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    01.16.18 Business Boot Camp Helps Prepare Students for New World of Law
    Business Boot Camp 2018

    Brooklyn Law School held its sixth annual Business Boot Camp, which gives students an opportunity to learn from alumni business leaders and entrepreneurs during a four-day “mini MBA” winter session course led by Professor Michael Gerber and presented in collaboration with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and John P. Oswald ’84, President and Chief Executive Officer Capital Trust Group and member of the Board of Trustees.

    Business Boot Camp provides introductions to buying and selling a business, handling mergers and acquisitions disputes, financing a business, and dealing with cybersecurity issues, in addition to daily panels during which alumni share their expertise in both entrepreneurship and representing businesses. The course culminated with a featured Q&A with Dennis Block ’67, a leading mergers and acquisitions lawyer and a member of the Board of Trustees. He joined Dean Nick Allard to discuss his career and offer advice to students about preparing for successful careers and opportunities in the finance field.

    “Clients want someone who will be their partner,” he said, echoing a major theme of Business Boot Camp. “Learn their business.”
    Block also emphasized the importance of public speaking skills, common sense, and good judgment. He also highlighted another important lesson that turned out to be a theme of the week: “Luck is a big part of what you need, but you make your own luck. Opportunities are made by what you do.”

    During a Q&A with Oswald earlier in the week, Fred Curry ’03, Deloitte’s U.S. anti-money laundering and economic sanctions practice leader, emphasized the importance of advocating for one’s unique attributes. “Everybody’s smart, everybody’s talented, but what are the little things you can do to connect personally and become known?” he said.

    During a panel on advising new ventures and small businesses led by John Rudikoff ’06, CEO of the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE), Douglas Klein ’10, who practices labor and employment law at Jackson Lewis, warned that startups often mistakenly believe that labor and employment laws don’t cover them, so it is even more important for the startup’s attorney to have at least a basic understanding of what is required by the law.

    Bev Wilson ’12, associate general counsel and director of legal and compliance at Plated, shared her experience with being an in-house attorney through an entire startup life cycle, from a small startup to the company’s recent acquisition by grocery giant Albertsons. Mark Yosowitz ’94 president and CEO at training and teaching startup Mentored, recommended caution when working with—or for—friends’ startups; and Denise Faltischek ’00, general counsel and chief compliance officer at The Hain Celestial Group, argued that it’s important to start thinking about exit plans from the beginning. The panel also included Neil Goldstein ’67, principal attorney at Robinson Brog; Louis Smookler ’02, general counsel at Insomnia Cookies (who also provided snacks from his company for participants; and Kathleen Warner ’94, entrepreneur-in-residence at Techstars.

    A panel on buying and selling businesses featured Elizabeth Holland ’93, CEO of Abbell Credit Corp. & Abbell Associates; Lily Gao ’13, an associate at Duane Morris; Michael Grohman ’83, a partner at Duane Morris; Jason Litwack ’06, principal at Starlight Equity Partners; Lisa Stern ’84, managing director at HighBank Advisors; and Mitchell Littman ’83, adjunct professor and partner at Littman Krooks LLP. Grohman noted the importance of never losing touch with clients, because they might need you again as they grow. Stern made the argument for working with a banker like herself during an M&A transaction, and letting students know that, among many other possibilities, “there is a path to Wall Street from Brooklyn Law School.”