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, is conversant in Italian, and has a rudimentary understanding of French and Russian.
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).
Over the past 30 years, Charles has represented over 6,000 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 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 is also an elected member to the County Committee of the Democratic Party of Richmond County.
Mr. DeStefano is currently serving his second term 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 served as the President of the Staten Island Trial Lawyers Association from 2014 through 2016.
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).
He is the founder of 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.
The Honorable J. Gail Prudenti appointed Mr. DeStefano to serve as a member of Appellate Division, 2nd Department Advisory Committee on Pro Bono Scholars Program.
Mr. DeStefano is an active participant in “Lobby Day” sponsored by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, a professional event in which he meets annually with state legislators in Albany to encourage legislation that protects the rights of injured persons,
In 2015, he was vetted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to run for Congress in New York’s 11th Congressional District.
Mr. DeStefano was 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.
He has performed 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 and Last Will and Testaments for terminally ill patients.
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 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 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, 2017, and 2018 and is rated a “10” (“superb”) by AVVO.COM acknowledging 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.
In 2019, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Integrated Community Facilities, a Not-for-Profit Corporation that owns and maintains properties utilized by residents and members of “On Your Mark.” This organization houses people with special needs, including those with Cognitive Disabilities.
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 television 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 New York 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 and was awarded “Fan Favorite”.
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!