Builds on civil rights practice with former Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society of NYC, and past President of the NYS Bar Association, Seymour W. James, Jr.; expands reach into Suffolk County with renowned Suffolk criminal defense practitioner John H. LoTurco
Barket Epstein & Kearon, LLP, today announced the addition of two new partners: former Attorney-in-Chief of The Legal Aid Society of New York City, Seymour W. James, Jr. and John H. LoTurco, who has just been named 2018 Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association Criminal Practitioner of the Year.
The firm also announced a name change to Barket, Epstein, Kearon, Aldea & LoTurco, LLP (“Barket Epstein”) which reflects a merger with LoTurco Law and a new and emerging breadth of talent, including highlighting current partner Donna Aldea, who heads the firm’s appellate and post-conviction litigation group and is recognized as one of the top appellate attorneys in New York State.
With the addition of Mr. LoTurco, Barket Epstein will have offices in Huntington, Garden City and in the Empire State Building in Manhattan.
“We came together nearly seven years ago as a boutique criminal defense and civil rights firm with a shared vision that we would provide outstanding representation to anyone charged with or convicted of a crime and for those who have suffered from the excesses of law enforcement, whether having been wrongly convicted or been the victim of excessive force by police. Today we build on that vision,” Bruce Barket, Barket Epstein founding partner, said. “We have a diverse, compassionate and driven team of criminal, civil and appellate attorneys from Manhattan to Montauk. Our lawyers are uniquely qualified to handle the spectrum of criminal cases from complex federal matters to state homicides to DWI and vehicular crimes and as well as appellate and post-judgment work.”
“We are particularly proud of our civil rights work, including representing Christopher Loeb, whose suit was instrumental in the indictment of the District Attorney and the Chief of Police in Suffolk County, and of Martin Tankleff, who was wrongly convicted of murdering his parents,” Mr. Barket said.
“Seymour James had a long and storied career at The Legal Aid Society of New York City and is a legend in criminal law in New York. His contributions to the law and to the countless men, women, and families he has helped over his more than 40 years at Legal Aid are unparalleled. We are honored he is spending the next phase of his legal career with us,” Mr. Barket said.
“John LoTurco is the preeminent criminal defense practitioner in Suffolk County, and we are delighted to have his expertise and enthusiasm on our team. He will head our Suffolk practice and bring an “insiders” perspective to the representation of our clients in Suffolk. All of us at Barket Epstein are delighted these much sought-after, talented lawyers have chosen to join our firm,” Mr. Barket said.
Mr. James said, “I am delighted to join Barket Epstein, a firm I have admired for its superior advocacy and whose lawyers enjoy a stellar reputation for vigorously asserting and protecting the rights of their clients.”
Mr. LoTurco said, “I am truly honored to join the passionate and dynamic lawyers at Barket Epstein who have a long record of defending clients against injustice and inequality here on Long Island and across New York State. I look forward to working with this top-notch team to continue to provide all of our clients the highest quality advocacy.”
Mr. James, a graduate of Brown University and the Boston University School of Law, began work at The Legal Aid Society of New York City as a staff attorney in the Kings County office of the criminal defense division in the 1970s, and ascended through the ranks to become Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice in 2005 and Attorney-in-Chief in 2014. A former president of the New York State Bar Association (2012-2013), his leadership positions in esteemed legal organizations are too many to list but include: membership in the House of Delegates for the American Bar Association; Board of Directors for the Correctional Association of New York; Board of Directors for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association; membership on the New York State Justice Task Force and membership on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.
Among the awards Mr. James has received are Lifetime Achievement awards from the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2018) and the New York Law Journal (2016) and the Robert L. Haig Award from the New York State Bar Association, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section.
Mr. LoTurco has been practicing criminal law for more than 25 years and was recently named 2018 Suffolk County Criminal Bar Association Criminal Practitioner of the Year. He is a lifetime Long Island resident, raised in Huntington where he now resides with his wife and three children. Mr. LoTurco graduated from Ithaca College cum laude and attended Albany Law School of Union University, where he was president of his class and chairman of the Moot Court Board. After graduating from law school, Mr. LoTurco was a trial prosecutor in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for five years, spending most his years in the Major Crime Bureau and the Narcotics Bureau. Mr. LoTurco prosecuted more than 25 jury trials at the District Attorney’s Office with a 100% conviction rate.
In 1998, Mr. LoTurco opened up his own practice in Huntington dedicated to criminal defense. Since that time, he has litigated over 75 criminal trials to verdict with a significantly high percentage of those trials resulting in acquittals. He has also been assigned as special prosecutor on several cases in Suffolk County. Mr. LoTurco is the Mock Trial coach at Touro Law School where he has also lectured on trial tactics – as well as at the Suffolk County Criminal Bar and the Suffolk Bar Association.