Category Archives: Officers

Tanisha McKnight

Tanisha S. McKnight is a 2004 graduate of Brooklyn Law School. She began her legal career with The Legal Aid Society where she worked both in their Criminal Defense Division and Juvenile Rights Practice for a number of years. In 2009, Ms. McKnight became The Children’s Law Center of New York's (CLC) first Director of Paralegal & Volunteer Services. In addition to managing the city-wide paralegal team, she practices law in a number of areas including custody, visitation, domestic violence and child protective proceedings. She is also responsible for developing and managing CLC’s volunteer programs, which includes forming internship partnerships and recruitment with local high schools, universities and law schools, the development of CLC’s pro bono practice and law firm relationships. Additionally, she supervises CLC’s Securing Seamless Education Services (SSES) education advocacy project and jointly manages CLC’s Broken Adoption Project. In 2019 Ms. McKnight became a Deputy Director of Appeals, Paralegal & Volunteer Services where Ms. McKnight is now responsible for strategic planning and developing systems to enhance efficiency and effective utilization of resources within the organization.  She continues to present at schools, conferences and forums on the current issues facing family law practitioners and provides motivational talks to students considering entering the legal profession. She was honored as one of the New York Law Journal’s Rising Stars of 2015. 

Justina Rivera

Justina is an experienced trial attorney who focuses her practice in the areas of complex torts and toxic tort litigation, products liability, medical malpractice and general commercial litigation. She serves as outside counsel to the City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, where she served as an Assistant Borough Chief, Senior Counsel, and trial attorney in the Tort Division prior to joining Harris Beach. During her time at the Law Department Justina successfully defended the City of New York, its composite agencies and employees in civil litigation and trials in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Tort Units. During her tenure, she was also an active member of The Law Department's Committee on Diversity Recruitment and Retention. Prior to joining the Law Department, Justina began her career at the NYC administration for Children’s Services, where she prosecuted parents who were alleged to abuse and neglect their children.

Carl Forbes, Jr.

Carl Forbes Jr. is the Founder and Principal Attorney of Carl Forbes Jr. Law Firm PLLC, a general service New York law firm with an emphasis on Real Estate, Estate Planning, Probate & Estate Administration, and Estate Litigation. Carl is the President-Elect of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School where he co-teaches Pretrial Advocacy and Negotiating, Counseling & Interviewing. He is also an experienced real estate investor and licensed real estate broker. 

Carl has been rated as a 2019 and 2020 New York Metro Rising Star by Super Lawyers and recognized as 2016 and 2017 Empire State Counsel by the New York State Bar Association for his commitment to pro bono legal work. Carl is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (Queens Alumni Chapter). Carl received his B.A., cum laude, in Philosophy, Politics & Law from Binghamton University, and his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. 

Carl previously worked as a Senior Associate in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department at Proskauer Rose LLP where he represented corporate clients in a wide range of complex commercial litigation and pre-litigation matters, particularly high-stakes cases involving antitrust, financial services, intellectual property, non-disclosure agreements, and sports. During his time at Proskauer, Carl served as the co-chair of the Black Lawyer Affinity Group. 

Carl also previously worked as Special Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Office of Corporation Counsel, New York City Law Department. He worked in the Brooklyn Tort Division where he defended the City of New York in personal injury, property damage and police matters. 

A Brooklyn-born Jamaican-American, Carl lives in East Flatbush with his wife, Dawn, and their dog, Marley.

Areal Allen-Stewart

areal-allen-stewartAreal Allen-Stewart is the Vice President of Global Credit Cards at Citibank. In her current role, she advises on global legal and regulatory requirements and develops programming and policy for her regional partners. In addition to her service on the MBBA Board, Areal remains active in the community. She is the Chair of co-sponsored events of The Association for Black Women Attorneys, a member of the Junior League of Brooklyn, a member of the Diversity Pipeline Initiatives Committee at the New York City Bar, and she sits on the Board of Directors for New York Law School’s Alumni Association. Additionally, Areal is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Areal is a 2014 graduate of New York Law School. Prior to law school, she attended the University of Connecticut, where she received degrees in Economics, African American Studies, and Business. In her spare time, Areal enjoys reading, exercising, and the arts.

Anta Cisse-Green

Anta Cissé-Green is Associate General Counsel and Director of Legal Operations at NYU Langone Health with primary responsibility for advising the development department with respect to agreements for gifts and bequests, trust and estate administration, not-for-profit legal and taxation issues and general contracting for activities of the development department at the Medical Center and the NYU School of Medicine.

Anta received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, summa cum laude, and her L.L.M. in Tax from NYU School of Law. Immediately prior to joining NYU Langone Medical Center in 2016, Anta was Senior Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in the firm’s private client services section of the tax group where she advised wealthy individuals on the development of tax efficient vehicles for the transfer of wealth, complex estate and trust administration issues, charitable planning strategies and the formation and governance of tax exempt organizations. Previously, Anta was an associate with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and law clerk to the Honorable Lois Bloom, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.
In 2016, Anta was named to the National Black Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys and a member of the Executive Committee for The National Advocates. In 2015, Anta was honored by the New York Law Journal as a “Lawyer Who Leads By Example” in recognition of her years of commitment to providing pro bono legal services to underrepresented New Yorkers. Anta was also named as a New York Metro Area Rising Star by Superlawyers in the area of tax and estate planning.

Anta Cissé-Green is Associate General Counsel and Director of Legal Operations at NYU Langone Health with primary responsibility for advising the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs on a variety of fundraising and tax-related legal matters including drafting and negotiating agreements for gifts and bequests, administration of bequests from trusts and estates, not-for-profit legal and taxation issues and general contracting for fundraising events and activities for NYU Langone Hospitals and the NYU School of Medicine.  As Director of Legal Operations for NYU Langone, Anta develops and drives the Office of General Counsel’s administrative priorities, leads key departmental projects, including selection and implementation of technology and efficiency of legal operations. 

Anta received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, summa cum laude, and her L.L.M. in Tax from NYU School of Law.  Immediately prior to joining NYU Langone Health in 2016, Anta was Senior Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in the firm’s private client services section of the tax group where she advised wealthy individuals on the development of tax efficient vehicles for the transfer of wealth, complex estate and trust administration issues, charitable planning strategies and the formation and governance of tax exempt organizations.  Previously, Anta was an associate with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and law clerk to the Honorable Lois Bloom, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

Anta has been awarded various accolades and honors in connection with her work in the legal profession.  In addition to being named as an honoree in the Crain’s 2019 Notable Women of Law, Anta has also been honored by the New York Law Journal as a “Lawyer Who Leads By Example”, in recognition of her many years of commitment to providing pro bono legal services to underrepresented New Yorkers; named to the National Black Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys; and as a New York Metro Area Rising Star by Superlawyers in the area of tax and estate planning.

Anta is an active member of her community in her roles as President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, the largest unified association of Black and other minority lawyers, in the New York metropolitan area.

Paula Edgar

Paula T. Edgar Esq. is Principal of PGE, LLC - a boutique coaching, speaking and consulting firm. The firm provides innovative and strategic solutions on career management, executive/leadership development, organizational diversity efforts, intercultural competence initiatives, networking and social media strategy.

Her professional experiences include serving as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at New York Law School, the Associate Director of Career Services and member of the Diversity Council at Seton Hall University School of Law, and as the Executive Director of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc. (PALS), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in the legal profession and providing mentoring, academic support, and networking opportunities to law students and junior attorneys of color. Prior to leading PALS, Paula practiced in the Law Enforcement Division of the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

For more than a decade, Paula has demonstrated leadership in the areas of diversity and inclusion, issues related to students of color and the legal diversity pipeline. Currently active with a number of organizations and social justice initiatives, she serves as the President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, the immediate past Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Diversity Pipeline Initiatives Committee and was a 2015 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellow. Paula is also a member of the Young Patrons Board of the Apollo Theater, a Trustee of the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation and she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Deerfield Academy Alumni Association.

Paula received her B.A. in Anthropology from the California State University (Fullerton) and her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. She has also been recognized by The Network Journal Magazine as a "40 Under Forty" Achievement Awardee, and as a Ms. JD "Woman of Inspiration" Connect with Paula on her website www.paulaedgar.com, on Linkedin, Via Twitter (@PaulaEdgar) and on Facebook (Paula Edgar Fan Page).

Officers 2014 – 2015

Taa R.Grays
President: president@mbbanyc.org
MetLife, Inc.
Georgetown University Law Center

Paula T. Edgar
President-Elect: presidentelect@mbbanyc.org
PGE LLC, Coaching, Consulting and Public Speaking City
University of New York School of Law

Tyear Middleton
VP of Membership: vpmembership@mbbanyc.org
Kings County District Attorney’s Office
New York Law School

Jason M. Clark
VP of Programs: vpprograms@mbbanyc.org
Office of the New York State Attorney General
University of Michigan Law School

Richard D. Boyd
VP of Finance: vpfinance@mbbanyc.org
Law Office of Richard D. Boyd
Hofstra University School of Law

Lakisha Spence
Treasurer: treasurer@mbbanyc.org
Brooklyn Law School

Nadine Etienne
Recording Secretary: recordingsecretary@mbbanyc.org

Dionne Gill
Corresponding Secretary: correspondingsecretary@mbbanyc.org
United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York
Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Presidential Appointments 2014 – 2015

Dweynie Paul
Director of Community Service Initiatives: Dweynie@mbbanyc.org
Travelers Indemnity Co.
George Washington Law School

Asha Smith
Director of Legislative Affairs: legislative.affairs@mbbanyc.org
The Legal Aid Society
New York Law School

Kersuze Morancy
Director of Communications: communications@mbbanyc.org
Counsel Press, LLC