Barrie Goldstein Interview

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Barrie L. Goldstein has practiced law for more than 35 years, much of that time litigating in the federal and state trial courts in New York and Connecticut. She started her career as one of only a handful of women practicing in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1974. Ms. Goldstein now has her own practice, Barrie L. Goldstein, LLC, which she opened in Litchfield County in 2008 with a special focus on family law (including divorce), custody, child support and child protection in addition to her expertise in civil litigation.

Ms. Goldstein began her career through the Justice Department’s Honors Program in 1974. She represented the U.S. government in major cases, including the defense of President Ford’s imposition of a licensing fee on imported oil and the defense as to the constitutionality of the National Flood Insurance Act.

After a brief stint in the private sector, Ms. Goldstein joined the New York Attorney’s General Office where she served as Special Litigation Counsel for 13 years. Her work was diverse and consisted of unique and complicated cases. Ms. Goldstein, together with outside counsel, represented the State in a complex bankruptcy proceeding. She handled civil rights challenges brought under the Constitution’s Due Process Clause and defended state officials in many different contexts, including the re-development of Times Square and the refusal to allow a New Jersey dealer to sell milk in New York.

Ms. Goldstein was appointed the Director of Special Litigation for the Juvenile Rights Division of New York City’s Legal Aid Society in 2001. She served as lead counsel in the landmark case of Nicholson v. Williams, where foster care children challenged their removal by the City’s child protection agency solely on the ground that their mothers were victims of domestic violence. The gravamen of their complaint rested on the City’s failure to balance the harm caused by the removal with the danger of remaining in the home. The Court ruled in favor of the children, and this case is widely cited around the country for establishing best practices.

Ms. Goldstein has taken on a diverse range of cases since opening her own office in Litchfield County, Connecticut. She is litigating a land use case in federal court, in which the plaintiff challenges a town’s refusal to allow the construction of a gate on the ground that the denial violates the plaintiff’s procedural and substantive due process rights under the United States Constitution. She has handled complex child custody cases involving the relocation of the children from Florida and North Carolina. In the area of child protection, Ms. Goldstein has represented parents in proceedings involving the removal of their children on grounds of purported neglect and sexual abuse.

Ms. Goldstein has continued to serve the public interest. In recognition of her mastery of complex litigation, the Family Court has appointed her Guardian Ad Litem in some of the most difficult cases to come to the Court. Ms. Goldstein also acts as a consultant to the Susan B. Anthony project, which offers services to victims of domestic violence.

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