Liz Berney’s father escaped from Nazi Germany in 1938, and then served in the American army in WW2. He instilled in her great love for our country, understanding of the dangers of tyranny, and appreciation for our freedoms.
Ms. Berney spent her earliest years in Washington Heights (Harlem), and then grew up in nearby Westchester County.
Ms. Berney has been an attorney for over 30 years. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1978 at age 22. At Chicago, she focused on tax law studies with one of the nation’s leading authorities on tax law and policy. Prior to attending law school, she earned a B.S. with honors from Cornell University in industrial and labor relations, with a minor in music.
Ms. Berney started her career as a tax and municipal bonds attorney at Dewey Ballantine. Since then, her diverse legal work has included: international litigation (representing and suing foreign governments); human rights (representing Holocaust victims, including the lead plaintiff, in the cases against the Swiss and German banks); securities fraud (including writing the briefs in the Enron case which prevented Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and other directors from being dismissed from the case, and work on other major accounting scandal cases); leading fraud investigations; consumer safety (including serving on the plaintiffs’ executive committee, writing most of the major briefs and deposing top executives in the Ford Explorer rollover / Firestone tire delamination case, and work on toy safety cases); literary matters (represented “Son of Sam” victims, Marcel Marceau, the Poetry Society of America, a famous explorer and various authors in book and film contracts); mergers & acquisitions (representing dissenting shareholders in the Yahoo-Microsoft merger and other cases); education law; and elections law.
Ms. Berney’s concern with safety dates back to her teenage years, when she obtained lifeguard and water safety training, which enabled her to later save several children’s lives. She strongly supports safety education and homeland security, and hopes to improve hazardous conditions in our district (including safety problems with some of the district’s railroad stations).
Ms. Berney’s publications include: The Harvard Journal on Legislation (Winter 2004) (co-authored article on securities fraud and accountants’ responsibility); Articles in Accounting Today and Corporate Counsel; Guest blogs for the Republican Jewish Coalition, Republican Jewish Coalition Women and Urban Elephants websites; Op Eds in the Bayside Times, Jewish Star; and Long Island Jewish World websites and Queens civic association newsletters; Letters in the Queens Tribune, Washington Jewish Week and other papers, and weekly op eds in the Great Neck News, New Hyde Park Courier and Williston Times. Ms. Berney has been a guest on various radio shows, including Dennis Prager, “And Justice for All,” Joey Reynolds, and Zev Brenner. Ms. Berney has also served as a volunteer legal adviser to the Marcel Marceau Foundation for the Advancement of Mime.
Ms. Berney is also an avid violinist. She played violin in the Chicago Civic Orchestra while in law school, played in a world youth orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein as a teenager, and, more recently, has played violin in the Chamber Orchestra of Science and Medicine; the New York City Bar Association Lawyers’ Orchestra (which gave free concerts for nursing home residents, and public concerts to raise money for pro bono programs, and played Tschiakovsky’s Nutcracker for the holidays with a local dance company performing the ballet); and a klezmer group which gives concerts for senior centers and charity events. Ms. Berney currently plays in the first violin section of the New York City Doctors’ Orchestral Society, which gives free community service concerts. She also recently played Purim songs at a local Chabad party; Christmas and Hannukah songs at the Queens Village Republican Club holiday party; and played violin at parties honoring State Senator Frank Padavan, to accompany Senator Padavan when he sang Sinatra’s “My Way.” (The Senator has a great voice, by the way!)
Ms. Berney loves studying various cultures and languages. She has spent some time studying French, Italian, Hebrew, Russian, German and Arabic.
Ms. Berney is a long-divorced mother of three accomplished now-grown children (whom Ms. Berney raised on her own) and is the grandmother of two adorable little grandsons. She has lived in Great Neck for the past 24 years, and Flushing (Kew Garden Hills), Queens for 10 years prior to moving to Great Neck. Ms. Berney’s ties to the local community go back even prior to her move to Queens 34 years ago. While growing up, Ms. Berney often attended community events in Queens with her family, since her father was Dean of Queensborough Community College from 1967 through his retirement in 1990.
Ms. Berney is admitted to practice law in New York State, Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the Eastern District of Michigan, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Second, Third and Seventh Circuits, the U.S Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Claims, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is currently of counsel to the Fleischman Law Firm in New York City.