The State University of New York
The SUNY Office of General Counsel cannot provide legal advice to students or employees of the State University of New York on personal matters. If you have such questions, you should consult your personal counsel. Communications with office lawyers are protected by the privilege for attorney-client communications, and therefore are confidential, if they are made for the purpose of seeking legal advice on behalf of the University. Such communications can be revealed only to other university officials, on a need-to-know basis.
Unless otherwise noted, the General Counsel staff listed below can be reached at 518-320-1400.
Nedra joined System Administration on March 1, 2012 as the Compliance Administrator and Special Assistant to the Senior Vice Chancellor and General Counsel. Her duties are to establish, coordinate and maintain a University-wide Compliance Resource Center, to catalog legislative and regulatory compliance requirements, systems and experts that exist at various campuses and levels across the University, and to update and maintain the substantive aspects of the University-wide policies and procedures web page, http://www.suny.edu/sunypp/, in coordination with Senior Management and Information Technology staff. Nedra previously worked for the New York Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA) as the Lemon Law Program Manager of the New York State Attorney General’s Lemon Law Arbitration Program. Prior to NYSDRA, Nedra worked for over seven years in higher education administration at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Nedra graduated from the University of Connecticut, cum laude, and received her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is an admitted member of the Connecticut bar.
Lisa A. Alexander
Lisa Alexander joined the legal team of the State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in May, 2002. She is currently employed by SUNY Upstate Medical University and SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. Her areas of expertise include handling employee disciplinary arbitrations under the provisions of the collective bargaining agreements between SUNY and CSEA, UUP, PEF, NYSCOBA, as well as employee discrimination cases before the Division of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Prior to joining SUNY, Ms. Alexander was in private practice in Albany, New York for 12 years as a litigator, representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice and personal injury cases in the Supreme Courts, as a Law Guardian representing the rights of children in the Family Courts and as an Albany County Assistant Public Defender in Albany County Family Court.Jessica M. Baker
Jessica Baker joined the State University of New York Office of General Counsel in 2011 as Associate Counsel for the Western New York Regional Office for Health Sciences. In this position, she provides legal support to the University at Buffalo Academic Health Center. Prior to joining SUNY, Jessica was a Senior Associate at Hiscock & Barclay, LLP in Buffalo, New York where she concentrated her practice on commercial litigation and contract disputes. Jessica received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 2003 and graduated from Canisius College with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Political Science in 1999. She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, the U.S. District Courts for the Western, Northern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.Susan Blum
Senior Counsel in Charge
Stony Brook Office
Susan Blum joined the Stony Brook Regional Office of University Counsel in 1994 following eight years at the Suffolk Regional Office of the New York Attorney General, with five years as Assistant Attorney General In Charge. She had also served as counsel to University of Maryland at Baltimore, University of Maryland Hospital, Morgan State University and Maryland Public Broadcasting during five years at the Maryland Attorney General's Office. At Stony Brook, she was responsible for legal advice at the academic medical center. Ms. Blum, who graduated from Johns Hopkins University and SUNY at Buffalo School of Law, is now Senior Counsel in Charge of the Stony Brook Regional Office.
Ruth E. Booher
Ruth E. Booher joined SUNY in February 2013 and serves as the Senior Health Care Counsel. Ruth works directly with the health care attorneys at each of the medical and health care campuses throughout SUNY. Ms. Booher was previously senior associate general counsel at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky working at the UK HealthCare Medical Center. She also previously served as general counsel of The Medical College of Wisconsin, Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ms. Booher received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with distinction from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Dona S. Bulluck
Dona joined the Office of University Counsel at the State University of New York in March 1999. Prior to accepting responsibility for the 30 community colleges operating under the program of the State University, and as campus counsel for Potsdam, Ms. Bulluck worked as an Administrative Law Judge both at the New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board and the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. Ms. Bulluck’s prior experience in private practice with a firm that served as General Counsel to the Civil Service Employees’ Association provided her with a strong background in labor issues, arbitrations, contract grievances and litigation. In addition to her campus responsibilities, Ms. Bulluck also represents System Administration in employee disciplinary proceedings, retirement issues and tenure appeals. Ms. Bulluck is a graduate of the College of Wooster and the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Lisa S. Campo
Lisa S. Campo joined the State University of New York in March 1994. Prior to joining SUNY, she worked as a paralegal/lease administrator for one of the country’s largest specialty music and video retailers, and for the law firm of Pattison, Sampson, Ginsberg & Griffin as a commercial real estate paralegal. At SUNY, Ms. Campo assists in a variety of areas, including administering the case management system, coordinating rule making, managing retained counsel billings, litigation tracking and reporting, clinical affiliation contract review, and administrative matters. Ms. Campo is a 1989 graduate of Russell Sage Junior College.
Theresa Canino joined The State University of New York as a Legal Secretary in January 2008. Prior to joining the Office of University Counsel at Stony Brook, she was an Executive/Legal Secretary in the legal department of Dow Jones & Company, Inc.'s New York City headquarters where she assisted the Vice President of the Legal Department, as well as two associates with all corporate and securities legal work.
Sandra M. Casey
Sandra Casey rejoined SUNY in May 2013 as Senior System Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel. Prior to her return, Ms. Casey served for nearly ten years as College Counsel for Siena College in Loudonville, New York. Before her tenure at Siena College, she worked for eleven years at SUNY in different roles, mainly as an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel and as a compliance officer for the SUNY Student Loan Service Center. When not working at SUNY, she had a small private practice and wrote extensively on a myriad of legal topics for a legal publishing company. While in law school, Ms. Casey worked for the New York State Education Department in its former Washington, D.C. office and as a law clerk for the law firm currently known as Hogan Lovells LLP. Ms. Casey received her B.A. from St. John Fisher College (1982), Rochester, N.Y., and her J.D. from the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University (1988), Washington, D.C. She clerked for the Honorable Patrick J. Attridge, Magistrate-Judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 1988-89. She is admitted to practice in New York State.
Sharon has been with Counsel’s Office at System Administration since 2008 serving as the Assistant to the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel. In addition, she is the Office Manager and responsible for supervising the secretarial staff. Prior to joining SUNY, she was with the Research Foundation of SUNY for five years and General Electric’s Plastic Division for 20 years. Sharon has also worked as a freelance court reporter and a real estate agent. When she is not working at SUNY, Sharon is pursuing a degree in Business Management & Economics at Empire State College. She is a Notary Public.
Mary Jane "Midge" DeChiro
Mary Jane DeChiro joined Counsel's Office in October 2011 as a Secretary in the System Office. Prior to joining the staff at Counsel's office Mary Jane was the Administrator for a non-profit legal services organization for 25 years. She will be performing secretarial duties as well as working on the Document Management System.
Marti Anne Ellermann
Marti Anne Ellermann joined the State University of New York in the Office of University Counsel in November 1980. Between May 2010 and March 2011, Ms. Ellermann served as Interim University Counsel at State University of New York. Prior to joining the Office of University Counsel, she was in private practice in Glens Falls, New York for one year representing public school districts and a private institution of higher education. Before that, she was a Confidential Law Assistant for the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, Third Department. Ms. Ellermann's primary areas of expertise are employment, student affairs, academic affairs and constitutional law. She graduated from Columbia University School of Law (J.D. 1978) and Stanford University (B.A. 1974). She is admitted to practice law in New York and the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.Thomas J. Franta
Albany Office of Charter Schools Institute
Mr. Franta joined the SUNY Charter Schools Institute in 2009 as its Staff Attorney. He is responsible for analyzing initial and renewal applications for charter schools to ensure compliance with SUNY requirements and applicable state and federal laws; performing due diligence for new and existing charter schools with regard to management contracts, opening requirements and facilities agreements; monitoring existing schools for compliance with applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations, charter agreements, corrective action plans, probation plans and remedial action plans; assisting with the drafting and updating of Institute policies and procedures, and overseeing the charter revision process for schools seeking to amend their charters. Mr. Franta also assists in litigation matters pertaining to the Charter Schools Institute and in the drafting of materials for the SUNY Trustees’ Education, College Readiness and Success Committee. Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Franta represented public school districts, administrators, teachers, and students throughout central and northern New York on a wide variety of matters. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Mr. Franta received his Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law, where he was a member of the Syracuse Law Review, The Digest, and the Moot Court Honor Society, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Janine Frost is a secretary and file clerk. She works with attorneys on various legal matters, organizes the library and file room, and is in charge of procurement for the office. She worked for SUNY Student Loan Center and in insurance before coming to Office of General Counsel.
Geraldine Gauthier joined the Office of General Counsel in 2011. Before joining SUNY, she practiced product liability and insurance defense litigation at a large private firm in New York City; environmental defense, zoning, and SEQRA litigation at an Albany firm; and was staff attorney for a statewide energy and utility legal services organization based in Albany. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Brooklyn Law School, with an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, summa cum laude, from Baker College. Before receiving her law degree, she was an investigator for the Vermont Attorney General charged with investigation and settlement of employment discrimination complaints, and Executive Director of a Vermont nonprofit social services organization. She has held appointments as adjunct professor at several colleges teaching philosophy of law, legal ethics, employment law and business, and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of College and University Law.
Seth F. Gilbertson
Seth F. Gilbertson is an Associate Counsel for the State University of New York's Office of General Counsel. Seth handles labor and student affairs matters for SUNY’s western campuses (Westcam) and specializes in records management, export controls and international programs issues for SUNY on a system-wide basis. Before joining SUNY, Seth clerked for the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department. In a previous life, he was the Mountain Manager of Apple Mountain Resort in Freeland, Michigan. Seth earned his B.A., cum laude, from Saginaw Valley State University and his J.D., cum laude, from Albany Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Law Review. Seth is active in both the New York State Bar Association, where he serves on the Law, Youth and Citizenship Committee, and the National Association of College and University Attorneys, where he serves as Chair of the NACUANOTES Editorial Board.
Victoria M. Hazan
Victoria M. Hazan joined the State University of New York in September 2011. Prior to joining the Office of University Counsel at Stony Brook, she worked as a Paralegal/Office Manager in the Law Firm of Sean J. Conway, Esq. Victoria also held the position as Paralegal and Assistant to the President, Vice President and Field of Operations for Island International Industries, Inc. Currently at SUNY, in her role at the Health Science Center, Victoria manages the Medical Malpractice, Dental Malpractice and General Liability cases for the Hospital and Dental School, handles discovery requests, review of Student Affiliation Agreements, review of subpoenas, review of Resident Clinical Rotation Agreements and all administrative matters and provides support for the University Campus. She holds an A.A.S. degree in Paralegal Studies from Briarcliff College.
William F. Howard
William F. Howard joined SUNY in March 2011 and now serves as the Board-appointed Senior Vice Chancellor, General Counsel and Secretary of the University. In addition to the Office of General Counsel, Bill oversees the System Administration offices of Human Resources, Employee Relations, Internal Audit, Compliance, Special Events, and the Charter Schools Institute. As Secretary of the University he serves as the senior liaison to and support for the Board of Trustees, and manages the Board office. Mr. Howard was previously the chief counsel at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and associate vice chancellor and deputy general counsel for that university. He also previously served as deputy general counsel, as well as interim vice president and general counsel, at the George Washington University. Earlier in his career, Mr. Howard served as an assistant attorney general in the Educational Affairs Division of the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals in Baltimore, Maryland, and as an associate in the Corporate Department in a large private law firm. Mr. Howard received his bachelor’s degree in Economics with high honors from Michigan State University and his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School.
Eileen K. Ippolito
Eileen Kerrigan Ippolito joined the State University of New York in 2002 as a Paralegal. Prior to joining the Office of University Counsel, she worked as the Paralegal coordinator and billing manager for Meyer, Suozzi, English and Klein, P.C. in Mineola, New York. Eileen has also held the position of International Representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, AFL-CIO) based out of Los Angeles. Currently, Eileen manages the small claim procedure for the University and the Hospital, handles discovery requests, and monitors all budgeting and purchasing for the office. She attended the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from California State University in Fullerton, California.
James L. Jarvis
James Jarvis is an Associate Counsel, primarily focusing on labor relations and employment matters, located at the University at Buffalo. Prior to coming to Counsel's Office, he was the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at UB, through which he served as president of the SUNY Human Resources Association. Jim has also previously served UB as an Assistant VP, Director of HR and Director of Employee Relations. His prior experience includes serving the City of Buffalo as its Director of Labor Relations and as an Assistant Corporation Counsel; as an associate attorney in private practice for two different law firms in Buffalo; as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Syracuse; and a coveted two-year clerkship for a federal district judge in Syracuse. Jim earned a B.A. in Communications from UB, and received his J.D. from UB Law School, where he served on the Buffalo Law Review.
Wendy Kowalczyk joined the State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in November 1998. Prior to joining SUNY, Ms. Kowalczyk worked as a commercial litigator for law firms in New York City and Albany focusing on intellectual property, employment discrimination and health care issues. At SUNY, Ms. Kowalczyk serves as counsel to Empire State College, Cobleskill, and Purchase College. She also provides advice on System-wide FOIL and FERPA issues. Ms. Kowalczyk is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (B.S. 1985) and a graduate of Boston University School of Law (J.D. 1988).
Cindy Knickerbocker joined as an Assistant to the Associate Counsel for Binghamton University in November 2011. Prior to coming to the University, she held roles as project manager and a solution engineer designing integrated business solutions for a business process services company for six years and a business analyst for New York State Electric & Gas for fifteen years. Ms. Knickerbocker is a 1989 graduate of Broome Community College and has a Chemical Engineering Technology AAS degree.
Kimberly S. Krzemien
Kimberly S. Krzemien is a Paralegal for the Western New York Regional Office for Health Sciences of The State University of New York Office of General Counsel. In this position, she provides legal support to the University at Buffalo Academic Health Center. Ms. Krzemien joined The State University of New York Office of General Counsel in June 2002. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, she was a Paralegal at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs. Prior to SUNY, Ms. Krzemien worked as a Paralegal/Legal Assistant at Cooper & Cooper, P.C.; Falk & Siemer, LLP, Kavinoky & Cook, LLP; and Tronolone & Surgalla, P.C.
Prior to joining Counsel’s Office, Kelly spent over 15 years in private practice in Albany most recently as a partner in the local office of a statewide law firm, Phillips Lytle LLP, and a boutique corporate law firm, Honen & Wood, P.C., where she gained substantial experience in regulatory compliance, contract law, estate planning and commercial litigation. Before entering private practice, Kelly served as confidential law clerk to New York Court of Claims Judge Jerome F. Hanifin in Binghamton. Kelly graduated cum laude from Union College (’91) and Albany Law School (’93) where she participated in the accelerated six-year Law and Public Policy Program and served as Lead Articles Editor for the Albany Law Review. Kelly is licensed to practice law in New York and Florida.
Mark J. Lemire
Mark J. Lemire joined the State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in November 2011 after practicing in private practice for almost ten years. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mark worked for a Saratoga County law firm as a Senior Associate handling employment, education, municipal and civil rights litigation matters. He came back to the Albany area after working for nine years in the New York City offices of two large international law firms. Mark’s New York practice focused on complex commercial litigations and arbitrations in the areas of labor and employment, white collar investigations, securities class actions, accounting malpractice, intellectual property and contract and licensing disputes. He also advised corporate clients on transactional matters, including acquisitions of technology companies and participated in numerous pro bono activities. Mark graduated from Albany Law School magna cum laude in 2001. At law school, he was an editor for the Albany Law Review, a Moot Court Board member and competed on the national trial team. Prior to attending law school, Mark worked in health related fields for a number of years. He is a 1995 graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Mark is admitted to practice before the courts of the State of New York and in the Northern, Southern and Eastern Federal District Courts, as well as, the Second Circuit. In his present position, along with System Administration duties, Mark is responsible for overseeing all legal matters for Farmingdale State College and the SUNY College at Old Westbury.
Michele J. Le Moal-Gray
Michele J. Le Moal-Gray joined The State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in November 2004. Prior to joining the Office of University Counsel, she served as a Trial Attorney for the U. S. Equal Opportunity Commission assigned to the New York Regional Office, and in senior administrative positions at four different universities. Ms. Le Moal-Gray provides legal services to the State University of New York at Stony Brook, its University Hospital, and the Long Island State Veterans Home. Her specialty areas are labor and employment, litigation, athletics, and student matters. She graduated from Goucher College (A. B.), Syracuse University (M.A.), Columbia University (Ed.D), and Touro Law School (J.D. magna cum laude) where she was New York State Constitutional Law Issue Editor of the Touro Law Review. She is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and Florida and the U. S. District Courts of New Jersey, and the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.
Bernadine M. Macy
Bernadine Macy joined the Buffalo office of the General Counsel’s Office on July 11, 2011. Bernadine has been with the University at Buffalo since October of 2006 as executive assistant to the Vice President for Health Sciences. Prior to coming to the University, she was at SUNY Buffalo State as an executive assistant to the President. Before being employed at SUNY, Bernadine was an executive assistant at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Regina Spause McGraw is Senior Counsel for the Central New York Regional Office of SUNY Office of University Counsel. In this position, she provides legal support to SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital. Prior to her appointment to SUNY, she served as an Associate Attorney for Mintzer, Zabicki, Powell & Mintzer in Philadelphia, specializing in medical malpractice defense litigation. She also served as a legal nurse consultant for Daley, Erisman, Van Ogtrop & Hudson in Delaware. Ms. McGraw also had worked as a Registered Nurse in Philadelphia for 12 years prior to joining SUNY Upstate. Ms. McGraw received a Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law in Delaware in 1993; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1990 from LaSalle University in Philadelphia; and her nursing diploma from Chestnut Hill Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia in 1987.As a resident of the town of Onondaga, Ms. McGraw is a member of The New York State Bar Association, The Onondaga County Bar Association, The American Health Lawyers Association and The United Healthcare Consortium. She is a volunteer with the New York Commission on Quality of Care Surrogate Decision-Making Committee. Ms. McGraw is married with four children.
Ronnie McKinnon joined the State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in 1997 assigned to the Regional Office where she is currently Hospital Counsel at SUNY Stony Brook University Medical Center. Prior to joining Counsel's office, she served as Senior Associate in a Medical Malpractice defense litigation firm. While attending Touro College-Jacob Fuchsberg Law Center(J.D.1990; Valedictorian), Ms. McKinnon worked as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse Clinician at an Academic Medical Center, and was a medical malpractice claims litigation supervisor who managed captive self-insurance programs for several Hospital Systems. Ms. McKinnon is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management by the American Hospital Association, a Certified Patient Safety Officer by the International Board for Safety Managers, and has presented several Health Law and Patient Safety related abstracts both nationally and internationally.
Pamela J. Moniz joined the University at Albany, State University of New York, as Paralegal in 1998. Prior to then, she served as the Executive Secretary to the Commissioner for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Pamela also worked as a Paralegal and Legislative Assistant for the Governor’s Counsel’s Office in the Executive Chamber. Pamela’s primary responsibilities include administering the University’s compliance with subpoenas and litigation matters, managing the visa and permanent residence filing process for foreign national employees of the University, and overseeing the University Small Claims process. She holds an A.A. S. degree in Paralegal Studies from SCCC, and received both her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany. She has been a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants since 2001.
Michael D. Morgan
Mr. Morgan joined the Office of University Counsel in 1998, and has responsibility for matters of system-wide administration. He supports activities of the offices of the Secretary, Finance and Governmental Relations, and staffs the Finance and Administration Committee of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Morgan is a graduate of Colgate University (1969) and Albany Law School (1974), and is a member of the New York bar.
Kevin P. O'Mara
Mr. O'Mara joined the Office of University Counsel as an Associate Counsel in May 2003, assigned to the Regional Office at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. Previously, he served as the Compliance Officer for the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, the Acting General Counsel at Nassau Health Care Corporation, an associate at the law firm of Barnett, Ehrenfeld, Edelstein & Gross, PC in NYC, a hospital Risk Manager and a Registered Nurse in the NY State and Veterans Administration health systems. Mr. O'Mara served in the US Army Reserve from 1988 until his honorable discharge as a Captain in 2002. He is a graduate of Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center (JD - 1993), Long Island University (BS - 1983) and the NY State School of Nursing at Central Islip State Hospital (RN - 1974). He is admitted to practice law in New York State.Kingsley Osei
Albany System Office
Kingsley Osei joined the State University of New York in September 2008 from the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) where he was the Senior Attorney responsible for HESC procurement matters. Mr. Osei is now SUNY System Administration 's Lead Contracts Counsel responsible for all system and university-wide procurement related matters. He also advises SUNY System Administration on health information privacy matters. Mr. Osei has held prior positions advising an electric utility in the construction of multimillion dollar electric thermal plants, civil litigation and workers compensation. He is a 2001 Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center (LLM); University of Ghana Law School (Barrister at Law)-1994; University of Ghana Faculty of Law (Legum Baccalaureus-“LLB”)-1992. He also holds a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) certificate on intellectual property law and e-commerce. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, Republic of Ghana and was in 2010 declared eligible to obtain the solicitors license to practice in England and Wales.
Janna Pfluger-Boucher joined the State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in 1998. Prior to joining the Office of University Counsel, she worked for several years as an Associate Counsel at the Civil Service Employees Association, Inc., AFSCME, AFL-CIO Legal Department head quarters concentrating in employment litigation, including arguing a case of first impression before the NYS Court of Appeals. In addition to handling academic matters at the State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn (Downstate Medical Center), Janna's primary area of responsibility is employment/labor relations matters at SUNY HSCB (DMC). She is a graduate of Albany Law School and is admitted to practice law in New York State and the United States District court for the Northern District of New York. Janna also holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Applied Violin from Ithaca College and was a graduate student studying orchestral performing and chamber music on a Fulbright Scholarship for one year at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary.
Penelope D. Ploughman
Penelope D. Ploughman, Ph.D., J.D., joined State University of New York's Office of the University Counsel as an Associate Counsel in April 1999. Prior to joining the Office of the University Counsel, she was in private practice in Albany, New York (1990-1999); was a Staff Attorney for the County of Albany 1998-1999); was Assistant Professor and Director of the Law & Society Program at Skidmore College (1990-1997); and was Assistant Appellate Court Attorney for the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department (1989-1990). Ms. Ploughman represents the SUNY Colleges at Canton, Delhi, and Maritime. She graduated from the State University of New York (J.D. 1989; Ph.D. (Sociology) 1984; M.A. (Sociology) 1978; B.A. (Sociology) 1976). She is admitted to practice law in New York (1990), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1990), the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (1990).
John H. Reilly
John H. Reilly has served as counsel to the University at Albany since 1997 and is responsible for all campus legal matters. From 1990-1997, he served as an Associate Counsel with the Office of the University Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs at the System Administration Office of the State University of New York. In that capacity, Reilly was the principal legal liaison between the State University and its 30 community colleges. In addition, he was responsible for real property transactions, employment law and contracting matters involving the University's 29 State-operated campuses. From 1984 until 1990, Reilly served as an Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Greenwich, Connecticut where his work involved general municipal law on behalf of the town's administrative offices and agencies, its board of education, and legislature. Reilly earned a bachelor's from Dartmouth College in 1978 and a J.D. from Vermont Law School in 1983. Immediately following law school, Reilly served as Clerk for the Chief Administrative Judge of the Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut Judicial District. Reilly is admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut. He is a recipient of the 2006 President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service and the Chancellor's Award for Excellence.
Karen M. Richards
Karen M. Richards joined the State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in 2007 and provides legal support to SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital and to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Prior to joining SUNY, she was an assistant general counsel to a private hospital. She was also an Associate Attorney for a large firm where her primary areas of practice were medical malpractice defense litigation, personal injury defense litigation, tax certiorari proceedings, and real estate law. In addition, Ms. Richards served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel III for the City of Syracuse and Syracuse City School District, defending them in actions involving contracts, statutory interpretation, personal injury, discrimination, and municipal law. She has extensive appellate experience. Ms. Richards has taught classes on the legal system at Syracuse University and has published numerous articles on real estate law and municipal law. Prior to becoming an attorney, she supervised a municipal emergency communications center for 19 years. She earned an A.A.S. from Cayuga Community College (1976 summa cum laude), a B.S. from Syracuse University (1984 cum laude) and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law (1995 magna cum laude). Ms. Richards is admitted to practice law in New York State, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, and the Second Circuit. Ms. Richards is a volunteer with the New York Commission on Quality of Care Surrogate Decision-Making Committee and a volunteer arbitrator for Syracuse City Court.
Ralph A. Rossi, II
Mr. Rossi joined the SUNY Charter Schools Institute in 2004 as its General Counsel. He currently oversees all legal, charter and fiscal compliance issues for, and is a Vice President of, the Institute. He also serves as counsel to the SUNY Trustees’ Charter Schools Committee. Mr. Rossi is nationally regarded for his expertise in charter school law and is frequently consulted by charter schools, other school authorizers and charter-related organizations from across the country. He has been instrumental in developing and refining Institute policies throughout his tenure. Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Rossi served as the General Counsel for the Office of the New York State Inspector General for six years, and as Director of Industrial Finance and Special Counsel for the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation for two years. Mr. Rossi was previously associated with the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke LLP where he practiced in the firm’s litigation and white collar groups. Mr. Rossi is a graduate of Columbia College in the City of New York and Rutgers School of Law - Newark. He is admitted in New York, New Jersey and several federal district courts.
Robert E. Ruggeri
Robert Ruggeri joined SUNY Counsel’s Office in 1994 and served as Managing Counsel from 2006-09. Prior to joining SUNY, he practiced law with Rogers & Wells in Washington, DC and with the OECD in Paris and the European Union in Brussels. He also was Deputy Director for Legal Affairs with the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Ruggeri advises the University at Buffalo; SUNY Buffalo State; Brockport; Fredonia; Geneseo; and Alfred State. His specialty areas include contracts, real property, and litigation. A former Professor (Part-time) at Georgetown’s Law School, he teaches “Higher Education Law” at SUNY Albany. He also served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Schenectady County Community College. He was a Fulbright Scholar and graduated from Union College and Antioch Law School (where he was Comments Editor of the Law Journal).
Jean A. Sampson
Jean Sampson joined The State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in March 2005. Prior to joining the Office of University Counsel, she was in private practice in New York, New York for over 15 years where her primary areas of practice were mergers and acquisitions, transactions, private equity, venture capital and securities law. Ms. Sampson responsibilities include the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the University Hospital, the University Hospital's RHIO and the University's incubators. She handles transactional matters; corporate formation; real property issues and leases; contractual matters, with a specialty in software licenses; grants; and gifts and pledges, among other matters. She graduated from New York University School of Law (J.D. 1982; Editor of the Law Review) and Jackson College, Tufts University (A.B., Magna Cum Laude 1979). She is also a graduate of The French Culinary Institute and has worked as a professional baker.
Barbara Westbrook Scarlett
Barbara Scarlett joined Counsel’s Office as Associate Counsel for Binghamton University in November 1998. Prior to joining the Office, she was the Acting Corporation Counsel for the City of Binghamton, and a Senior Assistant County Attorney for Broome County where her primary areas of practice were government and municipal laws. She graduated from Western New England College School of Law (J.D. 1986) and SUNY Albany (B.A. 1983). She is admitted to practice law in New York.
Suzanne V. Shane
Suzanne V. Shane joined the State University of New York as an Associate Counsel at Stony Brook University, in 2010. Immediately prior to joining SUNY Ms. Shane was Associate Counsel at Long Island University where she assisted the General Counsel in the management of the University's legal affairs with specific emphasis on transactional, business, intellectual property and contractual matters. In her current position, Ms. Shane advises on student-centered issues including review and interpretation of academic and disciplinary policy and procedure as well as matters arising from student activities, study abroad, admissions and career placement. Ms. Shane also negotiates and arbitrates disciplinary grievances and advises on matters involving copyright and trademark law. She is a graduate of SUNY Stony Brook (B.S.) and New York Law School (J.D. cum laude) and is admitted to practice law in New York State and the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts.
Andrea Stagg joined the State University of New York as Assistant Counsel in November 2010. Prior to joining the office, Andrea was an Attorney Fellow at the Office of Legal Affairs at University of Maryland University College, and, during law school, a law clerk in the Office of the Senior Vice President and General Counsel at The George Washington University. Andrea is counsel to the SUNY colleges at New Paltz, Oneonta, and Plattsburgh. Her System-wide responsibilities include Title IX compliance, intercollegiate athletics, and sponsored research. She received her B.A. from Rutgers University and J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, and is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.
Joseph C. Storch
Joseph Storch joined Counsel’s Office in 2007 after clerking for the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department. He chairs the Student Affairs Practice Group and provides legal advice to the SUNY colleges at Cortland, Oswego, Morrisville, and the SUNY Institute of Technology. Additionally, Joe specializes in student affairs and campus safety, digital copyright, digital defamation, domestic and workplace violence policies, admissions and financial aid. Joe graduated from SUNY Oswego, summa cum laude and from Cornell Law School where he served as Chancellor of the Moot Court Board. He is completing a Masters in Public Policy at the University at Albany. His writing has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, the Albany Law Review, the Albany Times Union, the Orlando Sentinal, Court Review, the Medical Trial Techniques Quarterly, and as a NACUA Note.
Janet M. Thayer
Immediately following law school, Janet Thayer was an associate with a private law firm in Albany, New York, which concentrated in corporate health care law and litigation. In 1993, she joined the System Administration Office of the State University of New York Office of the University Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs where she worked on a variety of matters for the University, including health care, contracts and bonding. In 1998, Ms. Thayer joined the in-house counsel's office of Albany Medical Center until late 1999 when she opened her own private practice to focus on corporate, trusts and estates and real property matters. Ms. Thayer rejoined the Office of the University Counsel as a campus-based Associate Counsel to the University at Albany in 2003. In addition, Ms. Thayer has taught trust and estates at Siena College and Schenectady County Community College. She received her A.B. from Wheaton College (1985), Norton, Massachusetts and her J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University (1988). Ms. Thayer is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts.
Winthrop H. Thurlow
Win Thurlow joined SUNY Counsel’s office as Associate Counsel in 2007. In this capacity, he provides legal support to SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital. His work focuses primarily on campus and university affairs. Mr. Thurlow also serves as counsel to the Audit Committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees. Prior to joining SUNY, Mr. Thurlow was Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Syracuse Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General from 1999 to 2007. In that capacity, he directed the activities of the New York Attorney General’s Office in the Central, Eastern Finger Lakes and Western Adirondack regions of the state. In 2007, Mr. Thurlow served as Special Counsel for Program and Policy at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and as Counsel to the Industrial Exhibit Authority. From 1987 to 1999, Mr. Thurlow was in private practice in Syracuse, New York where he worked in commercial and personal injury litigation. Mr. Thurlow received his law degree in 1987 from Georgetown University Law Center and is a 1984 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Union College.
Will Versfelt joined Counsel’s Office as a Law Fellow in October 2012. In this capacity, he provides legal research in response to various campus inquiries, and aids in developing system-wide policies. Will received his B.A., cum laude, from Cornell University (2007), and his J.D. from William & Mary Law School (2012), where he served as the Lead Notes Editor of the William and Mary Law Review.
Jason M. Weiss
Jason Weiss joined the General Counsel’s Office as an Assistant Counsel in July 2010. In that capacity, Jason provides legal support for SUNY Downstate Medical Center and its component University Hospital of Brooklyn, with an emphasis on transactional/contractual matters covering a broad range of legal areas, including: real estate, mergers and acquisitions, revenue contracts (e.g. managed care), affiliations, information technology, and procurement. Jason graduated from Brooklyn Law School (J.D. 2005) and Emory University (B.A. 2001), and is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.
Harriet White has been the secretary and receptionist in the Syracuse Office of General Counsel since September 2000. Prior to that, she spent 13 years as an “at-home” mother to her two daughters, at which time she spent many hours volunteering with their school, scouting, music and sports activities. Harriet graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition in 1980, served a Dietetic Internship at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio from 1980-1981 and worked as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist in both New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery and St. Vincent’s Hospital in the 1980’s, prior to the birth of her first child in 1987. Harriet still maintains her American Dietetic Association Registration and New York State Certification in Dietetics.
Ann C. Williams
Ann C. Williams is Associate Counsel for the Western New York Regional Office for Health Sciences of The State University of New York Office of General Counsel. In this position, she provides legal support to the University at Buffalo Academic Health Center. Ms. Williams joined The State University of New York as an Associate Counsel in January 2008. Prior to joining SUNY, Ms. Williams served for 9 years as an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Office of the Attorney General in its Buffalo Regional Office. Before that, Ms. Williams served as an associate attorney for Phillips, Lytle LLP, in Buffalo, specializing in civil rights and labor and employment litigation. Before that she was a Confidential Law Clerk to the Honorable Richard J. Arcara, United States District Judge, for the Western District of New York. Ms. Williams received a Juris Doctorate from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 1993 and a Bachelor of Arts from the University at Buffalo in 1975. She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the United States District Court for the Western District of New York.
Debra E. Williams
Syracuse, New York - Debra “Dee” Williams is the Office Manager for the Central New York Regional Office of SUNY Office of University Counsel. In this position, she provides administrative staff legal support to four attorneys at SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital. Ms. Williams has worked in the Office of University Counsel since December 1996. Ms. Williams has also worked at SUNY Upstate as an Administrative Assistant with the Office of the President from 1988 to 1996 and as an Administrative Secretary to the Chief Operating Officer in Hospital Administration from 1987 to 1988. Ms. Williams worked part time as a Word Processor in Special Documents Department at Bond, Schoeneck and King Law Firm from 1990 to 1996. She also worked part time and modeled for stores at the Carousel and Shoppingtown Malls. Ms. Williams worked as a Supervisor in the Word Processing Department at Blasland, Bouck & Lee Engineers from 1986 to 1987. She worked as a Secretary at United Technologies Carrier Building Services Division and International Division from 1981 to 1986. Ms. Williams was an Operator for New York Telephone Company and worked for General Accidents Insurance Company. Ms. Williams received her Executive Secretary Associate Degree in 1978 from Central City Business Institute “CCBI.”
Angela F. Winn
Angela F. Winn joined SUNY as a Paralegal in 1998. Prior to joining Counsel’s Office, Ms. Winn worked as a paralegal for four years at Teahan & Constantino in Poughkeepsie, NY, specializing in Tax, Estate Planning, and Real Estate. She provides legal support to the six campuses in western New York: University at Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo State, Brockport, Fredonia, Geneseo and Alfred State. She received her M.P.A. from Marist College (2002), Paralegal Certification from Mildred Elley Business School (1994) and her B.A. from Canisius College (1987).