|Born New York, New York 1952
BA Fordham University, 1973
JD Fordham University School of
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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