Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP (CWS) is pleased to announce that the firm has elected two new partners and promoted an attorney to Of Counsel, effective January 1, 2020. “We congratulate our new partners and our new of-counsel attorney on this well-deserved achievement,” said Joseph Vitale, Chair of the firm’s Management Committee. “Kate, Melissa and Cristina all exemplify the excellence, professionalism and collegiality we strive for at CWS, and we look forward to their continued contributions.”
Kate M. Swearengen joined the firm as an associate in 2011 and became a partner in 2020. Ms. Swearengen practices in the areas of labor and employment law. She represents unions in state and federal court litigation, administrative hearings, arbitral proceedings and collective bargaining. 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 American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law, and is a member of the Section’s Committee on Development of the Law Under the NLRA. Ms. Swearengen was selected to participate in the 2019 class of the Section’s Leadership Development Program and is also a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association. She speaks and writes frequently on labor and employment law developments affecting workers and their unions.
Ms. Swearengen was named as a Rising Star for Employment and Labor Law on the New York Metro 2017-2019 Annual Lists of Super Lawyers magazine. She graduated from Columbia Law School in 2011 and with honors from Princeton University in 2004.
Melissa S. Woods joined the firm as Of Counsel in 2018 and became a partner in 2020. 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 represents unions in employer bankruptcy proceedings.Ms. Woods leads the firm’s sexual harassment prevention practice, where she shares her extensive experience investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment, providing legal and strategic advice on policy matters, and creating and conducting discrimination and harassment prevention training.
In 2019, Ms. Woods was inducted as a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, an organization that recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in the field.
Prior to joining CWS, 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 another union-side labor law firm in New York City. Most recently, Ms. Woods was the Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel at the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Ms. Woods is a member and former Co-Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law, 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, and received her law degree from George Washington University School of Law.
Cristina Gallo joined the firm as an associate in 2018 and became Of Counsel in 2020. 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 CWS, Ms. Gallo was an associate with two other union-side labor law firms in New York City, where she also practiced in the labor and employee benefits areas.
Ms. Gallo attended UCLA School of Law on a public interest merit scholarship and graduated in 2010 with honors and with specializations in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies. During law school, she served as the 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 Africana Studies.