Acting Attorney General Platkin Announces Leadership Team
Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced the membership of his executive leadership team including Lyndsay Ruotolo as First Assistant Attorney General and Shirley Emehelu as Executive Assistant Attorney General, and other key senior officials within the Department of Law and Public Safety.
“We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of public servants within the Attorney General’s Office, and they are truly the engine that allows us to accomplish our important work. I am thrilled to welcome new members to the senior leadership team, who bring with them a wealth of experience as career prosecutors, devoted public servants, and talented attorneys,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “It is also important to me that these appointments enhance the diversity of Office leadership so that we can represent the rich diversity of our great state. And I want to specifically thank and acknowledge Jennifer Davenport, Christopher Edwards, and Michelle Miller for their leadership and service, and look forward to welcoming the new members of the Office. Together, we will continue to serve the people of New Jersey and make their lives safer, fairer, and more secure.”
First Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Davenport joined the Office of the Attorney General as First Assistant Attorney General in February 2018 and is leaving the Department of Law and Public Safety for a new role.
Lyndsay Ruotolo will assume the duties as First Assistant Attorney General upon Davenport’s departure. Ruotolo has served as the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice since July 2021. Prior to her appointment as Director of DCJ, Ruotolo served as Acting Union County Prosecutor, where she launched the “Intelligence-Driven Prosecution Unit” to combat violent crime. She also previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, where she worked in the area of violent crime prosecution, and before that as a line Assistant Prosecutor in Union County. Ruotolo has also worked in the area of commercial litigation at the law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter and clerked for the Honorable Ellen L. Koblitz as the Presiding Judge of General Equity (Bergen County), and then as Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. Ruotolo received her B.F.A. from the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University, and her J.D. from New York Law School.
Christopher Edwards, currently serving as the Executive Assistant Attorney General, is stepping down from his role as he is set to be nominated as a Judge of the Superior Court, following last month’s approval from the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
Shirley Emehelu will be appointed as the Executive Assistant Attorney General and will serve as the third ranking official in the Office. Emehelu is currently a Member of the White Collar criminal Defense and Government Investigations Group of Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, and also co-leads the firm’s Banking and Finance Group. She previously served as Chief of Asset Recovery and Anti-Money Laundering for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, overseeing various statewide programs, including federal asset forfeiture, money laundering, and victim restitution. During her nine-year tenure at the US Attorney’s Office, she prosecuted numerous complex financial fraud cases. Emehelu clerked for the Honorable James R. Spencer in the Eastern District of Virginia. She received her B.A. from Yale University and J.D. from Yale Law School.
Pearl Minato will be the next Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. The Division of Criminal Justice oversees New Jersey’s unified, integrated system of law enforcement. The more than 400 investigators, detectives, prosecutors and professional personnel are charged with investigating, enforcing and prosecuting criminal activity. In addition to its direct law enforcement operations, the Division provides oversight and coordination to New Jersey’s law enforcement community at the state, county and municipal level to ensure the safety and security of all New Jersey residents. Minato, currently a Senior Counsel to the Acting Attorney General, is a career prosecutor, with over 25 years’ experience in law enforcement. Previously, Minato served as Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability and a Deputy Attorney General with the Corruption Bureau, the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, and the Statewide Narcotics Task Force. Minato started her career as an Assistant Prosecutor with the Camden and Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Offices where she litigated numerous street and violent crimes cases. Minato graduated from Hunter College-New York and the Rutgers School of Law-Camden.
Michelle Miller, who has led the Division of Law since 2015, will be stepping down to assume a senior role in the Division.
Michael Long will be appointed as the next Director of the Division of Law. Long, currently a Partner with Lowenstein Sandler, will lead the largest law firm in the state with over 500 attorneys, and which is responsible for providing legal advice and counseling to executive branch agencies. He has handled a range of work in the private sector, including internal investigations, complex commercial litigation, state and federal appeals. Long clerked for the Honorable James R. Zazzali of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, received his B.A. from Boston College and J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law.
Cari A. Fais, previously named as Governor Murphy’s nominee as the next Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, will join the Office as Acting Director pending her Senate confirmation. Fais, currently the Chief of the Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, leads a team responsible for the investigation of manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, and medical professionals engaged in the diversion of opioids. She has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in that office since 2013. Fais previously worked as a litigation associate for Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman and Debevoise & Plimpton, and served as a law clerk for Judge Michael A. Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Newark. Fais received her B.A. from George Washington University, and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, and is a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.
Derick D. Dailey joins the Office as Senior Counsel to the Acting Attorney General. Dailey joins from Davis and Gilbert, where he worked as an Associate in litigation and dispute resolution matters. He previously worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, where he led civil rights investigations, prosecuted white collar crimes and was chief of the Financial Litigation Unit charged with recovering millions of dollars in federal restitution. He received his B.A. from Westminster College, M.A. from Yale University, and J.D from Fordham University.
Sundeep Iyer joins as Assistant Attorney General and Senior Counsel to the Acting Attorney General. Iyer was previously a Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells in the firm’s New York and Washington, DC offices. During his time at the firm, he served as a Special Attorney for the State of Minnesota in the criminal prosecution of four former police officers charged in connection with the death of George Floyd. Iyer previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer, as well as for then-Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He received his A.B. from Harvard College and J.D. from Yale Law School.
Daniela Nogueira will join as Senior Counsel to the Acting Attorney General. She joins the Office from the World Bank where she worked with World Bank teams and foreign governments on the use of data and technology in the justice sector. She previously worked in the New York Attorney General’s Office overseeing complex civil litigation, including matters involving immigration and COVID-19. Nogueira clerked for the Honorable Analisa N. Torres for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Honorable Richard A. Paez for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She received her A.B. from Harvard University and J.D. from Yale Law School.
Jonathan Garelick will remain as Chief of Staff to the Acting Attorney General. Garelick, a career public servant, had previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Acting Chief of Staff before being named as Chief of Staff under Attorney General Grewal in July 2020. From 2015 until his appointment as Deputy Chief of Staff in 2018, Garelick served as a Special Assistant to the Attorney General, where he worked on issues involving emergency management, cybersecurity, law enforcement initiatives, and the Department’s response to the opioid epidemic. Garelick first joined the Department in 2012 as a Deputy Attorney General in the former Legal Affairs and Employee Relations Section, and, before that, he was a civilian contractor for the United States Coast Guard at the National Pollution Funds Center. He received a B.A. from Rutgers University and J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.
Matthew Berns will remain as Chief Counsel to the Acting Attorney General. Previously, Berns served as Counsel and Senior Counsel to the Attorney General. Before joining the Office, he spent three years at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served as a Trial Attorney in the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division. He previously worked as an associate at Covington & Burling in Washington and clerked for Judge Thomas Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Berns graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal.
Melanie Armstrong will retain her position as Senior Counsel to the Acting Attorney General. Armstrong previously served as the Director of the Division of Civil Rights for the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Public Contract Assistance for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Earlier in her career, she served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Division of Law’s Correction and State Police Section and as Special Assistant to the Director of the Law Enforcement component of Governor Corzine’s Safe Streets, Safe Neighborhoods Strategy. She graduated from the College of New Jersey and Villanova University School of Law.
Jeremy Feigenbaum remains in his current position as Solicitor General, which was previously referred to as the State Solicitor. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, Feigenbaum was an associate at Kirkland & Ellis in New York. He has also served as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. He clerked for Judge William Fletcher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Elena Kagan of the U.S. Supreme Court. Feigenbaum graduated from Brown University and Harvard Law School.
B. Stephan Finkel remains as the Office’s Director of Legislative Affairs. Finkel began his legal career in 1990 as a Deputy Attorney General in the Division of Law, assigned to the JUA/MTF Complex Litigation Unit and to the Insurance section, moving to the Legislative Affairs Unit in the Office of Attorney General in 1996. Finkel has served 13 different Attorneys General as head of Legislative Affairs. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College and received his law degree from Villanova University School of Law.
Bryn Whittle remains as Senior Counsel to the Acting Attorney General and Director of Community Engagement. Whittle previously served as the Special Assistant to the Attorney General on community engagement and community justice initiatives. Prior to joining the Department of Law and Public Safety, Whittle was a sole practitioner and served as the Municipal Prosecutor of the Township of West Orange, New Jersey. Earlier in her career, she was a Senior Staff Attorney with the Community Health Law Project, a statewide legal services organization dedicated to the advocacy and representation of low-income, disabled New Jersey residents, for sixteen years. While there, she was a longtime member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns for the Essex Vicinage and the Dean’s Diversity Council of Seton Hall University School of Law. Whittle is a graduate of Rutgers University and Seton Hall University School of Law.
Lora Fong will remain as the Office’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Before joining the department in 2016, Fong practiced law both in private practice law firms and as in-house counsel in multi-national corporations. She also has served as the general counsel of an entrepreneurial multi-media company and as a consultant to members of the Fortune 500 on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Fong has been recognized as a Distinguished Leader of the Bar by the New Jersey Law Journal, was awarded the Mel Narol Excellence in Diversity Award by the New Jersey Bar Association, and received the Professional Achievement Award from the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey. Additionally, she was the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award conferred by the Rutgers Law School Minority Student Program. Her pro bono and community activities include service as a member of the NJ State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, counsel to the Organization of Chinese Americans-NJ Chapter, and counsel to the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey. Additionally, Fong has served as a Trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Association and co-chaired its Diversity Committee. She is a past President of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey and member of its Advisory Board. Currently, she serves as a Director of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. Fong has been a member of the Rutgers Board of Governors as well as the Rutgers Board of Trustees. Fong earned a B.A. in Political Science and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from Douglass College at Rutgers University, and a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark. She is admitted to the bar in New Jersey, New York and various federal courts.
Andrew Macurdy will be elevated to Senior Counsel to the Acting Attorney General. Macurdy joined the Office in March 2021 after working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and as an Assistant Prosecutor in Hudson County. Prior to that, Macurdy was a litigation associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. Macurdy clerked for Judge Michael Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Judge Miriam Cedarbaum of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He graduated from Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Angela Cai remains as Deputy Solicitor General. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, Cai was an associate at Wilkinson Stekloff LLP in New York and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in Washington, D.C. She clerked for Judge Michael Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Cai graduated from Princeton University and Yale Law School.
Alec Schierenbeck remains as Deputy Solicitor General. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, Schierenbeck was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers and, before that, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He clerked for Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court. Schierenbeck is a graduate of Grinnell College, University College Dublin, and Stanford Law School.
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