Angelicque Moreno has gone from Bronx housing projects to president of the Academy
Profiles in Leadership
Angelicque Moreno grew up in the same household as her cousin who was the victim of medical malpractice at birth and was confined to a wheelchair his entire life. She watched him struggle emotionally, financially and even with little things like getting to school every day.
That experience was so profound that it inspired her to become a trial attorney, a career she has thrived in. She is a member of numerous professional organizations, been honored by nearly a dozen organizations and on July 1 became the president of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.
“People don’t understand that a disability like the one my cousin had really affects them, but it also affects the entire family,” Moreno said. “I watched my cousin struggle with so much, and my entire family struggle to help him. It was so eye-opening that growing up it was like, ‘Wow, I need to become the kind of lawyer that helps people like him.'”
Moreno, though, grew up in a housing project in the South Bronx so the path to becoming an attorney was not clear for her. Luckily, her mother was focused on helping Moreno improve her life through education and always encouraged her on the trail to law school.
“My mom is the large reason why I am here,” Moreno said. “She believed that education was the only way out of the projects. She did everything within her power to help me and never had a defeatist attitude. If someone, like a guidance counselor, said something that might have taken me off track, she was right there to say, ‘No, don’t listen to them; you can do it.’”
After she graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School, Moreno went to Binghamton University and later Northeastern University School of Law. She loved attending law school and said that it got her out of New York so that she could experience various places like Boston, Seattle, and even Austria and France. The school also reinforced her desire to help others.
“I thought I wanted to be a corporate attorney because I wanted to make money right away,” she admitted. “The school also encouraged you to take jobs that helped people and that other people might not want to take — work for the Innocence Project or Legal Aid.”
Immediately after law school, she went to work for Manny Romero, a past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association and a trial attorney who trusted her when others probably wouldn’t have. Later, she moved on to Rubenstein and Rynecki, where Scott Rynecki showed the same confidence in her.
“One thing that Manny Romero gave me was experience,” she explained. “Nobody gave a 26-year-old woman with no experience an opportunity to try a case. I had my first trial in six months. So, quickly I was able to develop a reputation that I could try cases.”
For the past 13 years, Moreno has been a managing attorney at her own firm, Avenzino & Moreno P.C., where she has continued to grow her reputation as one of the preeminent trial attorneys in Brooklyn.
The first Latinx president of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, she has been honored as a Super Lawyer, been named one of the top attorneys in the city and state numerous times, received the Amy Wren Award from the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, been honored by Borough President Eric Adams, and was noted by the New York Law Journal for having verdicts awarded to her clients surpassing $30 million.
All of her success has driven her to give back, both to the legal community, but also the Brooklyn community. She is a founding board member and past president of the Brooklyn Bridge Rotary Club and is active in a variety of other charities including the Brooklyn Women’s Club and Luminous Visions.
Her success is also part of the reason she has become so active in bar associations like the academy, the Brooklyn Women’s Bar, the Brooklyn Bar Association and others. These associations allow her to mentor younger attorneys, but also to give back directly through charity work.
“One of my proudest accomplishments is the work I do in BWBA with Justice Genine Edwards where we have been co-chairs for the annual holiday party,” she said. That event collects toys for kids and holds raffles to raise money for charities such as Safe Harbor Homes. “It’s a wonderful feeling to make children happy.”
As president of the academy, Moreno is hoping to increase membership, advocate on behalf of trial attorneys in the state legislature and focus on attorney education.
“In a statewide bar, you have a lot of attorneys with a lot of experience and a new group that has none,” Moreno said. “Trying to make both groups happy is challenging. We have a skills CLE both downstate and upstate. That is not going to interest attorneys who have been practicing 10-plus years. The younger members need to be active and we need to mentor them so that they can eventually join our bar as a trustee or an officer and so that they have the skills they need to be successful trial attorneys.”
Moreno will have plenty of help over the next year because of her passion for the position, says Executive Director Michelle Stern.
“She’s super engaging,” Stern explained. “Everyone she meets, she schmoozes perfectly, gets them engaged with the academy. It doesn’t matter if she has never met you before, she’s super passionate. Executive directors aren’t often this lucky where we have someone who is willing to put it out there, willing to march on for the academy. That ask is very important. It’s all about getting other people involved. It’s all about making connections and there is nobody better than Angelicque.”
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