Alumni Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Learn more about our most accomplished alumni. They are a distinguished group of leading public officials & judges, law firm partners, public interest advocates, and business leaders. In each of our BLSLawNotes magazine issues, we profile a few of our best and most loyal assets - our graduates.

Read more about alumni in the news.

  • Janell Hafner ’02 and Libby Bakalar ’05
    Blazing a Legal Trail in Alaska

    Hafner '02 and Bakalar '05 
    Hafner '02 (l.) and Bakalar '05 (r.)

    Most people go to Alaska to explore Denali National Park, hike the Chugach Mountains, or dogsled across the epic Matanuska Glacier. But Janell Hafner ’02 and Libby Bakalar ’05 left the Lower 48 for a different reason: the law. Both graduates have established significant legal careers in Juneau, the state’s capital, as assistant attorneys general at the Alaska Department of Law, and they’re eager to help fellow graduates embark on similar professional journeys.

    Read more.

  • Bernadette Panzella ’81 and Susan Karten ’83
    Redemption on 91st Street

     Bernadette Panzella '81 Susan Karten '83
    Susan Karten '83 (l.) and Bernadette Panzella '81 (r.)

    More than 35 years ago, Bernadette Panzella ’81 (then a hairstylist) and Susan Karten ’83 (then a secretary) both made their way to Brooklyn Law School, taking classes in the evenings after working during the day. Each built a successful law practice of her own, meeting for the first time in 2008 to join forces in a landmark case: They took on the male-dominated construction industry, representing the families of a pair of construction workers tragically killed in a crane collapse on 91st Street in Manhattan. In August 2015, after the longest civil trial in New York’s history, the powerhouse duo won more than $96 million in damages for their clients.

    Read more.

  • Jason Schoenberg ’00 and Keith Gralitzer ’02
    Building Momentum in Recruiting

    Jason Schoenberg '00 (l.) and Keith Gralitzer '02 (r.)

    In a tough job market, where it matters not only what you know but also who you know, Jason Schoenberg ’00 and Keith Gralitzer ’02, co-founders of Momentum Search Group, are two good people to know. In less than five years, these entrepreneurial attorneys have built a thriving New York–based legal recruiting agency with bicoastal offices and more than 20 employees, including four Brooklyn Law School graduates.

    Read more.

  • A Conversation with William Levine ’54

     William Levine '54
    William Levine '54

    Talk to enough entrepreneurs and you will find they have something in common: They are risk-takers. William Levine ’54 certainly falls into that category.

    In 1959, Levine was working for an industrialist in New York who sent him to Phoenix to buy a piece of land. People were buying and selling a significant amount of property there at the time, and many of the deals were being done with leveraged money. When Levine arrived, he saw enormous potential in the local real estate market and wanted to take part in it. So, six months later, he left Brooklyn—where he was born and raised— and moved to Arizona.

    Initially, he started out managing apartments because he had previous real estate experience in New York. He subsequently bought a coffee shop in Phoenix and then continued buying restaurants until he owned dozens of them. Along the way, he used billboards to advertise his restaurants. When he realized that one company had a monopoly on the area’s billboard business, Levine started building his own. He soon had more billboards than he needed for advertising his restaurants, and so he began to sell advertising space.

    In 1984, Levine formed a partnership with Arte Moreno. The men had originally met when Moreno, then working for a competitor, sold Levine ad space. Over the next 12 years, they developed an extremely successful business, originally called Outdoor Systems (now known as OUTFRONT Media), and launched an IPO in 1996. The stock price increased substantially in a short time, and the business grew into the largest billboard company in North America, with more than 250,000 display properties. The company was sold in 1999 to Infinity Broadcasting, a public radio company, for more than $10 billion. Infinity Broadcasting was later acquired by Viacom, which also owned CBS Broadcasting. Subsequently, Viacom spun off CBS, which held the billboards. Levine and Moreno became substantial stockholders of Viacom and CBS.

    Today, Levine remains active both in his professional and leisure time. He continues to manage a large portfolio of his own real estate investments, in addition to developing new projects. He also generously supports the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. After being involved for more than a decade, Levine last year contributed $25 million toward an endowment that will ensure the museum’s educational mission. Despite his remarkable success and significant philanthropy, Levine remains exceptionally humble. He lives in Phoenix, exercises every day, and most enjoys spending time with his wife, Susan, the executive director of Hospice of the Valley, a nonprofit organization that runs one of the country’s largest hospices.

    During a recent conversation with Jen Swetzoff, managing editor at Brooklyn Law Notes, Levine shared his thoughts on law school, business, philanthropy, and luck.

    Read more.

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