State Bar Association announces fellows for 2022-2023 Leadership Academy

The New Jersey State Bar Association is proud to announce a talented class of fellows for its 2022–2023 Leadership Academy.

The academy, which kicks off this month, provides a year of programming that helps fellows develop leadership skills. The curriculum includes a wide array of classes on topics such as improving communication skills, the legislative process, public-sector law, issues confronting the profession, the New Jersey business landscape and more.

The 18 fellows selected for this year represent an accomplished assemblage of attorneys, spanning diverse practice areas in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Jeralyn Lawrence. (File photo)

“I was thrilled to serve as part of the selection committee for this year’s fellows, and can honestly say I was astounded by the depth and breadth of the candidates’ talent and experiences,” NJSBA President Jeralyn Lawrence said. “I am so excited for the profession’s next generation of leaders to get the invaluable career planning, networking and educational experiences the Leadership Academy will provide.”

The class is expected to graduate in May at the NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City.

The NJSBA 2022–2023 Leadership Academy fellows are:

  • Christopher Asakiewicz, director of ethics, risk and compliance at Novartis. Asakiewicz has held roles across the health care industry throughout various aspects of development from bench science, clinical trials and portfolio strategy.
  • Michael Burke, an assistant prosecutor for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. Since 2016, Burke has tried more than 10 jury trials involving violent crimes. He also has experience prosecuting federal matters as well, as he worked as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Newark.
  • Cosmas Diamantis, director of community development for the township of Cherry Hill. In this role, Diamantis oversees all functions related to the implementation of the township’s master plan, the review and processing of all municipal development applications to the planning and zoning boards.
  • Samantha Diorio, an associate at Connell Foley LLP. Diorio focuses her practice on commercial litigation, including aviation, premises liability, construction accidents and toxic torts. Diorio also has experience in commercial bankruptcy matters and has appeared in both state and federal courts in New York and New Jersey.
  • Veronica Finkelstein, an assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Philadelphia. Finkelstein handles a variety of civil affirmative and defensive matters, as well as criminal child exploitation cases. She has tried numerous civil cases to defense verdicts including in tort, employment law, and medical malpractice cases.
  • Aiyana Goldberg, an associate in Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi’s Real Estate, Development and Land Use Group. She focuses her practice on real estate, land use and related transactional matters. She has represented developers, real estate investment companies and several other closely held corporations in commercial real estate acquisitions and dispositions — including development, leasing and finance transactions.
  • J. Christopher Henschel, an associate with Connell Foley. Henschel represents businesses and individuals in high-stakes litigations in a variety of forums. He also represents domestic and international insurance companies in insurance coverage matters.
  • Chelsea Jasnoff, an associate at Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi. Jasnoff practices complex commercial litigation, including shareholder disputes, contract matters, business torts and commercial real estate disputes. She has experience defending both public and private employers against wage and hour, discrimination and wrongful discharge claims.
  • Sonia Johnson, a private practitioner working as a pool attorney with the Office of the Public Defender. Johnson is in private practice and has been working as a pool attorney with the Office of the Public Defender, representing parents in child welfare cases, since 2016. She has also represented parents of children with disabilities in special education matters in Burlington and Mercer counties.
  • Alexandra Kilduff, a staff attorney for the New Jersey program of the legal services organization Pro Bono Partnership. Kilduff represents a wide range of nonprofit clients. Prior to joining Pro Bono Partnership, she was in private practice specializing in commercial and construction litigation and corporate governance.
  • Andrew Marino, an associate at Gibbons. Marino’s practice includes a diverse set of complex commercial and criminal litigation matters in New Jersey and New York federal and state courts. He has experience drafting dispositive motions, conducting legal research and overseeing discovery. He also has assisted with government investigations.
  • Elizabeth Matecki, counsel for iCIMS, a technology company based in Holmdel. Matecki’s role supports diverse areas of the business, including commercial contracting, customer and vendor negotiations, product development and operations. Prior to joining iCIMS, she started her legal career as a civil litigator at McOmber, McOmber & Luber P.C.
  • Telge Peiris, a deputy attorney general for the Banking and Insurance Section in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office’s Division of Law. As a deputy attorney general, Peiris is an advocate for justice, and is fully committed to safeguarding the real estate, banking and insurance industries from unscrupulous actors.
  • NaSheena Porter, a deputy attorney general in the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. Prior to serving in the Attorney General’s Office, Porter was an assistant prosecutor and the chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. In this capacity, she prosecuted criminal cases in the special victims, appellate, domestic violence and trial team units.
  • Michael Rolek, an associate at Connell Foley. Rolek is a versatile practitioner at Connell Foley LLP, who focuses his practice on commercial litigation and corporate and business law. As a litigator, he has represented a wide array of clients in state court, federal court and arbitrations across the county. His clients have included asset management firms, commercial and residential real estate developers, general contractors, insurers, national nonprofit organizations, public entities and high net worth individuals.
  • Alexa Salcito, an associate at Connell Foley. Salcito represents and advises clients in a variety of business and employment disputes, insurance coverage matters and white collar crime investigations. She is an established litigator with comprehensive experience in all aspects of the litigation process, from pre-suit until the conclusion of the discovery phase.
  • Iman Wells, an associate with Nukk-Freeman & Cerra. Wells focuses her practice on management-side employment litigation and counseling. She defends employers in state and federal court and regularly counsels employers on a broad range of employment law issues, and provides employee anti-discrimination/harassment, unconscious bias and upstander conduct trainings.
  • Renada Williams, associate general counsel for the Vitamin Shoppe. Williams provides advice and counsel to the marketing, human resources and private brand business partners at the Vitamin Shoppe. She also manages the trademark portfolio, commercial contracts and litigation across the business.