Attorney General-Elect Letitia James named three dozen individuals Thursday who will serve on her transition committee, which is made up of several big names in law, including former federal and state prosecutors, lawmakers and several litigators from across the state.
The list includes a former U.S. attorney from three of the state’s four federal districts, two former judges on the New York Court of Appeals, two former State Bar Association presidents, among several others who have been involved in state government and advocacy work.
Robert Fiske Jr., the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is among the federal prosecutors joining the committee. Fiske was appointed to the post by President Gerald Ford in 1976, but stayed on with President Jimmy Carter.
He was pushed into national politics in 1994 when he was appointed as special prosecutor to probe the financial dealings of President Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. Fiske was eventually replaced by Ken Starr to lead the investigation. He’s currently senior counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell in Manhattan.
Robert Capers, the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, will also serve on the transition committee. He served in the post for a short time during the end of the Obama administration, but had a few high profile cases while in office. Capers currently co-leads the government enforcement and white collar practice at Arent Fox in Manhattan.
Denise O’Donnell, the former U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York, is also named on the committee. During her short time as a federal prosecutor, O’Donnell was perhaps most well-known for her office’s investigation into Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who was native to Western New York.
O’Donnell most recently served as the director of the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance under President Obama. She is currently a distinguished senior fellow at the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University.
Also among the big names on the transition committee is Elizabeth Holtzman, a former member of Congress from New York City and the former New York City comptroller. She also served as Brooklyn district attorney. Holtzman considered her own run for the attorney general’s office this year after it was vacated by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman resigned in May amidst allegations of domestic violence.
Holtzman was even interviewed by lawmakers who were responsible for appointing Schneiderman’s replacement for the remainder of the year, but said at the time that Underwood would be the best interim fit. She is currently co-chair Government Relations Group at Herrick Feinstein in Manhattan.
James has also recruited two former judges from the state’s highest court to serve on her transition committee. Howard Levine and Albert Rosenblatt, former associate judges on the New York Court of Appeals, were named on the committee.
Both Levine and Rosenblatt have long been retired from the high court, but are still involved in the state’s legal industry. Levine, who was also at one point the district attorney in Schenectady County, is currently senior counsel at Albany firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna. Rosenblatt, who was the district attorney in Dutchess County, is counsel at McCabe & Mack in Poughkeepsie.
Karen Peters, the former presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department, will also serve on the committee. Following her retirement last year, Peters was appointed chair of the Commission on Justice for Children by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. Peters also chairs the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on the New York State Constitution.
Speaking of which, the State Bar Association is also well-represented on James’ transition committee. Two former presidents of the association were named to serve: Vincent Doyle III from Buffalo and Kathryn Grant Madigan from Binghamton. Doyle is a partner at Connors in Buffalo and Madigan is a partner at Levene Gouldin & Thompson in the Binghamton area.
The team is also filled with experienced litigators at some of the state’s top law firms and legal aid groups. Among them are Allen Fagin, a partner at Proskauer Rose; Andrew Celli, Jr., a founding partner of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady; Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the criminal defense practice at the Legal Aid Society, and many others.
James highlighted the diversity of the committee in a statement Thursday.
“It is an honor to have such a diverse and deeply talented Transition Committee helping to guide the priorities of this office,” James said. “As experts in a wide array of relevant fields and hailing from every corner of the Empire State, New Yorkers from all walks of life should be confident that their interests and rights will be well represented.”
The committee is co-chaired by a handful of high-profile names in the legal community, like former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, and former New York Attorney General Robert Abrams.
Julissa Reynoso, a partner at Winston & Strawn, and Craig Boise, dean of Syracuse University College of Law, were also named as co-chairs of the transition committee.
James announced earlier this week that Larry Schimmel and Kimberly Peeler-Allen will serve as executive directors of the committee, running the day-to-day operations. Schimmel, an attorney, is currently general counsel for investments and operations in the public advocate’s office. Peeler-Allen is a co-founder of Higher Heights, a nonprofit group created to encourage black women to become involved in politics. She is not an attorney.
They are joined by Jarret Hova, the current director of policy and counsel at the public advocate’s office, who will serve as counsel to the committee.
James will be sworn in as the next state attorney general in January.
Here’s the full list of individuals who will serve on the transition committee, as released on Thursday:
- Baher Azmy, Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights; Professor of Law and Director of Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Seton Hall Law School (on leave)
- Marnie Berk, Director of Pro Bono Programs, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; Chair of the Board of Directors, CUNY School of Law Foundation
- Matthew L. Biben, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton; former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
- Raymond H. Brescia, Hon. Harold R. Tyler Chair in Law and Technology; Professor of Law, Albany Law School; former Associate Director, Urban Justice Center
- T. Andrew Brown, Managing Partner and Founder, Brown Hutchinson; Vice Chancellor, New York State Board of Regents
- Robert L. Capers, Government Enforcement & White Collar Co-Practice Leader, Arent Fox; former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
- Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Founding Partner, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady
- Steven Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition; Commissioner, New York City Commission on Human Rights
- Vincent E. Doyle III, Partner, Connors; former President, New York State Bar Association
- John Dunne, Senior Counsel, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna; former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice; former New York State Senator
- Allen I. Fagin, Partner, Proskauer Rose; Executive Vice President and Chief Professional Officer, Orthodox Union
- Robert B. Fiske, Jr., Senior Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell; former U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York
- Dora Galacatos, Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham School of Law; Executive Director, Feerick Center, Fordham School of Law
- Natalie M. Gomez-Velez, Professor, City University of New York School of Law; former Assistant Deputy Attorney General, New York State Attorney General’s Office
- Gurbir Grewal, Attorney General of the State of New Jersey
- Elizabeth Holtzman, Co-Chair Government Relations Group, Herrick Feinstein; former Congresswoman; former Kings County District Attorney; former New York City Comptroller
- Amin Kassam, Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel, Legal and Compliance Department, Bloomberg L.P.; Board of Directors, NYCLU
- Kevin Law, President and CEO, The Long Island Association; former President and CEO, Long Island Power Authority (LIPA); former Chief Deputy County Executive for Suffolk County; former Managing Partner, Nixon Peabody
- Peter Lehner, Senior Strategic Advisory and Director, Earthjustice Sustainable Food & Farming Program; former Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau, New York State Attorney General’s Office
- Howard A. Levine, Senior Counsel, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna; former Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals; former Schenectady County District Attorney
- Sarah Ludwig, Founder and Co-Director, New Economy Project
- Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice, Legal Aid Society
- Kathryn Grant Madigan, Partner, Levene Gouldin & Thompson; Chair, Binghamton University Council; former President, New York State Bar Association
- Louis Molina, First Deputy Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Corrections
- Lillian M. Moy, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
- Denise O’Donnell, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Marron Institute of Urban Management, NYU; former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York; former Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice; former New York State Commissioner of Criminal Justice Services
- Carol O’Rourke Pennington, Partner, Colleran O’Hara & Mills
- Karen K. Peters, Chair, New York’s Permanent Commission on Justice for Children; Chair, New York State Bar Association’s Committee on the New York State Constitution; former Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, Third Department
- Sharon M. Porcellio, Partner, Bond Schoeneck & Kind; Chair of the Federal-State Judicial Advisory Counsel
- Lynn Poster-Zimmerman, President-elect, Suffolk County Bar Association; Founding partner, Lynn Poster-Zimmerman
- Pablo Quiñones, Executive Director, NYU Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement; former Chief Strategist, U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Fraud Section; former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
- Richard Rifkin, Special Counsel, New York State Bar Association
- Albert M. Rosenblatt, Counsel, McCabe & Mack; former Judge of the New York Court of Appeals; former Dutchess County District Attorney
- Barry Charles Scheck, Partner, Neufeld Scheck & Brustin; Co-Founder, Innocence Project; Professor, Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
- Shira A. Scheindlin, Of counsel, Stroock & Stroock; former U.S. District Court Judge; former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; former Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York; former General Counsel for the New York City Department of Investigation
- Alan van Capelle, Adjunct Professor of Public Service, NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; CEO of Educational Alliance; former Executive Director, Empire State Pride Agenda