New York Law School alumni are honored

Five New York Law School (NYLS) alumni who serve at the New York City Law Department were honored at the Department’s recent 2019 Awards Ceremony for their exceptional performance.

Assistant Borough Chief Stephen Mazzalonga ’04 won the Jeffrey D. Friedlander Excellence in Management and Supervision Award. Senior Counsel Jared Bretas ’11 received the Edith Spivack Special Recognition Award.

Assistant Corporation Counsels Monique Baptist ’18Stefano Pérez ’18, and Andrew Weisberg ’18 were recognized as rising stars with the Legal Rookie of the Year Award. Of the Department’s eight Legal Rookies of the Year, three — nearly half — were NYLS graduates.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Stephen, Jared, Monique, Stefano, and Andrew for exemplifying NYLS’s commitment to excellence in public service, as ‘New York’s law school,’” said Anthony W. Crowell, NYLS dean and president. “Congratulations to all!”

Jeffrey D. Friedlander Excellence in Management and Supervision Awardee

Stephen Mazzalonga ’04 is a Senior Counsel and Assistant Borough Chief in the Tort Division’s Manhattan Borough Office (MBU), where he helps supervise MBU’s pre-trial lawyers, develops and reviews litigation strategy with attorneys and paralegals, and provides critical guidance at case reviews. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at NYLS, teaching the Municipal Litigation Defense Clinic. His award is named for the Law Department’s longest-serving First Assistant Corporation Counsel and recognizes outstanding dedication and performance in managing legal processes and/or supervising attorneys. 

Edith Spivack Special Recognition Awardee

Jared Bretas ’11 is a Senior Counsel in the Workers Compensation Division, where he handles a large caseload that includes many of the Division’s most complicated matters. He also supervises interns and mentors more junior Assistant Corporation Counsels. Bretas joined the Department in 2012 and has proven himself a highly capable attorney and strong advocate for the city. His award is named for a longtime Law Department attorney (and one of New York City’s first female attorneys) who remains a public service role model. It recognizes superior performance and overall dedication by a non-managerial attorney.

Legal Rookies of the Year Awardees

Monique Baptist ’18 (Family Court Division), Stefano Peréz ’18 (Special Federal Litigation Division), and Andrew Weisberg ’18 (Tort Division) are Assistant Corporation Counsels who joined the Department’s 2018 entry class and have already demonstrated excellent performance, promise, work ethic, and attitude, as recognized by their awards. All three gained experience at the Law Department while studying at NYLS and have shown early mastery in their respective specialty areas. NYLS previously honored Baptist with the Kathleen Grimm Medal for Distinguished Public Service at Commencement 2018.

Leadership in Government Law

NYLS’s connections to the Law Department are deep. In 2018, the Law Department hired more graduates from NYLS than from any other law school in the state for its entry class. In 2019, NYLS was again one of the top two law schools in New York to populate the ranks of the Department’s entry class. 

Early in his legal career, from 1997 to 2002, Dean Crowell served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Law Department’s Tax & Condemnation and Legal Counsel Divisions, where he handled complex litigation, advised on the legality of disputed policy issues, and drafted legislation and regulations for the mayor and city agencies. The experience led him to other public service roles in city government, including Counselor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Numerous alumni have pursued government law, and NYLS continues to be recognized as a leader in this area. In 2018, preLaw magazine ranked the School No. 12 nationally for “Best Schools for Public Service—Government.”

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