OFFICE OF THE NASSAU COUNTY ATTORNEY
Summer 2013: Interns/Externs
Our Family Court, General Litigation and Tort Bureaus are no longer accepting applications for Summer 2013. Please feel free to apply for Fall 2013 opportunities with these bureaus. Our other bureaus continue to accept applications. Please review the Bureau and Agency Postings pdf that follows below.
The Office of the Nassau County Attorney is located at One West Street in Mineola, New York. It is located on the same campus as the County Executive and Legislative Building and is just north of Nassau County police Headquarters. The County Attorney’s Office is across the street from the Nassau County Bar Association and a short walk to the state courts.
Approximately 85 Deputy County Attorneys represent the County Executive, the County Legislature and all County agencies in a wide range of primarily civil matters. The County Attorney’s Office, Family Court Bureau, is responsible for juvenile prosecutions (Other criminal prosecutions are handled by the District Attorney’s Office). The Vehicle Forfeiture Unit is responsible for post conviction asset forfeiture in misdemeanor DWI cases.
The County Attorney’s Office provides legal counsel and representation in such diverse areas as medical malpractice, tort, environmental, social services, employment law, juvenile criminal prosecutions, contract negotiations, real estate matters, insurance, property tax and municipal finance. The legal staff is comprised of federal and state trial, appellate, and transactional practitioners and attorneys whose primary responsibility is to advise the executive and legislative branches concerning municipal policy and law. Support staff includes paralegals and professional investigators.
With the new administration of County Executive Edward Mangano taking office in 2010, the County Executive and County Attorney began a major overhaul of the County Attorney’s Office and the approach Nassau County would take in its legal matters. The office has been redesigned to incorporate the services of some of the leading law firms in Long Island, the State and the Nation so as to provide the citizens of Nassau County with the best representation available. At the same time, recognizing the fiscal dilemmas facing the County, the in house legal staff was reduced in size, reorganized and streamlined. Redundant and non productive bureaus and programs were eliminated, consolidated or restructured. In the first year of operation, a savings exceeding one million dollars was returned to the county coffers by County Attorney John Ciampoli.
Deputy County Attorneys (DCAs), primarily operating from our main office at One West, are now assigned to one or more of ten bureaus. Some assignments include service as in-house counsel for County departments and agencies, including Consumer Affairs, Recreation, Parks and Museums, Planning, Police, Sheriff and Corrections, Social Services, Assessment Review Commission, Human Rights Commission, Veterans Affairs and the County Assessor.
A Senior Staff of experienced attorneys coordinates and supervises the activities of the various bureaus and the Deputy County Attorneys. This County Attorney, and the Senior Staff will often be found “in the front lines” in State or Federal Court Rooms, in meetings and negotiations, alongside DCAs, and outside counsel. Partnering has become a hallmark of the administration of this County Attorney’s Office. Each case, negotiation, or transaction that goes through the office is taken up as a collaboration between the DCAs, Bureau Chiefs, Senior Staffers and, where appropriate, outside counsel. Teamwork has produced better results for Nassau County.
|County Attorney John Ciampoli with his deputy county attorneys and support staff on the steps of our office building: October 9, 2012 (Click the photo for a larger view)
The County Attorney, or the Chief Deputy County Attorney, regularly conducts meetings with all Bureau Chiefs to ensure that there is coordination between the bureaus and the individual DCAs working on projects and cases. These meetings, as well as meetings of individual bureaus, are of great importance so that resources can be marshaled effectively. The sharing of staff and multi-disciplinary assignments for DCAs make our internal communications processes key to success. In addition, this active interchange allows the bureaus to work cooperatively on litigation and policy development. Further, the office works creatively and proactively with all agencies by providing regular training in particular areas, including Workplace Violence Prevention, Freedom of Information requests and County resources for supervisors and managers to effectively manage employees.
The County Attorney recognizes the dual mission of the office, and the tradition of the County Attorney’s Office providing leadership for the future. We strive to provide the best and most effective representation and legal advice the County of Nassau can have today. At the same time, the experienced lawyers in the office have the responsibility as members of the legal profession to train, mentor, and promote the careers of our attorneys for tomorrow. The Office is proud of its alumni who have gone on to success in the Judiciary, local, state and federal elective offices, private practice and academia. This tradition of service, training and achievement continues.
The County Attorney encourages the professional development of all attorneys. We are proud of the fact that the Nassau County Attorney’s Office is a fully certified Continuing Legal Education provider that offers an outstanding in-house Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program, providing more than twelve CLE credits per year through courses specifically geared toward municipal practice, and other important areas of law. Lecturers and presenters have included Judges and Justices from the Court of Appeals, Appellate Division, and other Courts, as well as our own attorneys and leading private practitioners and public sector attorneys who share their particular expertise in substantive areas. We share our programs with attorneys working for municipalities within Nassau and other members of the legal community, including alumni deputy county attorneys. Please click on the link below to access an outline from a recent continuing legal education program provided by our office, in which Attorney Steven Leventhal, Counsel to the Nassau County Board of Ethics, addressed the ethical obligations of municipal attorneys and officials.
Click here for Continuing Legal Education Outline authored by Steven Leventhal, Counsel to the Nassau County Board of Ethics
Our attorneys are active participants and leaders in the New York State Bar Association and the Nassau County Bar Association where they lecture frequently in their areas of expertise and contribute articles to the bar association publications. Our attorneys also actively contribute to their communities within the County of Nassau, serving as volunteer firefighters and chairing not-for-profit boards. They are members of community service organizations and participate in drives and events that promote the health and welfare of Nassau County residents.
ORGANIZATION OF THE OFFICE
- Administration. The Senior Staff of the County Attorney’s office is comprised of County Attorney John Ciampoli, Chief Deputy County Attorney Lisa LoCurto, Managing Attorney Joseph Nocella, Martha Krisel, Samuel Littman and Alpa Sanghvi. This group serves as the chief policy making body of the County Attorney’s Office and coordinates and supervises the activities of the several bureaus.
- The Appeals Bureau handles the appellate work for all other litigating bureaus in the office, and thus has a varied caseload including constitutional, administrative, employment, tax and social service law litigation in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, New York State Court of Appeals and other appellate courts. In addition, the Bureau occasionally assists other bureaus in complex motion practice at the trial court level in litigation with significant municipal implications.
- The Family Court Bureau has three major areas of responsibility: (1) Representing the Department of Social Services in child abuse and neglect actions against parents and caregivers. The attorneys are directly involved in the investigation of allegations, as they prepare cases for settlement conferences and trial. (2) Enforcing child support orders on behalf of out-of-state custodial parents and their children and on behalf of the Department of Social Services to recoup public assistance. (3) Investigating and prosecuting juveniles who have been arrested for crimes. In all areas, the Bureau handles complicated litigation that includes motions and trial practice.
- The General Litigation Bureau handles federal litigation, including civil rights and employment discrimination cases, state court commercial and environmental matters, as well as state litigation including responding to Article 78 petitions.
The Bureau actively practices in all courts, aggressively defending the County through complicated motion practice, depositions, and all phases of discovery and at trial. Bureau motion practice is multi-faceted, including protective orders, privilege, and particular municipal issues such as Monell findings. Experienced trial counsel represents the County in court at pre-trial conferences and at trial, from jury selection through verdict. Newly admitted attorneys are actively engaged in motion practice and discovery. This bureau also handles affirmative actions brought in the name of the County of Nassau including proceedings to enforce County laws, recover monies from individuals, companies, and other government entities, and to effectuate policy, and redress civil rights and other violations.
- The Labor Bureau defends the County against employment and labor law claims as well as discrimination claims before federal, state and local human rights tribunals. The Bureau also works closely with the Office of Labor Relations in defending the County against employment grievances and union arbitrations. Examples of complex municipal issues addressed by this Bureau include the interpretation of the County’s Military Leave police, Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and employee safety and protection.
- The Legal Counsel Bureau drafts and comments on state and local legislation, and advises on implementation of state and local laws and initiatives. The Bureau also provides legal opinions to the Executive staff and every department of the County on such matters as compliance with the County’s Code of Ethics, the Freedom of Information Law, and procurement requirements, as well as on privacy issues (HIPAA and confidentiality), employment matters, and first amendment issues.
- The Municipal Finance Bureau handles all finance matters for the County, including the issuance of debt by the County or related entities such as the Nassau County Sewer and Storm Water Finance Authority.
- The Municipal Transactions Bureau represents the County on a broad range of contractual matters, including real estate, procurement of goods and services, concessions, and inter-municipal agreements. The Bureau is instrumental in key County initiatives. In 2011, the Bureau represented the County in significant transactions such as the sale of the former Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant in Bethpage, the sale of the Mitchel Field leases rental stream and the acquisition of 23 acres of land and improvements of surplus Navy property in Mitchel Field. The Bureau drafted inter-municipal and other agreements with different municipalities and third parties for various park improvement, road transfers, sewer/storm water improvement and brownfield remediation projects.
- The Tax Certiorari and Condemnation Bureau handles real property tax review cases known as Article 7 proceedings for commercial and residential properties representing the County in Supreme Court on a regular basis. In addition to Article 7 proceedings, our Bureau also defends and litigates issues regarding tax exemption issues, restoration of taxes and corrections of errors. The Bureau also handles all condemnation proceedings and acquisitions of property on behalf of the County of Nassau.
- The Torts Bureau represents the County in personal injury cases from routine slip-and-fall matters to complex road design cases. The Bureau aggressively defends the County against claims of municipal liability. Relying upon traditional municipal defenses such as the lack of prior notice, assumption of risk, and emergency response, the Torts Bureau has an active motion practice as well as an excellent track record at trial. In addition, the Torts Bureau pursues the County’s rights to defense and indemnification, where applicable.
- The Vehicle Forfeiture Unit brings forfeiture actions on behalf of the County with respect to vehicles operated by individuals charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated/impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
- The Bureau of Claims Management is staffed with a Bureau Chief and paraprofessionals, who focus on the early settlement of claims and risk management
The County Attorney’s Office successfully recruits top law school students from a wide range of schools across the state and the nation. The County Attorney is proud of the office’s internship/externship programs. The office provides training and experience for law students, college interns and volunteer paralegals and paralegal students on a continuous basis. These programs are also a key component of its recruitment process.
The County Attorney’s Office endeavors to hire a class of recent graduates each year and also recruits and accepts applications from attorneys with experience in one of our practice areas. All deputy county attorneys are encouraged in their development of professional skills in their immediate area of responsibility as well as in County task forces and initiatives. In addition to a record of professional success, we are interested in candidates who demonstrate strong academic performance in law school and have first-rate written and oral communication skills. Attorneys must be admitted to practice law in New York State or be eligible for admission without examination at the time they are hired.
Law students interning at the Office of the Nassau County Attorney. Summer 2010
(click image for a larger view)
INTERNSHIP AND EXTERNSHIP PROGRAMS
Each summer, and throughout the school year, the Office
offers unpaid internship and externship opportunities to law students. In
the summer program, 10-15 interns are assigned to specific bureaus,
where they will acquire practical hands-on experience. Depending
on the bureau, their assignments might be: reviewing and drafting contracts,
participating in transactional negotiating sessions, researching legal
issues, drafting memoranda, helping to prepare witnesses for depositions
and trials, participating in court conferences, document discovery and
any other legal task that is routinely performed by first and second
year associates. Participation in these programs can sometimes
be a path to permanent employment--current staff includes several former
interns and externs.
APPLYING FOR AN INTERNSHIP/EXTERNSHIP OR ATTORNEY POSITION
Applications for all candidates should include a cover letter, resume, law school transcript (for candidates less than five years out of law school) and a short writing sample. Interns/externs and experienced attorneys should specify the bureau to which they are applying (more than one choice is fine).
Bureau Description Bureau and Agency Postings - Spring 2013/Summer 2013
Applications should be sent via email to the Office of the Nassau County Attorney to the attention of:
Martha Krisel, Chief Deputy County Attorney for Special Projects
Office of the Nassau County Attorney
PRO BONO OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAW STUDENTS
The Office of the Nassau County Attorney offers Pro Bono opportunities to law students, in compliance with Section 520.16’s Pro Bono Requirement for Bar Admission. Please review the following three documents:
NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY--The County Attorney’s Office does not discriminate in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, handicap, disability, sexual orientation, marital, parental or veteran status. Recruitment of a diverse staff is a priority in all hiring.