the Erie County New York Correctional Facility. Three years later, he was the Chairman of the New York State Parole Board and CEO of the Division of Parole. In 1995, he became the first Latino Sheriff of the City of New York. As Sheriff, he led an agency of 346 personnel and managed the collection of approximately $100 million in outstanding judgment debt on behalf of the City and private sector clients.
Mr. Russi also built an impressive record of accomplishment in the human service arena beginning in the early seventies. In 1973, he created the Consortium of Spanish Speaking Organizations, the first full service agency headed by a Latino in Buffalo, followed by the founding of the Western New York Hispanic and Friends Civic Association. He provided the leadership and spearheaded the creation of Western New York’s first residential substance abuse treatment program, Horizon Village, then incorporated and chaired the board of La Alternativa, Buffalo’s first Latino based substance abuse prevention program. He then merged La Alternativa with two other organizations to create Buffalo’s largest Hispanic Organization, Hispanics United of Buffalo.
In 1996, Mr. Russi was appointed Commissioner for the New York City Department of Probation, the nation’s second largest Probation Department. Additionally, he’s held positions as the Executive Vice President of America Works, where he developed a program that focused on training and securing employment opportunities for individuals affected by the criminal justice system, and the Executive Director of Basics, Inc.
Raul Russi has four children and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Rody Reyes-Russi, his daughter Crystal and his youngest son, Joshua.
Elizabeth M. Sacksteder
Liz Sacksteder was elected to the Board of Directors of the Legal Action Center in June 1013. She is a partner in the Litigation Department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Ms. Sacksteder focuses her practice on complex litigation and regulatory matters.
Ms. Sacksteder is the former Deputy General Counsel and Global Head of Litigation and Regulatory Investigations at Citigroup Inc., where she managed a 250-person worldwide litigation and investigative team and advised Citigroup and its Board on every aspect of their litigation and regulatory exposures. During her tenure at Citigroup, Ms. Sacksteder supervised multibillion-dollar litigations and high-stakes regulatory and criminal investigations, many involving multiple jurisdictions. Prior to joining Citigroup, Ms. Sacksteder was the Deputy General Counsel and Director of Litigation at The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., where she was second in command in a 400-person Law Department. She was responsible for a 60-lawyer litigation group, all litigation and pre-litigation counseling involving the holding company and the group’s property-casualty, life, and asset accumulation businesses, and supervision of the Reinsurance Law and Investment Law groups. Before joining The Hartford, Ms. Sacksteder was a litigation partner in private practice representing clients in financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing, entertainment, and other industries.
Ms. Sacksteder is a recipient of the Arthur Liman Public Interest Award from the Legal Action Center (2012) and the Human Relations Award from the New York Lawyers Division of the Anti-Defamation League (2013). Ms. Sacksteder serves as a Member of the Board of the Legal Action Center (2013 – present). She was the Coordinating Articles Editor of the Yale Law Journal.
J. Edward Shaw joined the Board of the Legal Action Center in October, 2003. Mr. Shaw is a powerful and active member of the HIV/AIDS community. Having been diagnosed with HIV in 1988, Mr. Shaw has demonstrated through his activities the possibilities and dynamics of empowerment and how that assists in the management of HIV/AIDS. He has participated in hundreds of HIV/AIDS symposia, conferences, and workshops at both community and government levels. His leadership and voice is a constant in New York but also he has been heard at national forums. Most recently he was a keynote speaker at the US Conference on AIDS in California (2002). Over the past decade he has served in multiple leadership capacities including Community Co-Chair of the HIV Health and Human Services Planning Council of New York. During that same period he has been appointed to many community and government mandated groups. These groups include the New York City and New York State Prevention Planning Groups.
In addition to recently joining the Board of Directors of the Legal Action Center, Mr. Shaw currently serves as a member to the National Association on HIV Over 50, Vice Chair of the New York Association on HIV over 50. Mr. Shaw is also the Community Co-Chair of the NYS HIV Prevention Planning Group and serves as the Co-Chair to the Program Services Advisory Group at GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis).
Mr. Shaw also has valued affiliations in an advisory capacity with numerous local AIDS service organizations, including the Harlem Director’s Group, ACRIA (AIDS Community Research Initiative of America).
Recently, much of his time had been involved with being a member of the Host Committee for the 2004 PWA Summit. This HIV/AIDS event is being held for the first time in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic. His volunteer efforts at local hospitals, when time permits, have not gone unnoticed. Recently he was recognized for his 5000+ hours of volunteerism over the last several years.
Ed’s education experience includes attendance at Cornell/Pace University with an emphasis on social activism. Prior to being diagnosed with HIV he worked with multiple city agencies in social work case management.
John J. Suydam, Esq.
Mr. Suydam was elected to the Legal Action Center Board of Directors in December 2014. Mr. Suydam serves as the Chief Legal Officer of Apollo Global Management, having joined Apollo in 2006. From 2002 through 2006, Mr. Suydam was a partner at O’Melveny & Myers, where he served as head of Mergers & Acquisitions and co-head of the Corporate Department. Prior to that, Mr. Suydam served as Chairman of the law firm O’Sullivan, LLP which specialized in representing private equity investors. Mr. Suydam also serves as a trustee of the New York University School of Law, is a member of the Department of Medicine Advisory Board of The Mount Sinai Medical Center and a trustee for the St. Agnes Cathedral Church in Rockville Centre, New York. Mr. Suydam is as a member of the board of directors of Environmental Solutions Worldwide Inc and a Director of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. Mr. Suydam received his JD from New York University and graduated with a BA in History from the State University of New York at Albany.
W. Christopher White
Chris joined the Legal Action Center Board of Directors in March 2014. Christopher White is Chairman of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and a partner in the firm’s Corporate Group. His practice is concentrated in commercial real estate, with an emphasis on debt and equity financing. He represents many of the largest U.S. and foreign institutional investors in real estate including investment banks, insurance companies, pension funds, commercial banks, and opportunity funds. He has represented these clients in the full spectrum of debt origination including construction loans, permanent loans, participating mortgages, convertible mortgages, and multistate and multiproperty mortgages affecting all types of properties, including office buildings, apartment buildings, hotels, regional shopping centers, condominiums, industrial facilities, and mixed use properties. He has also
represented some of the largest private real estate investors in joint ventures with real estate companies to acquire or develop office buildings, hotels, casinos and shopping centers. He has extensive experience in the workout of troubled assets, including restructurings, foreclosures, and bankruptcies.
In recent years, Chris has focused on capital markets financing of real estate in the U.S. and internationally. He has been the lead real estate attorney in Cadwalader’s representation of investment banks and institutional lenders in numerous public and private securitizations, including pooled and single-asset transactions. Chris has also been active in a variety of other secondary market transactions, including the origination, purchase and sale of mezzanine loans, acquisition of performing and nonperforming commercial mortgage loans, and financing of portfolios of performing and nonperforming commercial mortgage loans.
Disruptions in the capital markets frequently create distress in debt and equity investments in real estate. Chris has represented mezzanine lenders and borrowers and mortgage lenders and borrowers in restructurings, foreclosures and bankruptcies of such loans.
Chris has been involved in numerous transactions involving U.S. capital markets financing for commercial properties in Europe and Latin America. He has represented U.S. investment banks and real estate companies in their acquisition of equity interests in real estate companies in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. He has also represented several U.S. financial institutions in their debt financings in England, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.
Chris is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers, and The Legal 500. Chris earned his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame and his J.D. from the University of Michigan. He also attended the London School of Economics. He is admitted to practice
in the State of New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
B. Diane Williams: Ms. Williams was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Safer Foundation in February 1996. Safer Foundation is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of employment placement and job readiness training exclusively targeting people with criminal records. Other educational and social services are provided in support of its employment programs. Under her leadership, Safer Foundation has incorporated the “What Works” principles adopting evidence-based program designs and evaluations. Under contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections, Safer manages two large adult transition centers with a total of 550 beds. University research acknowledges the success of these programs through low recidivism rates — Safer’s employment program boasts a 25.8-percentage point differential when compared with the same year Illinois State prison releases.
Ms. Williams has an undergraduate degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She has over 20 years of management experience in the telecommunications industry. Since her appointment to Safer Foundation, Ms. Williams has served in consulting roles for the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Council of State Governments Reentry Initiative and the National Treatment Plan Criminal Justice Workgroup of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. She is a member of the National H.I.R.E. Network Advisory Board, the Legal Action Center Board, the American Correctional Association Delegate Assembly, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Institutional Review Board and the Illinois Workforce Investment Board. She is a member of the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board and is frequently called upon by the Urban Institute and other agencies to lead and participate in reentry programs and planning.
Arthur L. Liman (1932-1997) chaired the Legal Action Center from its founding in 1973 until 1997. Inspired by Arthur’s legacy, the Legal Action Center continues to fight discrimination at every level of society, to pursue enlightened social policy, and to help people reclaim their lives and maintain their dignity. Arthur L. Liman received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1954, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and received his law degree at the top of his class from Yale Law School in 1957. Immediately upon graduation from law school, he joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, eventually becoming a partner of the New York-based firm.
In addition to his trial work, Mr. Liman developed a long record of public service. In 1972, he was chief counsel of the New York State Commission on the Attica Prison uprising. In 1987, he served as chief counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and Nicaraguan Opposition (the Iran-Contra Committee). From 1983 to 1985, he was a member of the New York State Executive Advisory Committee on Sentencing, appointed by then Governor Cuomo to recommend revisions of the state’s system for sentencing offenders. He was Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Mayor Dinkins and was the chairman of a panel appointed by Mayor Koch to investigate the conduct of the Medical Examiner’s office. Mr. Liman also served, at the appointment of the Chief Judge of New York, as chairman of the Capital Defender Office, which has the responsibility of organizing and providing the defense for indigents in capital cases. He began his government service as an Assistant United States Attorney to Robert M. Morgenthau from 1961-1963. Mr. Liman was a member of the Board of Overseers at Harvard from 1988-1994, as well as the eighteenth president of the Legal Aid Society from 1983 to 1985.