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Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino, P.C.

Attorneys and Staff

Bradley M. Zelenitz

Partner

My name is Bradley M. Zelenitz and I grew up in New Hyde Park, NY. My mother and father owned a successful Women’s Retail Clothing Store where I worked while in school.

I graduated from Great Neck South Senior High School and went to college at The George Washington University. After graduating from college I decided to become an attorney because it is a noble profession where you can help the under-served have access to the legal system.

I decided to enroll at Touro College on Long Island because it was close to home and an up-and-coming law school.

Immediately after law school, I started my own solo practice. Over the last decade and a half, I’ve partnered with several other attorneys, first forming Gildin, Zelenitz & Shapiro, P.C. in 1998, then more recently, Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino, P.C., the successor law firm.

I focus on many areas of law, including Commercial & Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, Landlord – Tenant Litigation, Criminal Defense, Real Estate Law & Estate Planning.

Background

Marital Status: Married

Children: Two children

Hobbies: Being with Family and cooking

Pro-Bono Work: Focus of this practice is to provide reduced rates, while still providing high quality representation.

Education: The George Washington University, 1992, B.B.A Finance & Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, 1995, J.D.

Bar Associations: New York State Bar Association, Queens County Bar Association

Admitted: New York; United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

 

David A. Shapiro

Partner

My name is David Shapiro and I’m originally from Long Island. Both of my parents were teachers early in their careers but later on my mother became an interior decorator and my father a Pharmacist.

I graduated from G.W. Hewlett High School and then went to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I chose GWU because I loved Washington D.C. and I wanted to be in the center of our democracy.

While in college, I worked various odd-jobs; valet parking, at a pharmacy and for a top criminal defense attorney. While working as a legal assistant for Benjamin Brafman, Esq. a renowned criminal attorney in NYC, I began to really focus on what I wanted to do after college. Becoming an attorney appealed to me since I always had a desire to help people.

For Law School, I wanted to be closer to home so I enrolled at Touro College and graduated in 1995. After graduating, I interned for Judge Frederick Schmidt, Civil Court, Queens County. While with Judge Schmidt, I was able to get an inside-look at how cases are handled from the Court’s perspective. I was in the Courtroom every day observing various lawyers presenting their cases in the Court. It was a great learning experience to see how some of the best lawyers in the city did their job.

I then joined the firm of Stanley R. Waxman, P.C., in Mineola, NY. Mr. Waxman’s firm was a medium-sized insurance defense firm and I learned quite a bit about the defendant’s (those being sued) perspective.

I moved from Mr. Waxman’s firm to the law firm of Gary R. Weinberg, P.C., a personal injury firm on Court St. in Brooklyn. Working for Mr. Weinberg provided a great opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs or tort litigation and see the practice of law from the plaintiff’s (those filing a lawsuit) perspective.

In 1998, I decided to partner with several other attorneys and we formed the law firm of Gildin, Zelenitz & Shapiro, P.C., which became the current firm of Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino, P.C.

Although much of the work I do centers on family law, I also do quite a bit of work in other areas of law, including Commercial & Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, Landlord – Tenant Litigation, Criminal Defense, Real Estate Law & Estate Planning.

I look forward to helping you with your legal matter.

Background

Marital Status: Married 14 years

Children: One girl and one boy

Hobbies: Being with the Family, Golf, Skiing, (Don’t do it enough) Travel, Yankees!

Pro-Bono Work: Focus of this practice is to provide reduced rates, while still providing high quality representation. Have numerous client in financial need who have nowhere else to turn.

Education: The George Washington University, 1992, B.A. Speech Communication & Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, 1995, J.D.

Bar Associations: New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, Queens County Bar Association

Admitted: New York; United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York & United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

 

Lisa A. D’Agostino

Partner

My name is Lisa A. D’Agostino and I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. My mother is a beautician and my dad is a retired New York City Sanitation Worker.

I graduated from Bishop Kearney High School. During high school, I was a cheerleader and worked part-time at various retail stores.

I wanted to stay close to home for college so I enrolled at City University of New York, Staten Island College. I’d always wanted to be an attorney so right after graduation from college, I accepted a position as an intern, then as a paralegal, in the Queens County District Attorneys Office. I took these positions to ensure that I really did want to have a career in law. They do not teach you in school what it is like on a practical level so I wanted to have that experience prior to entering into law school. The work was so challenging and rewarding…and it confirmed that a career in law was the right choice for me.

In order to become an attorney, I had to attend a law school. At the time I was applying to law schools, the applications were up 60% so the standards for acceptance were much higher than normal. I decided to apply out of state because I wanted to attend a better rated law school. I researched law schools that had a curriculum focused on general law and practical skills and that is how I chose Nova Southeastern University.

While in law school, I worked for Weinstein & Associates, a personal injury firm that also handled no-fault cases as well. It was a good way to learn how to do legal research and how to write motions.

While studying for the NY Bar Exam after college, I worked for Stephen A. Spinelli & Associates, a general litigation office. The office focused an many different areas of law and it was a good way to learn and gain exposure in many different areas of law.

After passing the Bar Exam, I went to work for Robert J. Kurre & Associates, an elder law and trust and estates firm. I focused exclusively on estate planning because I believed everyone has a need for an estate plan…and that makes this area of law recession proof.

In 2008, I joined this firm and in March, 2011, was promoted to Partner.

Much of the work I do here centers on family law & estate planning but I also work in Commercial & Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, Landlord – Tenant Litigation, Criminal Defense & Real Estate Law.

Background

Marital Status: Engaged to be married in April of 2013.

Children: None

Hobbies: Gym, yoga, bike riding and snow boarding

Pro-Bono Work: Focus of this practice is to provide reduced rates, while still providing high quality representation. We have a few family law and matrimonial clients at the firm on a pro-bono basis.

Education: B.S. from City University of NY Staten Island College & J.D. from Nova Southeastern University in 2007

Bar Associations: New York State Bar Association

Admitted: New York and Florida

 

Caryn M. Bigus

Associate

My name is Caryn Bigus. I grew up in Kings Park, NY in Suffolk County and graduated from Kings Park High School.

My mother was a Homemaker and my father did Defense Contracting.

In High School, I was active in the Band, Chorus, Color Guard, Drama, Yearbook Club and was a cheerleader too.

After graduating from High School, I chose to attend Northeastern University in Boston because it is a Co-op school where you alternate going to school and working in your field. That seemed like a good idea, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to go to college in Boston….which it was.

After graduating from college, I accepted a position with a medical supply wholesaler as a sales rep. My sales territory had many semi-retired physicians and I initially got interested in Elder Law by talking to them and hearing about the difficulties in their lives & their patients lives.

So I took a few introductory law classes at Suffolk Community College and decided I definitely wanted to go to Law School.

I decided to enroll at St. John’s Law School because they had an Elder Law Clinic, which was my primary interest at the time. Also, my sister had taught there a few years before, so I had the opportunity to go to some events and it seemed like a nice environment.

While in Law School, I began working part-time at the law firm of Feldman, Kramer & Monaco, P.C. during the summer and went full-time right after graduation. I stayed with that firm for about 1 ½ years after Graduation because it was a great place to work. I only left because of the opportunity to get experience at an Elder Law firm.

I then accepted a position with Vincent J. Russo & Associates, P.C. followed by a position with the Law Offices of Ronald J. Schwartz, P.C. Both firms specialized in Estates, Estate Planning and Elder Law.

I then accepted a position here with Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino, P.C. in April of 2011.

My primary focus is Estate Law and I look forward to speaking with you.

Background

Marital Status: Single
Children: None

Hobbies: Spinning, reading, skiing, boating

Pro-Bono Work: Elder Law Clinic at St. John’s serviced low income, elderly, Queens residents.

Education: B.S. from Northeastern University in 2001 & J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 2006

Bar Associations: New York State Bar Association and Nassau County Bar Association

Admitted: New York

 

Rachel E. Gallagher

Associate

My name is Rachel Gallagher. I grew up in Alma, Arkansas and went to Alma High School. During High School, I was a member of the Student Congress & Future Business Leaders of America

My Mom was a nurse and my Dad was a railroad engineer for 20 years and now he’s production manager for a local Northwest Arkansas NBC affiliate.

After High School, I enrolled at the University of Arkansas because I because I love Northwest Arkansas, the Razorbacks…. and wanted to be close to my family during college.

After graduation from college, I took a position as a Psychology technician at Piney Ridge Center, a psychological residential treatment center for adolescent sexual offenders

To further my education and get an advanced degree that emphasized analytical thinking, and that I could apply to a wide spectrum of opportunities and that would enable me to help others, I decided to enroll in Law School. And I choose the University of Arkansas for the exact same reasons I went there for my undergraduate degree.

While at law school, After graduating from law school, I worked as a law clerk for the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office in the criminal department under Mike Beebe, who is now the Governor or Arkansas. It was a great experience working for the government, and learning appellate procedure.

I then worked as a law clerk in Oklahoma before taking the NY Bar exam to gain practical experience with general practice work.

After passing the Bar Exam, I joined this firm in 2008.

I look forward to assisting you in any way I can.

Background

Marital Status: Single

Children: None

Hobbies: Exploring the city, museums, theaters, walking everywhere, parks, trying new restaurants and new types of food – trying, and failing, to find good barbecue, usually with a book in my hand.

Pro-Bono Work: None

Education: B.A. from University of Arkansas in 2002 & J.D. from University of Arkansas School of Law in 2006

Bar Associations: New York City Bar Association

Admitted: New York

 

Danielle N. Burns

Associate

My name is Danielle Burns. I grew up in Centereach, New York and graduated from Centereach High School, where I played on the soccer team and was a sabre fencer.

My father is a foreman in the NYC Carpenter’s Union and my mother was a Teacher’s Assistant at Dawnwood Middle School.

After High School, I went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst because I was intrigued by their Legal Studies and Political Science Departments. I also loved the town of Amherst.

Right after graduation from college, I moved immediately into the legal profession. I first took a position at the Student Legal Services Office at UMass as an intern.

Then as part-time paralegal at the Donovan Law Firm to learn about personal injury from the defense side, followed by the same position at Suris & Associates to learn about personal injury from the plaintiff’s side.

Then I accepted a position at Davis & Hersh (now Davis & Ferber, LLP) as a calendar clerk to gain a better perspective of the organization of a firm and to gain time management skills.

Since majoring in Legal Studies as an undergraduate, I developed a passion for the study of law. Working at law firms prior to law school helped build my passion for the practice of law. Additionally, I was a major advocate for my mother during her battle with cancer. That experience helped to further motivate me toward achieving my professional goals.

I chose to attend Touro Law School because of its location next to the courts in Central Islip and a court observation program which is not provided in any other law school. Additionally, my Aunt attended Touro in the early 90’s.

During Law School, I held a number of positions to gain as much experience as I could. I was a legal assistant for Harold Guberman, Attorney at Law, where I learned matrimonial and family law, followed by a position with Justice Vito DeStefano as an Intern where I drafted decisions and observed court proceedings.

I then worked at the Veterans and Service Members Rights Clinic at Touro Law to assist veterans with various legal issues – then to John Ray & Associates as a legal assistant so I could gain better experience writing motions and various other legal documents in a general practice firm.

After graduating from Law School, I accepted a position at the Law Office of John C. Dearie as the Attorney that headed and supervised the asbestos litigation department, and as an associate within the personal injury department.

I moved to Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino in early 2012.

I look forward to assisting you with your legal matter.

Background

Marital Status: Single

Children: None

Hobbies: Fencing, tennis, attending concerts, spending time with friends and family.

Pro-Bono Work: Legal research for a nonprofit legal organization on the rules and implications behind depriving prisoners of their psychiatric prescription medication and whether or not it violated their 8th amendment rights.

Education: B.A. from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2008 and J.D. from Touro Law School in 2011.

Bar Associations: New York State Bar Association

Admitted: New York

 

Erica Shapiro

Associate

My name is Erica Shapiro. I was born in Plainview, NY., and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. In high school, I played softball and was a member of the school orchestra.

My mom is an Elementary School Teacher and my dad is Guidance Counselor. After high school, I wanted to attend a good college but did not want to have to leave home, so I chose Binghamton.

In my last year at Binghamton, I made the decision to attend law school. I’d always wanted to be an attorney and my family had said for years that I was “born arguing”.

I attended Seton Hall School of Law because it was close enough to home but allow me to live independently. During Law School, I took two positions to further my legal education. I first accepted a position as a Summer Intern with the Honorable Garret E. Brown, District Court, New Jersey. While there, I was able to see and learn the inner-workings of the Federal Judicial System.

In my second year of law school, I accepted a position as a Summer Associate with Trenk, DiPasquale & Webster. It was my first taste of working at a law firm and reaffirmed that I had made the right career choice.

After I graduated in 2009, I accepted an Associates position with the Meyers Law Group where I gained valuable, hands-on experience as a divorce and family law attorney.

And in 2012, I accepted an Associates position with Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino, P.C., where I focus on divorce and family law.

Background

Marital Status: Single

Children: None

Hobbies: Softball, going to museums, reading, spending time with friends and family and watching the Yankees (Derek Jeter!).

Education: B.A. from Binghamton University in 2006 and J.D. from Seton Hall School of Law in 2009.

Bar Associations: American Bar Association & New York State Bar Association

Admitted: New York & New Jersey

 

Benjamin Federici

My name is Benjamin Federici and I grew up in Hillsborough, New Jersey. My father was a clinical psychologist, and my mother was able to stay home with us until she decided to pursue a career in teaching.

I graduated from Point Pleasant Beach High School in NJ where I was a member of the baseball and cross country teams.

I decided to become a lawyer because I wanted to help people. After receiving my undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, I continued my education at Rutgers Law School in Camden, NJ and graduated in 2013.

After college I worked for Troy Law, PLLC in Flushing, NY. It was at this firm that I gained a lot of litigation experience and enjoyed helping workers who had their wages stolen from them.

Later on I was employed at the Law Office of Michael G. O’Neill in New York, NY. At this firm I worked on employment discrimination and other civil rights cases for plaintiffs.

I gained a significant amount of litigation and trial experience under the mentorship of this seasoned trial attorney at this firm. While I was at this firm, Mr. O’Neill obtained a $56 million jury verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit.

I took a lot of pride in being able to seek justice for those who had been discriminated against and faced other injustices.

I joined Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino in 2017 and am looking forward to using my experience to help our clients obtain the justice they deserve.

Background

Marital Status: Married

Children: None

Hobbies: Playing guitar and studying Mandarin Chinese

Pro-Bono Work: At this firm we focus on offering reasonable rates and high-quality representation. Some of our family law clients are represented on a pro-bono basis.

Education: BA from Rutgers University, JD from Rutgers-Camden

Bar Associations: None

Admitted: New York- including the Southern and Eastern Districts, and New Jersey

 

Emily Clarke

My name’s Emily Clarke and I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. My mother was a Pharmaceutical Sales professional and my father was a Commercial Real Estate Agent.

I attended St. Piux X High School in Atlanta where I was active in track and field, tennis, and softball.

After graduating high school I enrolled at the University of Georgia. I had always wanted to attend college there because I grew up in Georgia and came from a big UGA family. Go Dawgs!!

I wanted to become an attorney because I had always wanted to have a professional and demanding career. After graduating from UGA in 2012, I was accepted into law school at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. I had always wanted to experience our nation’s capital!

Prior to starting at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino in 2015, I worked as a summer associate at Silis & Associates in D.C. where I was able to gain valuable experience in family law.

Background

Marital Status: Married in May 2017

Children: None

Hobbies: Running, Hiking, Skiing, Tennis, & Traveling

Pro-Bono Work: I enjoyed helping families at the Law Clinic throughout Law School.

Education: Graduated from University of Georgia in 2012; Received JD from The Catholic University of America in 2015.

Bar Associations: NYSBA

Admitted: New York

 

Zachary Karram

I’m Zachary Karram and I grew up in Demarest, New Jersey. My dad worked hard as both a professional chef and small business owner, and my mother was a substitute teacher.

For high school I attended Northern Valley Regional High School in Demarest. During my high school years I was a member of the National Honors Society and active on the Debate Team and Soccer Team.

I pursued my college education at the University of Michigan. While there I worked as a writing tutor. I decided to go to law school because I have always been fascinated by the law and wanted to help people and businesses navigate their rights in the legal system.

I attended law school at Brooklyn Law School because I had grown up near New York City and wanted to build my legal career here. I graduated with my law degree in 2011.

Prior to furthering my career at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino, I worked for Geanine Towers, PC. There I worked on matrimonial litigation and appellate cases as well as 18-B representation. By handling 18-B cases, it enabled me to assist litigants in need and learn more about matrimonial and family law.

After my time at Geanine Towers, PC I worked for Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC. There I worked as a transactional real estate associate for two years. During my time there I enjoyed working on complicated commercial transactions for large businesses.

I started at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino in 2015 and look forward to applying my background towards helping our clients here.

Background

Marital Status: Engaged

Children: None

Hobbies: Reading, Movies, Michigan Football & Basketball

Pro-Bono Work: I have represented litigants in an uncontested divorce

Education: BA, Political Science, University of Michigan, 2008

JD, Brooklyn Law School, 2011

Bar Associations: New York Bar Association

Admitted: Member in Good Standing in State of New York, including the Eastern and Southern Districts of NY

Staff

 

Linette Steward

Paralegal

Sharon Wagner

Paralegal

Michelle Shlifer

Paralegal