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Legal Practice Settings-Criminal Prosecution/Defense1:56:56 10/14/2010

The Legal Practice Settings panels introduce students to some of the vast numbers of careers within the legal profession. The Criminal Prosecution/Defense Panel focuses on public sector careers in criminal prosecution and defense. The distinguished panel of attorneys provided vivid descriptions of their practices, work environments, career paths, and professional values.

Panelists Included:

Kevin J. Curtin, Senior Supervisor, Appeals and Training Bureau, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr.’s Office, Woburn, MA
Kevin J. Curtin is the Senior Supervisor, Appeals and Training Bureau, for Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr. His present duties include writing briefs and arguing cases in the Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court, as well as certain trials and post-conviction matters in Superior Court. He is responsible for training Assistant District Attorneys and appellate supervisors within the office and police officers countywide and elsewhere. Mr. Curtin is a 1988 graduate of Boston College Law School and served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. William G. Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, from 1988-1989. He has tried approximately 100 jury cases and handled over 100 criminal appeals. He is an adjunct faculty member at Boston College Law School and has been an instructor in the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop since 2000 and a member of the faculty at the National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law since 1997.

John McNeil ’87, Deputy Chief, Criminal Division, United States Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
A public interest litigator for nearly 20 years, John T. McNeil currently serves as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. He was most recently a member of that office’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit. Prior to joining the Public Corruption Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. McNeil prosecuted a broad array of federal crimes including armored car robbery, murder, arson, bank robbery, carjacking, child exploitation, and street gang firearms/narcotics cases, among others. During his tenure in the Boston U.S. Attorney’s office, Mr. McNeil brought a number of notable first prosecutions in Massachusetts including the first international parental kidnapping trial, the first Violence Against Women Act interstate stalking case, and the first rape aboard an aircraft case. Mr. McNeil has also briefed and argued numerous matters before the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Mr. McNeil served for nearly a decade at the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Boston. There he investigated and prosecuted complex environmental crimes throughout New England. During this period he held appointments as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Districts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Mr. McNeil also represented the United States in numerous civil environmental matters including the negotiation and litigation of multi-million dollar hazardous waste clean-up cases, emergency remedial actions, and regulatory penalty matters. His litigation career started at Norfolk District Attorney’s Office, where he tried cases as an Assistant District Attorney in courts throughout Norfolk County. Mr. McNeil is a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. Mr. McNeil served as law clerk on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to the Hon. Francis P. O’Connor.

Marjorie Meyers, Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Texas, Houston, TX
Marjorie Meyers is the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Texas. She is responsible for attorneys representing defendants in federal court at both the trial and appellate level, and for providing training and assistance to panel counsel. She became a public defender in 1983 after clerking for the Honorable Carolyn Dineen King, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Ms. Meyers was in private practice, specializing in criminal defense, with the law firm of Bennett, Secrest & Meyers, from 1992 until 1997, when she returned to the public defender’s office. She is the Chair of the Federal Public and Community Defender Sentencing Guideline Committee, responsible for consultation with the United States Sentencing Commission, the drafting of comments and reports, and testimony before the Commission. She is also the Federal Public Defender Representative to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules. Ms. Meyers is active in both Federal Defender and local committees addressing federal practice and sentencing issues. She has frequently lectured nationally and locally on federal sentencing and other criminal law topics. Ms. Meyers received her B.A. from Yale University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Order of the Coif and cum laude.

Vanessa Pai-Thompson, Brooklyn Defender Services, Staff Attorney, Brooklyn, NY
Vanessa began working as a public defender with Brooklyn Defender Services after graduating from New York University School of Law (NYU) in 2008.While at NYU,Vanessa interned at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, and in the Trial Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She also participated in NYU’s Criminal and Community Defense and Juvenile Defender Clinics, and was awarded an Outstanding Criminal Law Student Award by the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2007. Upon graduating from NYU, Vanessa received NYU’s Hy Frankel Award in Law and Social Welfare; Ann Petluck Poses Memorial Prize for clinical coursework; Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association Public Service Graduation Prize; and the Vanderbilt Medal for contribution to NYU School of Law. Her current work consists of practicing client-centered representation in misdemeanor and felony matters in Brooklyn courts, as well as continuing to augment her work through holistic practices, including community outreach, community service, and community empowerment activities. She has participated in numerous panels at NYU Law, and was recently a panelist at a pre-law panel at Yeshiva University. Ms. Pai-Thompson was also recently elected to the board of the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Alumni Association (BLAPA) at NYU.

Moderator: Lisa D. Williams, Associate Director, Office of Public Interest Advising, Harvard Law School
Lisa D. Williams is OPIA’s Associate Director, worked as a staff and supervising attorney with the Manhattan office of the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division, for twenty years, handling and supervising thousands of cases and mentoring many attorneys. In recognition of her work as an accomplished trial lawyer and mentor to many young advocates, Lisa received a Forger Fellowship to attend the Trial Lawyers College. Lisa has been a member of many hiring committees for staff and attorney positions. More recently, Lisa was a senior trial attorney with the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts public defender. She has also worked on Capitol Hill and with a civil firm in New York. Lisa advises on all areas of practice while specializing in criminal law, both prosecution and defense.