Business Boot Camp Equips Law Students for Today’s Global Market


Brooklyn Law School held its seventh annual Business Boot Camp, a four-day intensive training program designed to enhance the business and financial savvy of its students and to better meet the needs of today’s evolving global business marketplace, Jan. 7 to 10. Nearly 100 students took part in the popular four-day “mini MBA” winter session course, which is led by Professor Michael Gerber, an internationally recognized expert in bankruptcy law, and presented in collaboration with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and John P. Oswald ’84, President and Chief Executive Officer Capital Trust Group and member of the Law School’s Board of Trustees. The program gives students an opportunity to learn from alumni business leaders and entrepreneurs who serve as speakers, panelists, and participants in breakout sessions. This year, more than 80 alumni participated in the program.

Business Boot Camp covers a range of topics, including buying and selling a business, handling mergers and acquisitions disputes, financing a business, dealing with cybersecurity, and Bitcoin/blockchain issues. The curriculum is enhanced by daily panels featuring alumni who share their expertise in both entrepreneurship and representing businesses.

The course opened with a Q&A with Oswald and Fred Curry ’03, Deloitte’s U.S. anti-money laundering and economic sanctions practice leader and member of the Brooklyn Law School Board of Trustees, and culminated with a session featuring Frank Aquila ’83, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading M&A lawyers. He joined Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton to discuss his career and offer advice to students about preparing for successful careers and opportunities in the finance field.

“Brooklyn Law School’s Business Boot Camp introduces students to the vocabulary and framework they will need to help clients deal with common issues that all business professionals confront,” said Gerber. “Law school traditionally teaches students to ‘think like a lawyer.’ That is essential, but there are times when a practicing lawyer needs to reach outside the traditional legal toolkit and think like a business person.”

Anthony Campanelli, a Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory partner who helped launch and develop the course, added: “We launched and developed the Business Boot Camp because of a core concept: business and law are intertwined. By assisting law students in developing their business acumen and forming a comprehensive understanding of financial literacy, the Bootcamp helps prepare them for success in today’s globally connected world.”

The Jan. 7 sessions included a panel on Bitcoin and blockchain, featuring Prakash Santhana, managing director in Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP who leads the Payments Risk & Integrity practice, and Michelle Gitlitz ’04, founder and co-chair of Blank Rome’s Blockchain Technology and Digital Currencies Group and chair of the firm’s General Litigation Practice Group. A separate panel on accounting featured Campanelli, Evan Azriliant ‘92, President of S & E Azriliant, PC, Barbara Kaplan ’75, co-chair of the Global Tax Practice at Greenberg Traurig, Alex Kerzhner ‘10, an associate at Fox Rothschild, Sam Kohn ’99, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright who focuses on restructuring and insolvency, and Yamicha Stephenson ’12, senior consultant in Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory group.

The Jan. 8 alumni panel discussion focused on Advising New Ventures & Small Businesses and included: Denise Faltischek ’00, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer and Corporate Secretary at The Hain Celestial Group, Ken Faltischek ’00, president and chief operating officer at Sandata Technologies, Michael Grohman ’83, a partner, chair of the Private Client Services Practice Group and head of the New York office at Duane Morris, John Rudikoff ’06, CEO and managing director of the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE), Louis Smookler ’02, general counsel at Insomnia Cookies and an adjunct professor at the Law School, Bev Wilson ’12, associate general counsel and director of legal affairs at Plated, and Mark Yosowitz ’94, CEO and president of Mentored.

The alumni panel on Jan. 9 focused on Buying & Selling Businesses and features Angelo Bonvino ‘96, a partner and co-head of the Mergers and Acquisitions Practice at Paul, Weiss, Jennifer Horowitz ’96, a member and co-chair of the Corporate Department at Cole Schotz, Kristin Lin ’13, an associate at Duane Morris, Sasha Linney ’11, associate general counsel at GoldenTree Asset Management, Mitchell Littman '83, founding partner and leader of the Corporate and Securities Department at Littman Krooks, and Matthew Soran ’05, a partner in the Corporate Department and the Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Equity Practice at Fried Frank. Kevin W. Mahoney '88, Vice President and General Counsel for Spencer Spirit Holdings, Inc., who also spoke on the first day of the Boot Camp in a session about Developing a Business Plan, gave a two-part session on Introduction to M&A—Buy/Sell Disputes, with Deloitte’s Vijay Balasubramian.

The final day opened with a session on Cybersecurity, featuring Anna Rudawski ’13, associate at Norton Rose Fulbright, and Nikole Davenport and Michael Farina of Deloitte. The alumni panel focused on Practical Day to Day Legal Advice, featuring David Barse ’87, co-founder of Outvest Capital and a member of the Law School’s Board of Trustees, Andrew Goldman ‘92, a partner and co-chair of the Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Practice Group at WilmerHale, Andrea Gildea ’05, Head of Legal for the Americas at TransferWise, Stacy Kanter ’84, Of Counsel and co-head of the Capital Markets practice at Skadden, David Kim ’11, a senior associate and Legal & Compliance Officer at Lexington Partners, Joshua Peirez ‘96, co-CEO and a member of the Board of Directors at Sterling Talent Solutions, and Oswald.

The course concluded with additional breakout sessions and a reception attended by participants.