Associate Dean for Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness
Professor of Legal Writing
Director, Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy
St. John’s University School of Law
After clerking for a United States district judge, Dean Cunningham served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was in charge of juvenile delinquency prosecutions. Later, he was an Assistant District Attorney in the Appeals Bureau of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, where he also coordinated the office’s post-adjudication insanity review cases and served as an on-call homicide duty prosecutor.
Dean Cunningham received his J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was Executive Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal, Executive Director of the Barristers’ Council, and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He graduated summa cum laude and valedictorian of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 2012, he received a Master Certificate in Strategic Organizational Leadership from Villanova University. He is a Certified Six Sigma Green Belt.
Trained in Six Sigma (a process improvement methodology) and statistics, Dean Cunningham has utilized these skills to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of academic and student services operations at the Law School. As Associate Dean for Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, Dean Cunningham coordinates St. John’s efforts in assessment of student learning and institutional research. He previously served as Assistant Dean for Students, Associate Dean for Student Services, Associate Academic Dean, and Vice Dean.
Prior to joining the St. John’s faculty, Dean Cunningham was a professor at Texas Tech University and held visiting appointments at Stetson University, Texas Wesleyan University, and Brooklyn Law School. He teaches Evidence, Appellate Advocacy, Legal Writing, Criminal Law, and New York Criminal Practice. In 2012 and 2017, he received the Dean’s Teaching Award (large class).
Dean Cunningham’s scholarship includes research in criminal justice ethics, appellate practice, juvenile justice, mental health, and insurance law. He has been a frequent speaker on legal education and other topics before bar associations, law schools, and other organizations. In June 2008, he testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, on the legality of laptop searches at the international border.
Fellows of the Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy
Jamie Caponera is a rising third year law student at St. John’s University School of Law. She came to law school after receiving dual degrees in political science and criminal justice from the University of South Carolina. At St. John’s, Jamie is the Articles Editor of the St. John’s Law Review. Additionally, she is a member of the Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute, where she has had the opportunity to hone her skills as an advocate, winning both internal competitions in her 2L year and being awarded best overall advocate in the spring 2018 internal competition. Jamie is also a teaching assistant for both Legal Writing and Criminal Law. This summer, she is working as a summer associate at Winston & Strawn LLP, where she hopes to continue post-graduation in their litigation department. She aspires to work in the criminal field during her career.
Brian Dolan is a third-year student at St. John’s University School of Law. His career interests include working as an appellate law clerk and then going on to work as a public defender or civil rights lawyer, either at the trial or appellate level. His main academic interests are criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law. He is a senior staff member of the St. John’s Law Review. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from SUNY Geneseo in 2014. While at Geneseo, he researched and wrote a paper on the phenomenon of false confessions and he was exposed to other issues at the intersection of psychology and criminal law, including the unreliability of eyewitness identifications and the insanity defense. This exposure helped inspire him to pursue a career in criminal law.
As a Criminal Justice major at St. John’s University, Mostafa Khairy knew this was the field he wanted to spend the rest of his life working in. He received his first insight into the legal world as an intern with the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County, New York. Inspired by the work he did with Legal Aid, Mostafa decided to continue his legal education at St. John’s University School of Law. Here, he has taken every opportunity he could; immersing himself in the field of criminal law through courses like Criminal Procedure, Criminal Procedure Sentencing, New York Criminal Practice, and Evidence. He gained practical experience through his participation in St. Johns’ mock trial program (PTAI) and joining the Consumer Justice for the Elderly Litigation Clinic where he truly learned what it meant to be a lawyer and assist your own clients. In Summer 2017, Mostafa interned at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. While working in the trial bureau, Mostafa assisted in researching complex legal issues, assisting in criminal investigations, and even second seating his first trial. After leaving the Manhattan DA’s Office, Mostafa decided to intern with the New York City Law Department where he is currently interning in the Special Federal Litigation Division. Here, Mostafa works to defend the City of New York, NYPD Officers, and NYC Correction Officers in civil suits. After law school, Mostafa aspires to continue his litigation work and become an Assistant Corporation Counsel or Assistant District Attorney and continue to serve his community.
Anna Piszczatowski graduated from Stony Brook University in 2015 with a B.S. in Health Science, concentration in Disability Studies and Human Development. She returned to Stony Brook University during her 1L summer to intern in the Office of General Counsel. Following her 1L summer, Anna explored her interest in both corporate law and criminal law through multiple internships. To expand upon her corporate interests, Anna worked as a Legal Extern in the Corporate Department at the Estée Lauder Companies in the spring of 2018. She is currently working as a Summer Associate at Hahn & Hessen LLP, rotating through the Corporate and Bankruptcy Departments. In the fall of 2017, Anna worked as Legal Intern for a criminal appeals solo practitioner. There, Anna contributed in the brief-writing process and witnessed oral arguments in the Appellate Division. The following semester, she helped 1Ls in the doctrinal Criminal Law course as a Teaching Assistant. Finally, during the 2018-2019 school year, she will serve as a Legal Intern at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office through the law school’s Prosecution Clinic. Anna’s favorite part of her law school experience so far has been her time as a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. The teamwork amongst her peers is just one small advantage. Through competing in both internal and external competitions, she has discovered a love of brief writing and has excelled in public speaking. She received an award for “Best Brief” and reached the semi-finals in the Reverend Joseph T. Tinnelly Moot Court Competition. More recently, she placed as a finalist in the Hon. Milton Mollen Moot Court Competition.
Paul Tsenesidis is a rising 3L from Astoria, New York. Before attending St. John’s, Paul attended Stony Brook University where he graduated with honors, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Paul chose St. John’s because of its strong reputation for producing outstanding litigators. He has interned for the Honorable Joanna Seybert of the Eastern District of New York, the Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic, and the law firm of Levine & Blit. He hopes to become a prosecutor post-graduation. This summer he is working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office as a Law Fellow and will work at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office this upcoming year as part of St. John’s Prosecution Clinic. Additionally, he is dedicated to public service and is highly involved on campus with various student organizations. He is a member of the Frank S. Polestino Trial Advocacy Institute and the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development. He currently serves as President of the St. John’s Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and has previously served as Secretary for the Student Bar Association, President of the Hellenic Lawyers Student Association, and as a student representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Inn of Court.