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Social Security Disability 2016: From Administrative Proceedings to Federal Practice


Speaker(s): Anne Elise Herold Li, Edlyn L. Willer, Karen A. Hambrick, Kyla L. Ratliff, Marie I. Mombrun, Steven Godeski, Susan J. Horwitz
Recorded on: Mar. 18, 2016
PLI Program #: 148687

Anne Elise Herold Li is a patent litigator in the New York office of Crowell & Moring. As a counsel in the Intellectual Property Group, Anne focuses her practice on intellectual property litigation, counseling, and patent procurement. She represents a wide-range of clients, including generic pharmaceuticals, medical devices, hybrid engines, software, and mobile devices. She litigates in both federal and state court, has been lead counsel in Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings, and has also successfully represented clients at the International Trade Commission (ITC). Her practice covers an array of technologies, with a special emphasis on biotechnology, Hatch-Waxman, medical device, and hand-held electronics industries. Her experience includes patent litigation, trade secret misappropriation, trademark enforcement, false advertising, and unfair competition cases. 

Anne was recognized as a 2013 and 2014 "Rising Star" in intellectual property litigation by Super Lawyers Magazine, New York Metro edition.

Anne handles all aspects of patent litigation, from pre-suit investigations, through discovery, Markman proceedings, summary judgment motions, trials, and appeals. Her experience also includes assisting clients with the evaluation of patents of third parties and rendering detailed opinions relating to patent invalidity, non-infringement, and unenforceability. She advises clients concerning intellectual property procurement and enforcement strategies. Anne is experienced in technology transfer agreements, such as drafting licenses and advising start-up clients on all aspects of intellectual property. 

Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Anne was an associate at an intellectual property firm. Before that, Anne was an epidemiologist at the New York City Department of Health, where she received an award for her work on the anthrax outbreak in 2001. Prior to joining the Department of Health, Anne worked at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

Anne also maintains an active pro bono practice. She received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York for her pro bono work, and she also received the Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award, summa cum laude, for her pro bono work while in law school.

Anne earned her B.A. in psychology, focusing on biospsychology from the University of Chicago, her M.P.H in Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and her J.D. from Fordham University, where she was on the Intellectual Property Law Journal. 

Anne is admitted to the New York and District of Columbia bars. She is a member of the bar of The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as well as various federal district courts. She is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Karen Hambrick is a Supervising Attorney for the Government Benefits unit in the Harlem Community Law Office.  In her current position, Karen supervises both attorneys and case handling paralegals who assist and represent clients for public benefits and disability benefits, Single Stop Program and Pinnacle implementation.

Karen worked with the Society since 1987.  For eight years she was a generalist in the LAS Rockaway Office.  As a generalist, she worked on housing, family, benefits, consumer and bankruptcy cases and with the families living in the homeless shelters in the Rockaways.  In 1999, she transitioned to supervising attorney in the Harlem Neighborhood Office, which is now the Harlem Community Law Office.

Karen received her BA and MA from SUNY @ Albany and her law degree from American University, Washington College of Law.


My name is Edlyn L. Willer and I have been a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society since 1996.  When I started my practice at Legal Aid, I worked for several years as an appeals attorney in our Criminal Appeals Unit.   This allowed me to represent clients who are appealing their serious criminal convictions on a wide range of offenses. 

For the past 11 years, I switched my area of practice and moved to the Harlem Community Law Office where I represent clients in housing court as well as those clients appealing denial of social security disability.  I also meet with clients in the community and provide legal assistance  on a wide range of topics ranging from creating a will to addressing social and community matters.  With respect to my representation of clients in the social security capacity, I generally meet with the clients, review and evaluate their medical information.  Very often, I would then have to reach out to the client’s medical providers to obtain additional medical information which would help the client in the claim for disability.    In my cases, we have been successful in winning the case after the hearing before the (Administrative Law Judge or ALJ).  However, on those occasions when we are unable to succeed at the ALJ level, I may file an appeal to the Appeals Counsel on behalf of the client.  On some additional cases, it may be necessary to file another appeal to the federal district court on behalf of the client who continues to be disabled.  To date, all of the cases which I have filed in federal court have resulted in favorable decisions to the claimant.


Kyla L. Ratliff is a Senior Staff Attorney at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.  Prior to joining LSHV in December 2013, she worked at The Legal Aid Society in the areas of housing and public benefits.  While at The Legal Aid Society, she assisted in affirmative litigation including Jiggetts v. Dowling (adequacy of shelter allowances for families in NYC), Doe v. Doar (SSI budgeting for families receiving public assistance) and Lovely H. v. Eggleston (right to reasonable accommodations for disabled public assistance recipients).  Ms. Ratliff graduated from the City University of New York School of Law.


Marie Mombrun is a staff attorney in the Disability Advocacy Program of The Legal Aid Society.  Since 2002, Marie has represented disabled claimants in administrative proceedings and affirmative litigation.  She engages in community outreach and education to individuals, local community-based organizations, education and disability advocates and pro bono lawyers.  In 2012, Marie’s practice expanded to include advocacy for disabled children in administrative hearings and proceedings at the New York City Department of Education. She counsel clients on Education Law and represents parents of disabled children at special education committee meetings, resolution conferences and hearings. Prior to joining the Disability Advocacy Program, Marie represented tenants in various stages of housing litigation in New York City.  Marie is a graduate of Rutgers University Newark School of Law and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University.


Steven Godeski has been at The Legal Aid Society since 1986 in the Bronx Neighborhood Office specializing in the area of public benefits.   Mr. Godeski taught as an adjunct professor in the City University of New York Law School during 1997-1998.  He graduated from City University of New York Law School.


Susan Horwitz, Esq is the Supervising Attorney of the Education Law Project at The Legal Aid Society. She graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in June, 1990, and is admitted in the First Department of New York State as well as the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Susan first joined the Legal Aid Society as a staff attorney in the Criminal Appeals Bureau and spent a year as a staff attorney in the Criminal Defense Practice before moving to the Civil Practice in January, 2003. Since that time she has represented hundreds of individuals and families who need assistance obtaining and preserving public benefits and social security disability benefits.

Since 2006, Susan has primarily focused on educational rights of students with disabilities who are living in poverty. She represents families at school meetings, mediations, and impartial hearings. Ms. Horwitz provides trainings for parents, pro bono attorneys, case handlers in other practices within The Legal Aid Society, school staff, and mental health providers on navigating the special education system, legal rules and remedies, and self-advocacy skills. In 2017, she developed, the LAS/Mt Sinai-St. Luke’s Child and Family Institute Medical-Legal Partnership. 

Susan is a long time member of COPAA and is the 2018 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights.