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  BIOGRAPHIES

 
Christopher A. Ferrara
President and Chief Counsel
Born New York, New York 1952

BA Fordham University, 1973
JD Fordham University School of Law, 1977.

Mr. Ferrara was engaged in the general practice of law in New York and New Jersey from 1977 to 1991, gaining wide experience in trial level and appellate litigation.

In 1990 Mr. Ferrara founded the American Catholic Lawyers Association and, since approximately 1991, has concentrated his practice on the pro-bono representation of Catholics in religious and civil liberties cases, both civil and criminal, both plaintiff and defense.

Mr. Ferrara has a number of significant appellate victories to his credit including the recent decision of the Second Circuit in Spitzer v. Operation Rescue, striking down an expanded injunction against pro-life activists under FACE, and narrowing the grounds for liability under FACE for the alleged making of threats.

Mr. Ferrara has also won a number of acquittals and dismissals of pro-life activists at the trial level and obtained an appellate court reversal of a $109 million verdict against pro-life activists in Portland, Oregon, whose reinstatement by a sharply divided (6-5) en banc panel is now the subject of continued proceedings in the federal district court.

Mr. Ferrara is a widely published author on Catholic Church affairs and co-authored The Great Facade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Roman Catholic Church (Remnant Press, 2002).


Thomas F. Portelli
Vice President and Associate Counsel
Born Paterson, New Jersey, 1948.

BA Seton Hall University 1970. JD North Carolina Central University Law School, 1975. LLM New York University, 1980.

Mr. Portelli has extensive experience in labor law and employment discrimination matters. He has served in numerous public capacities including Hearing Officer for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (1976-1980), Council President and Police Commissioner for the Borough of Haledon (1980-1985), Assistant County Counsel for Passaic County (1981-1993). After also serving as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Paterson, Mr. Portelli is now Public Defender in Wayne Township, New Jersey.


Denis V. Brenan
Pennsylvania Litigation Counsel
Born June 21, 1937, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

BA, Lehigh University, 1959. Attended Villanova Law School on full scholarship. JD, 1962.

Labor lawyer for Bethlehem Steel Company from 1962 to 1967. Judge Advocates Corps., United States Air Force, 1963 - 1966, while on leave of absence from Bethlehem Steel. Joined the internationally-recognized law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in 1968 and retired as a full partner in 2002.

Mr. Brenan now devotes himself exclusively to religious liberties litigation in the pro-life and First Amendment arenas. In 2002 he became Pennsylvania litigation counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Association.

In 2003 Mr. Brenan was also elected president of the National Lawyers Association, the pro-life alternative to the American Bar Association.


James M. Bendell
West Coast Litigation Counsel
 Born 1951, Camden, New Jersey

 AB, College of William and Mary, 1973
 JD, Rutgers University Law School, 1976.

From 1978 to 1980 Mr. Bendell served as Assistant Municipal Attorney for Anchorage, Alaska, acquiring extensive experience in municipal law. From 1981 to 1992 he specialized in insurance defense practice in Alaska representing various governmental entities in that state in a wide array of claims litigation including highway negligence and police liability.

Mr. Bendell's clients included Providence Washington Insurance Co., Nautilus Insurance Company, and Alaska National Insurance Company. From 1992 to the present Mr. Bendell has been engaged in general practice with a specialty in civil rights litigation on behalf of Catholics. In addition to serving as West Coast Litigation Counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Association, Mr. Bendell is a board member and legal counsel for Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., an organization of lay Catholics dedicated to defending the integrity of the Catholic faith.


Gerard J. Garno
Michigan Litigation Counsel
University of Cincinnati, Magnum Cum Laude
University of Toledo College of Law

Gerard J. Garno, esq., graduated Magna Cum Laude from both the University of Cincinnati (undergraduate) and the University Of Toledo College Of Law where he was one of the top ten students and an editor for Law Review.

He has had experience as an intern for a Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court as well as with one of the largest and most respected law firms in Toledo, Ohio.

He is an honorary member of the Order of the Coif, American Inns of Court, and was listed in Whoís Who American Law Students (2000). Currently he practices law near Detroit, Michigan with a firm that has offices in Detroit, Imlay City, and Lapeer.

Mr. Garno handles most areas of law, specializing in the areas of estate and Medicaid planning, probate, personal injury, bankruptcy, civil litigation, municipal law, collections and business and corporate law. He is a member of the Michigan Bar Association, the Lapeer County Bar Association, the Macomb County Bar Association and is an active member of his local Catholic parish.

Mr. Garno is also an avid classical guitarist and has performed and published in that area on the international level. He has made a dozen CDís including several CDís of Catholic sacred music.

Mr. Garno lives on a farm in Allenton, Michigan with his wife and nine children.

 


 



 


 



 


 

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