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Hot Topics in Child Custody and Guardianship for New York Practitioners 2016

Speaker(s): Erin K Colgan, Hal Silverman, Hon.Gloria Sosa-Lintner (Ret.), Martin J. Mohr, Monica Shulman, Philip Katz, Philip Schiff, Susan M. Cordaro
Recorded on: May. 24, 2016
PLI Program #: 169623

Judge Gloria Sosa-Lintner was born in New York City and educated in the public school system. She was graduated from Barnard College in 1970 and New York University Law School in 1975.

Judge Sosa-Lintner began her legal career practicing labor and employment law. She  served as an Administrative Law Judge, a Special Referee, and a part-time Hearing Examiner during the time she was a sole practitioner in the Bronx from 1982 through 1985. On October 31, 1985, she was appointed as a full-time Hearing Examiner (now called Support Magistrate), beginning her career in the Family Court.

She was appointed as a Family Court Judge by Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1988, and reappointed in 1992 by Mayor David Dinkins. In 2002 and 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reappointed her with her term ending August 30, 2022.  However, she retired on February 26, 2016.

As a Judge, she presided in the Bronx and Manhattan over all-purpose parts from 1988 though 1997, when the Family Court decided to have Judges assigned to specialty parts for Child Protective, Custody/Guardianship and Domestic Violence  and Juvenile Justice Proceedings.  From March 1998 through October 2009, Judge Sosa-Lintner presided over the New York County Family Treatment Court, a unique court-based intervention program designed to deal with substance abusing parents involved in Child protective proceedings.  This Court became a nationwide model with Judge Sosa-Lintner participating as a faculty member and developer of training sponsored by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.  From 2009 through her retirement, she presided over custody/guardianship and Domestic Violence cases.

Judge Sosa-Lintner is a member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, having served as its first woman president from 1985-1986. She served as a board member and member of the Latino Judges Association (formerly the Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage) and the NYS and NYC Family Court Judges Associations. In addition, she actively participated on the Family Court Advisory Committee for the First Department, the NYS Commission on Drugs and the Court and the OCFS Ombudsman Committee.  She is a member of the NYS Bar Association, the City Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Martin J. Mohr is an attorney who has been practicing law for 16 years (more than a decade and a half).  He currently focuses on the area of Family law and has his primary office in Bronx County.

Prior to starting his own practice, he was an Assistant District attorney in Bronx county for Robert T. Johnson.  Additionally he was a law intern to the Honorable George Friedman. 

He holds a Juris Doctorate from Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and B.A. in government from Clark University in Worcester MA. 

He is a member of the Assigned Counsel Plan for the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York under Section 18-B of the County Law  and a member of the Bronx County Family Court Bar Association.

Susan M. Cordaro is an Appellate Attorney at The Children's Law Center ("CLC"), a non-profit law firm funded by the New York State Office of Court Administration, and founded on the belief that children deserve skilled and zealous advocates in the court system. 

Susan joined CLC in 2011, and has written and argued briefs on behalf of CLC’s clients in the New York Supreme Court: Appellate Division (First & Second Departments), as well as motions, memoranda, and written summations in the Family Courts and the Integrated Domestic Violence Parts of the Supreme Court, in custody, visitation, relocation, guardianship, family offense, paternity, and child protective cases.  Selected reported decisions in which she appeared as the attorney for the child include: Miguel Angel N. v. Tanya Lynn A., 131 A.D.3d 425, 14 N.Y.S.3d 693 (1st Dep’t 2015) (custody/visitation); Jesus R.C. v. Karen J.O., 126 A.D.3d 445, 5 N.Y.S.3d 66 (1st Dep’t 2015) (paternity); Bailey v. Carr, 125 A.D.3d 853, 4 N.Y.S.3d 121 (2d Dep’t 2015) (extraordinary circumstances); Matter of Jada A., 116 A.D.3d 769, 982 N.Y.S.2d 917 (2d Dep’t 2014) (child protective); Brett M.D. v. Elizabeth A.D., 110 A.D.3d 424, 972 N.Y.S.2d 36 (1st Dep’t 2013) (UCCJEA);  Ruth L. v. Clemese Theresa J., 104 A.D.3d 554, 961 N.Y.S.2d 413 (1st Dep’t 2013) (extraordinary circumstances/custody); Marisela N. v. Lacy M.S., 101 A.D.3d 425, 955 N.Y.S.2d 322 (1st Dep’t 2012) (family offense); McBryde v. Bodden, 91 A.D.3d 781, 936 N.Y.S.2d 292 (2d Dep’t 2012) (relocation).

Prior to joining CLC, Susan was a Litigation Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, from 2004 to 2011.  While at Simpson Thacher, in addition to her work on government investigations, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act cases, and securities litigation, Susan was honored among associates exceeding 100 pro bono hours annually, including in numerous Family Court custody/visitation cases, asylum proceedings, and a complex False Claims Act case on behalf of the City of New York.  Susan also received the “Above & Beyond Award” from Sanctuary for Families in 2009, after winning asylum for a woman threatened with FGM and subjected to severe physical and emotional abuse by her husband in Kenya.

Susan completed a clerkship with the Hon. Barbara S. Jones in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  She is a 2004 graduate of the Fordham Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Fordham Law Review and a Stein Scholar, and a 1994 graduate of Dartmouth College (B.A., Government), with honors.

Ms. Shulman is currently serving in New York County Family Court, as a court Attorney referee in the custody, visitation and order of protection specialty, a position that she has held since 2010. In that capacity she has handled approximately 1200 new filings each year. She is responsible for ensuring that matter appear on her calendar are timely resolved by settlement or trial within the standards and goals set for disposition, while ensuring fair and just resolutions are achieved. Prior to her appointment as a referee, Ms. Shulman worked at the Administration for Children’s  services from 1998 until 2010, handling the most complex child abuse and neglect matters for the City of New York. 

Ms. Shulman is a member of the NY City Bar Association and  serves on the Family Law Committee. She is also a member of the Women’s Bar Association where she is a co-chair of the Children and the Law Committee. She is also a member of the Family Court Advisory Committee, representing Family Court which is group made up of several different agencies, all having business with the family court, designed to make and implement recommendations to the Administrative Judge of the Family Court.

In addition, Ms. Shulman has participated for several years with the NITA program as a faculty member for their series entitled “Training the Lawyer to Represent the Whole Family.” This is a week long class designed to provide attorneys with practical, hands on skills, learned in a courtroom like setting with on the spot feedback to participants from people who are knowledgeable and experienced n the practice of family law.

Hal Silverman is the Director of Litigation for Lawyers for Children, Inc. Prior to his position with Lawyers for Children, Inc., Mr. Silverman was a staff attorney with the Juvenile Rights Division of The Legal Aid Society. He has worked in the field of child advocacy for over twenty-five years. Mr. Silverman has represented children in proceedings involving issues of neglect, abuse, termination of parental rights, custody, adoption, PINS, and juvenile delinquency. Prior presentations include "Legal and Mental Health Collaboration in Child Maltreatment and Custody Issues"; "Domestic Violence - The Effects on Children"; "Mediation in Family  Court": "Conflicts of Interests - Ethical Responsibilities of an Attorney for the Child" and "Broken Adoptions - A Child's Return to the Foster Care System."

Philip Katz, Esq. has been a member of the firm of Fink & Katz, PLLC, a firm that concentrates its practice in the areas of Family Law and Criminal Law for 20 years.  He is bilingual; serving his clients in both the English and Japanese languages fluently.  He graduated with his JD from Hofstra Law School.  In addition to his work at Fink & Katz, PLLC, attorney Katz has also been a member of the Assigned Counsel Panel in the New York Family Court since 2011, the Part 36 Panel since 2014, sits as a member of the Family Court Advisory Committee for the Appellate Division, First Department, and serves as the current President of the New York Family Court Assigned Counsel Association, and Secretary of the Assigned Counsel Plan of the State of New York (ACA-NYS),.  In addition to representing adults, attorney Katz represents children in New York County Family Court and Supreme Court.  He is also an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Farmingdale State College.

Philip Schiff has been in private practice since 1990, after serving as Special Assistant to the Corporation Counsel on child protective matters.  He is a trial skills coach for the National Institute for Trial advocacy and has lectured at the Practicing Law Institute and seminars conducted by The Appellate Division, First Department.

Ms. Colgan is the sole practioner in the law firm of Erin K. Colgan, P.C., located in Staten Island, NY. Ms. Colgan concentrates her practice on Family Law, Divorce and Mediation. She is active on the 18b panel and serves as an Attorney for the Child in Richmond County. She is a former Assistant District Attorney with the Richmond County District Attorney's Office.

Ms. Colgan is a member of the Richmond County Bar Association and Staten Island Women's Bar Association and serves as the Matrimonial Committee co-chair of the Richmond County Bar Association. In addition, Ms. Colgan is active on the Collaborative Committee for Richmond County for Child Protective matters.