Brooklyn Law School alumni Michelle Kaminsky ’92, Dan Slater ’05, and Clare Cosslett ’84 have recently published new books on prosecuting domestic violence, the algorithms and implications of dating in the internet age, and the ingredients of successful law careers.
Michelle Kaminsky, currently the Deputy Bureau Chief in the Domestic Violence Bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, wrote Reflections of a Domestic Violence Prosecutor: Suggestions for Reform after 15 years of spent prosecuting these cases in New York City. In the book, Kaminsky seeks to explain “how societal beliefs about women, inadequate laws, judicial biases, inflexible prosecution policies and a lack of resources prevent meaningful change for battered women in the criminal justice system.”
Kaminsky, who joined the D.A.’s office after graduating from the Law School, moved into the Domestic Violence Bureau in 1997. As her career progressed, she found herself thinking about the discrepancies between cultural perceptions of battered women and the real-life cases she saw unfolding every day. In Reflections, she argues that criminal prosecution is insufficient to eradicate domestic violence against women due to the larger social and economic context of the problem.
She notes that such challenges as lack of safe and affordable housing, living wages, and child care may contribute to women’s reluctance to prosecute in cases of domestic violence, because victims often fear that leaving an abusive partner will also mean the loss of these basic necessities. Kaminsky also points to potential routes to legal reform, including the creation of a judicial screening committee that includes a range of participants in the criminal justice system and domestic violence organizations and the introduction of new evidence laws that will allow evidence of a defendant’s prior history of abuse. In spite of the current challenges, Kaminsky believes prosecution can lead to better outcomes for domestic violence victims, concluding, “If we can transform one life, then our work is not in vain.”
In Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating, litigator-turned-journalist Dan Slater ’05 explores the challenges and complications of finding lasting love and partnership in the era of online dating.
Once thought to be the domain of lovelorn losers, online dating, has become de-stigmatized in the Internet age, when more and more human interactions move from “IRL” (web-speak for “in real life”) to online platforms. Online dating is now used by a third of the 90 million singles in the United States, and the development of increasingly complex and efficient algorithms by services like eHarmony, Match.com, OkCupid, and Plenty of Fish that match potential mates further complicates matters. “If online dating can blunt the emotional pain of separation, if adults can afford to be increasingly demanding about what they want from a relationship, the effect of online dating seems positive,” notes Slater. “But what if it’s also the case that the prospect of finding an ever more compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, a paradox of choice that keeps us chasing the elusive bunny around the dating track?”
Slater uses a blend of history, social science, and interviews with the users and creators of online dating sites to construct a unique behind-the-scenes look at the world of online dating, considering the role of profit and morality in site creators’ minds, the impact of the drive to shape virtual worlds, and whether users can trust an industry whose professed goal is to find people lasting love, but whose revenue model depends on the existence of singles.
Clare Cosslett knows a thing or two about what makes a successful law career. After graduating cum laude from Brooklyn Law School, she went on to practice law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and at Moses & Singer, then became vice president and senior recruiter at London and Company and senior recruiter at Lucas Group. In 2002, Cosslett founded the New York City legal search and placement firm Cosslett and Company. Recently, she decided to gather her 20-plus years of expertise in book form with the publication of Lawyers at Work. The book aims to identify what it takes to succeed and achieve career satisfaction in today’s complex legal marketplace, which encompasses one million lawyers, 50,000 law firms, and roughly 65 core practice areas in the United States alone.
In Lawyers at Work, Cosslett presents in-depth interviews with 15 of the legal profession’s most successful lawyers from a range of practice areas across the legal spectrum: employment law, corporate defense, criminal prosecution, financial services, international project finance, family law, international law, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, intellectual property, entertainment, nonprofit, civil rights, trusts and estates, and civil litigation.
With probing questions and articulate answers, Cosslett and her subjects shed light on the challenges of legal practice in the current legal market, where opportunities are fewer and competition is more intense. Cosslett ultimately argues that prospective lawyers will be best served by establishing realistic career plans and learning from leaders who came before them and grew with their careers, moving into international work, academia, and entrepreneurship.
Learn more about Reflections of a Domestic Violence Prosecutor.
Learn more about Love in the Time of Algorithms.
Learn more about Lawyers at Work.