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NYLAG Raises $1.7M at 2024 Gala, Honors Brooke Cucinella, Carolyn Renzin, Amy Howe, Yarys Lopez

May 17, 2024 

CONTACT: Sara Rodriguez, srodriguez@nylag.org, 212-613-6566  

NEW YORK, NY — The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) hosted its annual gala Thursday evening in which the organization raised $1.7 million to support its comprehensive programming, including direct legal services, financial empowerment services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community partnerships. 

“Every one of us at NYLAG shares a vision of racial, social, and economic justice in which we work directly with our clients to overcome the barriers keeping them from living a full, free life, and go even further to eliminate those barriers from our systems and institutions altogether,” said NYLAG President & CEO Lisa Rivera. “NYLAG exists to meet moments like this, and there’s no doubt our communities are at a point of ever-increasing need: Our new neighbors face city-mandated instability with shelter evictions, making it even harder for recently arrived immigrants to access legal services and other stabilizing resources; families see their benefits delayed or altogether denied due to agency computer errors, risking their ability to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads; parents come up against countless barriers in accessing the special education supports their children need; survivors of intimate partner violence face an overwhelming set of challenges in determining what justice would look like for them, and then finding a way to pursue it. It takes every one of us at NYLAG, including our steadfast and growing community of supporters, to meet the immediate needs of New Yorkers in poverty and in crisis – and to work towards a more equitable and just future.”  

NYLAG also honored the following individuals for their leadership and contributions to their fields (see bios below): 

  • Corporate Leadership Award: Brooke Cucinella, Global Head of Litigation & Regulatory Inquiries, Citadel and Citadel Securities 
  • Breaking Barriers Award: Carolyn Barth Renzin, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer, FanDuel 
  • Breaking Barriers Award: Amy Howe, Chief Executive Officer, FanDuel 
  • Trailblazer Resilience Award: Yarys Lopez, former NYLAG client and incoming Paralegal in NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit 

Pictured from left to right: NYLAG Board Chair Joe Polizzotto and Vice Chair Bridget Healy; Breaking Barriers Award Recipient Carolyn Renzin; Corporate Leadership Award Recipient Brooke Cucinella; NYLAG President & CEO Lisa Rivera. 

Pictured from left to right: Trailblazer Resilience Award Recipient, former NYLAG client, and incoming Immigrant Protection Unit Paralegal Yarys Lopez and Immigrant Protection Unit Supervising Attorney Allison Cutler. 

NYLAG also released a video featuring Ms. Lopez’s story of her journey to the United States, what brought her to NYLAG, and how she continues to pursue her dream. For a full list of the event’s sponsors, see NYLAG’s 2024 Gala event page. 


About NYLAG 

Founded in 1990, New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is a leading civil legal services organization combatting economic, racial, and social injustice by advocating for people experiencing poverty or in crisis. Our services include comprehensive, free civil legal services, financial empowerment, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community partnerships. NYLAG exists because wealth should not determine who achieves justice. We aim to disrupt systemic racism by serving individuals and families whose legal and financial crises are often rooted in racial inequality. NYLAG goes to where the need is, providing services in more than 380 community sites (e.g., courts, hospitals, libraries) and on our Mobile Legal Help Center. NYLAG’s staff of over 350 impacted the lives of more than 130,000 people last year. 

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Corporate Leadership Award Recipient: Brooke Cucinella, Global Head of Litigation & Regulatory Inquiries, Citadel and Citadel Securities 

Brooke E. Cucinella is the Global Head of Litigation & Regulatory Inquiries at Citadel and Citadel Securities. Before joining Citadel in 2022, Brooke was a Litigation Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where she represented companies, boards, and executives in government and internal investigations and high-profile disputes. While at Simpson Thacher, Brooke was on the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of New York (“SONY”), where she was appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants, as well as victims and witnesses. 
From 2012 to 2018, Brooke served in the DOJ as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for SONY, where she was a senior member of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. As a federal prosecutor, she tried multiple significant securities cases, as well as public corruption and cases involving violent crimes, and oversaw numerous investigations involving a wide range of complex financial crimes, including accounting fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, wire fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, money laundering and public corruption. 
Brooke has been recognized by the publication as a National “Litigation Star” in White Collar Crime and as a New York “Litigation Star,” and was ranked as one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” in the U.S. by Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation. She is also recognized by The Legal 500 in Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, where sources say she “works incredibly hard, is dedicated to her clients, and brings the eye of a seasoned investigator and prosecutor.” She was also named to Crain’s New York Business’s “Notable Women in Law” for 2021. 

Breaking Barriers Award Recipient: Carolyn Barth Renzin, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer, FanDuel 

Carolyn is the Chief Legal and Compliance Officer of FanDuel Group.  In that role, Carolyn oversees legal, risk, regulatory engagement, compliance and responsible gaming for the company. Her team ensures that FanDuel Group is the industry leader for customer safety, security and compliance.  Prior to taking on the Chief Legal Officer role, Carolyn served as FanDuel’s Chief Risk and Compliance Officer. 
Before joining FanDuel, Carolyn was an Assistant General Counsel at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., where she worked as a regulatory litigator after the financial crisis and in the Office of the General Counsel building out the bank’s legal function. Carolyn joined JPMC from compliance consulting and investigations firm Guidepost Solutions, where she worked with companies under regulatory scrutiny to enhance their compliance functions. Before Guidepost, Carolyn was a partner at the boutique law firm Stillman, Friedman & Shechtman, where her practice focused on litigation and regulatory enforcement. She began her career as a law clerk to the Hon. Ronald M. Gould on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then as a litigation associate at Simpson Thacher and Bartlett. 
Carolyn holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a J.D. magna cum laude and Order of the Coif from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as an editor of the Michigan Law Review. Originally from New England but married to a New Yorker, Carolyn jokes that she cannot share her sports team affiliations at the dinner table! 

Breaking Barriers Award Recipient: Amy Howe, Chief Executive Officer, FanDuel 

Amy Howe serves as CEO of FanDuel Group, a Flutter Entertainment company (NYSE: FLUT), with responsibility for the strategic direction and performance of the company’s core commercial functions across its Sportsbook, Casino, Racing and Daily Fantasy units, as well as its fully distributed linear television and OTT network FanDuel TV. 

Howe has guided FanDuel through a period of enormous growth with the company being recognized as the industry’s leader in mobile sports gaming. This has included becoming the first mobile operator in the U.S. to deliver full-year profitability. During her tenure, there have been several seminal moments for FanDuel including the company reaching 50% market share for its sports betting product and the rapid ascension of its iGaming market share. Since her arrival, FanDuel has helped power its parent company Flutter’s financial performance leading to its listing on the New York Stock Exchange. This move reflects the enormous importance the FanDuel portfolio delivers to the global enterprise. Additionally, Howe has overseen the successful launch of FanDuel TV, pushed for critical product developments including a fully integrated account and wallet that brings horse racing within FanDuel’s sportsbook creating competitive advantage during events such as the Kentucky Derby, and reached key agreements to become official sportsbook partners with the National Football League, Major League Baseball and Churchill Downs to name a few. FanDuel has had successful launches of legalized sports betting in several states including New York, Arizona, Louisiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Vermont under her leadership and now holds the number one position in 16 of 21 states it operates within.  

As an advocate for women’s leadership development, Howe has been recognized for her role leading FanDuel. In 2023, Sports Business Journal named Howe its Executive of the Year. She was also selected as the 2022 and 2023 Global Gaming Awards Executive of the Year, while FanDuel itself was recognized as the Online Sportsbook of the Year at the American Gambling Awards. In 2022 industry publication SBC named her CEO of the Year and in 2023 selected FanDuel as North America’s Sportsbook of the Year, and bestowed the company with Marketing Campaign & Sponsorship of the Year awards for its Kick of Destiny Super Bowl campaign. 

An advocate for the power of diversity in driving business performance, Howe has launched several efforts within FanDuel to unlock the power of diversity, equity and inclusion. She hired the company’s first head of DE&I, and has led the creation of FanDuel’s Women’s Leadership Development Program with leadership training, mentoring and networking events for women at different levels of the company. FanDuel has also invested in its growing Employee Resource Group (ERG) communities with various resource groups representing employees from the LBGTQIA+, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Military/Veterans, Women, and International communities, as well as management level training programs for high performing middle managers in partnership with the University of Georgia. Her commitment to creating an equitable and dynamic workplace has led to FanDuel being certified as a 2023 Great Place to Work in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. by the Great Place to Work Trust Index® and being named by PR Week Magazine as Best Places to Work in 2023. Additionally, Howe is frequently called upon to share her management vision including at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Management and through her personal support of the MIT Sloan School of Management Sports Analytics Conference.  

Howe joined FanDuel Group from Live Nation Entertainment where she held several positions of increasing authority culminating as Global Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ticketmaster, the largest division of Live Nation Entertainment. As COO of Ticketmaster, Howe led the digital transformation and modernization of the company’s ticketing platform, doubling its growth in gross ticketing value and growing the mobile app install base by 400%. Prior to Live Nation Entertainment, Howe enjoyed a distinguished career as a Partner at McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles where she advised many Fortune 500 clients across a wide range of issues, including growth strategy, restructuring/turnaround, organizational transformation and commercial and operational excellence.  

Howe earned her Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. Howe has bi-coastal sports rooting interest, as she is a loyal supporter of UCLA athletics and an avid fan of her hometown Buffalo Bills. Howe and her husband make their home in Los Angeles with their three children. 

Trailblazer Resilience Award Recipient: Yarys Lopez, former NYLAG client and incoming Paralegal in NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit 

Yarys Lopez is a soon-to-be graduate of Lehman College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Hailing from Honduras, Yarys and her family came to New York when she was a teenager and met Allison Cutler, now a Supervising Attorney in NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit, at the Bronx Family Justice Center. After watching Allison argue her and her family’s case before a judge, Yarys knew she wanted to follow that path to becoming an immigration lawyer. 
Already an accomplished volunteer with NYLAG’s Pro Se Plus Project clinics, in which she has helped win asylum for our clients, Yarys will begin her role as a Paralegal in NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit on Monday, May 20, 2024 as she prepares for law school. 

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