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School Law Institute (16th Annual)


Speaker(s): Abja Midha, Barbara J. Ebenstein, Caroline J. Heller, Lisa C. Smith, Professor Alexis Karteron, Randy Glasser
Recorded on: Mar. 15, 2016
PLI Program #: 148681

Abja Midha is a Project Director at Advocates for Children of New York (AFC).  Abja leads AFC’s Immigrant Students’ Rights Project, which works to protect English Language Learners’ and immigrant students’ access to educational programs and improve their educational outcomes.  She also coordinates the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma, a statewide coalition of advocates, educators, parents and youth who have come together to urge the creation of multiple pathways to a high school diploma in New York State.  

Previously, she was a Vice President of Strategy at Teach For America, where she worked closely with the development and legal affairs teams.  She has also been a Litigation Associate at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, LLP, a Law Clerk for the Honorable Charles P. Sifton with the United States District Court, E.D.N.Y., and an Equal Justice Works Fellow/ Immigration Intervention Project Staff Attorney at Sanctuary for Families.

Abja graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a B.A. in Economics and International Relations and earned her J.D from Yale Law School.


Barbara J. Ebenstein, Esq. is a parent and an attorney with law offices in New Rochelle, New York. Her practice focuses on the representation of parents in special education, general education, and related matters. Barbara is an adjunct associate professor at New York University where she teaches the graduate course in Education Law.  Barbara served as a member of the Disability Policy Committee of the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, and she served as one of the surrogates speaking on disability issues on behalf of the campaign.  She also serves as an impartial hearing officer in New York City and Long Island, and as a Vocational Rehabilitation hearing officer. Barbara represents families in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and all other counties outside New York City and Long Island.

Barbara has extensive experience conducting CLE for attorneys and workshops for parents, advocates, school personnel, physicians, and other professionals from Hawaii to New Hampshire.  She served as the lead instructor for the New York pilot site of the federally funded SEAT Project (Special Education Advocacy Training) and she serves as an attorney skills trainer for the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).  Barbara has authored articles on special education law from the parents’ perspective for numerous national publications.  She served as Chair of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) from 2005 to 2006.

Barbara J. Ebenstein holds a J.D. from Pace University Law School, a M.A. in Education from Teachers College of Columbia University, and a B.A. cum laude from Boston University.


Caroline J. Heller is a shareholder in the Litigation Practice of Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s New York office. Caroline is also the Chair of Greenberg Traurig Global Pro Bono Program.  Caroline is a faculty member of Greenberg Traurig’s GT Litigation Academy, which provides intensive in-house training programs in jury trials, expert witness preparation, deposition practice, motion practice, and mediation. Caroline focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and business disputes on a nationwide basis in the fields of professional liability, partnership disputes, securities litigation and entertainment disputes. In the field of special education, since 2006, Caroline has represented parents of children with disabilities on a pro bono basis at impartial hearings, appeals to the SRO, and in federal court.  She received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

Areas of Concentration: Business and commercial litigation; Securities litigation; Appellate advocacy

Professional & Community Involvement: Member, New York State Bar Association; Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York; Member, District of Columbia Bar; Member, American Bar Association; Member, Board of Directors, Advocates For Children of New York; Member, Board of Directors, Fund for Modern Courts

Awards & Recognition: 

Listed, City & State, "The Responsible 100," 2017

Recipient, New York Business Journal "Women of Influence Award," 2017

Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2013-2017

Listed, “Rising Star,” 2012

Finalist, Chambers USA “Women in Law Awards,” Leadership in the Community: Lawyer of the Year, 2015

Recipient, Lawyers Who Lead By Example, Pro Bono Award, New York Law Journal, 2014

Recipient, President’s Pro Bono Award, First Judicial District, New York Bar Association, 2012

Honoree, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, recognition for pro bono services, March 2011

Recipient, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award 2010

Honoree, Advocates for Children of New York, Inc., March 2010

Recipient, John K. Geiger Award, Her Justice (inMotion), November 2006


Professor Lisa C. Smith is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and Brooklyn Law School. At Brooklyn Law School, she is the Director of Criminal and Judicial Externships and has taught the Prosecutors Clinic, the Family Law Violence Project and Innovations in Criminal Justice. She is an appointee to the ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and the New York State Violence against Women DCJS Task Force. Professor Smith was formerly the Executive Assistant District Attorney for Special Victims (Sex Crimes, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence) in the Office of the Kings County District Attorney. Professor Smith has worked with numerous high schools and colleges training students, faculty, and administration on sexual assault policy and procedures. Professor Smith has served as the Co-Chairperson of the AALS Clinical Section Externship Committee and both the ABA Committee on Reentry & Collateral Consequences and the Academic Committee of the Criminal Justice Section. Professor Smith was instrumental in the creation of the Family Justice Center in Brooklyn, NY and has worked on numerous innovative projects in the field of child abuse and domestic violence. Professor Smith has lectured extensively and appeared as a television commentator in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.

She received the Women of Courage Anti-Violence Award from the Brooklyn Anti-Violence Coalition in March 2015.


Alexis Karteron is an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Constitutional Rights Clinic at Rutgers Law School. Prior to entering the world of academia, Karteron was a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she litigated civil rights and civil liberties cases.  Before joining the New York Civil Liberties Union, she served as the White House Associate Staff Secretary, and completed the Fried Frank/NAACP Legal Defense Fund Fellowship, through which she was a litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and an attorney in the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Political Participation Group.  Karteron graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2001, and she received her J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School in 2004.  After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Ms. Glasser graduated magna cum laude from University of Maryland in 1977, and is a graduate of Hofstra University School of Law, Class of 1981.  She is admitted to the New York State Bar, and to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She has served as the chairperson of the Education Law Committee at the Nassau County Bar Association. She has been a member of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee at the Nassau County Bar Association and the Disabilities Law Committee of the New York State Bar Association.  She has lectured on special education issues, bullying, FERPA and FOIL at the Annual School Law Conference held by the Suffolk & Nassau Academies of Law, and has trained arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association.  Ms. Glasser has presented numerous workshops for members of school administration and personnel on topics such as sexual harassment, special education, student discipline, bullying, transgender and student residency.  Ms. Glasser is a past Trustee of the Nassau County Supreme Court Law Library.  Ms. Glasser also served as an Associate Professor at Adelphi University and an Adjunct Professor at Hofstra University and Long Island University.  In addition, she was appointed Arbitrator on various matters before the American Arbitration Association, New York Stock Exchange and National Association of Securities Dealers.