January 29, 2010


Court of Appeals Judge Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and Theodore V. Wells Jr. among those recognized

NEW YORK - The New York State Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section presented its Awards for Outstanding Achievement to seven leaders who have made an outstanding contribution in the criminal justice field. The awards were presented on January 28 during the State Bar Association's Annual Meeting at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. Court of Appeals Judge Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick and Theodore V. Wells, co-chair of Paul Weiss' Litigation Department, were among the honorees. Criminal Justice Section Awards Committee Chair Norman P. Effman of Buffalo (Wyoming County Public Defender) and Section Chair James P. Subjack of Fredonia presented this year's awards.

"This year's winners of the Criminal Justice Section awards have all worked determinedly to enhance public confidence in the criminal justice system with astute advocacy, tireless devotion to service and an inspiring commitment to equal justice under the law," said State Bar President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City). "We are thrilled to recognize their outstanding work, and I congratulate them on a job well done."

"All seven honorees have contributed their great talents to make our criminal justice system more responsive to the people of New York. In different ways, all the Criminal Justice Section awardees have helped make our system fairer and better for all," said Subjack. "We are proud to honor them for their achievement and thank them for their service.

Award categories and recipients are:

• The Vincent E. Doyle Jr. Award for Outstanding Jurist: Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, senior associate judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, New York, has enjoyed a long and groundbreaking career. Judge Ciparick has served on Court of Appeals since January 1994 when she made history by being the first Hispanic to serve on this state's highest court.  She began her career in service when she was appointed a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society in New York City in 1967. In 1969, she became an assistant counsel for the Judicial Conference of the State of New York; in 1972, chief law assistant of the New York City Criminal Court, and in 1974, counsel in the office of the New York City Administrative Judge. In 1978, she was appointed judge of the New York City Criminal Court where she was the first Puerto Rican woman to serve on New York's bench while also being one of the state's youngest judges. In 1982, Ciparick was first elected to the New York State Supreme Court where she served until her appointment to the Court of Appeals. 

• The Charles F. Crimi Memorial Award for Outstanding Private Defense Practitioner: Theodore V. Wells, Jr. Esq., Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York. A partner and co-chair of Paul Weiss' Litigation Department, Theodore V. Wells, Jr. has extensive litigation experience in white-collar criminal defense, complex civil and corporate litigation, SEC regulatory work, FCPA investigations, environmental matters and class action litigation. In one of the largest civil fraud jury trials of the last decade, Wells successfully defended Citigroup in a five-month civil jury trial where it was alleged that Citigroup aided and abetted in the massive fraud at Parmalat, the Italian dairy and food corporation. The jury rejected the $2 billion damages claim against Citigroup and awarded Citigroup $364 million on its counterclaim.

• The David S. Michaels Memorial Award for Courageous Efforts in Promoting Integrity in the Criminal Justice System: Erin P. Gall, Esq., Oneida County Court. The principal court attorney to Hon. Barry M. Donalty, Gall is a tireless advocate for improved treatment of sexual assault victims and their families. A sexual assault survivor herself, she has bravely spoken out in public forums and at rape crisis centers. She has devoted a great deal of time training law enforcement personnel to be sensitive to the assault victims' special needs.

• The Michele S. Maxian Award for Outstanding Public Defense Practitioner: Claudia S. Schultz, Esq. Noted for her unwavering commitment to equal protection under the law through the guaranteed right to adequate counsel, Schultz serves as the deputy administrator for the Assigned Counsel Program in the Erie County Bar Association Aid to Indigent Prisoners Society.  The program provides representation for those who are unable to afford a lawyer in criminal cases, Family Court, parole-related issues, and appellate cases.

• Outstanding Appellate Practitioner: Barbara D. Underwood, Esq., Solicitor General, New York. Underwood was appointed solicitor general of the State of New York by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on January 2, 2007. Before her present position, Underwood was counsel to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from June 2003-January 2007 after serving seven years as the district's Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney. In Washington, Underwood was the Acting Solicitor General of the United States from January to June 2001. She also served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States from March 1998 to January 2001. Underwood has argued 16 cases in the United States Supreme Court and has extensive appellate experience in the federal and state courts of appeals. Before her work in the federal government, she served in executive positions in the Queens and Brooklyn District Attorneys' Offices, supervising appellate litigation and other matters, after beginning her public career as a trial attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

• The Outstanding Prosecutor: Stephen F. Lungen, Esq., Sullivan County District Attorney, Monticello. Recognized for his unwavering commitment to justice, Lungen has served as the Sullivan County District Attorney for close to three decades. He is a past president of the Sullivan County Bar Association and a faculty member at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, serving as an instructor in their intensive trial advocacy program.

• Outstanding Contribution to Public Information: John Caher, director of public information, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Albany. Caher has been the director of public information since 2007 where he has handled hundreds of criminal justice information requests from the media, law enforcement, and the defense bar. He previously served as the Albany bureau chief for the New York Law Journal and was a state editor of the Albany Times Union.

Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.