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Alumni of the Year Honoree

At the Annual Alumni Association Luncheon on January 30, 2015, Brooklyn Law School presented distinguished Alumni of the Year Awards to Lawrence I. Feldman '75 and Professor Robert M. Pitler '66. Rising Star Awards were presented to Coco Culhane '10 and Sparkle Sooknanan '10.

2015 Honorees

Alumni of the Year Awards:

Lawrence I. Feldman '74
Chief Executive Officer, Subway Development Corporations of Washington and South Florida

Lawrence I. Feldman, Class of 1974, is the Chief Executive Officer of Subway Development Corporations of Washington, D.C., and South Florida. He currently controls more than 1,250 franchises in his Northern development territory with an additional 300 restaurants in South Florida. Feldman is a founding member of, and advisor to, Brooklyn Law School's Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE). Read More.

Robert M. Pitler '66
Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Professor Robert M. Pitler, Class of 1966, joined the Brooklyn Law School faculty in 1988. He is an expert in the areas of criminal law, procedure, and evidence. Professor Pitler's seminal article on the constitutionality of New York State's search and seizure procedures published in the Brooklyn Law Review is the authoritative source on the subject. He has served as the faculty advisor to the Moot Court Honor Society for more than 12 years and has overseen the annual Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition, the premier appellate advocacy evidence competition in the nation, for more than 20 years. Read More.

Rising Star Awards:

Coco Culhane '10
Director, Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center

Coco Culhane, Class of 2010, is the founder and director of the Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) at the Urban Justice Center, New York City's first comprehensive civil legal services program for low-income veterans. Culhane created VAP as part of the Urban Justice Center's Mental Health Project. Read More.

Sparkle L. Sooknanan '10
Associate, Jones Day

Sparkle L. Sooknanan, Class of 2010, is an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Jones Day in its Issues and Appeals Practice Group. During the 2013-14 term, she served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sooknanan is the first Brooklyn Law school graduate to achieve this honor. Read More.

  • Frank Aquila, Class of 1983, is co-head of Sullivan & Cromwell’s General Practice Group and in that role he has responsibility for 450 lawyers in 12 offices around the world. This group includes the Firm’s corporate, financial institutions, securities, mergers & acquisitions, corporate governance, real estate, leveraged finance, private equity, project finance, restructuring and intellectual property transactional practices.

    Mr. Aquila has a broad multidisciplinary practice that includes extensive experience in negotiated and unsolicited mergers and acquisitions; complex cross-border transactions; global joint ventures; private equity transactions; and corporate governance matters. He serves as a regular adviser to global leaders such as Amgen, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Avon, Diageo, International Airline Group and United Rentals.

    Mr. Aquila has been repeatedly cited as one of the world’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers. He has been recognized as one of a small number of lawyers ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 (their top tier), as an American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year” and as a recipient of the Atlas Award as “Global M&A Lawyer of the Year.” For his work in corporate governance, Mr. Aquila has been named by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to their “Directorship 100” – one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and inside the boardroom. He is also a two-time winner of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2005 and 2010). In 2009 Mr. Aquila was selected by the American Bar Association as a “Legal Rebel” – one of the profession’s 50 leading innovators.

  • Hon. Robert E. Grossman, Class of 1973, has been a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge for the Eastern District since April of 2008, the most recent role change in his distinguished career in public service and private practice. He is also a past President of the BLS Alumni Association.

  • Gary B. Pillersdorf, Class of 1971, is the founder of Gary B. Pillersdorf & Associates, P.C., one of New York’s most prominent litigation firms, with its principal office in Manhattan. He is board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. With over 35 years of courtroom experience, Gary has taken more than 350 verdicts, including 28 verdicts exceeding one million dollars, as well as many multi-million dollar settlements.

    Mr. Pillersdorf is a member of the Million-Dollar Advocates Forum, has been selected for Who’s Who in American Law and has been elected to “Super Lawyers, the Top Attorneys in New York” for the past three years. He has won the prestigious Mel Award from the Melvin Belli Society, the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Institute of Jewish Humanities and was the first northerner to win the War Horse Award presented by the Southern Trial Lawyers Association.

    He is a past president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, where he currently serves as Dean Emeritus for New York State Continuing Legal Education. He has authored the highly acclaimed textbook New York Motor Vehicle Accidents, published by James Publishing, and is a frequent contributing author to Trial Magazine, a national publication for the trial bar. Mr. Pillersdorf is a highly sought after lecturer, teaching courses in Trial Advocacy, Medicine and Courtroom Techniques, throughout the nation.

2017 Alumni Luncheon

View photos of last year's Annual Alumni Luncheon.

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