For Valedictorian Brian Fischer, Receiving His Brooklyn Law Degree Is All in the Family

Commencement Day came with a very special bonus for class of 2022 valedictorian Brian Fischer. His grandfather Louis J. Castellano, Jr., 95, a Law School alumnus from the class of ’49, presented him with his degree. Brian is the third generation of his family to graduate from Brooklyn Law School. His great-grandfather, Louis Castellano, Sr. (1893-1964), a federal criminal lawyer and referee in bankruptcy cases for the Eastern District of New York, not only graduated in 1914, but also went on to be an assistant professor at the Law School for a time.

“Participating in Brian’s graduation is an honor I never thought I would have,” said Mr. Castellano, Jr., a World War II veteran and a civil litigator who has been in practice on Long Island for more than 70 years. A champion of pro bono representation, particularly for individuals residing in drug rehabilitation centers, battered women’s shelters, and homeless shelters, Mr. Castellano, Jr., was Chair of the Special Committee on Volunteer Lawyers for the New York State Bar Association. “It’s a wonderful perpetuation of family traditions, and I couldn’t be happier to be here for this moment.”

Brian says that although his grandfather never explicitly encouraged him to study law, the influence was always there. “I remember when I was young, seeing Grandpa talking into a tape recorder, making notes on cases. My brothers and I helped him out in his office, doing filing runs, and he’d take us out for lunch. We even went to the courthouse with him a few times. He’s always been so supportive of me. When I decided to go to law school, a lot of that decision was because of him and the family tradition. And when I called him to tell him I was going to Brooklyn Law, which was my top pick, he was very excited.”

The work of great-grandad Louis Castellano, Sr., made a surprise appearance for Brian during one of Professor James Macleod’s Evidence classes. After Macleod’s lecture on Supreme Court case Michelson vs. U.S., 335 U.S. 469 (1948), Brian happened to be speaking with his mother, Suzanne Castellano Fischer, about his

great-grandfather’s practice, and she told him he had argued a criminal defense case before the Supreme Court. Brian searched Westlaw, and, he said, “It was a goosebumps moment. There was my great-grandfather’s name as one of the attorneys that argued Michelson. When I mentioned it to my grandfather, he clearly recalled going to D.C. with the family to be there for his father during the high-court arguments, and he even remembered the dissent.”

Almost 75 years after that case, Brian is looking forward to beginning his career this fall at Latham & Watkins LLP, in the Emerging Companies group. “Brian has always excelled in what he did,” said Mr. Castellano, Jr., “and he always had a very positive attitude.” A 2021 IAPP Westin Scholar Award and five-time CALI Award winner, Brian has been Notes editor for the Brooklyn Law Review, President of Legal Hackers, and a member of the Intellectual Property Law Association, Business Law Association, and Antitrust and Competition Law Association. Having received his B.A. in economics from Harvard, before entering law school, Brian worked as a research analyst and senior trading specialist. He’s also had a long sporting life as lacrosse player, recruited from Harvard as a professional for the Boston Cannons, and now team captain of the two-time champion Rad Dads team in the ULAX League. Through it all, said Brian, his grandfather has been there to cheer him on. “He came to every game when I was growing up.”

“Life goes so fast,” says Mr. Castellano, Jr., “and our grandson is now starting a career. We couldn’t be more proud of him.”