Our Leadership

Senior Staff
Kurt M. Denk

Executive Director of the City Bar Justice Center kdenk@nycbar.org

Kurt M. Denk has served as Executive Director of the City Bar Justice Center since March 2021, having joined the organization as Pro Bono Counsel in 2018. A division of the City Bar Fund – the nonprofit philanthropic affiliate of the New York City Bar Association – the Justice Center expands access to justice by providing high-quality, free civil legal services to New Yorkers who struggle with poverty and other forms of social and economic vulnerability. Kurt leads a staff of 30 professionals who annually assist roughly 25,000 clients through the Justice Center’s dozen civil legal services projects targeting unmet or emerging needs often not covered by other providers. The Justice Center also trains, mentors, and matches over 1,000 pro bono attorneys annually with Justice Center clients in need, leveraging over $15 million of free legal services each year thanks to the Justice Center’s expansive pro bono partner network.

As the Justice Center’s Pro Bono Counsel from 2018-2021, Kurt built and strengthened relationships with law firms, in-house legal departments, solo lawyers, students and other stakeholders to support and staff pro bono cases and initiatives from the Justice Center’s dozen civil legal services projects. He also worked with Justice Center colleagues and community partners to develop innovative interdisciplinary legal services programming to advance racial equity and access to justice, including the Justice Center’s robust COVID-19 response initiatives, and has developed and delivered Continuing Legal Education courses in a variety of areas, including in diversity, inclusion and the elimination of bias for pro bono attorneys.

Prior to joining the Justice Center, Kurt practiced general civil and complex commercial litigation at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, where he maintained an active pro bono docket on behalf of diverse clients and causes, such as representing asylum seekers and public benefits recipients and co-drafting amicus briefs in support of marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights matters, including before the U.S. Supreme Court.

A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Kurt also has an M.A. in Philosophy from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology, and a B.A. in History from Georgetown University. Following law school, Kurt clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and taught at Boston College Law School. Kurt also has taught at Fordham School of Law and Loyola University Maryland, and has worked in ministry and restorative justice programs at San Quentin State Prison in California.

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Suzanne Tomatore

Deputy Director of the City Bar Justice Center stomatore@nycbar.org

Suzanne Tomatore has been Deputy Director of the City Bar Justice Center since July 2019. Ms. Tomatore has worked at the Justice Center for nearly two decades, including as Director of the Immigrant Women and Children Project and the Cancer Advocacy Project. She is the former Co-Director of the Immigrant Justice Project. Over the years, she has helped more than a thousand immigrant survivors of violence, and has been a critical voice in the larger local, national, and international conversation about human trafficking and violence. She has participated in delegations to Warsaw and Brussels, and lectured on the topic across the United States and abroad, including in Canada, Venezuela, Mongolia, Mexico and the Philippines. At the local level, she actively participates in multiple anti-trafficking task forces, including the Brooklyn DA’s Human Trafficking Task Force. She has trained pro bono attorneys, judges, community-based organizations, health-care providers, law enforcement and government officials on human trafficking. 

Ms. Tomatore received her J.D. from the CUNY Law School, and her Bachelors in Sociology and Women’s Studies from CUNY as well.

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Project Directors

Akira Arroyo
Director of the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project aarroyo@nycbar.org

Caitlin Miner-Le Grand
Deputy Director of the Immigrant Justice Project cminer-legrand@nycbar.org

Jean Soo Park
Director of the Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Project jpark@nycbar.org

Jennifer Kim
Director of the Immigrant Justice Project jkim@nycbar.org

K. Scott Kohanowski
Director of the Homeowner Stability and LGBT Advocacy Projects skohanowski@nycbar.org

Libby Vazquez
Director of the Legal Hotline and Planning & Estates Law Project lvazquez@nycbar.org

Lisa Pearlstein
Director of the Legal Clinic for the Homeless lpearlstein@nycbar.org

Makedah Salmond
Director of the Veterans Assistance Project msalmond@nycbar.org

Ramona Morel
Director of the Consumer Bankruptcy Project rmorel@nycbar.org

Vivienne Duncan
Director of the Cancer Advocacy & Elderlaw Projects vduncan@nycbar.org

Administration

Cassandra Celestin
Director of Pro Bono Initiatives ccelestin@nycbar.org

Cheryl Lopez
Communications & Development Manager cheryllopez@nycbar.org

Kyla James
Administrative Assistant kjames@nycbar.org