Arthur Z. Schwartz
Arthur Schwartz is a Principal Attorney at Advocates for Justice Chartered Attorneys. Mr. Schwartz has been representing unions, workers, and Lower Manhattan community residents for over 32 years. He is widely recognized as one of New York City’s top labor and employment lawyers.
Mr. Schwartz has worked as General Counsel to numerous labor organizations, including Transport Workers Union of Greater New York (Local 100), Utility Workers Union of America, Local 1-2 Utility Workers of America at Con Edison, Transport Workers Union Local 101 at National Grid, and Professional Staff Congress of CUNY. He also served as counsel to DC 37′s largest blue-collar locals for many years (where he played a major role at exposing corruption in 1998), Local 32B-32J, SEIU, Emergency Medical Service Workers Union, Teamsters Local 237 (representing elevator mechanics), Local 1182 of the Communications Workers (representing Traffic Enforcement Officers), numerous locals of the American Postal Workers Union, and the Northeast Regional Joint Board of UNITE (the garment workers union). From 2009 to 2010 he worked as General Counsel to the nationwide Community Organizing group ACORN, and presently represents New York Communities for Change, Pennsylvania’s Action United, the Black Institute, and Jobs with Justice. Mr. Schwartz has achieved many important victories for unions and union members in state and federal court, in administrative proceedings and in arbitration.
Mr. Schwartz has also won landmark cases in several other areas of workers’ rights: whistleblower protections, employment discrimination, Equal Pay Act, public employee free speech, union democracy, federal and state civil rights, and pension funds. He has reached a verdict in more than twenty jury trials, has argued over fifty cases in the appellate courts, and has handled hundreds of arbitrations regarding various contractual and disciplinary disputes. He has also specialized in addressing workplace safety, having litigated over 40 OSHA cases, and handled numerous matters involving worker exposure to toxins, like asbestos, in the workplace.
Mr. Schwartz has also represented his community, both as a lawyer and as a citizen activist. He has litigated cases that brought ball fields to Hudson River Park’s Pier 40, stopped the construction of a Costco on 14th Street (getting a YMCA instead), and stopped the closing of subway system token booths citywide. He was also part of teams that stopped a subway fare increase, successfully sued to bring about fair voting procedures in charter school controversies, and represented parents challenging the appointment of Catherine Black to be Schools Chancellor by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has organized his neighbors to win millions of dollars to renovate local parks and playgrounds, build Hudson River Park, and get needed services. In 2001, he represented severely injured survivors of the World Trade Center collapse.
Mr. Schwartz was a founding member and a long time Board Member of Friends of Hudson River Park and has served three terms as Chair of the Hudson River Park Trust Advisory Council. Mr. Schwartz has also served on Manhattan Community Board 2 for 20 years (where he presently chairs the Waterfront Committee) and as an elected Democratic District Leader or State Committee Member for Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca and Northern Battery Park City for the past 15 years. In 2008, he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention pledged to Barack Obama. He is a vigorous and forceful leader who believes in holding the feet of government officials to the fire.
Columbia University, Bachelor of the Arts
Hofstra Law School, Juris Doctor
District of Columbia
Laine A. Armstrong
Laine Alida Armstrong is a Principal Attorney at Advocates for Justice Chartered Attorneys. Laine has been fighting for justice for the disenfranchised since she was young, first as an outspoken opponent of unfair systems and treatment impacting her community, then working with a foundation to help fund targeted public interest programs in New York City. Law school was a natural fit. After graduating from Fordham University School of Law, and a clerkship at the State appellate court, Laine cultivated a practice protecting individuals. As a litigator and general practice lawyer, she helps employees, small business people, unions and their members resolve legal issues and keep fighting for fair wages and working conditions. Laine represents victims of all types of discrimination, harassment and retaliation be it based on race, gender, gender-identity, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation and national origin or any protected class.
In 2015, Laine joined forces with Arthur Z. Schwartz and Advocates for Justice, Chartered Attorneys, a partnership that has enhanced outcomes for all the firm’s clients.
Laura Dawn Barbieri
Advocates for Justice
October 2012 – Present
Lead counsel for East Ramapo Central School District Litigation, a federal law suit brought by parents and students against certain former and current School Board members. The lawsuit alleges multiple claims against Board members including that they:
• Diverted funds to promote their own religion and private religious schools.
• Discriminated against and segregated students on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, and religion.
• Gutted the funding of the public schools
• Denied students their right to a sound basic education.
She litigates principally Education Law cases, and cases arising under Individuals with Disabilities In Education Act. Advocates for Justice is a New York based, non-profit, public interest law firm.
Schoeman, Updike & Kaufman, LLP
December 1995 – October 2008
Litigated dozens of cases, including multiple claims, brought by and against multiple parties, and in varying federal, state, local, and administrative venues Authored, edited, and researched thousands of documents, including specialized legal memoranda, client memoranda, articles, and reports Collaborated with client executives, managers, and staff to develop and administer workplace policies and practices designed to engage all collegially, avert conflict, and avoid litigation Provided comprehensive and strategic defense against claims of discrimination – because of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disabilities, gender, wrongful termination, constructive discharge, hostile work environment, failure to promote, and other employment claims, based on alleged violations of civil rights statutes Represented educational organizations, including private universities, secondary and primary schools, and child-care agencies. Also represented a variety of religious organizations, including church congregations, synagogues, synods and parochial schools. Practice included specialized knowledge and experience counseling religious organizations with employment matters, property acquisitions and sales, and compliance with New York’s Religious Corporations Law and Not-For-Profit Law.
Pace University School of Law
August 1995 – May 2005
White Plains, New York
Taught classes in the following subjects:
Appellate Advocacy, Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, White Collar Crime, Criminal Law Prosecutorial Ethics , Negotiations
National Moot Court Competitions, 2002-2004
National Health Law Moot Court Competitions, 2000-2002
Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York
Chief, Charities, Trusts & Estates Bureau
September 1994 – August 1995
Provided direct substantive and administrative support to highest level executives in all subject-related matters, including all litigation, budgets, correspondence, and personnel supervision
NYC Department of Corrections
Deputy Commissioner, Investigations and Health Management Services
July 1993 – August 1994
Provided direct substantive and administrative support to highest level executives in all subject-related matters, including all litigation, budgets, correspondence, and personnel supervision.Chair, Substance Abuse Task Force
Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York
Assistant Attorney General – Civil and Criminal Divisions
August 1990 – July 1993
White Plains, New York
Task Force Attorney, prosecuting Traditional and Non-Traditional Organized Crime. Handled civil forfeiture and asset seizure cases
Kings County District Attorney
Supervising Assistant District Attorney
1984 – 1990
1981 – 1984
Pace University School of Law, JD
1977 – 1981
Franklin & Marshall College, Bachelor of Arts, Accounting; Int'l
Richard Soto is an Associate in the New York office of Advocates for Justice Chartered Attorneys.
Mr. Soto earned his undergraduate degree in both Politics and Economics from New York University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1995.
After completing his undergraduate studies, Mr. Soto worked briefly in banking and for several years in the United States Government. A passion for reasoned argument pushed Mr. Soto into law school in 2000. He worked as a student-attorney for indigent defendants facing criminal complaints at Harvard Defenders.
Before joining Advocates for Justice, Mr. Soto worked as an Associate for several large law firms in New York, including Hughes Hubbard & Reed and Hunton & Williams. He balanced the representation of large clients in complex commercial and products liability litigation with pro bono work focused on representing persons seeking political asylum in the United States.
Mr. Soto’s practice at Advocates for Justice Chartered Attorneys focuses on labor-management issues and civil rights. Through the pro bono side of Advocates for Justice, Mr. Soto is also pursuing claims for individuals seeking fair compensation under federal and state minimum wage legislation.
New York University Bachelor of Arts
Harvard Law School Juris Doctor