Renee E. WIlliams, Esq.
Gabrielle R. Alessi-Friedlander, Esq
John Leighton, Esq. is the managing partner of Leighton Law, P.A., with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is a board certified civil trial lawyer who specializes in catastrophic injury, inadequate premises security/violent crime, sexual abuse, car/truck crash, medical malpractice and resort and vacation injury litigation. Mr. Leighton has been a leader in the field of inadequate premises security litigation for over 30 years and is the author of the two volume text, Litigating Premises Security Cases (Thomson-West Publishing). He is President-elect of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and Chairman of the Inadequate Security Litigation Group of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America/American Association for Justice (AAJ). 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 has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2008, voted as one of the “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide for the last 14 years, has been named a Florida SuperLawyer™ (and voted as one of the top 100 of all the state SuperLawyers), chosen as “Attorney of the Year” by Orlando Style magazine, and has been elected to Florida Trend magazine’s “Florida 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.
Konrad Kircher, Esq. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland in 1984 and then served five years as an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps. Upon receiving an Honorable Discharge from the Marines as a Captain in 1989, Konrad attended the University of Dayton School of Law on a full scholarship. During law school, he served two years as a law clerk for Hon. John M. Meagher in Montgomery County, Ohio. Konrad was admitted to the bar in Ohio in 1992 and to Kentucky in 1995. He has focused his practice in recent years on the representation of child sex abuse victims and other crime victims. Konrad has appeared in the Ohio Supreme Court in four separate cases on behalf of child sex abuse victims, administratively supported the landmark successful prosecution of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2003 for failing to report crimes against children, and was involved in monumental legislation in 2005-2006 which extended the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims. He is a partner in the law firm of Rittgers & Rittgers, headquartered in Lebanon, Ohio, but practices throughout the State of Ohio. Konrad is on the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association and is Co-Chair of its Child Sex Abuse Section. He is also an active member of the Ohio Association of Justice and is on its Legislative Committee. But Konrad is most proud of his five daughters, ages 17 to 26, who constantly remind him that he will never retire.
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.
Dan Chamberlain is an AV-rated, Board Certified attorney licensed in Indiana, North Carolina and, Arizona. Many know about Dan’s extensive work related to traumatic brain injury victims and other cases involving severe psychological or physical harm. Dan is a past President of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association and the Brain Injury Association of America. Dan’s clients include those that are catastrophically injured or killed and their families. The client comes first, and Dan provides a personal contact number for after-hour emergencies.
Dan’s areas of expertise also include trucking litigation, sexual abuse, TBI, orthopedic injury, construction site falls, birth injury, car crash, and other claims that devastate the lives of individuals and their families. He serves on the Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, a group dedicated to addressing the harm caused by criminals.
Dan has been recognized by Superlawyers for 15 consecutive years, recognized in Best Lawyers USA and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
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.
Brad Edwards, Esq. is a nationally recognized Board Certified Civil Trial attorney who specializes in providing civil representation for children, victims of sexual abuse, and victims of violent crimes.
While he focuses on representing children and crime victims, his range as a trial lawyer is much broader. Brad has tried a broad range of cases before Judges and juries, from complex class actions to personal injury and wrongful death. Brad has represented victims of sexual abuse and violent crimes in state and federal courts across the country. Most importantly, he has passionately upheld the rights of crime victims throughout his legal career.
Before entering private practice, Brad began his legal career at the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, where he became a lead trial attorney prosecuting many violent criminals. After leaving the State Attorney’s Office, Brad has continued to devote his practice and his life to fighting for the rights of crime victims, oftentimes in complicated and hotly contested complex civil jury trials. Brad has built a reputation for successfully handling the “civil” litigation aspect of these types of cases and oftentimes producing valuable evidence and information to prosecutors, who then can pursue the criminal case on behalf of the victims. Brad is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, the highest designation of competence by the Florida Bar, and he has tried more than 75 jury trials.
Despite his busy trial schedule, Brad provides hundreds of hours of pro bono services and educational presentations each year to Victims Advocate Services and victims’ rights groups in Broward County, Palm Beach County, and throughout the country. Brad is currently pursuing a precedent setting case in Federal Court, on a pro bono basis, on behalf of young girls who were sexually molested by a well-connected billionaire, wherein he is litigating to uphold the rights of victims under Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
Brad has been profiled in The Best Lawyers in America, recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association’s “Top 40 Under 40,” and by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorney’s Top 10 Under 40. In 2015, the National Association of Distinguished Counsel selected Brad as one of the Nation’s Top One Percent. In 2016, Brad was recognized for obtaining one of the Top 50 US Verdicts in all practice areas for a high profile sexual abuse case that he litigated in Federal Court in Chicago, Illinois. He was also recognized in the Daily Business Review Top Florida Verdicts & Settlements in 2011 and 2012 for separate elarge jury verdicts. Brad is rated AV by his professional peers through the Martindale-Hubbell © Peer Review Rating system. According to Martindale-Hubbell, the “AV” rating of “Very High to Preeminent” legal ability is a testament from peer legal professionals of the highest level of professional excellence and of unquestionable ethics. He has also been selected as a Top Rated Lawyer by ALM & Martindale-Hubbell. Brad has also been certified as a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Nicole Gorovsky, Esq is from Rochester, NY. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and was in the Honors College. Nicole attended law school at Washington University School of law. There she had a Scholar in Law Scholarship. Following law school in 2001, Nicole worked at the Missouri Attorney General’s Office under Jay Nixon. There, she was nominated for a David Dixon Award in Appellate Advocacy. Nicole then worked for the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office in Columbia, Missouri. She was an integral part in creating the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force; she sat on the local Child Fatality Review Board; and she was active in the Rainbow House Child Advocacy Center and the local Domestic Violence Shelter.
In 2007, Nicole became a Federal Prosecutor for the Southern District of Illinois. She was presented there with multiple awards from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Department of Justice for her work. Nicole then switched to working in private practice. She went to the law firm of Chackes Carlson and represented victims of crime for six years.
Nicole has tried many cases and is excited to be at Burger Law. She sits on the Board of Directors of Your Words STL which is an organization dedicated to tutoring at risk youth. She also does pro bono work for the St. Louis County Family Court, and is active in the National Crime Victims Bar Association.
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.
Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor as well as a founding partner and head of the crime victim department in the Philadelphia law firm of Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLP where he leads a team made up entirely of former prosecutors who devote one hundred percent of their practice to representing victims of crime. Mr. Kent has nearly 15 years of legal experience specializing in crime victim cases and has taken on several high profile cases, including representing survivors of Jerry Sandusky, priest abuse as well as Judge William Bradley – a case that resulted in Judge Bradley’s removal from the bench, disbarment and admission to the abuse as part of the settlement. Mr. Kent’s representation of women across the country against massage franchise chain Massage Envy led to a Buzzfeed investigation and article regarding the company’s practices in covering up sexual assaults at its franchise locations which ultimately resulted in the company making changes to its policies and procedures to prevent assaults in the future as well as the implementation of a “safety team.”
Early on in his career, Brian was one of only 35 attorneys in the state of Pennsylvania to be named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track.” Since then, he has received a Top Lawyer rating from Super Lawyers every year. Brian has a Masters of Law in Trial Advocacy from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and currently serves as an adjunct professor at Drexel University Kline School of Law teaching advanced trial advocacy. He has served as an expert in sexual abuse and assault cases on several local and national news networks and programs and trains institutions and individuals on sexual abuse and assault prevention and investigations. Mr. Kent has served as a volunteer attorney for the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project for the past ten (10) years and founded his own charity “A Week Without Worry” that provides fun and exciting trips to abused children and their families.
Laurie received her Bachelors and her J.D. from Duke University. Laurie has been in practice since 1991, starting out on the defense side of tort cases and migrating to the plaintiff’s side. She is the 2019-2020 President of the Oklahoma Association of Justice. She is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Now, Laurie is in solo private practice representing victims of crime in civil cases, with a particular focus on sexual abuse and assault. She has offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
She is a graduate of the Trial Lawyers College three week program and the Assistant Dean of Advanced Voir Dire for the Keenan Trial Institute. She started the Women Trial Lawyer’s Collective which sponsors annual mindfulness retreats for women lawyers so that women can connect to each other and practice voice technique, personal awareness, and other skills. Laurie is also co-author of Her Voice in Law, to be published by the American Bar Association in 2020.
Paul Mones, Esq. has been a leading nationwide advocate for victims of child abuse for over thirty years, representing hundreds of people who had been sexually abused as children by their Boy Scout leaders, priests, ministers, coaches, employers, teachers, guidance counselors as well as by their parents and guardians. He has been at the forefront of representing Boy Scout victims of sexual abuse. In 2010 he and his co-counsel obtained the largest verdict ever against the Boy Scouts of America – $19.9 million – against the Boy Scouts of America. The trial represented the first time that the Boy Scouts’ ‘Perversion Files’ – confidential files maintained by the BSA on pedophiles – were admitted into evidence. The perversion files were finally publicly released in 2012 to national and international news coverage.
Paul has also represented numerous victims of Catholic clergy abuse throughout the nation. In 2000, he and his co-counsel tried the first sexual abuse case to a jury against the Archdiocese of New York (the case settled during trial).In 2007, he and his co-counsel obtained an $11.45 million award against the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York on behalf of two victims –the largest verdict rendered against a Diocese in New York.
Seattle attorney Michael T. Pfau has practiced law for more than 25 years. He has tried over 50 cases to juries, the bench, and arbitration panels. Michael attended Boston College, graduated magna cum laude, and earned a number of other academic honors. After Boston College, Michael attended Michigan law school and graduated in 1991. He has been named a perpetual “Super Lawyer” by Law and Politics magazine, receiving that honorable distinction every year since 2003. He is peer rated AV Preeminent. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Michael has dedicated a large part of his practice to representing victims of childhood sexual abuse against sexual predators and the institutions that employ and protect them. Michael has had tremendous success prosecuting claims of child sexual abuse in a number of different states and jurisdictions. In this endeavor, Michael has been lead counsel for hundreds of victims of sexual abuse in lawsuits against the Catholic church, the Mormon church, the Boy Scouts of America, and other institutions responsible for child sex abuse.
Michael has been involved in a number of the nation’s large Catholic bankruptcy settlements, including the Dioceses of Spokane and Milwaukee and those involving the Jesuit order and the Irish Christian Brothers.
Michael was also involved in a lawsuit on behalf of three minor girls sexually trafficked on the website Backpage.com, the largest online marketer of prostitutes in the United States. His clients obtained a landmark victory in the Washington State Supreme Court, and he now represents clients who were human trafficking victims on Backpage in cases in Washington, California, Texas, Hawaii, Illinois, Alabama, and New York.
David M. Ring, Esq. was named California Lawyer’s 2015 “Personal Injury Attorney of the Year” for his record-setting settlement of $14 million on behalf of two women who were sexually abused by their science teacher in the 1990s. The settlement is recorded as the largest per victim settlement paid by any school district in the nation. Also, in 2015, Vanity Fair referred to David Ring as “California’s go-to attorney for sexual abuse victims” in a detailed tell all of the horrendous negligence on behalf of Marlborough School, a prestigious all-girls school in Los Angeles, involving sexual abuse allegations against a former English teacher. David Ring is a nationally renowned plaintiff’s personal injury trial attorney and has obtained multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of seriously-injured individuals or families who have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. For more than 20 years, he has represented victims of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, assault, molestation and sexual misconduct in cases against a variety of employers and entities, including schools, churches and youth organizations. He prides himself on providing aggressive, yet compassionate representation for children who have been sexually abused and women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. He also handles other major personal injury cases, including wrongful death, serious motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents, construction site accidents, product liability, premises liability, and employment actions involving discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination. David has consistently been included on the prestigious list of The Best Lawyers in America, and is named to the list of Southern California Super Lawyers as well as to its “Top 100 Lawyers in Southern California” list for several consecutive years.
Paul Slager, a Connecticut attorney, has served on the NCVBA Advisory Board since 2015. He represents plaintiffs across Connecticut in complex, high-value cases, where people have suffered life-changing personal or financial injuries. His cases stem from catastrophic events involving medical malpractice, sexual abuse and exploitation, violent crimes, interstate trucking and other serious crashes, defective consumer products, and consumer fraud.
Paul has represented victims and survivors of some of Connecticut’s most notorious violent crimes. He has handled civil cases on behalf of: the family of Annie Le, a Yale University Ph.D. student who was murdered while doing research in a Yale facility; Mary Margaret Farren, who was seriously injured in a brutal attack by her husband, former Deputy White House Counsel, in an act of domestic violence; a mother and her children who were attacked and sexually assaulted at gunpoint in the Stamford Marriott parking garage; and, the survivor of the highly publicized home invasion, strangulation, and sexual attack at the Willow Springs Condominiums in New Milford. Paul also has represented numerous child victims and adult survivors of child sexual abuse against institutions including Boy Scouts of America, public and private schools, the Roman Catholic Church, and other responsible institutions. In 2014, Paul attained an award of more than $12 million on behalf of an adult survivor of sexual abuse after a jury trial against Boy Scouts of America in Waterbury, Connecticut.
As a result of his advocacy for victims of domestic violence, in 2015 Paul was named a First 100 Plus Leader by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In 2019, he was named to the State of Connecticut General Assembly’s Task Force to study whether the statute of limitations should be extended for Connecticut victims of child sexual abuse. Paul is currently the President of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, a bar association serving over 1,300 member Connecticut trial attorneys. He is the only attorney to have three different cases inducted as winners in the Connecticut Law Tribune’s Personal Injury Hall of Fame, and he has been listed by Connecticut Super Lawyers as one of the Top 10 Connecticut Attorneys.
David Thiruselvam, Esq. is a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and is an active advocate for victims of crime. Mr. Thiruselvam has been practicing law for the past twenty ﬁve years. After ten years of practicing criminal defense in Philadelphia, he represented insureds of a national insurance company. After working for a couple of private personal injury law ﬁrms, Mr. Thiruselvam started his own law practice in 2007,which is devoted almost exclusively to ﬁnding civil remedies for victims of crime in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Many of the clients he has represented have been victims of shootings, stabbings, beatings, rape and sexual assault. He has also represented many juvenile victims in assault and sexual assault cases. Mr. Thiruselvam’s practice aggressively pursues compensation for his clients and he has tried over ﬁfty jury trials to verdict.
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.
Leto Copeley, one of the founding partners of the firm Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC in Durham North Carolina, currently serves as President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. Leto handles cases in state and federal court, and has substantial experience representing adult and child victims of sex abuse and sexual harassment committed by clergy, medical professionals, teachers, massage therapists, counselors and employers. She also handles cases of serious 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 continuing legal education programs sponsored by, among other groups, the National Crime Victim Bar Association, the American Advocates for Justice, the American Bar Association, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and the North Carolina Bar Association. She currently serves on the NCBA Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section Council, and was appointed by NC Governor Roy Cooper to serve on the Governor’s Crime Commission. Leto is listed in the Best Lawyers in America and in North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine, where she has been recognized as one of the top fifty women lawyers in North Carolina.
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.
Jeffrey P. Fritz, Esq. is experienced in representing crime victims on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, molestation, murder and assault. He represented multiple victims of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky in claims against Penn State University for child sexual abuse, as well as victims of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and comedian Bill Cosby. He was a member of the Tropicana Casino & Hotel garage collapse trial team, which obtained the largest construction accident settlement in U.S. history, totaling $101 million.
He is a member of the bar in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has been admitted pro hac vice in other jurisdictions. He is also a charter member, advisory board member and past president (2010 & 2011) of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. He has also been named a 2005 & 2006 “Rising Star” by Philadelphia Magazine and Super Lawyers and “Best of the Best” by South Jersey Magazine for crime victim representation.
Jeffrey P. Fritz has authored several articles regarding civil justice for crime victims in national publications such as Trial Magazine, The Victim Advocate and Victim Voice. He has provided commentary on crime victims’ rights to the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and has appeared on NBC, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, Fox-29 & truTV. He has trained crime victim service providers in obtaining civil justice on behalf of the National Center for Victims of Crime/National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA) and has been an invited lecturer on behalf of the NCVBA, American Association for Justice (AAJ), New Jersey’s Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association regarding crime victim representation.
Philip M. Gerson, Esq. is a board certified civil trial lawyer who has practiced law in Miami, Florida for more than 47 years. 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, a Moot Court winner and student instructor in legal research and writing. Mr. Gerson 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. Mr. Gerson is a sustaining member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Dade County Bar Association, and the Dade County Trial Lawyers Association. He is also an EAGLE patron of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and has served on the Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee, Professionalism Committee and was chairman of a Grievance Committee. Mr. Gerson currently serves on the Board of Directors at St. Thomas University School of Law. He has been a Guest Lecturer on Responsibility and Remedies for Torts for School Administrators, Florida International University; American Society for Industrial Security, Liability for Crime Because of Negligent Security; an Instructor for Hospitality Security Officers Training Program, Barry University and other prestigious programs. Mr. Gerson was the founding board president for the National Crime Victim Bar Association Mr. Gerson is a partner at Gerson & Schwartz, PA and limits his practice to plaintiffs injury and death cases, with a focus on third party liability for criminal acts, maritime accidents, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and other complex litigation.
Compassionate, empathetic and a fervent advocate for victims of crime, Michael Haggard has dedicated his career to the pursuit of justice on behalf of his clients inside and outside of the courtroom. Haggard has secured unprecedented awards for his clients, and as an activist, he continuously lobbies for permanent solutions and change through local, statewide and federal legislation. Specializing in pool drowning, negligent security, wrongful death, unsafe premises and products liability, Haggard has established himself as a powerful force locally and nationally in the Legal Community as the Managing Partner of The Haggard Law Firm. After spending time as a Public Defender and working with a small personal injury firm, he joined The Haggard Law Firm and was named a partner in 2001.
He soon captured national headlines as the only plaintiff’s personal injury attorney to secure three separate $100 million dollar verdicts on behalf of individual clients. Haggard secured two consecutive $100 million verdicts on behalf of children involved in pool accidents. Several years later, a third $100 million verdict was awarded by a jury in a negligent security case, deemed the largest of its kind for that genre of case law.
Ultimately, Haggard hopes to give victims the tools and resources to help rebuild their lives. By convincing a judge or jury to hold those responsible accountable he gives victims and their families a sense of justice and comfort that another family won’t have to go through this same tragedy. Devoted to his clients, Haggard has received numerous awards for his time and dedication earning him recognition as one of the most highly regarded personal injury attorneys in the country. In 2017, he was awarded the Florida Justice Association’s highest honor, the Perry Nichols Award and was named Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers of America. He has also been honored to receive the Advocate of Justice Award from the National Crime Victims Bar Association, has been twice named a Most Effective Lawyer by the Daily Business Review, and is annually recognized as a Florida Trend Legal Elite Lawyer, a Florida Top 100 Super Lawyer and one of the Best Lawyers in America.
Professional achievements aside, Haggard is also fiercely dedicated to a myriad of worthy causes. He believes that attorneys have an obligation to give back to the community. Leading by example, he serves as an Adviser for the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, is a Board Member of the National Center for Victims of Crime, and is the Past President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. Closest to his heart, however, Haggard sits on the National Board of the Polycystic Kidney Foundation. Passed genetically, this disease has affected many members of his family, as well as Haggard himself. He received a kidney transplant from his brother-in-law in 2016, and now dedicates his time and talents to raising awareness of living donor transplants.
Outside the office, Haggard is not only a philanthropist, but also a dedicated father. He enjoys spending time with his wife Bekki, watching his son play high school football, and attending his daughter’s track meets and lacrosse games.
Marc Lenahan, Esq., served as the 2014 President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, and has been a Member of the Board continuously since 2008.
In 2018, the National Center for Victims of Crime asked Marc to serve as the permanent Chairman of the National Compassion Fund, which it developed in partnership with victims and family members from past mass casualty crimes, including those from Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Oak Creek Temple, NIU, Columbine, and 9/11. The National Compassion Fund provides a single, trusted way for the public to donate directly to victims of a mass crime, such as a shooting or terrorist attack. After the El Paso tragedy in 2019, the FBI advised any members of the public seeking a scam-free way of donating to the victims to do so through the National Compassion Fund.
Marc represents victims of terrorism internationally, 18-wheeler victims all across the continental United States, and victims of crime, wrongful death, and severe injuries Texas-wide from his firm’s Dallas headquarters.
Marc’s litigation on behalf of his clients has been covered nationally because of the significance of the cases, and because his clients empower him to use their tragedies to go beyond the courtroom to make nationwide changes in safety practices. He clients have spanned five continents of the globe, he has sought justice for injuries occurring in every single state, and he is believed to have achieved record results in more than one county for the kind of case at issue.
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.
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.
Erin K. Olson, Esq., has been a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association since 2004 and a member of the Advisory Board since 2009. Now semi-retired, she is a pro bono lawyer for crime victims in criminal cases, serves as a litigation fiduciary for vulnerable crime victims, and trains and assists other lawyers who represent crime victims. She is a member of NCVBA’s Amicus Committee, and is a proud co-founder of the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center, a nonprofit opened in 2009 that represents crime victims. Erin spent the first ten years of her legal career as a prosecutor, working for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon; the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon; and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Erin was raised in Madras, Oregon, and has a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University, an M.S. in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut. She is also a National Certified Guardian.
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.
Young Lawyers Council
Attorney Kevin Biniazan joined Breit Cantor as a full-time associate in 2017. Never shy to take a case to trial, Kevin has won a successful verdict in 75% of the cases he’s presented to jurors. On average, these verdicts exceeded the final settlement offers by more than five times. Between jury trials and settlements, Kevin personally secured more than $14 million for his clients in his first two years of practice.
Kevin has been recognized as a Rising Star for 2019 by Virginia Super Lawyers®. In addition, Kevin is a member of the American Association for Justice’s 2019 Leadership Academy. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia.
Kevin believes individuals who have been wrongfully injured deserve the most dedicated, passionate, and tireless attorneys who will fight for their interests against large corporations, organizations, and insurance companies. No matter how many clients Kevin represents, he appreciates that each and every client only has one chance to achieve justice for themselves and their family. He believes that every case he takes sends a message that he will stand with those in need and help them get back on their feet.
At Breit Cantor, he focuses his practice on motor vehicle collisions, defective products, and tractor-trailer collisions, as well as sexual assault and child sexual abuse cases.
Anelga has focused her work on helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse since before she became a lawyer. During her second year of law school, she clerked for one of the few Missouri law firms dedicated to representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
After graduating from law school, Anelga continued to focus almost exclusively on representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse against the Catholic Church, including the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Archdiocese of Seattle, and the Diocese of Yakima.
She has successfully pursued claims against the Catholic Church, schools, and state institutions.
Nathaniel (“Nate”) Foote is a dedicated advocate for victims of violent and sexual crime in the civil justice system. He specializes in cases against institutions that enable child sexual abuse and other crimes, including churches, schools, daycares, nightclubs, and countless others. Nate also handles wrongful death cases, in addition to representing people catastrophically injured due to other’s carelessness.
Nate is a talented trial lawyer, who has served as counsel in cases that resulted in significant jury verdicts, including a $1.53 million verdict in a child sex abuse case, a $1.75 million verdict in a wrongful death/negligent security murder case, and an $88 million verdict in a child sex abuse case, one of the largest such verdicts in the United States.
Nate is admitted to all Pennsylvania state and federal courts, and practices across the country in select cases. He is a member of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, Pennsylvania Association of Justice, Million Dollar Advocate Club, and other local bar associations. Nate has also been recognized as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star.”
Ashley Hadler focuses her law practice representing survivors and families affected by sexual abuse, nursing home abuse and medical malpractice. Ashley handles cases throughout Indiana and Illinois. Ashley began her law practice in Chicago where she represented survivors of nursing home and hospital abuse against some of the largest hospitals and nursing home chains in the Midwest.
She returned to Indiana in 2017 to continue helping people who were injured by abuse, neglect, and malpractice. Before recently joining the law firm of Garau Germano, P.C. Ashley was the youngest partner at a large Indianapolis law firm where she played a key role in developing a Sexual Abuse litigation team.
Ashley’s background in psychology, medicine, and health law enables her to uniquely handle cases for clients who have suffered from trauma, have complex medical issues, or are elderly. She understands the issues faced by children and adults who are injured in places they live, where they are educated, where they are coached, or where they receive medical treatment.
Ashley often speaks to group of attorneys, victim advocates, and survivors of abuse to discuss the legal options available to survivors and their families. She knows how to investigate people and businesses that may be held accountable for abuse. She has experience finding sources of compensation available to assist survivors in their path to overcoming obstacles and rebuilding after abuse.
Ashley’s clients range in age from children to the elderly. She has handled sexual abuse and assault cases that happened in churches, religious organizations, residential care facilities, day cares, schools, and in organized sports. As a woman, wife, daughter, sister, and friend, Ashley brings an important female perspective to litigating civil abuse and neglect cases.
Ashley is an active member of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice. She is a volunteer guardian for the Indianapolis Center for At Risk Elders (CARE) and an active member of the National Crime Victims Bar Association and Prevent Child Abuse Indiana Advisory Board. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Kent, and their bulldog, Layla.
Brittany Henderson is a partner at Edwards Pottinger. She represents crime victims and survivors of sexual abuse in civil litigation. In 2016, Brittany was recognized for obtaining one of the top 50 jury verdicts in the United States resulting from a high profile sexual abuse case that she litigated with Brad Edwards in Federal Court in Chicago, Illinois and again in 2018, when they obtained a $71 million verdict in state court pursuant to Federal Maritime Law on behalf of a young woman who was sexually assaulted while working as a crew member on a large yacht. She has worked with and against lawyers considered the best in the country and has obtained nearly $100 million in jury verdicts and settlements in her career.
In addition to being a fearless advocate for crime victims, Brittany has co-founded two progressive charities for sexual abuse survivors and is committed to making a difference both in the courtroom and in the community. Brittany has been recognized as a Rising Star by SuperLawyers and by the National Trial Lawyers Association’s “Top 40 Under 40.” She is a member of the National Crime Victims Bar Association, the American Justice Association, the Broward County Trial Lawyers Association, and the Broward County Women Lawyers’ Association.
Brittany graduated Magna Cum Laude from Nova Southeastern University College of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she was served on the executive committees of both the Nova Law Review and the Moot Court Society. She received the prestigious Stephanie Aleong Impact Award from the College of Law, and upon graduation, she was named to the National Order of Barristers. Prior to attending law school, Brittany graduated with honors from Auburn University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Brittany is a member of the Florida Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, and is admitted to practice in all Florida State Courts and District of Columbia Courts.
Jennifer Lipinski is an attorney with a civil trial practice dedicated to the pursuit of justice for Florida’s injured with a focus on personal injury, sexual abuse, crime victims, automobile accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death, among other areas.
Ms. Lipinski has been a member of the trial team for several million-dollar verdicts and settlements. Ms. Lipinski helped secure the largest settlement of record at the time – $1,800,000 – against a government entity following the wrongful death of a mentally disabled teen. She frequently tries cases to jury verdict and is not afraid to take on corporations or defendants who harm her clients.
Ms. Lipinski has been recognized as a Best Lawyer, Rising Star Super Lawyer, and one of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite “Up and Comers” – a section recognizing the top 2.5% of lawyers in Florida. She has been identified by the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40. Palm Beach Illustrated also recognized her as a Top Lawyer in the field of personal injury for both 2018 and 2019. In 2018, the Florida Association for Women Lawyer’s Palm Beach County Chapter awarded Ms. Lipinski with the inaugural Young Lawyer of the Year award, which was presented by the Honorable Justice Pariente, a former Florida Supreme Court Justice. In 2019, Ms. Lipinski was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the American Association for Justice or her contributions to the organization.
Ms. Lipinski currently serves as a Board of Governor representing the state of Florida for the American Association for Justice (AAJ), an organization comprised of nearly 20,000 lawyers around the country. Ms. Lipinski is also Chair of the New Lawyer Division, which serves the needs of 5,000 newer lawyers around the United States. Ms. Lipinski is a graduate of the prestigious Leadership Academy and currently serves as subcommittee chair for the Membership Outreach for the Membership Oversight Committee and Membership Committee for the Women’s Caucus. Ms. Lipinski also serves as a Board of Governor for the Florida Justice Association.
Giving back to the community is one of Ms. Lipinski’s passions. As such, she volunteers for the South Florida Spartans as a Board of Director and is Co-Chair of the Sidebar Series Planning Committee for the Young Lawyer’s Section of the Palm Beach County Bar Association. .
Ms. Lipinski obtained her law degree from Michigan State University, cum laude and was recognized as a member of the Dean’s List. She earned a certificate from the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute, a nationally renowned two-year litigation program, and served as a teaching assistant for two professors. While in law school, Ms. Lipinski was involved with moot court, earning 1st place in the Appellate All-School Competition and competed at Harvard and UCLA in national law competitions. She also served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Medicine and Law.
She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2008 with a concentration in American Politics & Policy and a minor in Legal Studies. She was elected to serve as a Senator for the College of Health and Public Affairs and to serve as President Pro Tempore. Ms. Lipinski was also a LEAD Scholar, a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity, Pi Sigma Alpha honor society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Ms. Lipinski was admitted to practice in Florida in 2012. She is a member of the Florida Bar, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
David Markel is a personal injury attorney whose practice consists of representing plaintiffs in serious, catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Mr. Markel focuses on auto, truck, and motor vehicle accidents, cruise ship accidents, maritime and marine related injuries, negligent security, premises liability, victims of crime, and other complex litigation.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Mr. Markel graduated from Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove where he was an All Dade County football player and AP Scholar. Mr. Markel attended Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he continued his football career and graduated with a degree in History and Government. He is a graduate of Tulane University Law School, in New Orleans, Louisiana and studied alternative dispute resolution at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Mr. Markel has years of experience in all phases of litigation and appeals and has successfully litigated cases in a variety of fields, including personal injury matters, Labor and Employment law, and commercial litigation.
Member of the Florida Bar, the Georgia Bar, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Ryan McGraw is a trial lawyer with a history of success in child sex abuse, civil rights, Title IX, and employment cases. He also serves as outside counsel for business clients on a wide-range of issues including entity selection and formation, contract review, the drafting of employment agreements and manuals, as well as complex mergers and acquisitions. His outstanding business work resulted in his selection and inclusion in the 2017 Super Lawyers Rising Stars list which recognizes the best attorneys under 40 years old in the State of Ohio.
A Cincinnati native, Ryan graduated from St. Xavier High School before continuing his education at The Ohio State University. Following college, Ryan returned home to attend law school at the University of Cincinnati College of Law where he was an Editor of the Law Review. As a member of law review, Ryan had one of his publications cited in a decision by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
In his spare time, Ryan enjoys golfing, playing basketball, and Ohio State football. He also serves on the St. Xavier High School Young Alumni Board, the Powel Crosley, Jr. YMCA Board of Directors, the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Section Run for Kids Committee, and as an advisor to the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Max N. Panoff is a trial attorney whose practice focuses on tort litigation including wrongful death, medical malpractice, birth injuries, negligent security, nursing home and assisted living facility negligence, premises liability and falls, construction site accidents, motor vehicle, motorcycle, bus, commercial carrier and trucking accidents, pedestrian victim accidents, and other negligence cases.
As a partner at Leighton Law, his courtroom successes include traumatic brain injury and motor vehicle crash cases, and Mr. Panoff has recovered several million dollars in recoveries in sexual assault, medical malpractice, premises liability and trucking cases. Recently he was instrumental in recovering over $1.6 million against a bar which over served a patron who went on to cause a serious crash on Florida’s roadways. Under the very difficult dram shop law in Florida, Mr. Panoff successfully proved that the bar was aware of the driver’s past drinking yet continued to serve his on that night before he got behind the wheel. In another case, Mr. Panoff recovered over $750,000 for a woman who slipped and fell at a retail store.
A fierce courtroom advocate, he and Mr. Leighton recently won a $49.3 million verdict in Miami on behalf of a young woman who was sexually assaulted and raped. This case was instrumental in providing a financial recovery and closure for a client who had been the victim of sexual violence.
Prior to joining Leighton Law, Mr. Panoff represented personal injury victims at a leading plaintiff’s firm in Florida. Mr. Panoff successfully litigated numerous cases from inception through trial, resulting in substantial recoveries for his clients.
Mr. Panoff is a graduate of the University of Miami with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology and with a minor in Political Science. He received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law, where he was awarded the John F. Evans Memorial Scholarship for excellence in trial. He was also a finalist in the Charles C. Papy Jr. Moot Court Board’s Mock Trial Competition and received High Honors in the law school’s Litigation Skills/Trial Advocacy Program and Mediation course.
Mr. Panoff has authored numerous publications including: “Black Tie Optional: How the NBA Dress Code Violates Title VII (University of Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Review); and co-authored “Life Expectancy Evidence: Laying the Strong Foundation for Plaintiff’s Favorable Evidence and Debunking the Defense Position on Life Expectancy” (2011 Florida Justice Association Workhorse Seminar) and Vanity Insanity – Trending Malpractice Issues Involving Cosmetic and Related Procedures (2013 Florida Justice Association Workhorse Seminar). He has also contributed to the textbook Litigating Premises Security Cases (West Publishing, 2015 and 2016 updates), which is the most widely used and comprehensive treatise on litigating and trying negligent security cases on behalf of crime victims.
Max Panoff has been honored by being chosen as a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association: “Top 40 Under 40”. He is one of only 40 trial attorneys in Florida to achieve this distinction. The NTLA “Top 40 Under 40” honors America’s top young trial attorneys. Membership is extended solely to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile measured by objective and uniformly applied standards. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.
In 2018 Mr. Panoff was selected by Florida SuperLawyers as a Rising Star lawyer, which includes less than 2.5% of the attorneys in the state. He was also honored by the Dade County Bar Association in January 2018 as a “Rising SuperStar.” The Dade County Bar Association is the largest voluntary bar association in Florida, and this honor was limited to just nine lawyers in the entire state.
Mr. Panoff is an active member of the Florida Bar (Trial Lawyers Division, Young Lawyers Division), American Association for Justice, the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida and the Miami-Dade County Bar Association. He lives in Coral Gables with his wife and two children.
Kat is a human rights defender who litigates in civil court on behalf of survivors of gender-based violence. She has an extensive background fighting for victims rights in and out of the courtroom. She has advocated for survivors of sexual violence in India, Haiti, and the U.S.
Kat represents victims of sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse, and other gender-based violent crimes.