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PLS Board of Directors - PLSNY
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PLS Board of Directors





John Kiernan, Chairman
John Kiernan, Chairman

Mr. Kiernan joined the PLS Board of Directors as its Chair in April 2008. He received his B.A. in 1976 magna cum laude in English from Harvard and his J.D. in 1980 magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. From 1980-81, Mr. Kiernan served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Walter R. Mansfield, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In 1981, Mr. Kiernan joined Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP and became a partner in 1988.

Mr. Kiernan is also Co-Chair of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (director since 1996, Executive Committee since 1997), director of Legal Services for New York City since 1989 (Chair, 2003-06; Vice-Chair, 1993-2003), Chair of Volunteers of Legal Service (President, 2002-07, director since 1998), a director of the Justice Resource Center since 1994 (Chair, 1995-2003), co-founder of the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project (and a director since 2005), and a director of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (“CPR”) since 2007. He was a director of New York Alliance for the Public Schools from 1992-1995, a director of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students from 1993-2007, and trustee of the Pelham Art Center from 1988-1996. He was the Mayor of Pelham Manor, NY from 1999-2001, having served as its Village Attorney from 1990-1993 and as a Village Trustee from 1993-1999. He also served from 1988-2003 as a volunteer coordinator for the AmeriCares/HomeFront home rehabilitation project and is a director of the United Way of Pelham, NY.



William Gibney, Secretary

William (Bill) Gibney, is the Director of The Legal Aid Society Criminal Practice Special Litigation Unit. In that capacity he has conducted class action litigation against the City and the State regarding sentencing and jail time credit for mentally ill prisoners. He teaches sentencing law to attorneys at Legal Aid and has taught CLE classes in sentencing as a part of the First Department Office of Court Administration (OCA) training program. As an attorney with Legal Aid, he participated in class action litigation regarding conditions in the New York City pre-arraignment holding cells and the release of protesters during the Republican National Convention. He was part of a group that lobbied for the 2004 and 2005 drug law reforms.

Until 1998, Mr. Gibney managed the New York City office of Prisoners’ Legal Services.  He participated in litigation regarding HIV infected prisoners, mentally ill prisoners in disciplinary isolation, prison disciplinary issues, and guard brutality. He was a primary advocate for the passage of medical parole law and worked on a film, “Let Me Say Goodbye” regarding the need for medical parole in New York. While at Prisoners Legal Services, one of his first legislative advocacy projects concerned Governor Cuomo’s Sentencing Commission. He is a graduate of the Dickinson School of Law and a recipient of a Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship.



Dorothy Keller, Treasurer
Dorothy Keller, Treasurer

After moving to New York City in 1978 to attend law school, she worked with the Prisoners’ Rights Project of the Legal Aid Society. Her first job as a lawyer was as General Counsel to the Harlem Restoration Project which had a program for ex-offender re-direction in a project which was renovating and managing neglected buildings in Harlem.

In 1994, she joined the firm of Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Nahins & Goidel, P.C. as a specialist in low-income and supportive housing and became a partner in 2006. A good part of her practice is with supportive housing not-for-profit organizations who provide not only permanent housing, but also programmatic assistance to ex-offenders.







John Dunne was one of the founding directors of PLS following the 1971 riot at Attica State Prison. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School. He presently serves as Senior Counsel to the Albany law firm of Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna. From 1966 to 1989, he was a member of the New York State Senate. In 1971, when the Attica uprising occurred, Senator. Dunne was Chairman of the Committee on Crime and Corrections of the New York State Senate where he served as Deputy Majority Leader. Subsequent to leaving the State Senate, Mr. Dunne was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. He also chaired the Board of Directors of the New York State Office of Capital Defender.

Mr. Dunne views his service on the PLS Board as a means of delivering some measure of justice for those who are paying their debt to society and for their families who suffer so much pain.



James Gill
James Gill


James Gill is a graduate of the College of Holy Cross and Fordham University Law School where he served as Managing Editor of the Fordham Law Review in 1956. He is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York County Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Council. He practices in the areas of labor and regulatory affairs. He is a longtime civic leader and prominent member of numerous municipal and state committees and institutions. He served as Chairman on Governor George Pataki’s First Department, Departmental Judicial Screening Committee and was a member of Senator Alphonse M. D’Amato’s Judicial Screening Committee from 1994-1998.



Judge Glen joined the Board in 1996 while she was still Dean of CUNY School of Law.She started her career as a civil rights lawyer after graduating from Columbia Law School and clerking for the Second Circuit at Rabinowitz, Boudin and Standard, where she litigated a number of prisoners’ rights cases, most notably Sostre v. Rockefeller (solitary confinement; retaliation for First Amendment activity) and Gomez v. Miller, a case involving misuse of penal facilities for persons found incompetent to stand trial which was successful in the U.S. Supreme Court. She was elected as a civil court judge in 1980 and elected to New York State Supreme Court in 1986. As a judge, she wrote major, cutting-edge decisions in a wide range of areas including AIDS, sexual harassment, the rights of the physically and mentally challenged, the elderly, and on constitutional issues such as free speech. A founder of the Women’s Law Clinic at New York University, she has been a legal educator in various law schools for more than twenty years.In 1995, she was appointed Dean of the City University of New York School of Law. In 1998, Glen was named Law School Dean of the Year by the National Association for Public Interest Law and in 1999, she was honored by the National Lawyer’s Guild.Judge Glen notes that coming to PLS was really a return to her roots, and to issues about which she has always cared deeply.



Tom graduated from Georgetown University (A.B., 1986) and Fordham University School of Law (J.D., 1989). After law school, Tom practiced at two large international firms from 1989 through 1995. In addition to practicing as part of those firms’ white collar criminal defense departments, he litigated a case on behalf of a person sentenced to life in New York State Prison as part of the United Stated District Court for the Southern District of New York’s pro bono program. From 1995 through 2001, Tom served as an Assistant District Attorney under Robert M. Morgenthau, the District Attorney of New York County. Since returning to private practice, Tom’s practice has been focused upon white collar criminal defense, internal corporate investigations, and regulatory compliance. He is currently a partner in the firm of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. in New York, New York. Tom is a regular guest, commentator on criminal law matters for various media outlets, including CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Bloomberg. Tom serves on various civic and bar committees, including as a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s Committee on City Marshals, as co-Founder and co-chair of the Morgenthau Alumni Group, as Chair of the Criminal Advocacy Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and as a member of the Character and Fitness Committee for the First Department. Tom is the son of former PLS Chair Paul J. Curran. Tom shares the profound conviction of his father that fundamental justice requires that the prisoners in our correctional institutions have access to quality legal services.



David Leven has been on the PLS board since 2003. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Syracuse University College of Law. From 1969 to 1973, he was a staff attorney and deputy director of Monroe County Legal Assistance Corporation and between 1973 and 1979, he was the Executive Director. Between 1979 and 1999, he served as Executive Director of PLS. Since 2002, he has been the Executive Director of Compassion & Choices of New York. The mission of Compassion & Choices is to improve care and expand choice at the end of life and provide high quality counseling, support and advocacy services to the terminally ill and family members and to those planning for the end of life.

David notes that it is important for him to be on the PLS board because he is deeply committed to ensuring that NYS prisoners’ receive high quality legal services and that PLS functions as well as possible with adequate funding. Because of his past experience, he believes that he can contribute constructively.



Steven Zeidman is a Professor at CUNY School of Law and Director of their Criminal Defense Clinic. Prior to CUNY, he was the Executive Director of The Fund for Modern Courts. Professor Zeidman began his legal career at the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division as a staff and then a supervising attorney. He has been involved in many advisory and oversight committees, including the Jury Trial Project, the Indigent Defense Organization Oversight Committee, the Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services, the Sentencing Reform Commission, and the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on the Judiciary. He has lectured widely about and written several articles in the areas of criminal justice and judicial selection. Professor Zeidman received his JD from Duke University School of Law.





Claudia Angelos is Professor of Clinical law at New York University School of Law, where she teaches and directs the Civil Rights Clinic, the Racial Justice Clinic, and the New York Civil Liberties Clinic. Over twenty years at the law school she and her students have litigated more than one hundred civil rights cases in the New York federal courts. She speaks frequently on a range of issues, including legal education, prisoners’ rights, civil rights, ethics, and pretrial and trial practice. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Professor Angelos was previously a founding lawyer at Prisoners’ Legal Services from 1976 thru 1980. A long-time past president of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Professor Angelos now serves as its general counsel. She serves on the board and executive committee of the national American Civil Liberties Union. She is also a member of the board and executive committee of the Clinical Legal Education Association and the board of the Society of American Law Teachers.



17554 Ms. Beamon, a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department and a former federal prosecutor, has successfully represented individuals and institutions in their most   critical situations.Her matters have included grand jury and regulatory investigations, representing both companies and individuals in connection with allegations of insider trading, commodities fraud, market manipulation and other securities fraud, foreign corrupt practices and pharmaceutical marketing violations, among other areas. Her complex civil matters have involved allegations under the False Claims Act, consumer protection and whistleblower provisions, and other state and federal statutes. Ms. Beamon also has participated in a number of confidential internal investigations on behalf of clients facing potential criminal and regulatory exposure and has advised corporate boards of directors and subcommittees on matters of corporate governance and compliance. In addition, the FBI recently requested that she train its agents on insider trading. She also serves, on a pro bono basis, on the Criminal Justice Act panel for the Southern District of New York, representing indigent defendants in federal criminal proceedings. Ms. Beamon served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, from 1995 to 2000, where she conducted numerous investigations and criminal trials.



Nancy E. Ryan: Ms. Ryan is a 1971 summa cum laude graduate of Yale College and a member of the first class that included women. She received a Master’s Degree in History from Harvard in 1972 and then returned to Yale for law school. Upon graduating in 1975, she began working as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan under Robert M. Morgenthau.  She remained at the D.A’s office until early 2010. Ms. Ryan spent most of her career in the Trial Division, which is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all violent crime committed in New York County, as well as a vast array of other crimes. She served as a Senior Trial Counsel, the Chief of the Asian Gang Unit, and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York.  In 1987 she was appointed Deputy Chief of the Trial Division, and was the Chief of the Division from 1990 until January of 2010.  In 2002, she was in charge of the re-investigation of the “Central Park jogger case.” That case involved the convictions of five defendants in connection with a violent sexual assault and other crimes committed in Central Park in April of 1989.  As a result of the re-investigation, the defendants’ convictions were vacated and the charges against them dismissed, on motion of the District Attorney. Since 2010, Ms. Ryan has worked as a consultant on criminal justice matters.  Ms. Ryan joined the Board of PLS because as a career prosecutor, she believes that a commitment to fundamental fairness must extend to every phase of the criminal justice system.


Eric Seiff, board member of PLS since 1989, is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University Law School. Since 1980, he has been a member of the firm of Seiff, Kretz & Abercrombie. He served as Assistant District Attorney in New York County from 1962 to 1967, Assistant Counsel to the Agency for International Development from 1967 to 1972, General Counsel to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society of New York City from 1974-1975, Special Assistant Attorney General in 1975 where he served on Governor Carey’s task force, directed by the Honorable Bernard S. Meyer, which investigated and publicly reported on the misconduct of the Attica prosecutors, a member of the New York State Investigation Commission from 1975 to 1979, serving as Chairman from 1978-1979.



Since 1975, he has been in the private of law concentrating on the defense of criminal matters in State and Federal Courts. Prior to opening his own practice he was a Staff Attorney with the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society. From 1980 -1982 David was a Member of the New York State Assembly. He currently serves as Counsel to Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, Chair of the Codes Committee of the New York State Assembly. David is a Vice President of the New York State Bar Association and serves on the Executive Committee. He is a member of the NYSBA Task Force on Wrongful Convictions. NYSBA President Miichael Getnick nominated David for membership on the PLS Board. He is a past president of the Queens County Bar Association.



Clarence Smith, Jr. maintains a law practice in New York, New York representing both corporate and individual clients in various immigration matters. Prior to starting his own law practice, Mr. Smith joined the Law Firm of Connell Foley, LLP., of Roseland, New Jersey and served as a Partner from (2005 – 2008). At Connell Foley Mr. Smith led the Immigration Law practice which was an important component of the firm’s comprehensive Labor and Employment Law services. In addition Mr. Smith also served as an Assistant Chief Counsel for the United States Department of Homeland Security from (1998 – 2005). There, Mr. Smith represented the United States Government in Deportation and Removal Proceedings in Immigration Proceedings. Prior to his service at USDHS, Mr. Smith served as a Senior Court Attorney for the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Judicial Department from (1994 – 1998). There, Mr. Smith represented the DDC in administrative proceedings concerning attorney misconduct. Prior to his service at the DDC, Mr. Smith served as an Assistant District Attorney for the New York County District Attorney’s Office from (1988 – 1994). There, Mr. Smith represented the State of New York in the prosecution of criminal matters committed in the County of New York. An experienced arbitrator from 1999 – present, Mr. Smith has been currently serving before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers.



David  Marriott is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He is the chair of the Practising Law Institute’s conference “Trial by Jury” and has been a repeat moderator of other PLI conferences, such as “Managing Complex Litigation.” Mr. Marriott is also the chair of the NYC Bar Series “Lessons from General Counsel: What Every In‑House Lawyer & Those Who Advise Them Need to Know.” In 2010, Mr. Marriott was recognized by The Legal 500 for his work in the intellectual property arena. In 2006, Lawdragon named Mr. Marriott one of the legal profession’s new stars and, in 2011, selected him as one of 500 leading lawyers in America. He was also recognized by IAM Patent for his work in patent litigation for the past two years. Mr. Marriott is admitted to practice before the state court of New York and, on the Federal level, before the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits; and the U.S. District Courts for the District of Utah, the Eastern District of New York, the Eastern District of Michigan, the Northern District of California, the Southern District of New York, and the Western District of Michigan.





R. GreifingerROBERT B. GREIFINGER, M.D. is a health care policy and quality management consultant.  His work focuses on the design, management, and quality improvement in correctional health care systems.  He has extensive experience in the development and management of complex community and institutional health care programs, and strengths in the bridging of clinical and public policy interests.Dr. Greifinger is Professor (Adjunct) of Health and Criminal Justice and Distinguished Research Fellow at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.Dr. Greifinger has published extensively in the area of correctional health care.  He is a frequent speaker on public policy, communicable disease control and quality management in corrections.  Dr. Greifinger was the principal investigator for the Report to Congress on Seizing Public Health Opportunities through Correctional Health Care, published in 2002.  Dr. Greifinger is the editor of Public Health Behind Bars:  From Prisons to Communities, Springer, New York 2007, and Co-Editor, International Journal of Prisoner Health.