Attorneys

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Michael S. Adler

Partner
madler@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0251
Fax:646-473-8251
Bar Admissions:
New York, New Jersey

Michael S. Adler joined the firm in 2009 and became a partner in January 2015.

Mr. Adler focuses his practice in all areas of employee benefits litigation.   He assists clients in drafting, implementing and monitoring all phases of their collection policies.  Mr. Adler is counsel of record in over 200 cases, primarily handling ERISA collections (in federal court as well as arbitration proceedings), including complex, multi-party alter-ego and single employer litigations.  He also litigates withdrawal liability claims, including claims against controlled group members.  Mr. Adler has secured multi-million dollar judgments and settlements on behalf of benefit plan clients.  He has also defended ERISA benefit claim cases for ERISA plans.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Adler engaged in a similar practice of labor and employee benefits law in New York and the District of Columbia.

Mr. Adler earned his undergraduate degree from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1999, and is a 2002 graduate of the George Washington University Law School.  Mr. Adler is a published author, co-writing six children’s’ books, and while in college, providing historical baseball content for the sportsline.com website.

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Susan Davis

Partner
sdavis@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0207
Fax:646-473-8207
Bar Admissions:
Admitted only in New York and New Jersey. Not Admitted in California

Susan Davis joined the firm in 1982 and became a partner in 1992.

Ms. Davis specializes in the representation of national, regional and local labor unions in all aspects of collective bargaining, litigation, mergers and affiliations, organizing, strategic planning and internal union governance. She currently serves as general or chief outside counsel to unions in the entertainment, health care and public sector arena, and has represented unions in a wide variety of industries including sports, transportation and communications.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Ms. Davis was a clerk for the Honorable Constance Baker Motley in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Ms. Davis is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a member and former co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law Committee on Practice and Procedure under the National Labor Relations Act, and a member of the Council of the American Arbitration Association. She serves on the AFL-CIO Lawyers Advisory Panel and is an Advisory Board Member of the Cornell University ILR School. Ms. Davis has been named as both a Super Lawyer for Employment and Labor Law from 2014-2018 and one of the Top Women Attorneys in the Metropolitan New York area. Ms. Davis was a 2013 Peggy Browning Fund Honoree.

Ms. Davis has written for and lectured extensively at bar association, attorney and union meetings on a wide variety of issues facing unions and their members.

Ms. Davis graduated with honors from the University of California at Berkeley in 1976. She received a law degree with high honors from Rutgers University in 1981, winning the West Publishing Company’s annual jurisprudence award and leading the Rutgers moot court team to the American Bar Association’s national moot court finals.

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Peter D. DeChiara

Partner
pdechiara@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0216
Fax:646-473-8216
Bar Admissions:
New York

Peter D. DeChiara joined the firm in 1989, and became a partner in 1999.

Mr. DeChiara works in the areas of labor and employment law, representing unions, employee benefit funds, and individual employees.  He has extensive experience with federal and state court litigation and with labor arbitration.

Mr. DeChiara, who edits the firm’s bankruptcy labor law blog, also represents unions and funds in employer bankruptcy cases.  He has represented unions in numerous Chapter 11 bankruptcies and in the City of Detroit and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico reorganization cases.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. DeChiara was a clerk for Judge Lawrence Pierce of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Mr. DeChiara has taught labor law at New York Law School and the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, and legal writing at University of Chicago Law School. He has published articles on labor law subjects in the Harvard Journal on Legislation, American University Law Review and the Rutgers Law Record. Mr. DeChiara was named as a Super Lawyer for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro Annual Lists of Super Lawyers magazine from 2010-2018.

Mr. DeChiara graduated from Columbia Law School in 1988, where he was Editor-In-Chief of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1984, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

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Joshua Ellison

Partner
jellison@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0229
Fax:646-473-8229
Bar Admissions:
New York

Joshua J. Ellison joined the firm in 2009 and became a partner in January 2016.

Mr. Ellison practices primarily in the areas of labor law, litigation, and bankruptcy.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Ellison was a clerk for the Honorable Thomas P. Griesa, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and was a litigation associate at a large firm in New York.

He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 2004, where he was a Note Editor of the Michigan Law Review, a member of the Order of the Coif, and a recipient of the Robert S. Feldman Labor Law Award. While attending law school, Mr. Ellison interned at the Office of the Solicitor of the United States Department of Labor.

Mr. Ellison is a contributor to Employee and Union Member Guide to Labor Law, published by the National Lawyers Guild and a member of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Section Committee on Development of the Law Under the NLRA.    Mr. Ellison was named as a Rising Star for Employment and Labor Law and Bankruptcy Law on the New York Metro 2015-2016 Annual List of Super Lawyers magazine.

Mr. Ellison graduated with honors from Oberlin College in 1998.

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Cristina E. Gallo

Associate
cgallo@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0226
Fax:646-473-8226
Bar Admissions:
New Jersey, New York

Cristina Gallo joined the firm in 2018.

She practices primarily in the areas of labor and employee benefits, representing unions in negotiations, litigation, and arbitration proceedings and benefit funds in litigation and compliance matters.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Ms. Gallo was an associate with Kennedy, Jennik & Murray P.C., where she also practiced in the labor and employee benefits areas.  Ms. Gallo previously worked at the firm of Friedman & Anspach.

In 2010, Ms. Gallo attended UCLA School of Law on a public-interest merit scholarship and graduated with honors with specializations in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies.  During law school, she was submissions and staff editor of the Los Angeles Public Interest Law Journal.  Ms. Gallo is the author of “Marrying Poor: Women’s Citizenship, Race and TANF Policies,” which was published in the UCLA Women’s Law Journal.  Prior to law school, Ms. Gallo worked as a strategic campaigner at the union UNITE HERE for five years in New York City.

Ms. Gallo graduated from Brown University in 2002 with a degree in African Studies.

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Lisa M. Gomez

Partner
lgomez@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0235
Fax:646-473-8235
Bar Admissions:
New Jersey, New York

Lisa M. Gomez joined the firm in 1994 and became a partner in 2002.

Ms. Gomez practices primarily in the area of employee benefits law. She represents and advises a federal employee health benefit plan, various multiemployer pension and welfare plans, single employer plans, and jointly administered training program trust funds, as well as plans sponsored by unions for their internal staff. She provides advice on compliance with a variety of laws, including ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, FEHBA, HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act. She also advises plans on plan design and administration, benefit claims and fiduciary issues, delinquency collection, participant communications, service provider agreements and qualified domestic relations orders and represents them in various types of litigation.

She is a member of the International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans and of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Law Section Committee on Employee Benefits.  She previously served as the Union/Employee Co-Chair of the Committee from 2011-2014, and has served as a member of the Programming Committee for the Midwinter Meeting and as co-chair of its Subcommittees on Jointly Administered Plans and Civil Procedure.

In 2015, Ms. Gomez was appointed to the Board of Senior Editors for the American Bar Association/BNA Employee Benefits Law treatise and in 2018, she was appointed Union Co-Chair of the Board of Senior Editors.  She previously served as a chapter editor and rewrite editor of the Employee Benefits Law treatise.  She frequently lectures on topics related to employee benefit plans.

Ms. Gomez was inducted as a fellow of The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Inc. in 2014 based upon her 20 years of experience and significant contributions to the advancement of the employee benefits field.

She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Peggy Browning Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting law students in pursuing employment and educational opportunities in the area of workers’ rights.

Ms. Gomez graduated from Fordham University Law School in 1994, where she was an editor of the Fordham Urban Law Journal, and from Hofstra University in 1991.

 

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Marie B. Hahn

Associate
mhahn@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0257
Fax:646-473-8257
Bar Admissions:
New York

Marie B. Hahn joined the firm in February 2019.

Ms. Hahn practices in the areas of labor and employment law. She represents unions in litigation and arbitration proceedings, and with respect to internal governance issues. Previously, Ms. Hahn served as a law fellow at Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, the largest property services workers union in the country. As a fellow, she represented the union in discharge and contract arbitrations as well as unfair labor practice cases before the National Labor Relations Board.

Ms. Hahn is a 2017 graduate of City University of New York School of Law, where she was an editor of the Law Review’s Notes and Comments. During law school, Ms. Hahn was a law clerk at the employee-side law firm Outten & Golden, Region 2 of the NLRB, and the Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project worker center.

She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 2009.

Richard C. Harmon

Of Counsel
rharmon@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0261
Fax:646-473-8261
Bar Admissions:
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York

Richard C. Harmon joined the firm in 2008.  He became Of Counsel on January 1, 2019.

Mr. Harmon practices in the areas of employee benefits, compensation, and taxation.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Harmon was the head of benefits and labor practice for a large law firm, and also worked as a benefits and compensation associate.

Mr. Harmon has conducted presentations on numerous issues concerning employee benefits for professional groups and bar associations.

He graduated from the Drake University Law School in 1981 and received a Masters of Law in Taxation from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 1983. Mr. Harmon earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1979.

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Evan Hudson-Plush

Partner
ehudson-plush@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0254
Fax:646-473-8254
Bar Admissions:
Admitted only in New York and New Jersey. Not Admitted in California

Evan Hudson-Plush joined the firm in 2008 and became a partner in January 2015.

Mr. Hudson-Plush represents unions and employees in all aspects of labor and employment law, including in litigation in federal and state courts, before the NLRB, and in arbitration hearings.  He provides unions with legal and strategic advice on organizing drives, corporate campaigns, and internal union affairs, and currently specializes in the representation of unions in the entertainment industry.

Mr. Hudson-Plush also leads the Firm’s wage and hour practice, where he represents employees in individual and class action lawsuits seeking to recover unpaid minimum and overtime wages.  He similarly represents employees in negotiations and litigation with employers concerning employment contracts, severance packages and a wide variety of other employment matters.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Hudson-Plush was a law clerk for Magistrate Judge Frank Maas of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Hudson-Plush graduated first in his class and summa cum laude from Cardozo School of Law in 2007, where he served as Executive Editor of the Cardozo Law Review. He is a senior editor for The Railway Labor Act treatise and in 2007 received the ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor & Employment Law. Mr. Hudson-Plush was named as a Rising Star for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro 2014-2108 Annual List of Super Lawyers magazine.

He received a bachelor’s degree with High Distinction from the University of Michigan in 2001.

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Thomas M. Kennedy

Of Counsel
tkennedy@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0222
Fax:646-473-8222
Bar Admissions:
New York

Thomas M. Kennedy joined the firm as Of Counsel on January 2018.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Kennedy was a Partner at Kennedy, Jennik & Murray, PC, a union-side labor law firm.  Mr. Kennedy is General Counsel to many unions and benefit funds in various industries including construction, manufacturing, distribution, laundry, garment, retail, printing and horse racing. Since his employment at the National Labor Relations Board in 1974-1976, where he was awarded an Outstanding Performance Award, his practice has focused on representing labor unions, benefit funds and their related organizations in all areas.

He has been an active litigator in Federal District Courts and Bankruptcy courts. Mr. Kennedy has argued cases before the US Supreme Court, the New York State Court of Appeals and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third and District of Columbia Circuits.  A number of Mr. Kennedy’s cases have established important precedents that are featured in labor and ERISA casebooks.

He has lectured at the NYU Law School Annual Labor Conference and at area law schools including Brooklyn Law School and St. John’s Law Schools.

Mr. Kennedy has been a member of the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and received the Peggy Browning Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

He is a graduate of Niagara University and the New York University School of Law in 1974 where he was a Fellow at the Center for International Studies and an Editor at the Journal of International Law.

Mr. Kennedy became interested in labor law as a result of his father’s service for many years as an officer of the United Steelworkers Union Local in Syracuse, NY.

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Hanan B. Kolko

Of Counsel
hkolko@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0214
Fax:646-473-8214
Bar Admissions:
New York

Hanan B. Kolko joined the firm in March 2019.

Mr. Kolko practices in the area of labor and employment law.  He represents labor unions in federal and state court litigation, arbitration proceedings, administrative proceedings before various regulatory agencies, and in collective bargaining.  Mr. Kolko also advises unions and their leaders on internal union governance, the investigation and handling of sexual harassment claims, and internal union elections.  He has represented unions in a wide variety of industries including publishing, media, education, health care, law enforcement, transportation, and manufacturing.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Kolko was a partner at two major union-side firms in New York City, and began his career as a lawyer as an associate at union-side firms in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.  While in law school, Mr. Kolko was a law clerk for the United Auto Workers.  His first experience working with unions was while he was in college, where he was an intern for the Rochester, New York PATCO local.  He is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he received the Book Award for the highest grade in his labor law class.

Mr. Kolko is a former co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law Committee on Technology in the Workplace, and is an Advisory Board Member of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.  He has given continuing legal education presentations on a wide variety of labor law topics to groups including the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, the American Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law Committee on Technology in the Workplace, and the Practicing Law Institute.  He has been named a Super Lawyer for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro Annual Lists of Super Lawyers from 2015-2018.

Mr. Kolko also represents clients in the cannabis industry.  He advises these clients in areas including licensing applications, regulatory compliance, internal investigations, and in litigations. He has lectured extensively on cannabis law issues, giving presentations on issues including legal ethics and the representation of cannabis clients, bankruptcy and the cannabis industry, the current state of legal affairs in the cannabis industry, RICO claims against cannabis industry participants, and the New York State Compassionate Care Act.

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Zachary N. Leeds

Partner
zleeds@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0243
Fax:646-473-8243
Bar Admissions:
New York, California, New Jersey

Zachary N. Leeds joined the firm in 2004 and became a partner in January 2016.

Mr. Leeds represents union-affiliated employee benefit plans in compliance and administrative matters and in litigation, including collection actions, benefit claims, and withdrawal liability.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Leeds worked as a summer law clerk at a union-side firm in New York and as a law clerk at SEIU Local 509 in Massachusetts. He has also practiced law in California, where he focused on union-side labor law and wage and hour litigation.

Mr. Leeds graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 2004, where he was book review editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He earned his undergraduate degree with honors from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000.

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Bruce S. Levine

Of Counsel
blevine@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0230
Fax:646-473-8230
Bar Admissions:
New York

Bruce S. Levine joined the firm in 2001, became a partner in 2002, and became Of Counsel in 2013.

Mr. Levine specializes in labor and employment law, representing unions in collective bargaining, grievance administration, and litigation before the NLRB and federal and bankruptcy courts.

He has more than 20 years of private practice experience principally representing unions and union-affiliated employee benefit plans. He has developed a special expertise in alter ego and related litigation on behalf of both unions and benefit trust funds.

Mr. Levine began his career with the Solicitor’s Office of the United States Department of Labor, where he litigated wage and hour, prevailing wage, equal employment and workplace safety cases, among others.

Mr. Levine has taught labor law and collective bargaining classes for Cornell University Extension and the Dowling College of Labor Studies, and is a regular speaker at bar association and other professional events. He is also the co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Labor Relations Law.

Mr. Levine is a 1981 graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a 1986 cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Mackson

Tzvi Mackson

Of Counsel
tmackson@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0218
Fax:646-473-8218
Bar Admissions:
New York

Tzvi Mackson joined the firm in 2010.  He became Of Counsel on January 1, 2019.

Mr. Mackson represents union-affiliated employee benefit plans in compliance and administrative matters and in litigation, including collection actions, benefit claim cases, and withdrawal liability suits.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Mr. Mackson practiced employee benefits law at a large firm in New York.

Before attending law school, Mr. Mackson served as a shop steward in local unions affiliated with AFSCME and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Mr. Mackson graduated magna cum laude from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2007, where he was a Notes Editor of the Cardozo Law Review, a Public Service Scholar and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar, a member of the Order of the Coif, and a recipient of the ABA/BNA Award of Excellence in the Study of Labor & Employment Law.

While attending law school, Mr. Mackson served as an intern at the Judges Division of the National Labor Relations Board and worked as a summer clerk in the General Counsel’s office of District Council 37, AFSCME. Mr. Mackson is the author of an article published in the Cardozo Law Review on secondary picketing under the National Labor Relations Act.

Mr. Mackson was a contributing author to the Fall 2013 Cumulative Supplement of the treatise Employee Benefits Law, Third Edition. He was named as a Rising Star for Employee Benefits on the 2014-2018 Annual Lists of Super Lawyers magazine.

Mr. Mackson earned an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University in 1989 and an MBA from Baruch College of the City University of New York in 1995.

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Kelly L. Malloy

Associate
kmalloy@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0209
Fax:646-473-8209
Bar Admissions:
New York

Kelly L. Malloy joined the firm in May 2019.

Ms. Malloy practices in the areas of labor, employment, and employee benefits. Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Ms. Malloy worked as an associate at a New York law firm specializing in ERISA practice, including litigation and arbitration.

Ms. Malloy graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 2018, where she was a Trade Secrets Institute Fellow. She also received a certificate in Intellectual Property, Media, & Information Law. While attending law school, Ms. Malloy worked full-time in the book publishing industry and, later, as a law clerk at Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, SAG-AFTRA, and Region 2 of the National Labor Relations Board (Division of Judges).

She earned her undergraduate degree from Bucknell University in 2010.

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Erika M. Medina

Associate
Emedina@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0241
Fax:646-473-8241
Bar Admissions:
New Jersey, New York

Erika M. Medina joined the firm in 2018.

Ms. Medina advises plan fiduciaries on fiduciary duties, plan design, governance and administration, and prohibited transactions.  She counsels clients on the operation and administration of plans, including maintaining plan documents, consulting on operational issues, assisting with plan investments, determining permissible plan expenses, and complying with individual and class exemptions.  Ms. Medina guides clients through the labyrinth of regulation affecting plans including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code, the Affordable Care Act, state insurance and banking laws, and related regulations.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Ms. Medina was Vice President, ERISA Counsel (Northeast) at USI Insurance Services, LLC (USI) where she provided strategic counsel to USI’s brokerage and benefits consulting businesses.  Ms. Medina counseled clients on plan governance, administration, and compliance.  In her role as ERISA Counsel, Ms. Medina frequently presented on compliance and regulatory topics to benefit management teams throughout New Jersey and New York.  In recognition of her high performance, Ms. Medina also received the USI Summit Award in 2017.

From 2009 to 2015, Ms. Medina worked for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration as a Senior Investigator responsible for conducting complex civil and criminal investigations of employee benefit plans and service providers to employee benefit plans.  As a Senior Investigator, Ms. Medina was one of the highest performing investigators, conducting over 86 investigations and safeguarding over $70M in plan assets.  Ms. Medina received two separate performance awards for highest number of cases closed and for her work unraveling conflicts of interest in a complex multi-layered limited partnership investment.

Ms. Medina graduated from Rutgers Law School in 2008, where she was a staff writer for the Rutgers Conflict Resolution Law Journal and participated in the Rutgers Urban Legal Clinic, assisting low income clients in various legal proceedings.

In 2004, Ms. Medina graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University and received the Heinz Seelbach Award and Political Science Department Prize for academic achievement and leadership.

Ms. Medina is presently a committee member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, Cannabis Law Committee, which reviews the administration of regulation applicable to legal cannabis, including the federal prohibition on cannabis.

Ms. Medina is a native of Peru and is fluent in Spanish.

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Stephen B. Moldof

Partner
smoldof@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0210
Fax:646-473-8210
Bar Admissions:
New York

Stephen B. Moldof joined the firm in 1972 and became a partner in 1978.

His work has focused primarily on representation of labor unions in litigation before trial and appellate courts throughout the country (including the United States Supreme Court). He has extensive experience in proceedings before government agencies, in arbitrations, and in collective bargaining negotiations, as well as in counseling unions regarding organizing and union governance.

Mr. Moldof also has significant experience in international matters, including a presentation of expert testimony in proceedings in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Moldof is a former member of the Council of the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section. He has served as co-chair of the Section’s Committees on International Labor Law and Railway and Airline Labor Law. He is also a fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the Executive Board of the International Society for Labor and Social Security Law. Mr. Moldof was named as a Super Lawyer for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro 2007-2018 Annual Lists of Super Lawyers magazine.

Mr. Moldof is a senior editor of the ABA/BNA treatises International Labor and Employment Laws and The Railway Labor Act. His published works also include articles in The Labor Lawyer; Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business; Workplace Privacy (Proceedings of the NYU 58th Annual Conf. on Labor); “ALI-ABA Airline and Railroad Labor Law” publications; Special Problems with Affirmative Action Plans, and the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

Mr. Moldof graduated from Harvard Law School in 1969, where he served as Case Notes Editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1966.

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Jani K. Rachelson

Partner
jrachelson@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0221
Fax:646-473-8221
Bar Admissions:
New York

Jani K. Rachelson joined the firm in 1978, and became a partner in 1985.

Ms. Rachelson’s practice focuses on employee benefits law. She represents both multiemployer employee benefit plans as well as plans sponsored by unions for their internal staff. She provides compliance advice to plan clients with respect to a wide variety of laws, including both ERISA and the tax code. She also advises them on plan design and administration; withdrawal liability; delinquency collection; benefit claims and fiduciary issues.

Ms. Rachelson has been the lead attorney in several important federal district court and appellate court cases involving fiduciary breach and benefit claims. She also counsels unions in connection with benefit issues and has represented individuals in benefit claims.

Ms. Rachelson is a former member of the Bloomberg BNA Benefits Practice Resource Center (Pension & Benefits) Advisory Board and previously served as the union co-chair of the Senior Board of Editors for the American Bar Association/BNA Employee Benefits Law treatise, and as a member of the treatise’s Senior Board of Editors, had principal editorial responsibility for the chapter titled Issues Unique to Jointly Administered Plans. Ms. Rachelson is also a member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. She is a frequent lecturer on a wide variety of topics related to employee benefit plans.

She was inducted as a charter fellow of The American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Inc., and served a term on the College’s Board of Governors. Ms. Rachelson was named as a Super Lawyer for Employee Benefits Law on the New York Metro 2006-2018 Annual Lists of Super Lawyers magazine.

Ms. Rachelson is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University (1975) and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School (1978).

Secular

Keith E. Secular

Partner
ksecular@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0292
Fax:646-473-8292
Bar Admissions:
New York, District of Columbia

Keith E. Secular joined the firm in 1976, and became a partner in 1982.

His experience includes the representation of both local and national unions in the private and public sectors in litigation before courts and administrative agencies, in arbitration, and in collective bargaining.

Mr. Secular currently serves as counsel to a national union representing employees of the United States Postal Service, with responsibilities ranging from litigation, arbitration, collective bargaining, and contract administration, to union governance and counseling of union officials and governing bodies.

Mr. Secular has argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court and has served as lead counsel in five nation-wide collective bargaining impasse arbitrations.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon, Mr. Secular served on the faculty of the University of Miami Law School, where he taught courses on Evidence and Labor Law. He has also served as law clerk to Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Mr. Secular graduated magna cum laude from New York University in 1971 and received his law degree in 1974 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was named to the Order of the Coif.

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Richard M. Seltzer

Partner
rseltzer@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0219
Fax:646-473-8219
Bar Admissions:
New York

Richard M. Seltzer joined the firm in 1981, and became a partner in 1987.

Mr. Seltzer specializes in the representation of unions in employer bankruptcy proceedings. He also represents unions in a wide variety of other labor law, employee benefit, and internal union matters.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon, he served for six years as an assistant district attorney, in appeals and trial bureaus of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Mr. Seltzer is the author of an article on labor law in the bankruptcy context published in The Air and Space Lawyer. He also co-authored (with partner Thomas Ciantra) an article on labor injunctions in employer bankruptcies published in American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review. He is a frequent lecturer on labor and bankruptcy topics before such groups as the American Bankruptcy Institute and American Bar Association. He is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.

Mr. Seltzer received a B.A. magna cum laude and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1975, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

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Bruce H. Simon

Partner
bsimon@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0231
Fax:646-473-8231
Bar Admissions:
New York

Bruce H. Simon, the firm’s senior partner, joined the firm in 1960 after his graduation from Harvard Law School and has been actively representing unions ever since.

Mr. Simon has worked on behalf of unions in the auto, steel, postal delivery, and music industries, among others. A leader in the field of representing unions in employer bankruptcy proceedings, Mr. Simon has served as lead counsel in litigation to protect labor contracts and employee pensions, negotiated restructuring agreements and reorganizations plans, and drafted legislation to protect the interests of employees and retirees of bankrupt employers.

Mr. Simon served for six years as a member of the New York City Board of Collective Bargaining, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee.

Mr. Simon has lectured at the NYU Annual Conference on Labor, the Practicing Law Institute, the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Council. He is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and has also served as the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Cornell Law School. Mr. Simon was named as a Super Lawyer for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro 2006-2018 Annual Lists of Super Lawyers magazine.

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Olivia R. Singer

Associate
osinger@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0206
Fax:646-473-8206
Bar Admissions:
California, Massachusetts, New York

Olivia R. Singer joined the Firm in January 2018.

Ms. Singer practices primarily in the areas of labor and employment law, representing unions in litigation, before the NLRB and in arbitration proceedings. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Singer was a law fellow at Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, the largest property services workers union in the country. As a fellow, she represented the union in federal court litigation, in discharge and contract arbitrations and in NLRB unfair labor practice and representation cases.  She also served as a law fellow at Segal Roitman, a Boston-based labor and employment firm where she assisted in the representation of unions, individuals and benefit funds.

Ms. Singer is a 2015 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and a 2012 graduate of Brown University.  She is admitted in New York, Massachusetts and California.

Ms. Singer is fluent in Spanish.

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Kate M. Swearengen

Associate
kswearengen@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0272
Fax:646-473-8272
Bar Admissions:
New Jersey, New York

Kate Swearengen joined the firm in 2011.

Ms. Swearengen practices in the areas of labor and employment law.  She advises union clients primarily in the nursing, security, entertainment and social services sectors and in federal and municipal employment, and represents them in state and federal court litigation, administrative hearings and arbitral proceedings.  She also counsels and litigates on behalf of individual clients with respect to various employment matters.

She is a chapter editor of How to Take a Case Before the NLRB and The Developing Labor Law, both published by the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, and is a member of the Section’s Committee on Development of the Law Under the NLRA.  She is also a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association.

Ms. Swearengen was named as a Rising Star for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro 2017-2018 Annual List of Super Lawyers magazine.

Ms. Swearengen graduated from Columbia Law School in 2011.  In 2010, she was awarded a Peggy Browning Fellowship, through which she clerked at the union-side labor law firm Kennedy, Jennik & Murray, PC.  During law school, she also clerked at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, Region 2 of the National Labor Relations Board and in the legal department of the Communications Workers of America, District 1.

Ms. Swearengen graduated with honors from Princeton University in 2004.

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Joseph J. Vitale

Partner
jvitale@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0238
Fax:646-473-8238
Bar Admissions:
New York, District of Columbia, New Jersey

Joseph J. Vitale joined the firm in 1989 and became a partner in 1999.

Mr. Vitale has represented public and private sector labor unions in all aspects of litigation before federal, state and bankruptcy courts, arbitration boards, and federal government agencies, as well as in collective bargaining, union organizing campaigns, strategic planning, and union governance matters.

He also represents union-affiliated employee benefit plans in a wide variety of litigation.

Mr. Vitale graduated from Haverford College in 1985, working college summers at Greyhound Lines as a member of Local 1202, Amalgamated Transit Union. He graduated cum laude from Fordham Law School in 1989, where he served as a Commentary Editor of the Law Review.

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Melissa S. Woods

Of Counsel
mwoods@cwsny.com
Tel:212-356-0234
Fax:646-473-8234
Bar Admissions:
New Jersey, New York

Melissa S. Woods joined the firm in 2018.

Ms. Woods specializes in litigating labor and employment law matters before governmental agencies, and state and federal courts, on behalf of unions and individual employees. She also has extensive experience investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment, and creating and conducting anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training programs.

Prior to joining Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, Ms. Woods provided advice and counsel on various labor and employment related issues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Civil Rights Bureau of the NYS Attorney General’s Office, and Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. Most recently, Ms. Woods was the Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel at the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Ms. Woods is a former Co-Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, former Board Member of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and a former Trustee of Wesleyan University.

Ms. Woods graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in 1994. She received her law degree from George Washington University School of Law in 1998.