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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.

  • David M. Barse, Class of 1987, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Third Avenue Management LLC. During two decades under Barse’s leadership, Third Avenue has grown from a one fund boutique into a multi-platform asset manager with value-driven strategies devoted to global stocks, real estate, small caps and credit. Third Avenue offers alternative investment vehicles, separately managed accounts, subadvised portfolios, UCITS and mutual funds to private and institutional clients. Barse’s strategic business development plan fostered Third Avenue’s growth in assets under management to $15 billion.

    Over the years, Martin J. Whitman and Barse have participated in numerous distressed investments, including Kmart, USG, Covanta Energy and Collins and Aikman. Barse currently serves on the board of Covanta Holdings Corporation, a market leader in energy-from-waste technology.

    Barse has been a member of the World Economic Forum since 2008. The financial press frequently seeks him out for background and commentary. He has recently appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, and Bloomberg, and in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, and Business Week.

    In addition to his J.D. degree, Barse holds a B.A.from George Washington University. He is a member of the Brooklyn Law School Board of Trustees and sits on the Board of Directors of the City Parks Foundation.

    Barse has endowed the Barse Family Scholarship to honor the memory of his late father, Lawrence Barse, a 1958 graduate of Brooklyn Law School. He also endowed the David M. Barse Chair currently held by Professor Edward Janger. Each year, he addresses students in Interim Dean Michael Gerber’s Business Reorganizations class, and he has been a participant in the Dean’s Roundtable Luncheon series. He is also a member of the Barry L. Zaretsky Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Roundtable Steering Committee.

    He resides in Harrison, NY with his wife, Lisa, and their three children.

  • The Honorable Dorothy T. Eisenberg, Class of 1950, was inducted as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York in 1989.

    Only 20 years old when she received her L.L.B. degree from Brooklyn Law School, she was too young to sit for the bar exam and had to wait several months to take it. She joined the firm of Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C., and, after several years, took a leave to raise her four children. One of her children is Leslie Eisenberg, a member of the Class of 1992. In 1970, she returned to practice at the Mineola firm of Goldman Horowitz & Cherno in the then fledgling field of bankruptcy law. She went on to become the first woman partner in the firm of Shaw, Licitra, Eisenberg, Esernio & Schwartz, P.C. of Garden City.

    Prior to becoming a bankruptcy judge, she was a member of the Committee on Character & Fitness, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department. Earlier, she was a Panel Trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.

    Judge Eisenberg is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the National Association of Women Judges, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, and the American Bankruptcy Institute. She is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Federal Bar Council at Central Islip. She is a former member of the National Committee for Court Administration of the United States, which oversees case administration and electronic case filing for Bankruptcy Courts, and she is a past President of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association and The Theodore Roosevelt American Inn of Court.

    Currently, Judge Eisenberg serves as a member of the Advisory Committee for the New York State and Federal Judicial Council, as well as a member of the Brooklyn Law School Barry L. Zaretsky Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Roundtable Steering Committee.

  • Howard S. Finkelstein, Class of 1959, founded his law firm just two years after graduation. Finkelstein & Partners, LLP, which specializes in personal injury litigation, has grown from one office in Newburgh, New York to multiple offices in New York and New Jersey.

    An innovative business strategist, Finkelstein attributes his success in part to the firm’s early integration of technology. In 1983, at the dawn of the digital age of law practice management, he developed a comprehensive computer case management system. He and his son, Andrew, the managing partner of the firm, continue to incorporate new technologies regularly. Andrew is a 1991 graduate of the Law School.

    Finkelstein’s firm also takes on extensive pro-bono work. Finkelstein has represented several families of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and, more recently, veterans of the armed services.

    Finkelstein has served as President of the Greater Newburgh Bar Association, President of the Orange County Bar Association, President of B’nai B’rith, and Governor of the New York State Association of Plaintiffs Trial Lawyers. He has also been on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the Advisory Board of the Bank of New York, and he served as an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and as a Moot Court Judge at Pace Law School.

    Born and raised in Brooklyn, Finkelstein earned his B.A. at Brooklyn College. A Korean War Veteran, he attended Brooklyn Law School with the help of the G.I. Bill. A loyal supporter of the Law School, he has endowed two scholarships, the Class of 1959 Scholarship and the Howard S. Finkelstein Scholarship. He also played a role in creating a scholarship in memory of his classmate, Ronald Jacobson.

    Finkelstein’s philanthropy extends beyond the Law School. He created a scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, founded the Diane Finkelstein Fund for Families in Crisis, and was the exclusive sponsor of the Times Herald Record’s Orange County Classic Wheelchair Race.

    Finkelstein was the honoree of the year at the NAACP of the Hudson Valley’s 2008 annual gala, and he was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Orange County Bar Association. He has three sons and lives with his wife, Lola, in Newburgh, NY.

2017 Alumni Luncheon

View photos of last year's Annual Alumni Luncheon.

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