Prof. Steven Zeidman

Professor Steven Zeidman

Board Member

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.

Milton L. Williams, Jr.

Milton L. Williams, Jr.

Board Member

Milt Williams joined the firm of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard as a partner in January of 2009. Prior to joining the firm, Milt was a Deputy General Counsel and the Chief Compliance Officer at Time Inc. Milt had been at Time since 1997. Before working at Time, Milt was in private practice at Jackson Lewis, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. His last assigned unit in the United States Attorney’s Office was the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.

Prior to becoming a Federal Prosecutor, Milt was an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Milt has tried over fifty (50) cases (both civil and criminal) to verdict. He is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. During Milt’s tenure at Vladeck, he has litigated cases against numerous Fortune 100 companies. Milt is married with four children.

Clarence Smith, Jr.

Clarence Smith, Jr.

Board Member

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.

Eric Seiff

Eric Seiff

Board Member

Eric Seiff, board member of PLS since 1989, is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University Law School. Since 1980 Mr. Seiff has been in private practice, first as a founding partner of Scoppetta & Seiff, and he joined the firm now known as Amini LLC in November 2015. Initially trained as an appellate prosecutor under the leadership of New York County District Attorney Frank S. Hogan, he has briefed and argued more than one hundred appeals in the state and federal courts and has obtained complete jury acquittals in eight of his last nine criminal trials. 

Mr. Seiff 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. He also chaired the bi-partisan New York State Commission of Investigation which led to the indictment and conviction of a state political party chairman, and the savings of incalculable sums of wasted tax payer funds in the purchase of public property insurance policies.  Mr. Seiff was appointed by the Court of Appeals in 1981 as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection and is presently the Chairman.

 For many years, Eric has participated with the faculty of Cardozo Law School training students in trial strategy and tactics, and with the faculty of Fordham Law School, training attorneys employed by the New York City Law Department.

Nancy E. Ryan

Nancy E. Ryan

Board Member

Nancy 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.

David R. Marriott

David R. Marriott

Board Member

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 InHouse 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

Cornett L. Lewers, Sr.

Cornett L. Lewers, Sr.

Board Member

Cornett L. Lewers, Sr. is an attorney in the Law Office of Cornett L. Lewers. Mr. Lewers also serves as Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Responsibility & Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Xylem, Inc. In this position, Mr. Lewers is responsible for the development and deployment of all aspects of enterprise-wide global ethics & compliance programs including management of trade compliance, environmental, safety,heath & sustainability, ethics and security. 

Mr. Lewers has also served as Xylem’s Vice President & Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer. Prior to that, Mr. Lewers served as the Vice President for Corporate Responsibility for the ITT Fluid & Motion Control division of ITT Corporation as well as Senior Counsel & Director of Corporate Ethics and Compliance for that same company.

Mr. Lewers is a 1982 graduate of Howard University School of Law.

David C. Leven

David C. Leven

Board Member

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.

From 2002-2016 he was the  Executive Director of End of Life Choices New York and since then he has been its Senior Consultant. The mission of End of Life Choices New York 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.

Alexis Karteron

Alexis Karteron

Board Member

Professor Alexis Karteron is the Director of the Rutgers Constitutional Rights Clinic.  Prior to joining Rutgers in September 2016, Professor Karteron was a senior attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union.​ At the NYCLU, she litigated complex constitutional cases involving police reform, the school-to-prison pipeline, the First Amendment, and voting rights.  While at the NYCLU, Karteron served as lead counsel in one of three cases challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices.  Prior to joining the NYCLU, Karteron served as White House Associate Staff Secretary from 2009 to 2010.  From 2007 to 2009, she was an assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, where she litigated voting rights cases in the federal courts, including the Supreme Court.

Alexis earned her J.D., with distinction, from Stanford Law School and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard University. After clerking for Judge Marsha S. Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, she was a litigation associate at the New York law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, as a recipient of the Fried Frank/LDF fellowship.

Dorothy Keller

Dorothy Keller

Treasurer

Dorothy Keller. ​After moving to New York City in 1978 to attend law school, Ms. Keller 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, Ms. Keller 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.