Elena Vournas, Esq. is the Managing Partner of Gomez & Vournas, LLC. Ms. Vournas manages the business operations of the firm and dedicates her practice to Civil Rights litigation, representing 9/11 World Trade Center Survivors before the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and the sealing of criminal convictions in NY State under Section 160.59 (a new law taking effect October 2017).
Ms. Vournas has extensive experience with class action settlement and mass claims administration. For more than a decade, Ms. Vournas was the Director of the Swiss Deposited Assets Program, the office administering the Settlement Fund of the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (the Swiss Banks’ Settlement). In this capacity, Ms. Vournas designed and oversaw processes to adjudicate claims and issue more than $600,000,000.00 in awards to claimants the world over, in 18 different languages, to both Survivors and Heirs of Survivors of the Holocaust. She was also an integral member of the team overseeing the administration of the Settlement Fund and worked closely with Chief Judge Edward R. Korman of the Eastern District of New York, who presided over the Settlement, Special Masters Judah Gribetz, Michael Bradfield and Helen Junz, Deputy Special Master Shari Reig, and the Secretaries General of the Claims Resolution Tribunal in Zurich, Switzerland.
Ms. Vournas' expert understanding of the mass claims administration process provides her a competitive advantage, not only in winning awards for her clients, but also in interacting with attorneys and staff who administer the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund at the U.S. Department of Justice. Furthermore, as a former Administrative Law Judge (Judicial Hearing Officer) for the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, Ms. Vournas has significant experience conducting trials and hearings similar to those conducted by the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. And, as a World Trade Center Health Program member herself, she has personal insight into the emotional hurdles of navigating the 9/11 healthcare and compensation processes.
Earlier in her career Ms. Vournas worked in the music industry, booking bands, curating art shows and managing CB's Gallery at the legendary rock club CBGB. Later, she was an artist manager for several bands and provided contractual oversight between artists and record companies, publicists and booking agents. In addition, Ms. Vournas organized and oversaw numerous domestic and international tours for music artists and worked closely with business managers to oversee the artists' financial affairs.
Ms. Vournas is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. She received her Juris Doctorate from New York Law School, with distinction, in 2002.
Comment: Prefecture of Voiotia v. Federal Republic of Germany: Sovereign Immunity and the Exception for Jus Cogens Violations, 21 N.Y.L. Sch. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 629 (2003)
Quoted by Judge Cancado Trinidade of the International Court of Justice in a Separate Opinion regarding the case “Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy; Greece Intervening) found at http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/143/16558.pdf
“Specialist Reading” requirement for State Immunity lecture at University of Oxford Foreign Service Programme for Public International Law
Acquired by the Law Library of the International Monetary Fund
Cited in law school textbook entitled "Fundamental Rules of the International Legal Order; Jus Cogens and Obligations Erga Omnes", edited by Christian Tomuschat and Jean-Marc Thouvenin
Cited in publications by Boalt Journal of International Law, Northwestern Journal of International Law, Professors of Duke Law School and Vanderbilt Journal of International Law
Proficient in Modern Greek