Brooklyn Law School hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Economic Development: A Lawyer’s Role,” to foster community among General Counsels (GCs) working at local businesses and continued economic development.
“Brooklyn is a vibrant and growing economic center. We hope to act as a conduit to encourage relationships among GCs discussing economic development in the nation’s fourth largest city,” Jill Backer, Associate Director for Employer Relations at Brooklyn Law School said. “This panel discussion is important because Brooklyn has become more than an outer borough. It’s a vibrant place for academic development in New York City with a lot of businesses based here.”
Professor David Reiss, an expert in real estate development, opened the panel discussion by asking each of the panelists to provide his or her perspective on Brooklyn’s competitive advantage. Bernard Dushman, GC of Brooklyn Navy Yard gave examples of businesses willing to invest in Brooklyn, stating that “Brooklyn has everything that Manhattan has without the overhead.” Looking to the future he anticipates that Brooklyn will become the creative capital of the world. He spoke of his interest in working with the Law School community to best service the local communities benefitted by the business growth in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Navy Yard’s goal for the future is to increase its tenants classified as green Leed businesses, as well as those committed to the arts, fashion, and film industry.
David Hoffman, GC of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center discussed how hospitals in Brooklyn provide employment and services to the same population. The enormous pool of health care providers who live in the community in which they work are helping their neighbors. Hoffman noted that Brooklyn is positioned to provide jobs to people where they live, an advantage he claimed, it has over other boroughs.
The panel discussion was open to students interested in pursuing careers as general counsel. Both Dushman and Hoffman told students that the most important skill they could offer their employer was their judgment. “Your sense of doing right may trump your continuing employment, but if you can’t tell the truth, you shouldn’t be a GC,” added Dushman.
Among other guests at the luncheon were Salvatore Russo, general counsel of the New York City Hospitals and Health Corporation and Adjunct Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, David Berliner, general counsel, and Susan Elkman, deputy general counsel to Forest City Ratner, Lance Ogiste, counsel to Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Jason Otano, counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Colvin Grannum, president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and general counsels from National Grid and the Office of Emergency Management.