For twenty years, Michael Grohman just wasn’t interested. “Thanks, but no thanks,” he recalled, was his standard line. He didn’t have the time, didn’t have the money. He was starting a family, working beastly hours, and building a reputation as one of the city’s most esteemed trust and estate lawyers. And then one day, he changed his mind. He didn’t say no. He asked how he could help.
“It took twenty years for me to start giving back to the Law School,” he said. “Until then my most active participation was going to reunions. It wasn’t until I had reached a certain level of success that I could reflect, and I realized that I would not be in this position but for the fact that I got this incredible foundation from Brooklyn Law School. That is where this all started.”
Grohman graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1983 and then earned an L.L.M. in Tax from New York University. Grohman spent two years working as a tax attorney at what was known as Price Waterhouse, and afterward, as he remembers it, “stumbled into a job at Shearman & Sterling where they happened to have a need for attorneys in their Individual Clients group.”
After four years at Shearman, a tax lawyer was transformed into a valued estate planner and advisor. Grohman then spent seven years at Crummy Del Deo, now the Gibbons law firm, and joined Duane Morris’s New York office in 1996, shortly after its opening. Grohman now runs the national Estates and Assets Practice Group, representing a variety of clients from closely held businesses to celebrity athletes and entertainers. Grohman is also the firm’s hiring partner and has been instrumental to the growth and success of this 700-lawyer international firm. In 2007, Mr. Grohman was included in Worth magazine’s annual listing of the top 100 attorneys in the U.S. for estate planning.
Since his “Aha” moment, Grohman has become the model alumnus. A generous supporter of the Law School, he is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, and a Representative in the Law Firm Challenge. In this role, he is fostering alumni involvement in the Law School in many ways, from mentoring, to networking, to encouraging gifts to the Law School.
“I am now in a position where I can really help graduates,” he said. Grohman does what he can to help students find work, whether it’s with letters of recommendation, internships, or by opening doors to full time employment as he did for Spensyr Krebsbach ’08, a former mentee who is now a litigation associate in Duane Morris’s New York office.
“Michael was an invaluable mentor, and it was my good fortune to be paired with him,” said Krebsbach. “He helped me shape my resume, walked me through the interviewing process, and opened doors at Duane Morris that would otherwise have been closed.” Thanks to Grohman’s involvement, she was hired as a summer intern and was given the opportunity to rotate through a variety of practice areas until she found her calling as a litigator.
“It’s no secret that if she just wrote to us requesting an interview, there would be little chance of her getting one. We recruit for lateral partners here in New York, but not recent grads,” said Grohman. “That was the very beginning for me of realizing how meaningful my time and effort could be to someone else.”
It is that spirit of making a difference and giving back to the Law School that Grohman so distinctly embodies. “Michael is incredibly enthusiastic about the Law School. He is always thinking of new ways we can reach out and keep the alumni network strong,” said Krebsbach. “He encourages all of us to extend a hand and to think outside the box to do almost anything we can to work with the Law School, especially the mentor program. Personally, I can’t wait to be a part of it and help a student the way Michael helped me.”
Grohman remains unwavering in his commitment to the BLS community. “I have been practicing long enough and that alone doesn’t do it for me,” he said. “It pays the bills, sure, but I like to give back. Now it’s my turn to help. It’s an obligation that I enjoy.”