After graduating from Columbia Law School, Hillard spent most of his career at the Criminal Appeals Bureau of The Legal Aid Society. Starting as a staff lawyer, he was elevated to Supervising Attorney, Assistant-Attorney-in-Charge, and, ultimately, the Attorney-in-Charge of the Bureau, which employed over 120 appellate lawyers. During his career Hillard represented over 200 clients before the Appellate Division, First and Second Departments, and argued close to two dozen cases before the New York Court of Appeals. He has been a member of the Board of Appellate Advocates since its founding in 1995, the last ten years of which he has served as Board Chair. From 1995 to 2012 he also served as Board Chair of Brooklyn Defender Services, an organization providing trial representation to indigent defendants in Kings County.
Cara Berkowitz, a lawyer and a lobbyist, has enjoyed a 20 year career serving in leadership roles in the non-profit, governmental, and insurance sectors with a focus on health and human services.
Currently, Cara is a consultant at Secular Strategies, focusing on mental health legislative advocacy and strategy as well as grant procurement. In her previous position as Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy at Emblem Health and as Emblem Health PAC Treasurer, Cara advised the CEO on federal, New York State and New York City political and policy matters and also served on the board of the New York Health Plan Association. While at Emblem Health she secured funding from Congressmember Grace Meng for mental health funding for Asian-Americans, particularly those who were victims of Asian-American hate crimes. During this time, Cara was also named a 2019 Partnership of New York City Rockefeller Fellow, a fellowship devoted to cultivating executives to become future civic leaders of New York City. She also joined the board of the New York City Fund for Public Health, a public/private partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and serves as their board secretary.
Previously, while Executive Director of Government Affairs at The Jewish Board, Cara successfully advocated for over $6 million during her three year tenure, a record-breaking increase with grants from more than a dozen city and state elected officials. These grants included large capital projects focused on supportive housing, residential treatment facilities, domestic violence shelters and homes for those with developmental disabilities. Additionally, Cara facilitated discussions between The Jewish Board Trustees and the then Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, on the intersection of mental health and domestic violence. During this time Cara also was nominated by former Governor Cuomo to the New York State Taskforce on Life and the Law, a Taskforce devoted to advising the state on health-related ethical issues.
In her prior roles- as a lobbyist at UJA-Federation and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene- Cara worked on issues pertaining to mental health, substance use, youth and children’s as well as senior issues. Her work led her recognition as a City & State Rising Star New York City “40 under 40” in 2012.
Cara is a member of the New York State Bar and is a graduate of both the American University, Washington College of Law and Washington University, where she received her B.A.
Andrea worked as a staff attorney and supervisor at The Legal Aid Society, Criminal Appeals Bureau, from 1983 to 1995. Since then, she has represented state and federal clients on appeal and in post-conviction applications.
Patricia Pazner is a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. While in law school, she interned with Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in the Southern District of New York, as well as with the Legal Aid Society Law Reform Unit, Housing Division. After graduation, she worked as a fellow with The Legal Aid Society Criminal Appeals Bureau before joining Appellate Advocates as a staff attorney in 2012. Patricia was promoted to supervising attorney in 2016, and in that role helped direct the criminal/immigration direct appeal program. She also served as the first Diversity Officer at Appellate Advocates. Patricia was promoted to Attorney-in-Charge in 2021.
Mark W. Vorkink, Assistant Attorney-in-Charge at Appellate Advocates, received his J.D. degree summa cum laude from American University, Washington College of Law. While in law school, he interned with the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital and the International Organization for Migration, and served as a researcher for the United Nations Committee Against Torture. Upon graduation, he worked at the Staff Attorney’s Office of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and clerked for the Honorable Peter W. Hall on the Second Circuit. He also holds a B.A. in Religion, with University Honors, from Wesleyan University.