Our Legal Team

Our Team

Our legal team has decades of trial and litigation experience in high-stakes, high-profile matters, from Federal to State Courts, and in a wide array of areas. Our attorneys have a reputation for excellence, not only among clients, but also within the legal community.

Recognized by our peers for our innovative and outstanding representation and continued commitment to finding practical solutions to complex issues that span multiple law fields, the attorneys at Karasyk & Moschella bring skill, integrity, and our vast experience to every client and case.





Philip Karasyk

Partner

Philip Karasyk

Philip Karasyk is the son and grandson of New York City Police Officers. His personal familiarity with the internal workings of the NYPD has helped him represent officers in the NYPD Trial Room and before major investigative bodies, as well as police officers charged with serious crimes. Most recently he orchestrated the successful defense and acquittal of several New York City Detectives following the police involved shooting at the Kalua Club in Queens, NY. He proudly serves as General Counsel to the Detectives Endowment Association and Lieutenants, Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department, New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association Inc.

Bar Admissions:
  • New York State Courts
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Education:
  • John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, J.D.
  • Northeastern University, B.A.

James M. Moschella

Partner

James M. Moschella

James M. Moschella has dedicated his career to representing NYPD members and others at all levels of administrative, civil and criminal proceedings. He possesses a wealth of knowledge in the area of civil rights litigation, and frequently handles civil rights cases concerning allegations of abuse of police authority, corruption, wrongful death and excessive force. He has a great deal of trial experience before administrative, state and federal courts in both civil and criminal matters. Jim comes from a family of New York City Police Officers and firefighters, and is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Sergeant and serving as an infantry squad leader. In addition to serving with Philip Karasyk as General Counsel to the NYPD’s Detectives Endowment Association, Lieutenants Benevolent Association and New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association Inc., Jim serves as Counsel to the NYPD’s Columbia Association and its members, and as special counsel to the Uniformed Fire Officers Association of the New York City Fire Department.

Bar Admissions:
  • New York State Courts
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
Education:
  • Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York, J.D.
  • St. John’s University, Queens, New York, B.A.
Jeannette Baldassarre

Jeannette Baldassarre

Attorney

Jeannette Baldassarre Born and raised in New Rochelle, New York, Jeannette Baldassarre earned her Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 1993. She has been representing clients in all aspects of real estate transactions since being admitted to the New York State Bar in April of1994. Prior to joining Karasyk & Moschella, Ms. Baldassarre represented individuals as well as lending institutions in all phases of the closing, mortgage lending and foreclosure process. This experience gives Ms. Baldassarre unique insight and experience which enables her to help clients navigate all areas of purchasing, selling and mortgage transactions.

Rena C. Dawson

Rena C. Dawson

Attorney

Rena C. Dawson, Esq. received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. While at Cardozo, she was a member of both the Moot Court Board and the ASILS International Law Journal and during her third year she was the Philip C. Jessup Editor of the ILSA Journal of International Law.

Ms. Dawson practices matrimonial and family law representing clients in divorce, separation, custody and visitation, paternity, and child and spousal support proceedings in both New York State Supreme and Family Courts. Ms. Dawson manages all phases of litigation in the areas of divorce and family law including divorce, separation, annulment, custody and visitation, guardianship, child support and paternity. Karasyk & Moschella, LLP clients also receive expert representation in negotiating prenuptial and antenuptial agreements. Ms. Dawson represents clients at court conferences and conducts settlement negotiations with respect to the equitable distribution of marital assets, spousal maintenance and child support and custody and visitation. Ms. Dawson also represents clients in family offense order of protection and abuse/neglect proceedings in Family Court.

Ms. Dawson is a member of the Matrimonial Law Committee of the New York State Women’s Bar Association and is admitted to practice law in New York and Connecticut.

Leanna Gonzalez

Leanna Gonzalez

Support Staff

Leanna Gonzalez is an integral part of the firm’s paralegal team. She brings a strong academic background and unique perspective to the firm’s practice, primarily assisting our police and corrections clients in matrimonial matters.

Leanna is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree from Queens College, City University of New York - being a double major in international business as well as economics. In her spare time, Leanna enjoys reading, watching movies, spending time with friends and family, and exploring new adventurous places.

Michelle Lindsay

Michelle Lindsay

Support Staff

Michelle Lindsay serves as the receptionist and administrative assistant at Karasyk & Moschella. Michelle joined the firm in January 2022, and has already proven to be an integral part of the legal team. She maintains the firm’s busy court and trial calendars and ensures our members always have representation. Michelle is a native New Yorker, having been born and raised in East Harlem. During her days off work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, and pursuing her hobbies of bird watching, photography and scuba diving.

Marissa B. Gillespie

Marissa B. Gillespie

Attorney

Marissa B. Gillespie has over a decade of trial experience as a New York City prosecutor and has handled countless criminal and administrative matters in both state court and the NYPD “Trial Room.” As an Assistant District Attorney, Marissa prosecuted career criminals deemed “mandatory persistent felons” facing life sentences. Additionally, Marissa represented the District Attorney’s Office at homicide scenes and “police-involved” shootings where she worked closely with law enforcement to investigate crimes and secure evidence. Marissa now brings her considerable, diverse experience to the Karasyk and Moschella team where she will be counseling our clients in state, federal and administrative matters.

Mercedes M. Maldonado

Mercedes M. Maldonado

Attorney

Mercedes M. Maldonado was born and raised in the Bronx. She attended Long Island University on a full tuition scholarship awarded by District Council 37. After graduating Long Island University, cum laude, she earned her juris doctor from the Boston University School of Law in 1992.

Throughout her almost 30-year career, Ms. Maldonado has focused on labor and employment law. Initially, she represented the concerns of management by advocating on behalf of institutions affiliated with the New York Catholic Archdiocese. She switched to Union representation in 1995 when she joined O’Donnell Schwartz, Glanstein & Rosen, working under the tutelage of Carl Rachlin, a preeminent civil rights and labor lawyer. There, she represented the labor interests of New York City correction officers under their newly elected President, Norman Seabrook, oil pipeline employees represented by the Buckeye TriState Pipeline Union and employees of the Long Island Railroad and New York City Transit Authority, among others. In 1999, Ms. Maldonado and Mr. Rachlin moved to the firm of Koehler & Isaacs, where they continued to promote the interests of private and public sector employees in the work force. There, Ms. Maldonado honed her extensive experience in Article 78 litigation, labor arbitration, collective bargaining negotiations, as well as proceedings before the Public Employment Relations Board and the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining. In 2020, Ms. Maldonado moved to Karasyk & Moschella, where she is privileged to continue her representation of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

Notable Cases Covered in the Media:
  • Matter of Tchodie v. Brann, DOC Violated Lawful Procedure Terminating Corrections Officer; Termination Vacated, N.Y.L.J. Decisions of Interest (September 9, 2019).
  • Chelsia Rose Marcius, Jail Guard Axed After Injury Wins Suit, is Back to Work, NY Daily News (July 14, 2019).
  • Ellen Moynihan, Wrongfully Fired Rikers Island Correction Officer Wins Legal Fight to Regain Her Job, Collect Back Pay. NY Daily News (June 30, 2019).
  • Andrew Denney, Rikers Guard’s Allergies Are Disabilities, Judge Says, N.Y.L.J. (March 31, 2016).
  • Julia Marsh, Guard Fired for Being ‘Allergic’ to Rikers Can Sue His Bosses, NY Post (March 29, 2016).
  • Mark Toor, Rule Correction Dept. Wrongly Fired CO Who was Domestic-Abuse Victim, Chief Leader (August 17, 2015).
  • Joel Stashenko, Domestic Violence Victim Wins Reinstatement to Prison Agency, N.Y.L.J. (August 07, 2015).
  • Reuven Blau, Judge Orders NY Correction Dept. To Reinstate Domestic Violence Victim, NY Daily News (August 6, 2015).
  • Chelsia Rose Marcius, Rikers Island Correction Officer Shot in the Face by Her Husband is Fighting to Get Her Job Back, NY Daily News (April 24, 2015).
  • Matter of Kaslow v. NYC, N.Y.L.J. (April 4, 2014).
  • Mark Toor, Arbitrator Orders More Heat for COs at Court, Chief Leader (September 30, 2011).
  • Mark Toor, Jail Union: Westchester Resists Awards from Arbitrators, Chief Leader (July 15, 2011).
  • Mark Toor, Westchester Wrongly Denied CO Time Off, Arbitrator Decides, Chief Leader (June 10, 2011).
  • Mark Toor, Unkind Cut Heals as Probie Fired Over Surgery is Rehired, Chief Leader (February 18, 2011).
  • Mark Toor, Westchester Sanctioned For Docking Injured COs Pay, Chief Leader (November 19, 2010).
  • Matter of Stevens v. Schriro, N.Y.L.J. (October 7, 2010).
  • Mayo v. Personnel Review Bd. of Health Hosps. Corp., N.Y.L.J. (August 18, 2009).
  • Matter of DeBlasio v. The City of New York, N.Y.L.J. (May 27, 2009).
  • Matter of Horn v. New York City Civ. Serv. Commn., N.Y.L.J. (September 25, 2007).
  • Reuven Blau, Rule CO Longevity Pay Pensionable, Chief Leader (November 25, 2005).
  • David McGarrigle v. City of New York, N.Y.L.J. (November 3, 2005).
  • Reuven Blau, Firing Battered CO Illegal, Judge Rules, Chief Leader (October 8, 2004).
  • Jennifer Medina, Victim of Domestic Abuse Gets City Job Back, NY Times (September 29, 2004).
  • Robert F. Moore, Rehired After Jails Bungle, NY Daily News (September 29, 2004).
  • Mark Fass, Fired Domestic Abuse Victim Wins Under City Rights Law, N.Y.L.J. (September 27, 2004).
  • Bill Farrell, Pension Ruling May Have Wide Impact, NY Daily News (July 14, 2004).
  • Richard Steier, Rule CO’s Longevity Pay is Pensionable, Chief Leader (July 9, 2004).
  • Whitfield v. Fraser, N.Y.L.J. (August 1, 2003).
  • Reuven Blau, COs Get Benefits Restored, Chief Leader (June 27, 2003).
  • Quaranta v. Jacobson, N.Y.L.J. (April, 1996).
Iris Rodriguez

Iris Rodriguez

Support Staff

Iris Rodriguez has been an integral part of the Karasyk & Moschella team since its founding in 2005. Iris has over 30 years of experience as a paralegal and legal assistant assisting members of the New York City Police Department, Department of Corrections and others in all of their legal needs. She works primarily with partners Philip Karasyk and James Moschella, and also provides support to the other members of the firm, with a primary focus on real estate, adoptions and probate and estate matters. She’s had family proudly serve in the New York City Department of Corrections, as well as the New York City Police Department.

In her spare time, Iris enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Education:
  • Borough of Manhattan Community College, Secretarial Studies
Ann M. Schneider

Ann M. Schneider

Attorney

Ann M. Schneider holds a degree in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her juris doctorate from Rutgers Law School. She has represented thousands of city employees, construction workers, day care workers and the uniformed services. Her areas of representation include divorce, custody, adoption, allegations of child maltreatment, real estate, housing and general civil practice in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey. Ann Schneider was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1994.

James M. Moschella

Stephanie A. Swinton

Attorney

Stephanie A. Swinton has 20 years of legal experience representing clients in civil court proceedings, concentrating in Landlord & Tenant law, personal Bankruptcy, Probate and Administration proceedings, Guardianship, Family Law such as adoptions, divorce, visitation, and custody proceedings, real estate, name changes and other civil litigation. Prior to joining Karasyk & Moschella, she was in private practice for ten years and an Assistant Attorney General at the New York State Attorney General’s Office Bureau of Real Estate Financing.

Bar Admissions:
  • New York State Courts
  • United States District for the Southern District of New York
  • United States District for the Eastern District of New York
Education:
  • New York Law School, JD
  • Long Island University, BA
Joanne Vitale

Joanne Vitale

Support Staff

Joanne Vitale has been an integral part of the Karasyk & Moschella team since its founding in 2005. Joanne has over 30 years of experience assisting members of the New York City Police Department, Department of Corrections and others with all of their legal needs. Her dedication and professionalism have given her the skills necessary to make sure every client has their individual needs met. Joanne is responsible for the overall services that allow the firm to operate efficiently, including meeting coordination, calendar scheduling, client relations, and preparing and executing Wills and Estates. In general, Joanne is the “go to” person. Joanne is a lifetime New York resident who enjoys quality time with her family and traveling in her spare time.

Education:
  • Kingsborough Community College, Secretarial Studies
Leticia Muniz

Leticia Muniz

Support Staff

Leticia Muniz brings three decades of legal experience as a Paralegal to Karasyk and Moschella. Leticia has devoted herself to assisting New York City Correction Officers, in particular, in many of their legal needs. She works alongside Stephanie A. Swinton in the General Practice Department. She assists in Client Relations, preparing and executing Wills and Estates, Bankruptcy, Names Changes and Adoptions. She also assists in preparing Landlord and Tenant cases. She is loyal and consistent. She has family proudly serving in the New York City Department of Corrections, as well as the New York City Police Department.

Her interests are spending time with her family, friends, and her dog, traveling and visiting vineyards.

Education:
  • Hunter College, New York, New York
Kathy Quinones

Kathy Quinones

Support Staff

Kathy Quinones brings over 25+ years of experience in the matrimonial/family field to our firm. With this experience comes the understanding of the emotional, mental and financial difficulties the clients are going through during the divorce process and thereafter. Having started with a solo practitioner in her early years, Kathy quickly took charge and assisted in managing the office and then later moved on to a mid-sized law firm where she gained additional experience not only in divorces but in legal separations, annulments, child support and custody modifications. Kathy’s personal experience allows her to empathetically guide, support and assist clients through these difficult times in their lives. Kathy uses her considerable multitasking skills and customer service experience to help clients in transition by providing detailed support to the attorneys from complex litigation cases to simple uncontested divorces. Kathy is involved from beginning to end by providing regular contact and updates, drafting letters, and maintaining document production and court filings, and is an integral part of file preparation. Her experience and work ethic has allowed her to form relationships with other industry professionals including court reporters, process servers and court personnel.

On a personal level, Kathy was born and raised in the Bronx, has two grown daughters, enjoys music, traveling and taking in a Yankee game.

Education:
  • Associates Degree in Legal Studies
Yessica Mendez

Yessica Mendez

Support Staff

Yessica Mendez joined the team at Karasyk & Moschella as a Paralegal/Legal Assistant supporting attorney Jeannette M. Baldassarre in the Real Estate department. She has worked as a paralegal/legal assistant since 2012. She began her college career at Monroe College where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. She then was offered an opportunity to do an internship at a firm which she was offered a full time position in the Real Estate department. She managed to learn quickly and develop a passion in helping clients through the process of buying a home. Her considerable experience has given her the skills necessary to serve as a liaison for clients, banks and attorneys. Her responsibilities include drafting contracts, coordinating closings and provide top level service to clients and attorneys.

Yessica is a New Yorker at heart though she now resides with her husband and two boys in Connecticut. When she is not in the office, she likes spending time with her family and her cats.

Education:
  • Monroe College
  • B.A. Criminal Justice
Alicia Helbeck

Alicia Helbeck

Support Staff

Alicia Helbeck is a paralegal that brings the firm a wealth of experience and knowledge. Well versed in many legal disciplines, she provides invaluable support across the various departments of the firm, assisting our police and corrections clients, in both civil and criminal matters.

Alicia holds a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Linguistics with a minor in French from the University at Albany – completing a four-year degree in just over 2 years. She enjoys reading, knitting, and teaching herself Latin. Non ducor, duco.

Shiva Bahmani

Shiva Bahmani

Of Counsel

Shiva Bahmani is a practitioner who brings to our office her experience in a wide array of areas. She has represented litigants in matrimonial and family court matters throughout the tri-state area, including New Jersey, and is acutely aware of the rights of law enforcement members in these matters.

John Burns

John W. Burns

Of Counsel

John W. Burns Of Counsel to the firm of Karasyk & Moschella, LLP.

In John’s thirty plus years of practice he has proudly represented thousands of law enforcement officers. He started his legal career representing members of the NYC Transit Police PBA in investigative, disciplinary, civil and criminal matters. He also represented members of the Uniform Firefighters Association (UFA). He then served as an Assistant District Attorney, Kings County, for six years, the last two as Senior Trial Assistant, investigating and prosecuting assaults on law enforcement officers from 1992- 1998.

John spent the next 16 years representing members of the NYC PBA in civil rights matters in both state and federal court. Prior to joining Karasyk & Moschella, he served for five years at the Office of Trials and Administrative Hearings (OATH) (2015-2020) as First Deputy Commissioner and Supervising Administrative Law Judge. While at OATH he presided over 500+ disciplinary matters that were filed by the NYC Department of Corrections. John acquired a unique insight into the operations of DOC. He brings that wealth of experience and knowledge to his representation of the members of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA), Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) and the Lieutenant’s Benevolent Association (LBA). In addition, to his legal career John has been an Adjunct Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY for twenty years. (2000-2020)

Bar Admissions:
  • New York State Courts
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Courts of the Republic of Ireland
Education:
  • The Law School of the Honorable Society of Kings’ Inns, Dublin, Ireland Barrister-at Law (B.L.)
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, New York, N.Y. Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice
Michael A. Palladino

Michael A. Palladino

Attorney

Michael A. Palladino is an attorney practicing in the area of labor employment, employee benefits and the respective Taft-Hartley Funds. Mr. Palladino negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of the firm’s private and public sector unions. He provides counsel for labor unions on all labor and employment matters, including compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations, employee discipline and counseling and represents clients in arbitrations and in proceedings before various federal, state and city governmental administrative agencies. He has represented Union clients in various disciplinary and contractual arbitration hearings as well. Mr. Palladino represents and counsels clients through United States Department of Labor, New York State Department of Labor and Office of Labor-Management Standards investigations.

Mr. Palladino received his Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law, where he graduated with honors in 2013. Mr. Palladino served as a staff member on the Journal of Corporate and Finance Law. Mr. Palladino received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University, where he graduated with honors in 2010.

Mr. Palladino is a member of the New York State Bar Association, and he is admitted to practice law in the state of New York, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Bar Admissions:
  • Labor and Employment
  • ERISA
Education:
  • New York, 2013
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
Professional Associations and Memberships:
  • New York State Bar Association, Member
Yesenia Rivera-Snipes

Yesenia Rivera-Snipes

Of Counsel

Yesenia Rivera-Snipes, Esq. graduated from Ithaca College Park School of Communications with a degree in Journalism in 1997. She graduated from The George Washington University School of Law in Washington, DC in 2001.

After law school Ms. Rivera-Sipes worked on Capitol Hill for the Democratic Steering and Coordination Committee before accepting a clerkship in the Essex County, New Jersey, Family Court. Upon completion of her clerkship, she worked for three years as a staff attorney at the New York City non- profit law firm, Lawyers For Children, where she represented children in the New York City Family Courts. Ms. Rivera- Sipes began practicing exclusively in the area of matrimonial law in 2007 and after working for several respected matrimonial firms in Manhattan, she started her own practice in 2013. She joined Karasyk & Moschella in January 2021, as of counsel to the matrimonial department. Ms. Rivera-Sipes lives in Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Education:
  • The George Washington University School of Law, Washington, D.C. J.D.,
  • Ithaca College, Roy IL Park School of Communications, Ithaca, N.Y., B.A.
Bar Memberships:
  • New York, 2003