Leadership Academy Fellows

2022-2023 Fellows

Christopher J. Asakiewicz is currently Director, Ethics, Risk and Compliance at Novartis. Prior to his current role, he has held roles across the healthcare industry throughout various aspects of development from bench science, clinical trials and portfolio strategy. While attending law school, Chris worked in legal affairs for Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers. He is devoted to fostering an environment of inclusiveness and integrity in research and development.

Michael Burke has been an Assistant Prosecutor for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office since 2016.  In that time, Michael has tried over 10 jury trial involving violent crimes such as aggravated assault, attempted murder, and murder. Michael has experience prosecuting Federal matters as well, as he worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office in Newark, NJ.  Additionally, Michael was appointed as a Judge Advocate General for the United States Army National Guard where he is responsible for representation in all matters from courts martial to employment law.

Cosmas P. Diamantis is the Director of Community Development for the Township of Cherry Hill. In this role, Cosmas 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, including proposed redevelopment plans, the issuance of zoning permits and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance, administration of CDBG funds, and the management of several affordable housing programs. Cosmas is licensed to practice law in in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.   

Cosmas is a member of the NJSBA and serves on the Board of Directors for the Land Use Section and on the Committee of Government, Public Sector, and Public Interest Lawyers. He is also a member of the Camden County Bar Association and American Bar Association.

Prior to his current role, Cosmas was a senior attorney practicing land use, redevelopment, labor and employment, and local government law in the South Jersey area. Cosmas graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2009 (University College), a Juris Doctor in 2012 (School of Law), and a Master of Business Administration in 2017 (School of Business).

Samantha M. Diorio is an Associate at Connell Foley LLP and focuses her practice on commercial litigation, including aviation, premises liability, construction accidents, and toxic tort. She is licensed to practice in New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia. Samantha also has experience in commercial bankruptcy matters and has appeared in both state and federal courts in New York and New Jersey. Samantha was selected as a Rising Star in 2020 and 2021 by New York Metro Super Lawyers.  

Prior to joining Connell Foley in 2017, she was an Associate at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC and clerked for the Honorable Thomas J. LaConte of the New Jersey Superior Court, Passaic Vicinage. She is a graduate of Boston College (B.A., 2012) and Syracuse University College of Law (J.D., 2015).

Veronica J. Finkelstein combines the best of practice and teaching, devoting herself to developing the next generation of top advocates. She is both an experienced litigator as well as a skilled educator with diverse scholarly interests. 

Finkelstein currently works as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As an AUSA, 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. She has also successfully litigated cases on appeal. In addition to this defensive work, Finkelstein investigates and prosecutes affirmative fraud claims, including qui tam actions. In 2014 she was awarded the Executive Office of United States Attorneys Director’s Award for Superior Performance as a Civil Assistant United States Attorney. 

Prior to her government service, Finkelstein clerked for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and was an associate at Duane Morris, LLP and Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman, PC. 

Finkelstein has taught at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center. She also frequently serves as program director for government and public interest programs offered by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Finkelstein is a Practice Professor of Law at the Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and Rutgers Law School. 

Finkelstein is a 2004 graduate, with honors, of the Emory University School of Law and 2001 graduate, with dual distinction and dual honors, of the Pennsylvania State University.

Aiyana A. Goldberg is an associate in Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi PC’s Real Estate, Development & Land Use Group. She focuses her practice on real estate, land use and related transactional matters. She has represented developers, real estate investment companies as well as several other closely held corporations in commercial real estate acquisitions and dispositions – including development, leasing and finance transactions.  Her practice also includes alcoholic beverage control law, where she has experience with alcoholic beverage control licensing and enforcement matters.

Prior to joining CSG, Aiyana practiced at a New Jersey-based real estate focused law firm. Earlier in her career, she held a clerkship in the New Jersey Superior Court with the Honorable Daniel D’Alessandro, J.S.C., where she handled complex civil litigation matters – including zoning and land use, dispute resolution for condominium associations and landlord-tenant matters.

Aiyana earned her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law, where she received the West Academic Publishing Company Commercial Law Award and her B.A. from Rutgers University.

J. Christopher Henschel is an associate with Connell Foley LLP, where he focuses his practice in the area of complex commercial disputes. Christopher represents businesses and individuals in high stakes litigations in a variety of forums. Christopher also represents domestic and international insurance companies in insurance coverage matters. He counsels insurer clients on a variety of types of claims, including class action, mass tort, business tort, multimedia liability, environmental liability, product liability, sexual molestation/abuse, construction and property damage, bad faith/extra-contractual damages, fraud, and other catastrophic losses. Christopher also has experience addressing matters concerning insolvency, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights issues, including in the insurance context.

A graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law and Fairfield University, Christopher is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.

Chelsea P. Jasnoff is a litigator at Chiesa, Shahinian, Ginatomasi focusing on complex commercial litigation, including shareholder disputes, contract matters, business torts and commercial real estate disputes. Chelsea also has experience defending both public and private employers against wage and hour, discrimination and wrongful discharge claims. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, Chelsea served as a law clerk to The Honorable David B. Katz in the Superior Court of New Jersey.Chelsea graduated magna cum laude from Seton Hall Law School, where she was Executive Editor of the Seton Hall Legislative Journal, a student attorney for the Impact Litigation Clinic, and a member of the Order of the Coif. During law school, Chelsea served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Mary L. Cooper of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, as well as for then-Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Chelsea earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Delaware.

Sonia Johnson is a graduate of Boston University School of Law and has been licensed to practice in Massachusetts, D.C., Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Sonia 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.  Sonia has also represented parents of children with disabilities in special education matters in Burlington and Mercer counties.

Prior to entering private practice, Sonia was a legal service officer for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (“DJJ”).  During her tenure at DJJ she worked on matters involving juvenile justice, health care, mental health, PREA, education.  Sonia has also worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts prosecuting misdemeanor and felony crimes, including domestic violence and child abuse cases. Sonia began her legal career as a litigation associate for a Boston firm servicing a broad range of corporate clients.

Sonia is currently the Treasurer of the Child Welfare Section and Co-chair of the section’s Race Equity Taskforce.

Alexandra E. Kilduff is a Staff Attorney for the New Jersey Program of the legal services organization Pro Bono Partnership, where she 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. She also has professional experience as a development specialist and fundraiser for a major New Jersey cultural organization and has served on the Boards of charitable organizations in both New York and New Jersey. She is admitted to the bar in New Jersey and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and Seton Hall University School of Law.

Andrew J. Marino’s practice at Gibbons PC 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. Mr. Marino most recently completed a judicial clerkship with the Honorable R. Lanier Anderson, III, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Macon, GA. Prior to this clerkship, he was an associate in the Litigation & Arbitration Department at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP in New York, where he focused on international arbitration and arbitral award enforcement proceedings. While in law school, Mr. Marino argued an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Elizabeth Matecki is Counsel for iCIMS, Inc., a technology company based in Holmdel, NJ.  In her role, Elizabeth supports diverse areas of the business, including commercial contracting, customer and vendor negotiations, product development and operations. Prior to joining iCIMS, Elizabeth started her legal career as a civil litigator at McOmber, McOmber & Luber, P.C. She is a busy mom of two and in her spare time enjoys reading, running, skiing and going to the beach.

Telge Peiris graduated from Rutgers Law School with a pro bono distinction, and then proceeded to clerk for the Hon. Vito Sciancalepore, J.S.C. (ret’d), in the Hudson County Vicinage. Soon thereafter, he joined the ranks of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office’s, Division of Law, as a Deputy Attorney General for the Banking and Insurance Section. In this present role, he is an advocate for justice, and is fully committed to safeguarding the real estate, banking, and insurance industries from unscrupulous actors. In his free time, Telge enjoys playing tennis, volunteering, and meditating.

NaSheena D. Porter is employed as a Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. Prior to this position she served as an Assistant Prosecutor and the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. In this capacity, she prosecuted criminal cases on behalf of the State of New Jersey. NaSheena previously was assigned to the Special Victims’ Unit, Appellate Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, and Trial Team Unit. In addition to her caseload, NaSheena served as co-chair of the Legal Hiring Committee for the office.

Upon graduation from law school she worked as a Staff Attorney for the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In addition to her J.D. from Tulane University Law School she obtained a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. NaSheena received her B.S. degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael Rolek is a versatile practitioner at Connell Foley LLP who focuses his practice on commercial litigation and corporate and business law.

As a litigator, Michael 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 non-profit organizations, public entities, and high-net worth individuals. Michael also represents businesses in corporate and transactional matters, and counsels his closely-held corporate clients on a variety of legal, employment and corporate issues.

Michael graduated cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law, and was a member of the Schools’ Interscholastic Moot Court Board. Upon graduation, Michael clerked for the Honorable Donald J. Volkert, Jr., A.J.S.C. (retired) in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division – Civil Part. After his clerkship, Michael joined Connell Foley where he represented insurers in a wide range of coverage-related disputes. Prior to rejoining Connell Foley in 2018, Michael practiced for three years at a mid-size full-service law firm in Manhattan.

Prior to attending law school, Michael was a Teach for America corps member and taught elementary school in Newark, New Jersey for three years.

Above all else, Michael is a family man and loves spending time with his wife, Nicole, and two children, Ryleigh and Matthew. When he is not chasing his two kids around, you can find Mike running on the roads and trails of Morris County and cheering on the Buffalo Bills and Seton Hall basketball.

Alexa C. Salcito is an associate in Connell Foley’s Commercial Litigation and Insurance Coverage Groups. She 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. Alexa is also proficient with the appeals process and has drafted numerous appellate briefs in cases before our State’s Appellate Division. She has first chair trial experience and vast familiarity in alternative dispute resolution, including mediations and arbitrations. 

She served as a law clerk for The Honorable Heidi Willis Currier, J.A.D., in the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division in New Brunswick.

Alexa earned her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law where she was an article editor for the Seton Hall Law School’s Legislative Journal, Vol. 39. In 2012, Alexa graduated manga cum laude from Lafayette College where she was a member and Captain of their Division 1 Swimming and Diving team.

Iman A. Wells  is an Associate with Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C. (NFC), focusing her practice on management-side employment litigation and counseling. Ms. Wells 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, upstander conduct trainings. Ms. Wells serves as Co-Chair of NFC’s Social Responsibility Committee which is committed to providing pro bono employment law counseling to small minority and womenowned businesses and is a member of NFC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Ms. Wells is a dedicated Attorney Mentor with the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (NJ LEEP) and is actively involved with the National Employment Law Council. While attending law school, Ms. Wells was a member of the Rutgers Law School – Minority Student Program, a Senior Editor for the Rutgers Race and the Law Review, served as President for the Association of Black Law Students, and was a Teaching Associate for the Legal Research and Writing Skills program. Ms. Wells also interned with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Ronald L. Ellis, United States District Court, Southern District of New York.

Renada Williams is Associate General Counsel for The Vitamin Shoppe. In this role, she provides advice and counsel to the marketing, human resources and private brand business partners. Renada also manages the trademark portfolio, commercial contracts and litigation across the business. Renada joined The Vitamin Shoppe is September of 2020. 

The Vitamin Shoppe, a subsidiary of Franchise Group Inc., is an omni-channel specialty retailer and wellness lifestyle Company with more than 715 directly operated stores and an e-commerce business. Based in Secaucus, New Jersey, the Company offers a comprehensive assortment of nutritional solutions, including vitamins, minerals, specialty supplements, herbs, sports nutrition, homeopathic remedies, green living products, and natural beauty aids.Renada serves on the board of directors for the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, she is an active member of the Garden State Bar Association and a 2022 Executive Women of New Jersey Salute to the Policy Makers Honoree.

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Founded in 1899, the NJSBA is the largest organization of attorneys, judges and legal professionals in New Jersey. At the core of our mission is improving the lives of our members, advancing the rule of law and serving as the voice of the profession. With 85 sections and committees, the NJSBA allows attorney to benefit from being part of the most wide-reaching legal association in the state, while still cultivating expertise and building networks within specialized practice areas.

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2024 Family Law Retreat


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