Helping Crime Victims Pursue Civil Justice

The NCVBA provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local area, and works to increase general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime.

Staff


 Jeff Dion

 Director, National Crime Victim Bar Association

  Jeff Dion has championed crime victims' rights for more than two decades.  Jeff     began advocating for victims in 1982, when his twenty-three year old sister,           Paulette, was murdered by a serial killer. Only 14 years old himself, Jeff pressed   the police for information on his sister's case and, after it was solved, decided to   pursue a career in law to help other crime victims.

  In honor of his sister's memory, Jeff lobbied the Virginia General Assembly, resulting in 13 victims' rights bills being enacted into law.  These statutes established a victim's right to be present in the courtroom, the right to offer oral impact testimony at sentencing, the right to confer with the prosecutor, a civil cause of action for stalking, an expanded civil statute of limitations for victims, and an expanded legal definition of "victim."

In 1998, Jeff joined the staff of the National Center for Victims of Crime, where he currently serves as the Director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.  In that capacity, he lectures throughout the country to foster greater communication and understanding among crime victims and trial attorneys.  He trains victim advocates in the application of civil litigation and instructs fellow attorneys in crime victim issues and services. Having trained advocates and attorneys in 37 states, Jeff is a nationally recognized expert with strong ties to direct service providers and leaders in the field of victim services.  In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Jeff worked with more than 1,500 victims and surviving family members to help them understand their rights, and he helped train more than 2,000 attorneys on the dynamics of victimization and understanding the special needs of survivors.

He previously served as a Governor's Fellow in the Office of the Virginia Attorney General, a Law Clerk to the Judges of Virginia's 17th Judicial Circuit, and a civil litigator with the firm of Hudgins, Carter & Coleman.

In 2002, he was appointed by Governor Mark Warner and in 2006 was re-appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board, which distributes Victims of Crime Act and Violence Against Women Act grant funds to local programs throughout the Commonwealth.  Jeff serves on the Victim Services Grant Review Committee, and is the Chairman of the Victim-Witness Issues Advisory Committee.

Jeff, who is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, serves on the Board of Directors of his local rape crisis center, Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy Service of Prince William County, Inc., which serves nearly 500 victims each year. He is a former board member and current advisory council member for the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children.

In 2005, Jeff was presented the Allies for Justice Award by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and was honored by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services as one of the individuals who has had the greatest impact on crime victims' rights in Virginia over the previous 10 years. In 2006, the Attorney General of the United States presented him with the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award. This award honors an outstanding individual whose leadership, vision, and innovation have led to significant changes in public policy and practice that benefit crime victims, and is one of the prestigious National Crime Victims' Rights Week Awards, which are the highest honors in the field of crime victim services.

Jeff earned both his undergraduate and law degree at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jane Lee, Director, Financial Crime Resource Center

Jane K. Lee is the Director of the Financial Crime Resource Center and a staff attorney with the National Crime Victim Bar Association, programs of the National Center for Victims of Crime. In these capacities, she conducts trainings in taking action against financial fraud as well as attorney referrals to victims.

 Previously, Jane worked as a financial services litigator representing financial institutions in State and Federal Courts throughout California. She has also worked on government projects, including the Independent Foreclosure Review as well as the Department of Justice’s litigation regarding the credit ratings of residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. Jane received her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and is a cum laude graduate of Tulane Law School. 

 


Laura Cook, Staff Attorney, National Crime Victim Bar Association

Laura Cook is a staff attorney and referral specialist with the National Crime Victim Bar Association. Laura has worked with the National Center since January of 2014 as an attorney referral specialist. She continues to provide attorney referrals, and also implements and develops training materials for the Financial Crime Resource Center.

Previously, Laura worked with victims of domestic violence in seeking protective orders, and also assisted the Philadelphia District Attorney with the prosecution of criminal offenses. During law school, she also worked in India with the Human Rights Law Network on a variety of human rights issues. Laura is a graduate of Temple Law School, and received her B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh.


Joanna Thomas, Program and Trainings Associate

Joanna Thomas serves as the Program and Training Associate for the National Crime Victim Bar Association. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a BA in English literature. Prior to joining the National Crime Victim Bar Association, she was involved in a number of non-profit initiatives alongside organizations like the Mended Hearts Inc. Ms. Thomas has worked to set up all training seminars, conferences, and program initiatives, as well as working as the point of contact for all members, since the start of 2013. At the University of Virginia, Ms. Thomas was on the Women's Varsity Swimming and Diving team and was an Olympic Trial Qualifier.


Advisory Board

 

Marc Lenahan, Esq., President

Marc Lenahan, Esq. joined our Advisory Board in 2008, and has been practicing crime victims’ law since his law school clerk days. Over those years, he has helped victims of mass-murder, child molestation, rape, corporate fraud & malfeasance, insurance fraud, civil rights abuses, assault, robbery, DWI, regulatory torts and, most commonly, intentional & criminally negligent homicide. He has achieved million-dollar results under the laws of Texas, Kentucky & Florida, and has received a list of awards that he calls “nonsense,” instead taking great pride in the photos, notes, letters and reviews from his clients. Marc believes that practicing crime victims law requires and fosters multidisciplinary skills unmatched by any other area of law. He frequently attributes his successes on behalf of crime victims to his study of centuries-old poetry while at the University of Texas, and his successes in other tort cases to his practice of crime victims law. Marc’s clients span the globe, and he and his team litigate cases in all parts of Texas from the Firm’s office in Dallas.

Stan Marks, Esq., President-Elect

Stan Marks, Esq., has been certified by the state of Arizona as a specialist in personal injury and wrongful death. Representing victims and survivors of crime has been his specialty since he began his legal career in 1965.  He is a founder and past chair of Arizona MADD, a founding member and past president of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.  He is a past president of the Arizona Trail lawyers Association, and a Charter Member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.  He presently serves on the Board and the Executive Committee of the Foundation for Burns and Trauma.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.  Stan is the managing partner of Begam, Lewis Marks and Wolfe in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jeffrey Anderson, Esq. is a nationally known trial lawyer and a pioneer in representing victims of sexual abuse across the country.  He and his firm of dedicated professionals use the civil justice system and the crucible of the courtroom to seek justice for those abused by clergy and other trusted professionals by trial and through public advocacy for child protection.  Jeff, a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, was named a Top 100 Lawyer in Minnesota, 2003 Lawyer of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer, and in Top 40 Personal Injury Lawyers and was recognized by William Mitchell College of Law as among the 100 Who Made a Difference.  This year he received the prestigious Steven Sharp Public Service Award by the American Association of Justice and was a finalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year by Public Justice Foundation for his advocacy in representing hundreds of survivors in Southern California.  Jeff is honored and inspired by the courage of survivors breaking the silence, knowing that together, every time we speak and act, children are protected across this nation.

Benjamin Andreozzi, Esq. After handling complex litigation matters at a large Philadelphia based law firm, Mr. Andreozzi decided to pursue his dream of starting a law practice that was dedicated to improving the lives of those who needed help the most. As the founder of Andreozzi & Associates, Mr, Andreozzi now focuses his practice on representing victims of crime, including those who are victims of sexual assault and molestation. He is experienced in providing legal counsel to children and their families as they struggle through the difficult times that follow a catastrophic event. He represents clients from across the country and has handled several high profile cases. As of the date of publication, Mr. Andreozzi is one of only two Harrisburg based attorneys to be recognized as members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive organization reserved for attorneys who have obtained an award of over $2,000,000 in a single case.

Leto Copeley, Esq. , one of the founding partners of the firm Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC in Durham North Carolina, has been litigating cases for plaintiffs in state and federal courts since 1984. She has substantial experience representing adult and child victims of sex abuse and sexual harassment committed by clergy, medical professionals, teachers, counselors and employers.  She also handles cases of workplace injury and mistreatment, personal injury and wrongful death.   She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and served as a law clerk to the Honorable James B. McMillan of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.  She has taught in continuing legal education programs sponsored by, among other groups, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar Association, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys and the American Bar Association. She currently serves as co-chair of the CLE Committee of the Litigation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and on the NCBA  Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Council.  Leto is listed in the Best Lawyers in America and in North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine, where she is was recently recognized as one of the top fifty women lawyers in North Carolina.  Leto is an active member of the Hillsborough, North Carolina Rotary Club, which is devoted to improving educational opportunities for the children in its area.

Edward Dudensing, Esq.- A former Deputy District Attorney for Sacramento County, Ed Dudensing formed his own law firm in 2003 to represent victims of nursing home neglect and abuse. Mr. Dudensing has handled scores of wrongful death cases and has achieved numerous seven figure recoveries for his clients.  Mr. Dudensing received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, Mr. Dudensing graduated the equivalent of magna cum laude from the University of California Davis Law School in 1994 where he earned several honors including the Order of Coif for academic excellence and the Order of the Barrister for excellence in oral advocacy. He also served as the Executive Editor to the UC Davis Law Review.

Mr. Dudensing’s law career began with a two year term as an attorney to the Honorable Robert C. Broomfield, the Chief Judge of the Federal District Court in Arizona, where he assisted the Court in drafting legal opinions on all civil matters before it. Mr. Dudensing then joined the international law firm of Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe, where he served as an associate in the business litigation department for three years. While at Orrick, Mr. Dudensing worked on a variety of high profile litigation matters.

In 1999, Ed Dudensing joined the Sacramento County District Attorneys’ Office. During his four years as a Deputy District Attorney, he successfully prosecuted cases involving charges of murder, attempted murder, rape, and child molestation, among many others.  Ed currently is a member of the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and the Nursing Home Litigation Group of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

Carmen L. Durso, Esq. is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, MA, the U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has been in practice for over 40 years, and has been an Assistant Attorney General, a Town Counsel in Boxborough, Tisbury and Medway, an Instructor at New England School of Law, a lecturer for the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, a Sustaining and Advisory Board member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and a board member of Massachusetts Citizens for Children.  In 2003, he was the recipient of the Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award.

Keith S. Franz, Esq. is a Sustaining member and past President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, has long been a crime victim advocate and is highly regarded for his compassionate representation in wrongful death and serious personal injury claims.  He has gained a national reputation in the field of complex injury litigation, and in particular airline crash litigation.   Consistent with his firm’s policy of taking on important victims’ rights causes, often without charge, Keith has provided substantial pro-bono assistance to victims’ advocacy groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Maryland Crime Victim Resource Center, and Bereaved Parents of the USA. Azrael, Gann & Franz has recently completed representation of several families touched by the horrors of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  Keith’s work on behalf of clients who died in each of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and on CBS, CNN, MSNBC and FOX networks and on numerous local broadcasts.  Keith has represented victims in many high-profile civil cases throughout the country, including multi-district complex litigation arising from aviation disasters.  His work has helped expand Maryland’s wrongful death statute.  Keith is regarded as a leading legal authority on victim’s rights and lectures frequently on the subject throughout the region.

Herbert J. Friedman, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Friedman Law Offices which represents clients throughout the state of Nebraska.  He regularly represents victims of child sexual abuse, nursing home abuse, drunk-driving crashes, sexual assault, and those whose victimization was the result of inadequate security. Mr. Friedman founded the firm in 1962 upon his return from service as a Legal Officer with the U.S. Army.  He is a past president of the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys and a member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice.  He also serves on the ethics committee of the Nebraska State Bar Association.  Herb Friedman is a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.  In 2005, the National Crime Victim Bar Association honored Mr. Friedman with its Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award in recognition of his extraordinary efforts in the case of Brandon v. County of Richardson, in which he represented the mother of Teena Brandon, whose brutal rape and murder were depicted in the movie, “Boys Don’t Cry.”  Herb Friedman was recently elected to serve as President of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest's Board of Directors.  Nebraska Appleseed is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest law project addressing social problems facing vulnerable children without permanent homes, low-income families, and new immigrants seeking a better life. Friedman has been a member of the Board since the organization's inception in 1996. Mr. Friedman earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Nebraska. 

Eilliot Glicksman, Esq. has been practicing law in Arizona since 1979. He is an AV rated lawyer and a certified specialist in Wrongful Death and Personal Injury. He is also listed in Best Lawyers in America under both personal injury law and consumer law. He is on the Advisory Board of Homicide Survivors, a support group for family members of homicide victims, and works closely with the local chapter of MADD. Mr. Glicksman has litigated dram shop cases, civil remedies for child abuse victims and civil remedies for families of homicide victims.

Michael A. Haggard, Esq., a Coral Gables, Florida native, distinguished himself in 25 trials working as an Assistant Public Defender before turning to personal injury law. After a year of practicing with a leading Miami personal injury firm, he joined Haggard & Parks, where he handles a broad array of cases, concentrating on pool drowning accidents, negligent security, wrongful death, unsafe premises, products liability, and insurance coverage matters. He has swiftly assumed positions of leadership in the Florida Justice Association and recently served as president of the Dade County Trial Lawyers Association. He is a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. He has gained a significant amount of national exposure after winning two back-to-back record setting $100 million verdicts in cases dealing with pool accidents involving children. He also obtained the first verdict in the nation dealing with the issue of cell phone distraction when he and his father, Wm. Andrew Haggard, won a $21 million verdict for Alicia Bustos in December of 2001. In 2001, Haggard was named partner of the firm.

Marci A. Hamilton, Esq. is one of the United States’ leading church/state scholars and holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.  She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press 2008) and God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law(Cambridge University Press 2005, 2007).  She has been a columnist on constitutional issues since 2000.  She has been a visiting professor at Princeton University, New York University School of Law, Emory University School of Law, and the Princeton Theological Seminary.
 
Professor Hamilton has served as constitutional and federal law counsel in many important clergy sex abuse and religious land use cases in state and federal courts, and has testified before numerous state legislatures regarding elimination of the statutes of limitations for childhood sex abuse.  She is frequently asked to advise Congress and state legislatures on the constitutionality of pending legislation and to consult in cases involving important constitutional issues.  She was lead counsel for the City of Boerne, Texas, in Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), before the Supreme Court in its seminal federalism and church/state case holding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act unconstitutional. 
 
Professor Hamilton clerked for Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. She also received her M.A. in Philosophy and M.A., high honors, in English from Pennsylvania State University, and her B.A., summa cum laude, from Vanderbilt University.  She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.

Melvin Hewitt, Esq. concentrates his practice on premises liability cases dealing primarily with victims of assault, rape and murder.  He has been recognized as a security expert in cases involving issues of negligent security, and has been a guest speaker at the National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA), National Organization for Victims Assistance (NOVA), Mealey’s Lexis-Nexis, the Georgia Criminal Justice Co-Ordinating Counsel, the Georgia Trial Lawyers and others.  He has appeared as a guest on Law Talk television, has made several appearances on radio programs dealing with victim issues, and has been accepted into the 'Million Dollar Advocates Forum'.  He has authored articles for Trial Magazine, Calendar Call and The Connection and has provided commentary for API on the rape shield law and the Kobe Bryant case.

John Elliott Leighton, Esq. is the managing partner of Leighton Law, P.A., a Miami and Orlando boutique trial law firm.  He is a board certified civil trial lawyer who specializes in catastrophic injury, Resort TortsTM, inadequate premises security/violent crime, motor vehicle, medical malpractice and product liability litigation.   A nationally recognized advocate for crime victims, Mr. Leighton has been a leader in the field of inadequate premises security litigation for over twenty years and is the author of the two volume book, Litigating Premises Security Cases (Thomson-West Publishing). It is the most comprehensive treatise on investigating, preparing, litigating and trying inadequate premises security cases and representing crime victims. He is the Chairman of the Inadequate Security Litigation Group of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America/American Association for Justice(AAJ), which he has chaired since 1996. He also sits on the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, where he is a sustaining member.

His trial in Jeffery v. Publix Super Markets, a landmark violent crime security case in Florida, was the subject of an entire chapter in the book Persuasive Jury Communication: Case Studies from Successful Trials, Chapter 10 (Shepard’s/McGraw-Hill, 1995).  In addition to lecturing nationally to attorney and general public audiences, Mr. Leighton has led training programs for crime victim advocates and lawyers throughout the country. He recently received the “Advocate of Justice Award” from the National Crime Victim Bar Association for his work on behalf of crime victims. Mr. Leighton is an accomplished author, having published numerous articles, books and book chapters on a variety of personal injury and trial skills topics. His writings have been featured articles in Trial magazine seven times. He is a frequent national lecturer at legal programs and conventions and has spoken and taught at seminars, colleges and conventions in over a dozen states. 

Mr. Leighton regularly chairs trial skills colleges and seminars for the National College of Advocacy/American Association for Justice (formerly Association of Trial Lawyers of America [ATLA]). He is a member of the National College of Advocacy Board of Trustees and past Chairman of ATLA’s Motor Vehicle, Highway and Premises Liability Section. He also currently serves as the Chairman of the Academy of Trial Advocacy, a national invitation-only organization of the country’s leading  catastrophic injury trial lawyers.  Having obtained some of the state’s largest verdicts and settlements in major personal injury and wrongful death cases, Mr. Leighton continues to represent families throughout Florida and selectively around the country. His verdict in Shoaf v. Geiling of $24.1 million was the largest verdict in Seminole County history.  The arbitration award of $8 million he obtained in Seetaram v. United Rentals is the largest known single death award in Broward County for a minor.  He is often called upon to handle serious violent crime/negligent security cases in other states, and has litigated and tried complex cases in Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Georgia, New York and North Carolina. Mr. Leighton’s victories on behalf of families who have lost loved ones to negligence have resulted in record setting wrongful death verdicts and settlements. 

Mr. Leighton has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, voted as one of the “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide for the last eight years, has been named a Florida SuperLawyer™ (and voted as one of the top 100 of all the state SuperLawyers), and has been elected to the Florida Trend magazine “Legal Elite” Top Lawyers in Florida by peer selection. He is rated as “10.0/10 - Superb” by AVVO.com and holds an AV rating (highest possible) by Martindale-Hubbell.  Mr. Leighton received his undergraduate and law degrees with honors from the University of Florida, where he was an editor of the Florida Law Review, competed on the Trial Team, and taught first year jurisprudence.

Jerry O’Neill, Esq. is a partner with the law firm of O’Neill Kellner & Green in Burlington, Vermont.  He currently devotes his practice exclusively to litigation on behalf of injured persons and their survivors, fraud and commercial matters.  He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney for District of Vermont before going into private practice. While with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he acted on behalf of the United States Department of Justice in using all remedies available under federal law to pursue wrongdoers whose conduct violated federal law. This included criminal cases, but also the use of civil forfeiture statutes to recover the proceeds of crimes and to deprive criminal defendants of the means they had used to commit crimes.  Since entering private practice he has used the civil justice system to purse individual and corporate criminals so as to obtain restitution from the wrongdoers for the injuries they have caused. This has included damages for physical crimes resulting in deaths or serious injuries caused by drunk drivers or the establishments that over served them as well as adult and child sexual abuse victims. He also has used the power of the civil justice system to recover losses brought about by wrongdoers who defrauded his clients.  He is a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, the International Society of Barristers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, a past president of the Vermont Association for Justice, serves on its Board of Governors, is a member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice, serves as a Trustee of AAJ Education’s National College of Advocacy and as is a past co-chair. He is the chairman of the Vermont Supreme Court Evidence Rules Committee, serves as an evaluator for the Early Neutral Evaluation Program for the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont and is a member of the U.S. District Court Advisory Committee. He currently serves on the Commission on Judicial Selection to assist in selecting a U.S. District Judge for Vermont, a role in which served in 1994 as well.  He is recognized by the American Association of Justice as Diplomate of Trial Advocacy and is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocates.  He has served as the chairman of the Burlington Police Commission since 1999.

Diana Santa Maria, Esq., was born in Havana, Cuba, came to South Florida as an infant, and was raised In Hollywood. She attended the University of Miami and graduated with honors, with a B.A. in English. Diana received her law degree in 1984 from the University of Miami School of Law where she represented the University of Miami in Moot Court and Mock Trial Competitions on the state wide level. In 1983 she won the Robert Orseck Memorial (State) Moot Court Competition Best Brief Award on behalf of the University of Miami and was named to the University of Miami School of Law's "Order of Barristers" awarded to the top ten law students of each graduating class based on leadership in trial and appellate advocacy.  Since being admitted to The Florida Bar in 1985, she has devoted her practice to the representation of persons injured as a result of the negligence of others. From 1985 until 1991 she practiced with one of the country's top personal injury law firms in the areas of Plaintiff's Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death, both on the trial and appellate levels. In 1991 Diana formed her own practice specializing in Plaintiff's Personal Injury and Wrongful Death. She is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a Sustaining Member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and she is AV rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.

Diana, who recently served a  4 year term as Commissioner on the State of Florida's Supreme Court judicial Nominating Commission and who has served as an adjunct Professor of Law at Nova Southeastern University Law Center, has been an active member of The Florida Bar and its Trial Bar. She has lectured and written on numerous legal topics within her field, to include Seven Steps to Effective Mediation published in the June, 1997 TRIAL magazine as well as Guideline for Handling Sexual Abuse of a Minor by a Public School Teacher, published as part of a National Conference by the National Crime Victim Bar Association in Washington, D.C. From 1996 - 2006 she served on the State of Florida's Trial Lawyer (Florida Justice Association) Board of Directors and also presently serves on the Florida Supreme Court's Commission on Professionalism as well as the Broward County Bar & Broward County Trial Lawyers Board of Directors.  Diana has been listed in Who's Who in American Law, The International Who's Who of Professionals and Outstanding Young Women of America. Aside from being a lawyer, Diana is a parent and has a particular interest in and sensitivity to protecting and preserving the rights of children and enhancing all aspects of public safety.

 

Past Presidents

Mary E. Alexander, M.P.H., J.D., San Francisco.  Principal, Mary Alexander and Associates, specializing in personal injury, products liability and business litigation.  J.D., University of Santa Clara; Master of Public Health, UC Berkeley.  Member: American Association for Justice (President, 2003); National Crime Victim Bar Association (President 2012); Roscoe Pound Institute  (President, 2005); Consumer Attorneys of California (President, 1996); American Board of Trial Advocates; College of Master Advocates & Barristers (Senior Counsel).  Prior to her legal career, she was engaged in scientific research in medical toxicology and was director of environmental health at the Stanford Research Institute.  Ms. Alexander has been repeatedly named one of the “Top 10 Trial Attorneys” in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle. The California Daily Journal named her one of the Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California and one of the Top 30 Women Litigators as well as one of the Top 50 Women Litigators.  She was named a Northern California Super Lawyer in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.  Most recently, she was elected to California State Bar Association’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.  She also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Victims of Crime. Ms. Alexander’s reputation for steadfast commitment to the protection of consumer rights is well-known throughout the United States and has an outstanding record of success and achievements.

Chester W. Fairlie, Esq. maintains his office in New London, Connecticut and concentrates his services on advocacy and representation for victims of crime. He has achieved very substantial settlements against drunk drivers and against the bars which served them too much alcohol. He represents adult and child survivors of childhood sexual abuse. In 2003 he achieved a substantial settlement against the Department of Children and Families on behalf of a child abused in a foster home. In 2001 one of his cases, in which he achieved a judgment of over one-million dollars, was the subject of a major story in Northeast Magazine of the Hartford Courant. Mr. Fairlie is a Co-ordinator of a Victim Recourse and Assistance Project which will provide free services to crime victims to explain victim participation in an offender’s criminal case, to help with applications to the Connecticut Crime Victim Compensation Board and to evaluate claims to determine if a civil suit for damages would be recommended. Mr. Fairlie is the current President of the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and he will be a Co-Chair along with Attorney Helen McGonigle of a seminar for attorneys on the topic of “Crime Victim Recourse and Assistance” to be presented by the Connecticut Bar Association in late May of this year.

Douglas E. Fierberg, Esq. specializes in wrongful death, serious personal injury, sexual assault, business and other complex civil disputes and litigation. Across the country, Doug has served as lead counsel for numerous young victims of hazing, sexual assault or other deadly, dangerous or violent misconduct in school or institutional (camp, juvenile mental health and other) settings. In his business practice, Doug has represented national and local businesses as outside General Counsel, and in the prosecution and defense of numerous types of claims, including breach of contract, employment or other business agreements, and commercial torts. Doug was President (2003-2004) of the National Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association ("NCVBA") and has continued serving as a member of the Board. NCVBA is comprised of lawyers and other professionals across the country who advocate for the rights of victims of crime, particularly with respect to victims' rights to utilize the civil justice system to seek compensation and protect their interests. 

Jeffrey P. Fritz, Esq., is a graduate of Widener University School of Law where he graduated cum laude in 1996.  He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with Soloff & Zervanos, located in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, PA & Cherry Hill, NJ.  He was named a "Rising Star" attorney by Philadelphia Magazine and Super Lawyers in 2005 & 2006 and "Best of the Best" (Reader's Choice) by South Jersey Magazine for crime victim representation. He is experienced in representing crime victims in civil litigation and is a charter member and advisory board member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA), a national organization of attorneys and professionals devoted to obtaining civil justice for crime victims.  He has authored articles on inadequate security published in Trial magazine, The Victim Advocate, & Victim Voice.  Mr. Fritz has lectured at the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Civil Justice Training for victim service providers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and at the National Crime Victims Bar Association’s National Conference in Washington, D.C. He has also lectured on civil justice for crime victims on behalf of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s statewide conference, "Pathways for Crime Victims", at the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Summit, and at the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Board Training for Attorneys Representing Crime Victims.  Mr. Fritz has represented victims and survivors of assault, sexual assault, incest, false imprisonment and drunk driving and homicide victims in claims for negligent and inadequate security involving hotels, private homes, apartment complexes, retail stores, schools, nightclubs and bars. He is currently representing the victims of convicted pedophile Benjamin Schragger in a civil lawsuit pending in Philadelphia County against the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a medieval reenactment/educational group which employed Mr. Schragger. 

Philip M. Gerson, Esq. is a board certified civil trial lawyer who has practiced law in Miami, Florida for more than 35 years. He holds an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected as one of the Top Lawyers by the South Florida Legal Guide. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Miami, Law School, where he was a member of the editorial board of the Law Review, Moot Court winner and student instructor in legal research and writing.   He is admitted to practice in all Florida courts, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits and the United States District Court for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida.  He is a sustaining member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and a member of the Miami-Dade County Bar Association, and Miami-Dade County Trial Lawyers Association. He is an EAGLE Patron of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.  Mr. Gerson is a Charter member and past President of the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victims Bar Association. He is a frequent lecturer and author on subjects relevant to his specialties. His practice is limited to plaintiffs’ personal injury and wrongful death cases with a focus on crime victims and third party liability for criminal acts, medical malpractice, defective products, brain injury and other complex litigation

Mark Mandell, Esq. graduated from Georgetown University Law Center receiving his J.D. in 1974, and has been in the practice since 1975.  Mr. Mandell is a partner at Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair, Ltd., and is listed in “The Best Lawyers of America.”  He has been a Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist with the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1993, and has been a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court since 1979.  Mr. Mandell has also been a member of the RI Supreme Court Ethics Advisory Panel since September 2004.  He has served as President of the RI Trial Lawyers Association from 1988-1990, the RI Bar Association from 1993-1994, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America from 1998 to 1999.  Mr. Mandell has been on the Advisory Board for Roger Williams University School of Law since January 2006, and is currently on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Victims of Crime.    He is the immediate past president of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and has organized and been a lecturer at the NCVBA’s annual national seminar on representing victims of crime. He has devoted a significant amount of his professional practice to representing victims of crime in cases involving drunk driving/dram shop liability, child abuse, rape and sexual assault, premises liability/negligent security, and assault. Mr. Mandell has written 21 articles in legal and medical publications.  He has given many lectures at hospitals and medical schools, including Harvard and Brown University.  He has been a guest speaker nationally and internationally on close to 400 occasions in approximately 40 states, Canada and Mexico.

Richard H. Middleton, Jr., Esq. is the senior shareholder at The Middleton Firm, L.L.C. in the firm's Savannah, Georgia office.  Mr. Middleton is a Past President of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.   He has also served  as President of the Roscoe Pound Institute, as a Trustee of the ATLA Permanent Endowment, and of ATLA PAC.  He is President Elect of the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.He is a Past-President of the Savannah Trial Lawyers Association, Past-President of the Georgia Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and also serves on its national Board of Directors. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the American Civil Trial Bar Roundtable, made up of all of the professional associations which touch upon civil litigation.  Mr. Middleton has been honored as a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys.  Most recently, he has been named the recipient of the ABA/TIPS award for outstanding service to the Plaintiff's bar, only the ninth lawyer in the country to receive this prestigious recognition. Mr. Middleton has spoken throughout the United States and Canada on civil trial matters and has served on the faculty of the National College of Advocacy and the Editorial Board of the Maritime Law Reporter. He has testified extensively before Senate and House of Representatives= Committees in Congress on tort reform issues and has appeared on numerous network and cable programs regarding issues of importance to the trial bar. 

Erin K. Olson, Esq, a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, specializes in the representation of victims of child sexual abuse and elder financial abuse in both civil and criminal courts.  She has litigated dozens of clergy sexual abuse cases against the Archdiocese of Portland and various religious orders, as well as child sexual abuse cases against individuals, private secular organizations, and governmental entities such as school districts and the Oregon Youth Authority.  She often represents her civil clients' interests in the criminal prosecutions of their abusers, and occasionally is called upon to represent victims and witnesses in criminal cases when their constitutional or statutory rights are not being honored.  Erin spent the first ten years of her legal career as a prosecutor, working for the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon, and the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.  During her four years with the Massachusetts Attorney General in its Insurance Fraud Division, Erin was lead counsel in the prosecution of the principals, employees, and associated medical practitioners of the state's largest personal injury law firm, successfully defending a challenge to the prosecution before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court based on the defendants' assertion that the victims' funding of the Insurance Fraud Division through a statutory assessment against all insurers violated their constitutional right to a disinterested prosecutor.  More recently, Erin co-wrote an amicus brief filed with the Oregon Supreme Court by the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and the National Crime Victims Law Institute in State v. David O. Burleson, arguing that a trial court judge's refusal to order a dental surgeon to disclose the identity of victims who were sexually abused by an anesthesiologist while sedated deprived the victims of their rights under Oregon law.  Erin was raised in Madras, Oregon, and has a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Rebecca Roe, Esq. served as a Senior Deputy Prosecutor in the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in Seattle from 1981 to 1994 prior to joining Schroeter Goldmark & Bender (SGB). Most of those years she was the Supervising Attorney of the Special Assault Unit. Rebecca is a nationally recognized leader in the prosecution of crimes affecting women and children. In 1993, she was the first public sector attorney to receive the King County Bar Association Outstanding Lawyer Award.  Since joining SGB in 1994, Rebecca has focused on personal injury cases for victims of violent crime and sexual assault as well as employment law with particular emphasis on wage and hour class actions, sexual harassment, and discrimination.  Rebecca is a Sustaining member and President-elect of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, which recognized her commitment to serving victims of crime by presenting her with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.