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Francis J. Aquila ’83 Elected Chairman of Brooklyn Law School Board of Trustees


Francis J. Aquila ’83, a preeminent leader in M&A and corporate governance law, has been elected Chairman of Brooklyn Law School’s Board of Trustees. Aquila, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell since 1992, has been a member of the Board since 2008, serving as Vice Chair since 2014. He follows Stuart Subotnick ’68, President and Chief Executive Officer of Metromedia Company, who has been Chairman for 16 years. Subotnick will remain on the Board as Chairman Emeritus.

As a Board member and alumnus, Aquila has been deeply involved in efforts to advance the Law School. A generous donor to the Law School, he has been a strong advocate of alumni giving and engagement, participating in numerous programs, including Business Boot Camp. In 2011, he was honored as Alumnus of the Year in recognition of his many achievements and contributions to the Law School.

“It has been tremendously rewarding to serve as Chairman of Brooklyn Law School’s Board of Trustees for 16 years, and I am proud of all that the Board has accomplished during this time,” said Subotnick. “Frank has been a good friend and an invaluable partner in guiding our great law school to national prominence. I am confident that the school will continue to thrive under his leadership of the Board.”

“Stu Subotnick has been a great leader for our Board and our Law School over the last 16 years, so I know that I have very big shoes to fill,” Aquila said. “I am honored that the stewardship of this distinguished institution has been entrusted to me, and I am excited to continue working to move Brooklyn Law School’s mission forward. Stu has left the Law School in a very strong position to meet the challenges in the years ahead. Legal education is rapidly changing, and Brooklyn Law School is well positioned to be a leader in meeting those challenges. I look forward to working with Dean Cahill, the Board, our faculty, and our alumni to ensure that the Law School maximizes its full potential.” 

Aquila has been widely recognized as one of the world’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers. In December 2018, the Financial Times described him as “one of the most influential and high-profile M&A and corporate lawyers in the U.S.” who has “played a role in many of the largest and most complex deals,” and The Wall Street Journal profiled him as one of the seven top dealmakers of the year. These recognitions highlight his broad multidisciplinary practice. During the course of his career he has been called upon by global leaders such as Amgen, Andeavor, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cheniere Energy, Diageo, Diebold Nixdorf, International Airline Group, Kraft, Navistar International, and United Rentals to advise them and their boards of directors on M&A, proxy contests, activism, unsolicited bids, corporate governance, crisis management, and a range of matters affecting corporate policy and strategy.

The breadth of Aquila’s practice has resulted in his being one of only a handful of lawyers who have been ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 (their top tier), as an American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year,” as a recipient of the Atlas Award as “Global M&A Lawyer of the Year,” and as a three-time Law360 MVP. For his work in corporate governance, Aquila has been named several times by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to its “Directorship 100” as one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and inside the boardroom. Best Lawyers in America named him as its 2017 Corporate Governance Law “Lawyer of the Year.” In 2014, Global M&A Network recognized him as one of the top 50 lawyers in the world.

At Sullivan & Cromwell, Aquila has held numerous leadership roles over the last several decades and currently serves on the firm’s Management Committee. In addition to his work at Sullivan & Cromwell and with the Law School, Aquila is a Trustee and former Board Chair of The NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education and currently serves on the boards of the American Associates of the National Theatre and Dress for Success Worldwide. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Aquila received his A.B. degree from Columbia University.

“Frank Aquila represents everything a person can achieve with a Brooklyn Law degree,” said Michael T. Cahill, president, Joseph Crea ’47 dean, and professor of law. “He has made us proud and will surely help us prosper. I greatly look forward to working with him. Please join me in congratulating him and welcoming him to this new role.”