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22nd Children's Law Institute

Speaker(s): Beverly Ali LMSW, CASAC-T, Carolyn Walther, Colleen D. Babb, Corinne Lundstrum, Cynthia Lopez, Donna M. Henken, Gary Solomon, Hon. Paul H. Grosvenor (Ret.), Jacqueline Adorno, Joan Baim, Karen Yazmajian, Katherine Wojewoda, Esq., Kelley Burns, Randy A. Hertz, Tara Sheoran-Khaimov, Tehra Coles, Vanessa D. Cherena
Recorded on: Jul. 12, 2019
PLI Program #: 251765

Legal Experience

July 2012 to the present: Judicial Hearing Office, New York State Family Court, 60 Lafayette Street, New York, New York 10013.

December 1990 to June 2010: Judge, New York State Family Court, Bronx and Kings Counties. October 2000 to April 2003, Supervising Judge, Kings and Richmond Counties. 

November 1985 to December 1990: Hearing Examiner, New York State Family Court, Kings County. 


Legal: St. John’s University of Law, J.D., June 1979

Undergraduate: Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, B.A., June 1976. 


Gary Solomon is the Director of Legal Support for The Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice. In that capacity he participates in the training of staff and acts as a supervisor, consultant and advisor to staff; prepares practice memoranda and other continuing legal education materials and maintains the Juvenile Rights Practice’s electronic legal research system; and works closely with the Juvenile Rights Practice’s Appeals Unit and, in that capacity, has handled appeals raising important practice issues and prepared and edited amicus briefs.

Mr. Solomon participates in New York State Appellate Division-sponsored training programs for assigned counsel, and Unified Court System-sponsored training programs for judges and court attorneys. 

Mr. Solomon prepares the weekly JRD Newsletter, a compilation of annotated court decisions which is made available to judges, lawyers and other professionals throughout New York state and elsewhere, and is the principal author of Volumes One, Two and Three of the Practice Manual for Children’s Attorneys. He has authored chapters on child abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights proceedings which appear in West Publishing's New York Family Court Practice. 
In 2003, Mr. Solomon was awarded the Howard A. Levine Award For Excellence in Juvenile Justice And Child Welfare by the New York State Bar Association, Committee on Children and the Law.  In 2006, Mr. Solomon received the Kathryn A. McDonald Award For Excellence in Service to Family Court from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. In 2007, Mr. Solomon received the Orison Marden Award For Outstanding Service and Dedication to the Organization and to the Clients from The Legal Aid Society of New York City.


Colleen D. Babb is the Queens Borough Chief of the Family Court Division of the New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel. Colleen is the Chief legal, strategic, and policy advisor to borough operations and formulates legal and administrative policy for the borough office. Colleen assists in the development and implementation of Raise the Age and of borough and division-wide policies, procedures and protocols. Colleen oversees the Deputy Borough Chiefs and Assistant Borough Chiefs in the borough. Colleen supervises the overall operations of the borough Office, including supervising attorneys and their cases from referral through disposition both in and out of the courtroom, provides legal and strategic advice to attorneys on their cases; and assists in the supervision of support professionals. Colleen participates in community outreach throughout the borough as well as represents the borough in the greater NYC area in her capacity as an expert on New York State’s upcoming “Raise the Age” legislation involving Juvenile Reform.


Colleen was the Bureau Chief of the School Advocacy Bureau in the Kings County District Attorney's Office from 2007 until 2018.  Colleen was assigned to the School Advocacy Bureau in 2003 and led this Bureau since 2007. She supervised a team that prosecuted school-related crimes and violent juvenile offenders. She conducted peer pressure workshops with New York City school children to help reduce youth involvement in the criminal justice system. She also held crime prevention workshops and training sessions with educators and law enforcement officers to make schools a safer learning environment.


Colleen first joined the Kings County District Attorney's Office in 1994. After five years as a trial attorney in various bureaus, she was promoted to the management level. Colleen has worked with children through the District Attorney’s Office for over twenty-two years. Colleen was the recipient of the “Professional Service Award” for her service in Criminal Justice and the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition Award. Colleen has been featured in The Network Journal Magazine, and the Spring Creek Sun, newspaper. Colleen has also appeared on Elected Officials, Intersect and Keeping it Real with Shannon, all television shows.


Colleen received her Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School in Albany, New York. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from The State University of New York at Albany and an Associate’s Degree from The University of South Carolina. Colleen is admitted to the New York State Bar and is a former Executive Board member of the National Black Prosecutor’s Association.

Corinne Lundstrum, is the Co-Director and a Litigation Supervisor at the CFR's Queens Practice. Ms. Lundstrum started at CFR 2007 as a senior staff attorney.   In September of 2010, Ms. Lundstrum left her position at CFR for Houston, Texas and held the position of staff attorney on the Protection and Civil Rights Team at Disability Rights Texas the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. While in Texas, Ms. Lundstrum volunteered as a court appointed guardian ad-litem for children living in foster care in Harris County, Texas. In March 2013, Ms. Lundstrum returned to CFR.  

Prior to coming to CFR in 2007, Ms. Lundstrum represented low-income women in a variety of matters and has practiced in three of the four law departments in New York State. At Nassau/Suffolk Law Services (NSLS), Ms. Lundstrum assisted people living with HIV or AIDS who had or were planning to have minor children, in family court, landlord-tenant and other matters. Prior to that, Ms. Lundstrum represented domestic violence survivors at My Sister’s Place in Westchester County and at Legal Assistance of the Finger Lakes, in an AmeriCorps program. She graduated from St. John’s Law School and Fordham University. While in law school Ms. Lundstrum participated in New York Legal Assistance Group’s (NYLAG) Domestic Violence Clinic. On June 8, 2010, Ms. Lundstrum received NYLAG’s Fight for Justice Award, which recognizes clinic alumni for their commitment to the families of New York City.  

Randy Hertz is the Vice Dean of N.Y.U. School of Law and the director of the law school’s clinical program.  He has been at the law school since 1985, and teaches the Juvenile Defender Clinic, first-year Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and a simulation course titled “Criminal Litigation.”  Before joining the N.Y.U. faculty, he worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, in the juvenile, criminal, appellate and special litigation divisions.  He writes in the areas of criminal and juvenile justice and is the co-author, with Professor James Liebman of Columbia Law School, of a two-volume treatise titled “Federal Habeas Corpus Law and Practice”; the co-author, with Professor Anthony G. Amsterdam of N.Y.U. Law School, of “Trial Manual for the Defense of Criminal Cases”; and the co-author, with Professor Amsterdam and N.Y.U. Law Professor Martin Guggenheim, of “Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Delinquency Cases.” He is an editor-in-chief of the Clinical Law Review.  In the past, he has served as the Chair of the Council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar; a consultant to the MacCrate Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession: Narrowing the Gap; a reporter for the Wahl Commission on ABA Accreditation of Law Schools; a reporter for the New York Professional Education Project; and the chair of the AALS Standing Committee on Clinical Legal Education.  He received the New York State Bar Association’s Howard Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare in 2020; NYU Law School’s Podell Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010; the Equal Justice Initiative’s Award for Advocacy for Equal Justice in 2009; the Association of American Law Schools’ William Pincus Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Legal Education in 2004; the NYU Award for Distinguished Teaching by a University Professor in 2003; and the American Bar Association’s Livingston Hall award for advocacy in the juvenile justice field in 2000.

Cynthia Lopez has served as the Brooklyn Family Court Legal Services Supervising Attorney for NYC Administration for Children’s Services since June 2018.  Prior to that Cynthia was the Supervising Attorney for Manhattan Family Court Legal Services from March 2009 until June 2018 and Supervising Attorney for Staten Island Family Court Legal Services from   April 2011, until February 2017. 

In her role, Cynthia manages a high number of attorney and support staff.  She is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations and management, trial practice issues, appellate issues, in the Court Unit and leads the agency’s interface with the Brooklyn Family Court. Since graduating law school in 2001, Cynthia has dedicated her career to working within the public sector by beginning her legal career as a staff attorney with the Administration for Children’s Services and has remained a committed children’s advocate. She received both her undergraduate and Law degree from St. John’s University.

I am the attorney for the adolescent intervention and diversion team for the Criminal Defense Practice of the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan. I represent clients age 14 -19 who are charged as adults in New York County Supreme Court. I represent 14 and 15 years old client charged as adults under the Juvenile Offender Statute and I represent 16 year old clients charged as adults but eligible for removal to Family Court under the Raise the Age Statute.


I graduated from Boston University Law School and worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. There I worked in the trial division and then worked prosecuting child abuse Cases. I left the District Attorney’s Office and worked as a court attorney for the Honorable Bonnie Wittner, New York Supreme Court. I then joined the Legal Aid Society and represented children in abuse and neglect cases in the Juvenile Rights Practice of Legal Aid. I left there to join the Criminal Defense Practice of the Legal Aid Society.

I am the Attorney-in-Charge of the Bronx Juvenile Rights office of the Legal Aid Society since January 2018.   I have served as the Deputy Attorney in Charge of the borough  Supervising Assistant Attorney-in-Charge, and staff attorney in that same Bronx borough office since May of 1996.  As an attorney for children I represent children in Family Court on Child Protective, Juvenile Delinquency, Visitation/Custody, Guardianship, Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS), and Foster Care Status Review proceedings.


From May 1996 to June 1999, I took a brief sabbatical to work at Advocates for Children, and returned to JRD  in July 2000.   I began my career with JRP as a paralegal from August 1991-August 1992.  I graduated CUNY  Law School in 1995, and began my work as a law graduate at The Door Legal Services Center. During law school and for a short time afterwards I worked for  Advocates for Children and Covenant House Legal Services.   I have always been dedicated to fighting for the rights of children.

Karen is an Assistant Attorney-in-Charge in Legal Aid's Juvenile Rights practice, supervising the delinquency practice in the Brooklyn office. She is a recipient of the Orison S. Marden award for attorneys within legal aid who have performed their work with excellence and dedication to the ideals of the legal aid society. 

Karen received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1988, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California in 1991. Prior to joining Legal Aid, Karen worked at the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice as part of the Annie E. Casey Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.

Karen conducts trainings and speaks regularly on juvenile justice matters, Both Within New York City as well as nationally.

Katherine Wojewoda is a Litigation Supervisor at the Center for Family Representation. Katherine is a 2012 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, and received her MAT from American University and BA from the University of Michigan. She has also worked as legal counsel for a charter school network and completed a law and policy fellowship on urban community development.  

Tehra Coles is a litigation supervisor at the Center for Family Representation (CFR).  For the past 9 years she has represented respondents in Article 10, 8, and 6 cases as well as termination of parental rights proceedings and violation hearings. She currently supervises CFR's government affairs and policy work.  In that role she routinely works with colleagues from across the state to improve the family court system by testifying at the state and local level and interacting with elected officials to support needed legislative change. Earlier in her career she worked at the Albany County Public Defender's Office as an assistant public defender and the New York State Defenders Association. She graduated from Hollins University in 2004 and with a Bachelor’s degree in Political and 2005 with a Master’s degree in Social Science and from Albany Law School in 2009.

Beverly Ali is a dedicated social worker with   30 years of service in the child welfare and human services fields that spans direct practice, training, initiative development, project management and leadership. Beverly is a Licensed Master Social Worker  and received her MSW and CASAC training from Fordham University. 
Beverly began her career with ACS as a Child Protective Specialists and served in various capacities throughout NYC-Child Welfare. She served as a Child and Family Specialist, was a key leader in the Manhattan Borough Office and introduced the Casey Family Initiative, Family to Family, in addition to child safety conferences in 2006. 
In March 2015’ Beverly was appointed to the role of Assistant Commissioner of Family Team Conferencing. In this role Beverly has led the design, management, and implementation of an integrated continuum of conferences which uses a clinical framework that seeks to achieve well-being for families and children.  


Carolyn Walther is a Senior Counsel in the Appeals Division of the NYC Law Department. She specializes in child protective and juvenile delinquency appeals, and has handled cases in the First and Second Departments of the NY Supreme Court, Appellate Division and the NY Court of Appeals. Carolyn also serves on the division’s training committee.

Carolyn graduated cum laude from NYU School of Law in 2007. After law school, Carolyn spent over nine years as an attorney at the Center for Family Representation, where she represented parents in abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights, and custody matters in New York and Queens Counties.  

Carolyn has created and executed numerous training sessions on Family Court and appellate topics. In addition to giving internal agency trainings, she has presented at statewide and national conferences in New York and elsewhere on subjects including motion practice, representing intellectually disabled clients, and open adoption. She also co-authored “Motivational Interviewing: Counseling Clients in Challenging Contexts,” published in the ABA Child Law Practice May/June 2017 issue.


JACQUELINE ADORNO is Supervising Attorney of MFY’s Kinship Caregiver Law Project, which works to prevent children from entering the traditional foster care system by helping relatives to secure orders of custody or guardianship or to adopt the children in their care. As a staff attorney, Ms. Adorno expanded the Project’s work in the Bronx, conducting regular legal clinics at Bronx Family Court and developing a collaborative project with Bridge Builders, a coalition of Bronx social service organizations, to expand services to Bronx families. She serves as the co-chair of the NYC Kincare Task Force, a coalition of kincare service providers working to promote policies to better address the needs of the kincare community.  A 2011 graduate of Fordham University School of Law, Ms. Adorno served as the Notes and Articles Editor of the Environmental Law Review and assisted domestic violence survivors as part of the Courtroom Advocates Program.  Before joining MFY, Ms. Adorno was a Special Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, Domestic Violence Bureau and worked in private practice.

Joan leads Heartshare St. Vincent’s Services’ (HSVS) work to implement evidence based practices in foster parent recruitment, to use data to successfully match youth in care with stable loving foster families, and to drive the placement of youth with kinship resources.  Prior to joining HSVS in 2014, Joan was the Executive Director of Training and Workforce Development at the Administration for Children’s Services, overseeing the training of 6000 NYC child welfare staff members, and was an attorney with Family Court Legal Services in the Queens, Staten Island and Bronx Family Courts.  

Joan received dual Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy from the University at Albany, and a Juris Doctor degree from The Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Joan was a founding fellow in the Child and Family Advocacy Fellowship at Hofstra University and the 2005 recipient of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Award for Excellence in Family Law. 

Joan currently lives in Long Beach, NY with her husband and two children. 


Kelley Burns is the Director of Training in the Legal Support and Training Unit at Family Court Legal Services, a division of the Administration for Children’s Services.  Family Court Legal Services provides legal representation for Children’s Services in the five Family Courts of New York City in child abuse and neglect proceedings, custody and juvenile delinquency proceedings.  The Legal Support and Training Unit provides litigation support and legal training to attorney and casework staff as well as other types of support to the Division.   Prior to joining the Legal Support and Training Unit, Ms. Burns practiced in the Administration for Children’s Services, Family Court Legal Services in Queens Family Court as a staff attorney since 2001.  Ms. Burns received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and received her Juris Doctorate from Cardozo School of Law.

Tara Sheoran-Khaimov serves as the Housing Specialist on the Adolescents Confronting Transition (ACT) Project at Lawyers for Children, a non-profit child advocacy organization that provides legal representation and social work services to children in foster care, abuse, neglect, custody, visitation, termination of parental rights, adoption, paternity and family offense proceedings.  Prior to serving as the Lawyers for Children Housing Specialist, Ms. Sheoran-Khaimov worked as a Staff Attorney focusing on high-conflict custody cases in Manhattan Family Court.    As part of Lawyers for Children's direct advocacy model, Ms. Sheoran-Khaimov provides direct representation of youth, 21 years old and under, who are the subject of abuse, neglect, custody, visitation, termination of parental rights, adoption, paternity and family offense proceedings in Manhattan Family Court.  As one of two attorneys on the ACT Project, Ms. Sheoran-Khaimov also provides legal services to adolescents in and aging out of foster home and residential care to help them succeed in their transition to independence and adulthood outside the foster care system.  As the Housing Specialist Ms. Sheoran-Khaimov's work focus's on providing direct representation of adolescents in their foster care proceedings; advocacy with city and state agencies to ensure that every youth leaving foster care secures safe, long-term, and affordable housing; policy work on the city and state level to combat youth homelessness and create new housing opportunities for adolescents aging out of foster care.  Ms. Sheoran-Khaimov serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Runaway and Homeless Youth, and is a member of the Association for Runaway and Street-Involved Youth Organizations, and the Administration for Children's Services Improving Housing Advocacy Collaborative.

Ms. Sheoran-Khaimov graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2012 with concentrations in Constitutional Law and Family and Matrimonial Law.