New York State Bar Association Announces New Section Chairs

By Brandon Vogel

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Six of the New York State Bar Association’s (NYSBA) sections have elevated new chairs this month to oversee efforts to improve laws, address professional development and sponsor continuing legal education courses in a variety of substantive fields. NYSBA has 27 sections, which range in size from 300 to more than 4,500 members.

Antitrust Law Section

Benjamin Sirota of New York City, who handles white-collar criminal matters, regulatory enforcement and internal investigations at Kobre & Kim, is the new chair. A 15–year NYSBA member, Sirota, who focuses on global competition issues, most recently served as the section’s vice-chair.

Sirota graduated from Princeton University and earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Corporate Counsel Section

Yamicha Stephenson of Brooklyn is a manager in the anti-money laundering and sanctions practice of the Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory group (Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics). She was previously an assistant district attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

An 8-year member of NYSBA, Stephenson was chair-elect of the section before being elevated to chair. She is a former treasurer and secretary of the section. She has chaired the section’s diversity internship committee.

Stephenson graduated from Boston College and earned her law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

Tax Section

Gordon Warnke is a principal at KPMG in New York City. He concentrates his practice in U.S. federal income tax considerations relating to domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, divestitures, joint ventures, restructurings, bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy workouts, consolidated returns, and foreign tax credit, basis, earnings and profits and other tax attribute matters.

A 36-year member of NYSBA, Warnke most recently served as first vice-chair of the section. Within the section, he has been a member of the consolidated returns, corporations, debt-financing and securitizations, financial instruments, inbound U.S. activities of foreign taxpayers, outbound foreign activities of U.S. taxpayers committee, and reorganizations committees.

Warnke graduated from the University of Alberta and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section

Michael P. O’Brien, a solo practitioner in New York City, is the new chair of the section. He concentrates his practice in civil litigation, primarily insurance defense/personal injury defense, as well as commercial litigation.

An 18-year member of NYSBA, O’Brien most recently served as vice-chair of the section. He also is a member of the dispute resolution and trial lawyers sections. O’Brien graduated from Providence College and earned his law degree from Suffolk University Law School.

Trial Lawyers Section

William S. Friedlander of Ithaca, a partner at Friedlander & Mosher, concentrates his practice in school violence and misconduct litigation, environmental litigation and nursing home abuse.

A 46-year member of NYSBA, Friedlander most recently served as vice-chair of the section. He also is a member of the 50+ Section and Elder Law and Special Needs Section, as well as the Task Force for Nursing Home and Long Term Care, serving as co-chair of its nursing home subcommittee.

Friedlander graduated from Boston University and earned his law degree from Stetson College of Law.

Trusts and Estates Law Section

Jennifer F. Hillman of Uniondale is a partner of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek. Her practice includes all manner of Surrogate’s Court proceedings including accounting proceedings, probate contests, discovery proceedings, and commercial litigation related to estates.

A 17–year member of NYSBA, Hillman most recently served as chairperson-elect of the section. Within the section, she served as chair of the estate litigation committee and co-chair of the government relations and legislation committee.

Hillman graduated from Marist College and earned her law degree from St. John’s University School of Law.

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