Alumnae Leadership Council

Our goal is, over time, to develop a vibrant network of young alumnae, mid-career alumnae, and senior professionals who connect with each other and with current students, sharing their multi-varied and prodigious talents and skills.

Read about the founding of the Alumnae Leadership Council
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Established in 2021 by a core group of enthusiastic alumnae, the St. John’s Law Alumnae Leadership Council was formed to support the advancement of St. John’s Law alumnae and students.

After surveys and discussions revealed that students and alumnae alike were seeking mentors, the Alumnae Leadership Council prioritized that support by creating its Mentoring Circles program, led by a diverse group of alumnae mentors.

With participants set to meet online starting in April, the Mentoring Circles will cover a range of topics, including:

  • Owning Your Professional and Leadership Development Session
  • Networking
  • Having a Life and Family While Practicing Law
  • Executive Presence

To learn more about the Mentoring Circles Program and the Alumnae Leadership Council, please contact Kala Andrews Giddish at [email protected].

Rose F. DiMartino '81 
Partner
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Until retiring in 2019, Rose practiced for over 35 years at the international law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, where she was a partner in the nationally-recognized Asset Management Group. Her practice centered on organizing and operating mutual fund families, and counseling the investment advisers who manage them and the governing Boards that oversee them. She lives in New York City with her spouse Karen. She received her JD from St. John’s University in 1981. 

 

Elisa D. Garcia '85
Chief Legal Officer
Macy’s Inc. 

Elisa D. Garcia is an accomplished corporate executive and attorney with over 30 years of experience advising management and boards of directors on legal, business and government relations matters. Since 2016, Ms. Garcia has served as the Chief Legal Officer of Macy’s, Inc. and as a member of Macy’s Enterprise Committee, which sets the overall strategic direction for the company. From 2007 to 2016, Ms. Garcia has served as a trusted advisor to the Board and senior management of Office Depot, Inc. She also served as Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, and had global responsibility for legal, compliance and government relations matters.  

Ms. Garcia has held general counsel and senior executive positions with Domino’s Pizza and Philip Morris International.  She also has worked as counsel for GAF Corp., a chemical and roofing manufacturer, and began her legal career with the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City. Prior to her career as an attorney, Ms. Garcia was an Energy Analyst working in-country with developing country governments and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  

Ms. Garcia serves on the Board of Directors and Nominating and Governance Committee of Dollarama, Inc., a leading Canadian value retailer in Canada with sales of over $3 billion and over 1,800 stores in Canada and Latin America.   Ms. Garcia also serves on the Board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, a non-profit organization supporting research and scholarship to improve the entrance and retention of minorities, women, and LGBT in the legal profession. Ms. Garcia serves on the Board of DirectWomen, a non-profit that prepares women lawyers for service on corporate boards of directors. Ms. Garcia also serves on the Advisory Board of Corporate ProBono/ProBono Institute. 

Ms. Garcia is a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law, where she was an Editor of the Law Review. She also received a joint BA/MS in Political Science and Management and Policy Sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1980).  Ms. Garcia is a member of the New York and Michigan Bars. 

 

Andrea M. Alonso '81
Partner
Morris Duffy Alonso & Faley

Andrea M. Alonso has been associated with Morris Duffy Alonso & Faley since 1981 and became a named partner in 1992.  Ms. Alonso concentrates her practice in appellate litigation.  She has argued in the Appellate Terms and Appellate Divisions of the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  She is a frequent lecturer at insurance companies, bar associations, claims associations, and law schools.  Ms. Alonso is fluent in Spanish. 

Ms. Alonso was selected to the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019 Super Lawyers list for excellence in insurance defense.  Each year no more than 5% of the lawyers in the state are selected to receive this honor.  Ms. Alonso has received a rating of AV Preeminent 5 out 5, the highest peer review rating available from Martindale-Hubbel.  This peer review is a reflection of both the respect that she has garnered from the professional community and her commitment to providing excellent legal counsel in her specific area of expertise: insurance defense.   

Ms. Alonso currently serves on the St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a past president of the Alumni Association. She is involved as a member of The Defense Research Institute, Puerto Rican Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, The Defense Association of New York, and serves on the Catholic Migration Services Board of Directors. Ms. Alonso is a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law and received her bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in 1978. 

 

Catherine A. Brienza '85
Founder & President, JOLT USA
Founder & President, NJ Civics Outreach
Attorney at Law

Catherine A. Brienza is dedicated to educating and empowering others to make a positive difference in the world. 

Ms. Brienza is the founder and president of JOLT USA and its community outreach arm, RidgewoodJOLT. She recently received the Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award from U.S. Sen. Bob Mendenez. The award is named after Mendenez's mother. Ms. Brienza has helped raised public awareness in Bergen County through co-sponsoring rallies, including March for Our Lives, Keep Families Together, and hosting a town hall on gun safety. 

RidgewoodJOLT works to safeguard Democracy and preserve the basic principles that have guided the United States, freedom from oppression, embracing of diverse cultures, and to protect the earth for future generations. 

She also founded NJ Civics Outreach, a nonprofit formed to engage and empower high school students to participate in their communities. Ms. Brienza also created 15min4change, a Facebook page that encourages citizen participation on current events and speaking to their government representatives about issues. 

Ms. Brienza is also a member of the Ridgewood Green Team and is on the Board of Directors of Alpine Learning Group, a center for people on the autism spectrum. She graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in 1985 and received her undergraduate degree from St. John’s University in 1981. 

 

Kathryn M. Zunno-Freaney '06
Partner
BakerHostetler

A skilled and effective litigator, Ms. Zunno-Freaney focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and white-collar defense. She has myriad experience in high-profile matters involving financial fraud, including representation of the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS), as well as clients in significant securities-related government investigations and securities fraud class actions. She understands the "big picture" issues facing her clients and proactively crafts practical and creative strategies to support their large-scale litigations. She continuously earns her clients' trust with her confidence, sound judgment, and ability to synthesize and master complicated facts quickly and efficiently. 

Involved in diversity, development and recruiting initiatives across the firm, Ms. Zunno-Freaney is the Co-Chair of the New York office’s Mentorship Committee and an active member of the office’s Diversity, Women’s Steering and Recruiting committees. Ms. Zunno-Freaney is passionate about her service as a Board Member of the Ali Forney Center, a New York City nonprofit and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive program dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless LGBTQ youth. She also devotes her time to activities within the St. John’s University Law School Alumni network, including as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. She graduated cum laude from St. John’s in 2006 and also received her B.A. from Columbia University in 2002. 

In recognition of her distinguished legal skills and profound commitment to LGBT+ equality, Ms. Zunno-Freaney was recently named by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of its Best 40 LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40. 

 

Eugenie “Genie” Cesar-Fabian '04
General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer
Palladium Equity Partners, LLC

Eugenie “Genie” Cesar-Fabian is a Partner, as well as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, of Palladium Equity Partners, LLC, where she has worked since 2011. Palladium Equity Partners is a private equity firm with approximately $3 billion in assets under management.  It is focused on investing in middle market companies, with a special focus on founder-owned businesses and on businesses Palladium believes will benefit from growth in the U.S. Hispanic market.   

Prior to working in-house, Ms. Cesar-Fabian was in private practice, beginning as a litigator in the Securities and Professional Liability practice at Hughes, Hubbard & Reed LLP. After transitioning to Bingham McCutchen LLP as a midlevel associate, she began to focus primarily on regulatory defense, and rose to counsel in Bingham’s Securities Litigation and Broker-Dealer defense group. Ms. Cesar-Fabian was seconded to Morgan Stanley during the financial crisis to assist their Regulatory Inquiries team in training team members and fielding inquiries from the SEC, FINRA, Chicago Board Options Exchange, and various other state/federal regulators. After the Dodd-Frank Act took effect, which required the private equity industry to register with the SEC, she transitioned from private practice to in-house counsel. Ms. Cesar-Fabian has been with Palladium since then. 

Ms. Cesar-Fabian’s expertise is in all aspects of legal issues affecting registered investment advisors, including building out and maintaining a strong regulatory compliance program, interfacing with federal and state regulators as needed, providing counsel to investment professionals and firm leadership, and supporting the firm’s business activities from portfolio management to investor relations to matters affecting firm personnel. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from New York University and a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law. Ms. Cesar-Fabian is an active member of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, the National Society of Compliance Professionals, the Association for Corporate Growth, 100 Women in Finance, and the Womens’ Association for Venture and Equity (WAVE). She is also a board member of the St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association and a member of the Financial Women’s Association. She previously served on the board of Artsgenesis, Inc. and as an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University School of Law. In 2020, Ms. Cesar-Fabian received the National Organization for Women’s Women of Power and Influence Award, and was recognized as a Notable LGBTQ Leader & Executive by Crain’s NY Business. In 2021, she was invited to join Lawyers of Distinction.  Ms. Cesar-Fabian has spoken on various panels about issues involving diversity and inclusion in the financial services industry, ESG developments, and issues affecting out LGBTQ+ professionals.

 

Mary K. McCann '05
Associate General Counsel & Head of Litigation
S&P Global, Inc.

Mary McCann is the Associate General Counsel and Head of Litigation at S&P Global Inc. Ms. McCann joined S&P Global in April 2014 as Associate General Counsel, with a focus on litigation and regulatory investigations. She then became the Head of Regulatory Affairs for S&P Global Ratings in January 2017. She moved to her current role in July 2018. Before joining S&P Global, Ms. McCann practiced litigation at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP for nine years, from 2005 to 2014. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York at Binghamton and graduated cum laude from St. John’s University School of Law in 2005. 

Danielle D’Aquila '12
Partner
Brown Rudnick LLP

Danielle A. D’Aquila is a partner in Brown Rudnick’s Litigation & Arbitration Practice Group. Danielle has extensive experience handling complex financial and commercial litigation matters, as well as patent litigation matters. Danielle represents clients in all aspects of litigation and arbitration matters, from pre-litigation advisory services through trial and appeal in federal, state, and bankruptcy courts, and with the American Arbitration Association. Danielle also has experience handling multidistrict litigations.  

Danielle co-chairs the Brown Rudnick’s Women’s Initiative, a collective of Brown Rudnick women attorneys focused on strengthening their internal community and external networks, and assisting one another in the advancement of professional endeavors. Danielle develops programs and networking opportunities for the Brown Rudnick’s’ women lawyers. 

 

Roselind F. Hallinan '14
Associate
Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch, LLC

Roselind F. Hallinan represents clients, financial institutions, insurance companies, and individuals in a broad range of complex civil litigation. Ms. Hallinan has experience in state and federal courts and handles all aspects of litigation, including analysis of claims and defenses, fact discovery, depositions, motion practice, expert discovery, and trial preparation.  

Ms. Hallinan is the founder and chair of Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch’s Women’s Committee. The committee focuses on community development, networking, and professional advancement.  

Ms. Hallinan received her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 2014, where she was an associate managing editor of the St. John’s Law Review and Journal of Catholic Legal Studies. She received her B.S., cum laude, in Business Economics from the State University of New York at Oneonta in 2011. 

 

Queenie Paniagua '12 
Deputy Bureau Chief
Kings County District Attorney’s Office

Queenie Paniagua is a Deputy Bureau Chief at the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney’s Office. There, she oversees the prosecution of all misdemeanor cases in Trial Bureau II. Queenie is currently responsible for the training and supervision of ten Assistant District Attorneys in Trial Bureau II. Prior to becoming a Deputy Bureau Chief, Queenie was a Senior Assistant District Attorney in Trial Bureau IV, where she prosecuted and tried felony cases. She is also a past President of the Dominican Bar Association.

 

Bridget Croutier '15
Associate
Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch

Bridget Croutier is a sixth-year litigation associate at Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP. She represents clients, financial institutions, insurance companies, and individuals in a broad range of complex civil litigation. Bridget has experience in state and federal courts and handles all aspects of litigation, including analysis of claims and defenses, fact discovery, depositions, motion practice, and expert discovery. During her time at St. John’s Law, she participated in the Consumer Justice for the Elderly Litigation Clinic and was a Senior Articles Editor, St. John’s Journal of International and Comparative Law. Bridget lives in Rockville Centre, NY with her husband and two sons.



Marissa Muscarella '15
Associate
Nixon Peabody LLP



Jennifer Prevete '15
Associate
Walden Macht & Haran LLP

Jennifer Prevete is an associate at Walden Macht & Haran LLP. Jennifer's practice focuses on commercial litigation, white collar defense, government investigation, and internal investigations. Prior to joining Walden Macht & Haran, Jennifer worked as a litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.  Before joining Davis Polk, Jennifer clerked for the Honorable Judge Joan M. Azrack in the Eastern District of New York. Jennifer graduated from St. John's University School of Law, magna cum laude. She was an Associate Managing Editor on St. John's Law Review

Ashley (Cardenas) Torres '18  
Associate
Wollmuth Maher and Deutsch LLP

Ashley is a 2018 graduate of St. John’s Law and is currently working as a third-year associate at Wollmuth Maher and Deutsch LLP in Manhattan. She predominately works in the firm’s litigation department on matters related to residential mortgage-backed securities. Ashley is originally from Rochester, NY and spent most of her life upstate prior to attending St. John’s Law. While at St. John’s Law she worked as an Articles Editor on the law review and also participated in the school’s Domestic Violence Clinic.  

 

Katy Baldwin '18  
Law Clerk
Southern District of New York

Katy Baldwin is a native Ohioan who started her career working in development and program management for several New York City non-profits. During her time at St. John's Law, she worked as a research assistant and served as President of the Women's Law Society and Associate Managing Editor of the Law Review. After graduating, she worked as a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where she focused on securities and shareholder derivative litigation. She spent this summer as a temporary remote clerk in the Tenth Circuit, and is currently clerking in the Southern District of New York.  

 

Christina Vlahos Profestas '17  
Associate
Clifford Chance US LLP

Christina Profestas is a fourth-year litigation associate at Clifford Chance US LLP. She represents clients in cross-border and domestic civil, criminal, and regulatory proceedings. While at St. John’s Law, Christina was an inaugural International Honors Program Scholar and a Notes & Comments Editor for the St. John’s Law Review.

 

Jasmine Brown '19
Associate
Law Office of Vincent Toomey

Jasmine Brown is a second year associate at the Law Office of Vincent Toomey. She represents public-sector clients in labor and employment matters. During her time at St. John’s, she served as president of the Women’s Law Society and participated in the Bankruptcy Clinic.



Christine Chu '18
Associate
Siegel & Kaufman, P.C.

Christine is a third-year associate at Siegel & Kaufman PC, a boutique matrimonial law firm in Fairfield County, CT, and works on complex high-asset divorce cases and issues. Prior to joining Siegel & Kaufman, PC, Christine was an associate in the Employment Group at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, where she was also a summer associate. During her time at St. John's Law, Christine was a student in the evening program as she worked full-time at a law firm in Queens, New York. Christine was an active external member of the Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute (PTAI), a Senior Staff member of the St. John's Law Review, served as the Executive Director for PTAI, and also participated in the Queens District Attorney's Prosecution Clinic. 



Gabrielle Schwartz '18
Associate
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Gabi is a third year associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in the Asset Management Group. During her time at St. John's Law, Gabi was involved in various student organizations and served as a Notes and Comments Editor for the St. John's Law Review and as President of the Corporate and Securities Law Society. Gabi continues to serve as an Alumni Advisor for the Law Review.