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.

  • Susannah Ashton
    Susannah Ashton

    Susannah Ashton ’09 won second place in the annual Louis Jackson Memorial Student Writing Competition in Labor and Employment Law, a national contest of the Chicago-Kent Law School and Jackson Lewis, a prominent employment and labor law firm. Ashton’s winning paper, “Transgender Teachers as Role Models for a Tolerant Society: The Impact of Societal Views and Their Influence on Employment Anti-Discrimination Laws,” was published on the Institute for Law and the Workplace website, In addition, Ashton received a $1,000 award. Her paper was written as part of an independent study with former Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Deborah Widiss.

    Her paper deals with employment actions that have been taken against transgender teachers. It discusses the judicial and statutory constructs of the Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club Role Model Rule, which protects the rights of employers to take adverse employment actions against unsuitable role models in certain circumstances. It includes an introduction to gender identity, a brief discussion of how Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination should be interpreted to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and a survey of parental and societal responses to the recent coming out of transgender teachers across America. She argues that adverse action taken against transgender teachers on the basis that they are poor role modelsfor youth violates Title VII, as well as various state and local anti-discrimination laws.

    Ashton’s interest in employment law issues began her first summer in law school, when she worked for an employment discrimination law firm, Schwartz & Perry. She participated in the BLS Employment Law Clinic and was a teacher’s assistant to Professor Minna J. Kotkin, the Clinic’s director. She also interned at the Public Employee Union, District Council 37, served as a law clerk at Vandenberg & Feliu, and as an intern at the Legal Action Center.

    Ashton is co-founder with Elizabeth Towell ’09 of the Law Students for Veterans Rights, a new BLS student organization. Raised in Los Gatos, California, she earned her B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

  • Seth Cohen
    Seth Cohen

    Seth Cohen ’09 was awarded a prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowship to work with New York Lawyers in the Public Interest (NYLPI) for the next two years on a project he designed addressing the inequitable distribution of health care resources. Funded by the law firm of Patterson Belknap and the multinational company Johnson and Johnson, the project will provide legal services to improve health outcomes for Central and East Brooklyn residents.

    His project will catalyze systemic change, Cohen said, by providing direct transactional and civil legal services and by leveraging community advocacy strategies. “I will develop intake and referral systems to represent individuals on health care access and provide transactional legal assistance for community-based organizations. Ultimately, I will work to successfully implement health care access campaigns through community development and seek to reform the way that health care allocation decisions are made at the city and state levels.”

    An Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellow and a BLSPI fellow, Cohen was also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Law and Policy, winner of three CALI awards, and a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. His article, “Teaching an Old Policy New Tricks: The 421a Program and the Flaws of Trickle Down Housing,” was published in the Journal of Law and Policy (2008). He received his B.A. at Tufts University.

    Cohen interned at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A and at the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. “These experiences,” he said, “gave me new insight into the differing ways the law can be leveraged to increase opportunities for disempowered people.”

    Before law school, Cohen worked for Teach for America, first as a teacher of fifth graders in rural south Texas, and later as a director in support of hundreds of corps members. He developed a desire to craft solutions for communities grappling with poverty, so that “their current demography need not define their destiny.”

    To be considered for the Equal Justice Works Fellowship Program, applicants must create and design a project involving innovative, effective legal advocacy on behalf of traditionally underserved populations and causes. Cohen credits several professors and Elizabeth Kane, director of the Public Service Office, for their support in his pursuit of the fellowship.

  • Colleen Donovan
    Colleen Donovan

    Colleen Donovan ’87 has been instrumental in helping her clients to pursue green development. Named to “The Best Lawyers in America” in 2009, Donovan is a partner at Day Pitney, one of New Jersey’s most prestigious law firms.

    Donovan first developed an interest in real estate law while a law student. “I really liked the courses in real estate I took at Brooklyn Law,” she said. “I immediately realized that I wanted to be a transactional attorney rather than a litigator.” Indeed, she has been a real estate lawyer ever since graduating, when she joined the firm of Pitney Harding in 1987 as a first year associate. In 1995, she became a partner at Pitney Harding, which merged with Day, Berry & Howard in 2007 to become Day Pitney.

    At Day Pitney, she is the Commercial Real Estate and Development Transactions practice group leader, and she routinely represents clients on the sale, acquisition, and leasing of real estate, and the related financing of commercial and industrial properties. Donovan is often called upon to advise lenders with respect to compliance obligations under New Jersey’s Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA). But she also counsels clients on all environmental aspects of the purchase and disposition of real property and businesses, including environmental due diligence, Superfund, and other liability concerns, and permitting. She frequently works with environmental consultants, overseeing the preparation of remedial investigations and remedial action workplans, and assists a wide variety of clients with environmental compliance and permitting issues before state agencies.

    For example, she is currently representing The Dial Corporation in connection with ISRA-mandated site investigation and remediation activities, including attention to compliance requirements, supervision of consultants, and remedial strategies. She also represented a lender as environmental counsel in a $475 million loan transaction involving the development of a cogeneration facility in New Jersey.

    Her practice has also grown to include green leasing. She was recently sought out by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to supporting and nurturing educational, cultural, social, and environmental values, to negotiate a green lease for their new headquarters.

    The Foundation wasn’t as concerned with the usual mundane issues of lease negotiation—cleaning schedules, parking, etc.—as they were with ensuring that their new downtown Morristown office building would serve as a beacon of green development for the community, encouraging others to build and live green. Working with architects and an environmental consultant, Donovan drafted a lease that incorporated a number of new requirements including the construction of geothermal wells (these wells live 500-feet below street level and gather heat from the earth to help heat the building), a state of the art Photovoltaic system (solar energy window panels), an interior “living wall” (a wall covered in greenery which serves as a stress reducer, bio-filter, humidifier, and cooling agent), and a green roof which provides heating insulation and shelter for biodiversity with its grass, plants, flowers, trees, and picnic tables for peaceful lunching outdoors. A final provision of the lease was a requirement that the building be open for tours to the public for education. The building is expected to receive a LEED platinum rating.

    “The building is stocked with these cutting-edge concepts in green technology,” said Donovan. “I think these sorts of leases are going to become more commonplace, and I am hoping that more and more clients will be interested in building green,” said Donovan. “There is an initial outlay of additional money that many clients are reluctant to spend, but the idea is that they will recoup this initial investment in a short time.”

  • Michael S. Elkin Michael S. Elkin
    Michael S. Elkin

    A widely recognized litigator and adviser on complex legal issues related to emerging technologies, Michael S. Elkin ’84 was named managing partner of the New York office of Winston & Strawn LLP in April 2009. He was also elected to the firm’s executive committee.

    Elkin’s practice focuses on media, entertainment, and intellectual property matters, and he has served as lead trial counsel in numerous disputes involving the new technologies that are shaping the contours of intellectual property law. He also counsels entertainment industry clients on capital markets and licensing transactions.

    Elkin joined Winston & Strawn three years ago from Thelen Reid LLP, where he had served in several leadership capacities, including as vice chairman of the firm and managing partner of its litigation practice. Before joining Thelen in 1995, he was a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP.

    During the first part of his career, Elkin represented content owners, such as record labels and music publishers, but over the years his practice, like the industry, has evolved. “We are representing innovators in the distribution of entertainment and media properties in their quest to make content available to new media and we are fortunate to be in the vanguard in helping to shape the legal landscape with respect to how copyright law is affected by the growth of new technologies,” Elkin said. His clients include Yahoo!, the search engine, Veoh, the online video service, and Myxer, an online ringtone provider.

    For three consecutive years, Elkin has been selected as one of the “100 Most Influential Entertainment Lawyers in America” by The Hollywood Reporter, and named in The Super Lawyers peer review directory. In 2009, he was named a leading lawyer in his field by Corporate Counsel, Chambers USA, and The Legal 500 U.S.

    Elkin, who studied in France before attending BLS, has a deep and longstanding interest in French-American cultural, social and charitable affairs. He serves as vice-president and secretary of the French American Chamber of Commerce and has represented his French clients in U.S. and European courts.

    He fondly recalls Brooklyn Law School as “a tight-knit community where faculty and deans did everything they could for students, inspiring them with a great education and looking after their interests, even after graduation.” In this regard, he made special mention of Associate Dean Michael Gerber, who, he said, was instrumental in helping shape and advance his legal career.

  • Charles Goulding

    Charles Goulding ’75 is the President and founder of Energy Tax Savers Inc., described by Goulding as “a green tax firm.” The company, founded in 2005, specializes in advising building owners, architects, engineers, and designers on tax benefits related to energy saving building investments. The company was born of the nexus of two areas of Goulding’s expertise: industrial equipment and tax law.

    Goulding spent 25 years working at Dover Corporation, a six billion dollar diversified industrial manufacturer with a one billion dollar HVAC business, rising to the position of Vice President of Tax. He left Dover to become Managing Director at Cooper Industries, Inc., a major distributor of lighting equipment. When the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed, providing tax incentives for commercial buildings making improvements to their energy systems, Goulding saw an opportunity to create a new business that would harness his knowledge of industrial equipment with his expertise as a lawyer and CPA.

    “I had never seen tax incentives that were this equipment specific,” recalled Goulding. “Most tax specialists are not familiar with the type of equipment covered by the new legislation.” Shortly after EPAct was passed, Energy Tax Savers put out its shingle with two employees: himself and an engineer. Today the firm has six employees and represents over 100 regional and national retailers.

    Goulding and his team of experts (which includes engineers, LEED Accredited Professionals, mathematicians, accountants and lawyers) are hired by retailers, tenants, and property owners who are about to begin building and want to ensure that their HVAC and lighting plans will merit tax credit under EPAct. “Often times our clients won’t do anything with lighting or HVAC without us at the table,” he said. “Qualifying for these tax incentives has such a significant impact on their bottom line that they want to have our input before they will do anything.”

    Goulding’s team examines the proposed technology for lighting and/or HVAC and returns an assessment as to whether their current equipment will meet the targets of efficiency and therefore qualify for tax savings, or not. If the answer is no, Goulding advises them on what changes need to take place in order to qualify.

    “These benefits are based on very specific performance criteria and absent knowing what those targets are you can get a pretty good design that just misses,” said Goulding. “Our business requires the VP of facilities and the VP of tax to be at the same table. And in many cases both people have been with the same company for 25 years and they’ve never met.”

    Goulding’s goal for all clients, whether a new developer or a landlord looking to retrofit their building, is to save them money by “layering the cake.” “We want our clients to take advantage of savings three ways, through energy savings, rebates for a portion of their lighting outlay, and an energy tax savings on top of it,” he said. “That way, they are decreasing the amount of time it takes for the investment to pay back. When you layer the cake that’s where you get the best economic results.”

    Goulding spends a great deal of time educating the marketplace, writing and lecturing on issues of energy tax savings and making presentations on behalf of utility companies to their sales forces to help explain tax savings opportunities. For Goulding, a veteran tax attorney, his business is naturally about helping his clients save money. But he admits he’s buoyed by the ability to make an impact on the world we live in. “I’ve been a tax attorney for thirty years, and this is definitely the most rewarding aspect of tax law I have ever been involved with,” said Goulding. “Most of our clients are well run businesses who want to do the right thing, but they are focused on cost reduction. That’s what I like about this field. We can do both. We can have people save money and save energy.”

  • Carl Hasselbarth

    Carl Hasselbarth ’09 took first place in the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association’s (PIABA) James E. Beckley Writing Com petition. Open to students with an interest in securities law or securities arbitration, the Competition honors Beckley, a passionate securities arbitration activist known for promoting the rights of public investors. Hasselbarth’s article “How Should We Regulate Hedge Funds?,” for which he was awarded a $1,000 prize, will be published in a forthcoming issue of the PIABA Bar Journal.

    The article began during Hasselbarth’s second year of law school as part of an independent study with Professor James Park. He was inspired to write it while working in the summer at Bear Stearns during which two major hedge funds crashed. “I had a front row seat to the crisis as it was unfolding,” recalled Hasselbarth. “I wanted to explore the idea of additional hedge fund regulation to protect market participants.”

    His article analyzed the current regulatory regime and ultimately made two recommendations. The first was to change the definition of “Qualified Investor” under the Securities Act of 1933, raising the income requirement and attaching it to a moving benchmark to maintain purchasing power parity. His second recommendation was to impose a leverage limit on hedge funds.

    Hasselbarth’s dedication to investor protection developed prior to his law studies when he worked as a financial planner for Ayco (a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs). He realized he’d rather reform the financial services industry than participate in it and decided to go to law school. While at BLS, he channeled his energies into investor protection, working for the SEC’s Division of Enforcement in Philadelphia during his second summer, and participating in Professor Karen van Ingen’s Investor Rights Clinic during his third year, representing investors before FINRA (The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).

    “I am very pleased to have had numerous opportunities to be involved with a variety of work for which I went to law school in the first place.” Hasselbarth is currently completing a Public Service Fellowship at The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Foreclosure Prevention Project in Albany.

  • Jon Mostel

    Jon Mostel ’85, who is a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, has worked to bring alternative energy technology to life. His practice is focused on negotiating contracts and financing on behalf of clients building renewable energy projects including biodiesel, ethanol, wind, and Liquefied Natural Gas.

    Over the past few years, he has worked on building wind farms in Texas, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and on the New England coast. The benefits of wind power as compared to traditional coal-based power are tremendous. Wind power is the least expensive of all other forms of alternative energy. Beyond cost, it is a clean source of energy, producing zero carbon dioxide emissions. It is also a renewable energy in that it does not deplete our natural resources like coal or petroleum-based products.

    Mostel has also worked with clients in Brazil to build ethanol plants creating energy from sugar cane. Ethanol-fueled vehicles produce lower carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions than traditional gasoline, reducing the carbon footprint significantly. He has also worked with clients in Houston area who have been converting palm oil and soybean oil into biodiesel fuel. Like wind power and ethanol, biodiesel fuels run cleaner than traditional gasoline. Biodiesel emits up to 100% less sulfur dioxide, a major component of acid rain, and 80-100% less carbon dioxide than traditional diesel. Most recently, Mostel has counseled clients developing merchant electric transmission projects that would reduce transmission constraints and congestion to deliver substantial economic and reliability benefits to the U.S. power grid.

    Mostel began his career as a chemical engineer and spent 15 years working at Brooklyn Union Gas, rising to Director of Engineering. His passion for the law developed as he became more heavily involved in legal and regulatory matters at the company. He attended Brooklyn Law School at night and recalled that there were many professors who inspired him. “Professor Crea will always be dear to me,” he said. “But then so were Trager, Kuklin, Gora, Judge Brieant, Korman, and Fullerton, too. They all made an impression on me. I was interested in constitutional law, and energy law follows along those lines. It’s a Commerce Clause discipline that often involves issues of preemption, and the Supremacy Clause.”

    While Mostel is passionate about alternative energy, he is realistic about the future of green power. “To quote Kermit the frog, ‘It’s not easy being green’,” he said. “I am fully supportive of green initiatives and green power and reducing carbon emissions (which are a byproduct of coal), but I am also privy to an inconvenient truth, and that is that green power is not nearby load centers and it’s very expensive to bring it here. This makes green power more expensive for consumers, and they don’t want to pay for it.”

    Despite the expense of alternative fuels, Mostel remains their champion. He advocates changing our country’s energy policy to promote oil independence. “It may be politically unpalatable to impose a carbon tax, but it makes the most sense economically,” he said. “If you tax carbon, over time parties will find ways to use it more efficiently and that dependence is lost. It won’t be easy, but most things that are really worthwhile are not easy.”

  • Justice Nelson S. Román

    On September 25, 2009, Governor David A. Paterson announced the appointment of Justice Nelson S. Román ’89 to fill a new seat in the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department. This high honor caps off Judge Román’s impressive career, which spans 20 years from his graduation from Law School, where he was a part-time student and full-time police officer, to his elevation to the appellate court.

    Raised in the Bronx, Judge Román spent the majority of his career working for the people of his community. In 2003, he was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court in the Civil Term in the Bronx. Before that, from 2001 to 2002 he served as a Judge of the New York City Civil Court in the Bronx, and as a Judge of the Bronx Housing Court from 1998 to 2000.

    Earlier, he was Law Clerk to New York County Civil Court Judge Jose A. Padilla, Jr., from 1995 to 1998, and an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County from 1989 to 1995, where he handled special narcotics and felony cases.

    Judge Román joined the NYPD in 1982, while an undergraduate at Fordham University, and continued on the police force throughout Law School. He was mentored by several law professors, particularly his trial advocacy professor Charles J. Hynes, now the District Attorney of Kings County, who encouraged him to apply to become an ADA.

    Judge Román in turn has mentored many law students and said that he often stresses the importance of good research and writing skills, which he developed while working as a law clerk. These skills served him well, as he wrote and published many decisions while on the Supreme Court.

    Among his many civic activities, Judge Román is a board member of the Riverdale Neighborhood House, co-founder of the Cervantes Society, past president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and past chair of the Committee on Minorities in the Courts. He has taught law-related courses at CUNY Lehman College and Monroe College.

    Reflecting on his career, Judge Román said: “I was inspired by the support of individuals who saw ability in me that I didn’t see and encouraged me.” Foremost was his father, a 37-year veteran of the New York Fire Department and one of the first Hispanic firefighters, who he said “instilled in me a love of public service.”

  • Gary Rosenberg

    One of the city’s leading lawyers in the field of green real estate is Gary Rosenberg ’74, a founding partner of Rosenberg & Estis P.C., a preeminent real estate law firm in New York City. Over the past 30 years, Rosenberg has grown the firm from a two-man operation to a boutique firm with expertise in development, transactions, leasing, and strategic planning with respect to office, retail, and residential real estate. Since the 1990’s,Rosenberg has worked extensively with the Durst Organization, a leading developer, owner, and manager of commercial real estate in midtown Manhattan with a portfolio of more than 8 million sq. ft. of commercial space. But it wasn’t until he developed Four Times Square (the Condé Nast Building) with the Dursts that his real estate focus first became green.

    Four Times Square, one of the greenest buildings in the city, was built before the creation of LEED, the globally accepted rating and certification program for design of green building which provides a set of standards for environmentally sustainable construction, at the bottom of the construction market in the mid-nineties. It was the first building under the leadership of Douglas Durst, the family’s visionary heir, and his cousin Jonathan Durst, and along with Rosenberg, they championed a new way of thinking about real estate development. “We developed Four Times Square in a time before the green building movement and we really tried to build in a different way and to make contractors comply with certain requirements,” recalled Rosenberg.

    With Rosenberg as draftsman and negotiator, a lengthy list of green standards was imposed on all vendors associated with the Four Times Square project. Construction crews had to agree to recycle the demolition (it could not be dumped in landfill) and to use concrete made from furnace slag as opposed to sand (furnace slag is a waste material from steel that is normally dumped but is now the preferred source for concrete). Recycling shoots that ran the height of the building were built so that porters didn’t have to run the night elevators for hours, and a mandate was imposed to purchase locally rather than abroad. To broadcast its sustainable message, the building’s facade features a giant, energy-saving electronic display that can be read from as far away as New Jersey. Four Times Square won an Audubon Society award for sustainable design and fueled a movement towards sustainable building. “It’s incredibly rewarding to work on a monumental project that’s also environmentally responsible,” said Rosenberg.

    Today, Durst has a reputation as the city’s most environmentally conscious developer, and Rosenberg’s name has become synonymous with green development. With the Dursts, he has developed the Helena (601 West 57th Street), the first Gold LEED rated private residential project; the Epic (125 W. 31st Street), another Gold LEED-rated residential project; and most recently, the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, the world’s most environmentally responsible high-rise office building.

    One Bryant Park is a 2.1 million sq. ft., 52-story crystalline skyscraper located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan that is the first major office building in New York City to obtain a Platinum LEED rating. The $1.2 billion project is a poster child for green development. The building boasts the greenest bells and whistles, with everything from waterless urinals, to a natural gas-fired cogeneration plant so they can make their own electricity, and rainwater capture cisterns (used to flush toilets, which help the building use 3-4 million fewer gallons of water than any other comparable building). It even has an ice farm, which Rosenberg explains helps reduce peak electricity usage. Water is chilled in 14-foot tanks located 60-feet below street level at night and turned into icy slush. That slush is then used during the day in air conditioners, which subsequently reduces the need for water chillers. “We reduce our peak electricity usage and lessen the load on the power grid,” said Rosenberg. “If everybody did this it would become very clear that you would not have to turn on the supplemental power plants during August. It’s wonderful to work on this sort of cutting edge technology.”

  • Jeffrey S. Sherman

    Jeffrey S. Sherman ’80, senior vice president and general counsel of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) was profiled in The National Law Journal on April 27. The “In-House Counsel” feature paints a portrait of a committed, passionate leader who is responsible for the legal affairs of this Fortune 500 global medical technology company.

    BD develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. The company is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines. BD serves health care institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public.

    Since Sherman joined the company six years ago, it has undertaken tremendous growth, with offices in nearly 50 countries and more than 50% of sales overseas. The corporation’s legal affairs focus largely on intellectual property, ensuring that BD’s products “have the freedom to operate as well as patent protection where appropriate,” Sherman said. Much of the IP strategy involves infection control, and the firm is especially concerned with needle and syringe safety. The legal team also focuses on philanthropic and global health issues and preventive care.

    Sherman’s legal background is in corporate law, securities and mergers and acquisitions, and he has recently been involved in the acquisition of two new companies. Before joining BD, Sherman was at Wyeth (now part of Pfizer, Inc.) from 1990 to 2004; his last role was vice president and associate general counsel. Before that, he was a partner with the law firm of Shereff, Friedman, Hoffman & Goodman (now part of Dechert LLP).

    Sherman maintains close ties to the Law School, speaking recently at a Dean’s Roundtable Luncheon. He remarked that “one of the best experiences as a lawyer I ever had” was attending the swearing-in ceremony of BLS alumni at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. “It was the very day the Court heard arguments in Gore v. Bush, but the jurists postponed the proceedings until the swearing-in was completed,” he reminisced.

    He received his B.A. degree cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany and his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School. He is currently the Chair of the ”Inside the Boardroom” Subcommittee of the ABA Section of Business Law’s Corporate Governance Committee. He is also a member of the Council of Trustees of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Legal Foundation.

  • Sylvia Simson

    Sylvia Simson ’09 won second place in the Epstein Becker and Green Annual Health Care and Life Sciences Law Writing Competition, which the firm designed to encourage the preparation of scholarly papers on current topics of interest relating to health law. Simson’s award came with a prize of $2,000.

    The note, “Breaking Barriers, Pushing Promise: America’s Need for an Embryonic Stem Cell Regulatory Scheme,” was published in the spring 2009 issue of the Brooklyn Journal of International Law. In it, she explores the progress of embryonic stem cell research in the United States and argues for thorough federal regulation of it.

    At Brooklyn Law School, Simson was on the executive board of the Brooklyn Journal of International Law, serving as executive articles editor, and she was a member of the Moot Court Honors Society’s Appellate Advocacy Division. She coached the Law & Economics Moot Court team, which won second place and best brief in the Henry G. Manne Moot Court Competition for Law & Economics at George Mason Law School.

    She was also a research assistant for Professor Norman Poser during her second and third years, helping to edit his treatise (co-authored with Professor James Fanto) Broker-Dealer Law and Regulation and a book on Lord Mansfield. As a research assistant for Professor Edward Cheng during the summer between her first and second years, she helped with the editing of the treatise Modern Scientific Evidence. Other work experiences included clerking for Judge Jerome Feller of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York and a summer associate at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.

    Simson holds a B.A. from New York University, with a triple major in sociology, economics and French. Of French nationality, she grew up in Ottawa, Canada. She joined Weil Gotshal after graduation as a litigation associate.

  • Doreen Small

    Doreen Small ’84, Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs and General Counsel at Ford Models, Inc., knows that most people don’t associate modeling agencies with complex legal issues. But perhaps if they spent a day in her shoes, they’d reconsider. Small’s vast range of legal responsibilities includes strategizing and structuring deals and transactions with models, other modeling agencies and clients, as well as the development and distribution of traditional and digital media. She also negotiates deals for programming and brand initiatives, and handles issues of labor and employment, intellectual property, litigation, contracts, and visas, while managing the legal department.

    In addition to having a hand in virtually every legal decision made at Ford, she is also an executive producer of “Ford Models Supermodel of the World.®” She handles all United States events and collaborates on the elaborate grand finale where the winner is chosen. Small is unique in the world of multifaceted talent management firms. “To my knowledge, I’m the only in-house general counsel at a New York based modeling agency,” she said.

    Small brought her unique expertise to the Law School on November 14, 2009, joining the symposium, “Perspectives in the Sports and Entertainment Legal Professions,” hosted the active student organization, the Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society. During the day-long event, she addressed the economy’s impact on the fashion industry and how the legal field has adapted to it.

    Law is actually Small’s third career. With a B.A. from Brooklyn College in art history, she began her professional life as an art historian working at the Marlborough Gallery, and then moved on to filmmaking in New York and Los Angeles. After Law School, where she was an editor of the Brooklyn Law Review, she became an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in the trade regulation/IP department. In 1990, she took a position at GE Trading Company, and has held several senior positions since with public and private entertainment and fashion companies, including NBC,, Atari, and Warnaco, finally joining Ford Models in 2007.

    The turning point in her career, she said, was deciding to take an in-house position. “It’s very fulfilling for me to be helpful, and in house, you have so many opportunities to help clients ‘get to yes’ — to what they need to get done. Learning to recognize your own values and passions is the best advice I have for students.”

  • Richard Sobelsohn

    Richard Sobelsohn ’98, an associate in the real estate practice at Moses & Singer LLP in New York, is also a crusader for the greening of the city’s skyline. He is one of only twenty-two lawyers in New York City to become a LEED Accredited Professional. Armed with his law degree and LEED accreditation, Sobelsohn is in a rare position to represent developers, corporations, financial institutions, landlords, tenants, and individuals in the world of sustainable development.

    His in-depth knowledge of the LEED Rating System has turned him into a champion of green real estate development. On any given day you’ll find him teaching CLE classes, speaking to the banking and legal communities, and presenting at some of the country’s leading environmental conferences, including the National Council for Science and the Environment, the Green Earth Expo, and the Alternate Energy Conference. This fall he channeled this knowledge into a new course at the Law School, Legal Issues Affecting Sustainable Buildings, which he hopes will help young lawyers learn about green real estate issues of the future.

    “No other law school was offering this kind of class and it is so important to the practice of real estate law,” said Sobelsohn. “I am optimistic about the growth of this area of the law because there is an ongoing requirement of compliance, monitoring, and reporting. When you add on all the government regulations everyone needs to follow to get there, practitioners in this area are indispensable.”

    Sobelsohn believes wholeheartedly that being green is the way of the future not only because of the benefits it confers to the earth, but because of the boost it gives to the bottom line. “Years ago it was for the greater good to go green, but now it is to save money. Everyone will eventually be affiliated with green properties,” said Sobelsohn. “There is nothing that will stop the trend.”

    While green building costs a slight premium, Sobelsohn says the overall savings far outweigh the initial outlay. “There are savings on water bills, electric bills, and even lower insurance premiums,” explained Sobelsohn. “It’s all quantifiable, and that is not conjecture.” There are also other indirect tangible benefits to being green. Sobelsohn points to studies that have shown that occupants in green buildings have higher productivity levels, lower absentee rates, and better health. “You don’t have to be LEED-certified to see these benefits,” said Sobelsohn. “Even if you add green elements like the ability of employees to see the outdoors through windows and to control their own lighting and air conditioning, and cleaning without harmful chemicals, you’ll have a healthier, happier workforce. The biggest cost of any company is its staff, and if they can reduce costs of health care and increase productivity then your bottom line increases.”

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