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Government Law Center Staff

The Honorable Leslie E. Stein ‘81

The Honorable Leslie E. Stein ‘81

Director of the Government Law Center

lstei@albanylaw.edu

    Hon. Leslie E. Stein ‘81, who retired as an Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals in June 2021, became the Director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School in September 2021.

    After graduating from Albany Law, Judge Stein began her legal career as the law clerk to the Schenectady County Family Court Judges. She then practiced matrimonial and family law for over a decade with the Albany law firm of McNamee, Lochner, Titus & Williams, P.C. where she made partner. During that time, Stein was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In 1997, she left private practice to begin her judicial career as an Albany City Court Judge and Acting Albany County Family Court Judge. She was elected to the New York State Supreme Court, Third Judicial District for a term commencing in January 2002. She served as the Administrative Judge of the Rensselaer County Integrated Domestic Violence Part from January 2006 until February 2008, when she was appointed a Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department. In October 2014, Judge Stein was nominated by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, and her nomination was confirmed by the New York State Senate on February 9, 2015. Following her retirement from the Court of Appeals, she served as a member of the New York State Board of Law Examiners.

    Judge Stein is a past co-chair of the NYS Unified Court System Family Violence Task Force. She was a founding member of the New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law and chaired the Third Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee from 2001 to 2005. She has also served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, as an officer of the New York State Association of City Court Judges, and as a member of the Board of the New York Association of Women Judges. Stein has lectured and developed curricula for continuing legal education of attorneys and judges on multiple topics. She has a long history of involvement in various state and local bar associations and in a number of other professional and civic organizations.

    Judge Stein received her J.D. from Albany Law School in 1981, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the school from 2012 until she assumed the position with the Government Law Center. She received her B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

    Patrick Woods

    Patrick Woods ‘12

    Deputy Director of the Government Law Center

    pwood@albanylaw.edu

      Mr. Woods was Assistant Solicitor General in the Albany office of the Appeals and Opinions Bureau of the Office of the New York State Attorney General. He primarily briefed and argued appeals on behalf of the State of New York in the New York Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Third and Fourth Departments of the Appellate Division.

      Before joining the Attorney General’s office, Mr. Woods was the 2015-2016 Supreme Court Fellow placed with the United States Sentencing Commission. During his fellowship, Woods worked with Commission policy teams to evaluate and recommend amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. That year he also researched and published a law review article evaluating a new measure for determining when federal offenders should receive enhanced punishment that was eventually included in the 2018 FIRST STEP Act. Prior to the Supreme Court Fellowship, Mr. Woods Clerked for the Honorable Peter W. Hall of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Richard K. Eaton ‘74, of the United States Court of International Trade.

      While here as a student at Albany Law School, Woods was valedictorian of his graduating class, Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Law Review, a Teaching Fellow for Federal Civil Procedure, an Executive Board Member of the moot court program, and interned for the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, New York State Supreme Court, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. Mr. Woods’ undergraduate degree is in Philosophy. Before law school, Mr. Woods worked as a paralegal for a law firm specializing in customs and international trade law.

      Mr. Woods has published on a variety of legal topics, as well as in a peer-reviewed philosophy journal, and his work has been cited in treatises such as New York Jurisprudence, 2d.

      Richard Rifkin

      Richard Rifkin, Esq.

      Legal Director

      rrifk@albanylaw.edu

        Rifkin has worked in New York State Government for 40 years. In addition to serving as Special Counsel to former governor Eliot Spitzer, he served as Deputy Attorney General for the State Counsel Division of the Attorney General’s office from 1999–2006. He also worked in the Attorney General’s office from 1979–1994, serving as counsel to the Attorney General and First Assistant Attorney General, among other positions. From 1994–1998, Rifkin was the Executive Director of the New York State Ethics Commission.

        Rifkin received a B.A. from Washington and Jefferson College and an LL.B. from Yale Law School. Since 1984, Rifkin has served as a member of the Chief Administrative Judge’s Advisory Committee on Civil Practice, which recommends changes in civil procedure in New York State courts. He was an adjunct professor at Albany Law School teaching government ethics from 2002–2006.

        Robert Batson

        Robert C. Batson, Esq. '75

        Government Lawyer in Residence

        rbats@albanylaw.edu

          Robert Batson is Government Lawyer in Residence. His areas of interest include municipal law, state constitutional law, city and county charter development and revision, and gaming law.

          He teaches classes in Federal Indian Law and the summer field placement class, and has taught State Constitutional Law in the past. He served in various legal positions in New York State government between 1976 and 2003 where he specialized in municipal law, administrative law and government regulation.

          From 1978 to 1995, he served as a liaison between New York State and the governments of various Indian nations, and represented the State in negotiations on many issues, including land claims and gaming compacts.

          Bennett Liebman

          Bennett M. Liebman, Esq.

          Government Lawyer in Residence

          blieb@albanylaw.edu

            Bennett Liebman is a Government Lawyer in Residence at Albany Law School and an adjunct professor of law.

            He worked for Mario Cuomo while Cuomo was Secretary of State and served as his Counsel when he was Lieutenant Governor When Cuomo was elected governor in 1982, Bennett became his Special Deputy Counsel handling ethics matters, Freedom of Information Law questions, and many other issues. Beginning in 1988, he served as a member of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for more than a decade, including a term as its Acting Co-Chair. He concluded his government service in 2014 after three years as Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Gaming and Racing. At Albany Law School from 2001-2011, he worked at the Government Law Center as the Coordinator of its Program on Racing and Wagering Law and as the Center’s executive director.

            In 2016, he came out of retirement to serve as the interim director of the Center. He has written hundreds of articles on horse racing, gambling and New York State government. From 2008-2011, he was a regular blogger for the New York Times Rail Blog authoring over 100 articles. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Union College and a cum laude graduate of New York University School of Law.

            In 1997, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program and was the recipient of the Excellence in Public Service Award in 2010 from the New York State Bar Association.

            Michele Andre

            Michele Andre

            Program Manager of the City of Albany Community Police Review Board (CPRB)

            mandr@albanylaw.edu


              Michele Andre is a distinguished leader in public service, currently serving as the Program Manager of the Albany Community Police Review Board (CPRB) at Albany Law School’s Government Law Center. With a rich background in City governance, Michele has held integral roles in the Corporation Counsel, Common Council, and Office of Audit and Control, bringing a wealth of experience to her current position.

              In her role, Michele oversees the daily operations of CPRB, manages complaint processing procedures, develops comprehensive reports, and provides essential input for formal recommendations to both the Mayor and Albany Common Council. Her collaborative approach has led to innovative projects such as the Albany Police Department Discipline Matrix, demonstrating her commitment to driving positive change and promoting transparency in law enforcement practices. Michele’s proactive engagement has fostered improved communication and understanding between the APD and CPRB, while her educational presentations have significantly contributed to the training of new Albany Police Department recruits and officers on CPRB processes.

              Prior to her pivotal role at Albany Law School, Michele served as an Auditor for the City of Albany Office of Audit and Control, where she conducted audits and oversaw utility and technology services accounts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Michele collaborated with state, local, and community partners to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in vaccine distribution, showcasing her unwavering commitment to public welfare.

              Michele holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York at Albany and has been recognized with accolades throughout her career for her transformative contributions to public welfare and her dedication to making a significant impact in her field.

              Her achievements speak volumes about her dedication and excellence. Within three months as Program Manager for the CPRB, Michele secured the Outstanding Teamwork award for her role in redesigning the CPRB website. As Senior Legislative Aide for Albany Common Council, she received recognition for her transformative contributions to Council operations, transparency enhancement, and public accessibility to Council deliberations. Michele's collaborative efforts also led to the Albany Common Council receiving a grade A from the New York Coalition for Open Government for compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and public comment facilitation.

              An active member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and a Certified Practitioner of Oversight, Michele leverages her expertise to participate as a guest speaker in discussions on law enforcement and community relations worldwide. She provides consultation to government agencies and stakeholders, championing the cause of oversight of law enforcement entities in an apolitical manner. Michele's deep understanding of City governance enables her to impartially weigh investigative findings and apply rules of evidence.

              Michele Andre's professional journey, unwavering commitment to public service, and track record of transformative accomplishments underscore her as a standout leader and influencer in her field.

              Lisa Rivage

              Lisa Rivage

              Program Administrator, Inst of Legal Studies

              lriva@albanylaw.edu

                Lisa Rivage has been a member of the Albany Law School community for 24 years where she has been critical in the development of the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program. Lisa assists multiple departments in providing CLE classes and maintaining the school’s CLE accreditation. In addition to managing CLE operations, Lisa also contributes to the Government Law Center as a program administrator. When Lisa is not providing CLE credits she enjoys spending time with her cats, Frank & Dean, and knitting, spinning and other forms of the fiber arts

                Mary Berry

                Mary Berry, Esq. '94

                Government Lawyer in Residence

                mberr@albanylaw.edu

                  Mary joined the Government Law Center in 2011 when she was first named the Clarence D. Rappleyea Government Lawyer in Residence. She is also a member of the GLC’s Advisory Board and has in the past served on the law school’s national alumni council. She explores ways to enhance the education and training of a new generation of lawyers. In addition, she organizes the Warren M. Anderson Legislative Breakfast Seminar Series, a program which features informative speakers on legal aspects of current public policy issues facing New York State. She works to involve government lawyers with activities on campus.

                  Prior to retiring from state service, she served as an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Department of Law and before that as assistant counsel to the New York State Science and Technology Foundation.

                  Mary returned to school as a nontraditional student to pursue a dual degree at Albany Law School and the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany. At graduation she was awarded the Government Law Center Prize from ALS and the Citation for Excellence in Labor Relations from Rockefeller College.

                  In addition to her NYS service, she has worked in various governmental capacities since high school when she taught swimming and was a life guard at a city pool, to teaching health education and mentoring inmates, running a group home for delinquents for a town, to serving as a citizen diplomat with the International Visitor Leadership Program of the US State Department.

                  Along with the GLC, her current volunteer experience includes moderating candidate events with the League of Women Voters. She has served on the Committee on Attorneys in Public Service with the NYS Bar Association and also serves as a judge for the US Constitution competition “WE the People” with NYSBA’s Law Youth and Citizenship Program. She hosts visitors from foreign countries with the International Center of the Capital Region.

                  She holds three degrees: BA, MPA, and JD.

                  Rose Mary Bailly

                  Rose Mary Bailly, Esq.

                  Special Consultant on Aging Law

                  rbail@albanylaw.edu

                    Rose Mary Bailly, Esq., oversees the Institute for Aging and Disabilities Law at the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.  She is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Albany Law School.  She is the co-author of FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION OF THE ELDERLY (CIVIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE 2007) and author of Thomson West’s Practice Commentaries to Article 81, New York Mental Hygiene Law, and Article 5, title 15 of the New York General Obligations Law, powers of attorney. She has also authored numerous articles on guardianship law, powers of attorney, and elder abuse.  Ms. Bailly served as Executive Director of the New York State Law Revision Commission for sixteen years and has also worked as an attorney in the private sector. Ms. Bailly is a member of the American Bar Association, Real Property and Probate Section and the New York State Bar Association Elder Law & Special Needs Section, and Disability Rights Committee, and a Fellow of the Brookdale Center on Aging of Hunter College.  A graduate of Fordham University School of Law, she served as a Commentary Editor for the Fordham Law Review.

                    Tamar Reiner

                    Tamar Reiner

                    Coordinator

                    trein@albanylaw.edu

                      Tamar Reiner provides overall administrative and operational support for staff of the Government Law Center. She maintains meeting calendars, works with GLC Fellows and Interns, coordinates Advisory Board and various other meetings, and assists with programs. She is also a member of the Albany Law School Staff Social Committee.

                      Before joining the GLC in late 2022, Tamar was the Operations Manager at the Marlene Meyerson JCC in Manhattan. She holds a B.A. in English from Binghamton University. In her spare time, Tamar enjoys making homemade ice cream and playing with her two kids.

                      Chel Miller

                      Chel Miller

                      Publications Editor and Community Events Organizer

                      cmill@albanylaw.edu

                        Chel Miller coordinates all aspects of the Government Law Center’s publications, events, and community outreach. Before joining the GLC in 2022, Chel served as the Communications Director for the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. They previously worked in scholarly publishing and as a freelance editor.

                        Chel received their M.A. and graduate certificate in public history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2016. They received their B.A., cum laude, from Mount Holyoke College, where they studied history and environmental studies.