Charles is a 1983 graduate of Fordham University at Lincoln Center with a Bachelors of Arts in Pre-Law Studies. He performed a 12 credit internship program at the United Nations during college. Additionally, he worked his way through college and law school as a waiter in various NYC restaurants. He speaks fluent Spanish and is conversant in Italian and rudimentary French.
Charles received his Doctor of Law degree from Pace University School of Law (1986). He was admitted to practice law in New York State (1988) and the Federal Courts of the Eastern District of New York (1988) , the Southern District of New York (1988) , the United States Circuit Court (1990) , and the United States Supreme Court (1991).
He is a Past President of the Staten Island Trial Lawyers Association and the Staten Island delegate to the New York State Trial Lawyers Association , as well as a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association.
Over the past 29 years, Charles has represented over 5,000 clients through trials, arbitrations, mediations, or negotiations in all matters involving personal injury.
In 2017, Charles was selected by Mayor Bill DeBlasio to serve as the Chairman of the Mayors Committee on City Marshal, the committee that reviews all prospective applicants who wish to serve as City Marshal in New York City.
Mr. DeStefano currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Richmond County Bar Association, founded in 1909 and representing over 500 members of the profession.
He continues to serve as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Staten Island Trial Lawyers Association (“SITLA”) and in the role as “Past President,” an advisory position sanctioned by the by laws of the Association.
In June 2017, he was elected to the Executive Board of SITLA as Vice President. (He is the first member to serve twice as Vice President of the organization in its history).
In 2015, he founded the “Staten Island Trial Lawyers Summer Youth Internship Program” and the “Staten Island Trial Lawyers Award for a Distinguished Law Student.”
He continues to serve, each year, as the Chairman and Moderator of the S.I. Trial Lawyers Summer Youth Internship Program. Past Guest Speakers have included Richmond County DA Michael McMahon, Rabbi Romi Cohen (author of “The Youngest Partisan”) and Federal Judge Raymond Dearie.
Charles served as a student mentor / coach for the Susan Wagner High School Law & Politics Program in October 2016.
Mr. DeStefano was elected as Committee Member to the “Richmond County Democratic Committee on Judicial Selection”. This committee interviews candidates for Civil Court, Family Court, and Criminal Court judgeships and reports its findings to the Mayors Office of the City of New York.
He serves on on the Appellate Division, 2nd Department Advisory Committee on Pro Bono Scholars Program.
Mr. DeStefano is an annual participant in “Lobby Day” sponsored by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, a professional event in which he meets with state legislators to encourage legislation that protects the rights of injured persons,
In November 2015, he was vetted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to run for Congress in New York’s 11th Congressional District.
Mr. DeStefano has been appointed by the New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to serve as a Member of the “Red Tape Commission,” a city-wide commission that focuses on streamlining regulations that affect small business formation and expansion.
In addition to his personal injury practice, he performs extensive pro bono work for the community through Mount Carmel / Saint Benedicta Church (including an Annual Christmas Visit as Santa for the children of the parish).
Charles proudly serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of “La Colmena,” a Not-for-Profit organization that serves the needs of day laborers in New York City.
He also served for over 8 years as a Member of the Board of Directors El Centro de Inmigrantes (The Immigrant Center).
He is a 2007 recipient of the “Mount Carmel – John Bruno Award,” an honor bestowed upon members of the community for individuals who exemplify a commitment and service to the lives of children in our community.
The Italian-American Heritage Awards Society acknowledged him in 2012 as “Most Distinguished American of Italian Descent” in recognition of his honesty, integrity, and dedication to fair and ethical business practices.
“Super Lawyers of New York” in 2014 , 2015, 2016, and 2017 and is rated a “10” (“superb”) by AVVO.COM have acknowledged his performance as an attorney.
Since 2007, he has served on the Board of Directors and as Legal Advisor and Ambassador to the Jacques Marchais Tibetan Museum of Art.
For over 20 years, he Charles DeStefano has been legal counsel to the Yacht Ventura, an historic sailing vessel that is located in North Cove Marina, Manhattan. The Yacht Ventura and other members of the Harris Fleet, proudly served as a rescue vessels on 9-11, having transported hundreds of survivors of the terrorist attacks on that day.
Charles has appeared on Court TV, New York One, and has been a frequent figure in local news. In addition, his cases have been subjects of numerous articles published in the New York Times, Staten Island Advance, New York Post, Daily News, The New Yorker, and Newsday.
He is featured in two major books (and a film in production), including “I, Goldstein,” by Josh Alan Friedman and “Beneath Contempt and Happy to Be There,” by Jack Stevenson (the former featured in the NY Times Book Review). Both books focus on his efforts in applying the 1st Amendment defense in a high profile case.
He appeared prominently in a 2005 documentary film entitled “The Trials of Al Goldstein” about controversial and colorful New York City publisher, Al Goldstein. The highly acclaimed film was screened at the NY Underground Film Festival.
Recently, Charles was acknowledged in the 2013 book entitled “UNDISPUTED TRUTH by Mike Tyson and Larry “Ratso” Sloman. In 2017, he was further acknowledged in “IRON AMBITION” the second book by Mike Tyson and “Ratso” Sloman about the famed boxing trainer, Cus D’Amato.
Clients include Dylan McDermott, Al Goldstein, Elliott Gould, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Gilbert Gottfried, and artists Doug Auld and Scott Lobaido.
Last (but not least!), Charles loves to teach children about the Power of Law and the importance of the Rule of Law in our society!