Tara Fappiano

I spent over 20 years in the trenches as a trial attorney, but my passion is more in the areas of special education and disability law. Wanting to help clients in a more sustainable way, I have transitioned into a new type of practice. My goal is to emphasize, collaborate, and advocate for clients to find them resolutions, in special education, discriminatory conflicts, and other areas. My extensive experience as a trial lawyer also makes me uniquely qualified to assist in cases in litigation, in premises, products liability, Labor Law, and toxic torts. I am a mediator and certified conflict management coach, with extensive experience in negotiations. I offer services to anyone looking to mediate a dispute, need a conflict coach, or who may benefit from training in conflict resolution. I offer consulting services to school districts, non-profits, boards, employers, and other organizations looking to proactively learn ways to avoid conflict.

Tara C. Fappiano, Attorney at Law, Tuckahoe, New York (June 2019 to Present): Advocate and litigate in areas of special education and disability, private mediation services, conflict coaching, training and consultation in conflict resolution to school districts, non-profits, boards, employers, and other organizations. Create sustainable relationships through conflict resolution.

Havkins Rosenfeld Ritzert & Varriale, LLP, White Plains, New York (Aug. 2005-May 2019): Founding Partner
Accomplished trial attorney in mass torts, toxic torts, and general liability practice areas, taking cases from inception to verdict to appeal with overwhelmingly positive outcomes. Extensive experience and success in mediation, negotiation, and alternative dispute resolution. Advocate for clients with disabilities. Accomplished speaker on law practice management, marketing, claims and risk management, and other practice area topics of interest for clients, legal organizations, and other groups.

Ohrenstein & Brown, LLP, New York, New York (Oct 2000 – Aug 2005): Counsel
Litigated insurance defense-based claims such as lead-based toxic torts, construction, general liability, Labor Law,professional liability, products liability, and commercial claims.

Verner Simon Rocha, LLP, New York, New York (June 1997 – Oct 2000)
Independently handled caseload of civil matters including personal injury, business tort claims, professional liability, Civil
RICO, in both State and Federal Courts in New York and New Jersey.

ADR Experience

Over 20 years of experience in negotiations, mediation, and resolution of conflicts in private practice in a variety of civil litigation matters, as well as pro bono/volunteer services within my community focused on disputes arising in special education and schools. I am currently serving on the panel of mediators for the pilot Presumptive Mediation Program in the Supreme Court, Bronx County.


The goal is to create sustainable relationships without the need for extensive litigation, in as collaborative a way as possible. That being said, I understand litigation and the factors that will be weighed by parties, insurers, clients, and others, and the cost, time, and risk of continued litigation.

I have been told that I am relatable and approachable, which makes me an excellent negotiator and fair mediator. I understand how relationships and emotion affect decision making. I pride myself on knowing where to strike a balance in the tact I take for a collaborative approach to resolution.


St. John’s University School of Law
Juris Doctor, 1998
Notes and Comments Editor, Journal of Legal Commentary

Fordham University
Fordham College, Bachelor of Arts, 1995, Major in English, Minor in Sociology

Areas Of Practice

  • ADA
  • Autism
  • Bullying
  • Civil (general)
  • Community
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Insurance
  • Landlord - Tenant
  • Non Profits
  • Online Mediation
  • Partnership
  • Personal Injury
  • School/Education
  • Special Education
  • Workplace

Additional Services

  • Collaborative Professional
  • Communication Skills Trainer
  • Facilitator
  • Mediating Lawyer
  • Mediation Consultant
  • Representational Lawyer
  • Staff Developer

Liability Insurance

  • Yes

Professional Associations

  • AAA - American Arbitration Assoc.
  • NYDRA - NY State DR Association

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