Board of Advisors
Becton, Dickinson & Company
Robert “Bob” Hallenbeck has spent more than 30 years working with inventors, entrepreneurs, and university tech transfer offices in developing, funding, licensing, and commercializing technology, especially biotechnology and medical technology. Bob is a registered patent attorney with both B.S. (St. Lawrence University) and M.S. (Syracuse University) degrees in biology.
While in private practice with Nixon Peabody and then while working at one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, Becton Dickinson, Bob worked with universities and both small and large companies to develop and commercialize technology. He did this both as a lawyer for BD but also as the head of business development and strategy, including a period where he ran BD’s venture capital fund.
Although retired from BD in 2015, after nearly 28 years, Bob continues to be involved in technology transfer and development through his role as Chair of both the Maryland Innovation Initiative and the Maryland E-nnovation Initiative Program. Through these initiatives—and through his role as a former member of the Board of Fairleigh Dickinson University and the advisory board at the College of Law—Bob has a strong understanding of higher education and the role technology transfer can play there. He continues to work with early and later stage companies, as well as universities, as they navigate through the commercialization process. To that end, Mr. Hallenbeck recently joined the board of an early stage med-tech company Sonavex, in Baltimore, MD.
Bob began serving as the Chair of the College of Law Board of Advisors in January 2019, and he has been a Member since 2015.
Arnold & Porter
Richard Alexander is Chairman of Arnold & Porter. Richard’s practice involves some of the most significant enforcement, supervisory, and governance matters affecting the financial services industry. Richard represents financial services companies and their officers and directors, as well as accountants, attorneys, and other professionals, in significant enforcement or investigative proceedings brought by federal or state agencies. He has led the firm’s representation of clients in high-profile matters initiated by, among others, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Richard also serves as Chair of Justice in Aging, a national legal advocacy organization. He served as the Managing Partner of Arnold & Porter from 2005 through 2015. Previously, Richard served in the Enforcement and Compliance Division of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Richard joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2013 and is a Syracuse University Trustee.
Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer
Pacific Investment Management Company
New York, NY
Keisha Audain-Pressley is an executive vice president and leader in Pacific Investment Management Company’s (PIMCO) Legal and Compliance department. She serves as the Chief Compliance Officer for the U.S. Registered Funds. She is also a member of the leadership team for the investment advisory compliance program.
Before joining PIMCO in 2011, Keisha was a senior vice president and senior compliance officer at Neuberger Berman Management. Previously, Keisha was a chief compliance officer in Lehman Brothers’ investment management division. In her prior roles, she was responsible for the compliance program of registered investment advisers that offered alternative investment products and served as a senior compliance officer for a registered investment adviser of open-end mutual funds.
Keisha has 19 years of industry experience and holds a J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. She also received an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University.
Keisha joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2016.
Bottar Law, PLLC
Michael A. Bottar’s practice at Bottar Law focuses on the prosecution and trial of medical malpractice, wrongful death, workplace accident and complex personal injury actions, with a focus on claims for birth injuries, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, governmental negligence, and biomedical product liability.
Michael is a vice president of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, and lectures regularly throughout the state on medical malpractice, complex personal injury, and trial-related topics.
Michael is listed in The Best Lawyers In America®, and received its Syracuse Lawyer of the Year award for 2020, 2019, and 2017. He is listed in Upstate New York Super Lawyers®, and was selected for its Top 50 list for 2020, 2019, and 2018. He has achieved an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and is a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Before joining Bottar Law, PLLC, Michael was a litigation associate with the New York City office of White & Case, LLP, and the Syracuse office of Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC.
Michael is a graduate of Colgate University and a summa cum laude graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, where he is an adjunct professor and teaches a course on law practice management. He is also the author of the civil practice chapter of the Syracuse Law Review’s Survey of New York Law. While a student at the College of Law, Michael was Executive Editor of the Syracuse Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. He was inducted into the Order of the Coif, the Order of Barristers and the Justinian Honorary Law Society and received the College of Law’s Robert W. Miller Award, Robert M. Anderson Award, and the Moot Court Team Award. In 2003, the Syracuse Law Review also published his note titled “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Medicaid Liens, Supplemental Needs Trusts and Personal Injury Recoveries on Behalf of Infants in New York State Following the Gold Decision.”
Michael joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2013.
Boies Schiller Flexner
New York, NY
Karen is a commercial litigator who focuses on high-stakes litigation, including contract disputes, trade secrets litigation, and matters involving international law. She has secured a number of significant victories for her clients. Most recently, Karen and a team from BSF won summary judgment for a real estate developer against a former business partner’s claims for theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, and breaches of fiduciary duty. Karen is also an experienced appellate litigator.
She has worked on appeals before the Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fifth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits, and served as lead appellate counsel in a matter before the First Department of the Appellate Division of New York that led to the reversal of a substantial defamation judgment.
As part of her pro bono practice, Karen works with Legal Momentum to represent sex trafficking victims in a lawsuit against Backpage.com, a website that is alleged to have knowingly facilitated sex trafficking. BSF’s lawsuit is one of the first in the country in which a federal court ruled that Backpage was not entitled to immunity under federal law.
Karen joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2018.
Vincent H. Cohen Jr. is a partner at Dechert LLP. He focuses on high-stakes litigation on behalf of individuals and corporations. As an experienced trial lawyer and investigator, he represents clients in sensitive government and internal investigations, government enforcement matters and complex civil and criminal litigation. Cohen is the former Acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia. Before leading the largest US attorney’s office in the nation, he served as the office’s Principal Assistant US Attorney for five years.
Vincent is recognized by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in the area of white-collar crime and government investigations for the District of Columbia and is listed by Legal 500 US for corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense. He was named a Rainmaker by MCCA in 2019 for being an exceptional diverse attorney whose business acumen and dedication to proactive client development set him apart as a leader in the legal profession.
In 2018 Vincent was named as one of Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Black Lawyers in America and was also listed as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America by Lawdragon. In 2014, he received the Presidential Star Award from the National Bar Association for his contributions in the field of law, and in 2010, he was identified as one of the “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under the Age of 40.” He has also received the Director’s Award from the US Secret Service for his contributions and commitment to the principles of responsible law enforcement, and Walker Memorial Baptist Church recognized him with the Public Service and Humanitarian Award for his work in ensuring equal justice for the people of Washington, DC through his selfless community involvement.
Cohen serves as an instructor teaching trial advocacy at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop and is a frequent lecturer at Syracuse, Georgetown, and Harvard law schools. He has served as general counsel and remains an active member of 100 Black Men of America Inc. (Greater Washington), an organization focused on improving the quality of life of minority youth in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. A former member of the Syracuse University men’s basketball team, Vincent serves on the Board Athletics and Finance committees. His Syracuse University service includes membership on the Office of Multicultural Advancement’s Advisory Council, and he is a former Member of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Board of Directors. He received an inaugural Syracuse Law Honors Award from the College of Law in 2015, and in 2008 he received the Chancellor’s Citation for Distinguished Alumni Achievement in Law.
Vincent endowed an Our Time Has Come Scholarship in honor of his late father, Vincent Cohen Sr. ’57, L’60, an All-American basketball player at Syracuse before attending the law school and becoming a successful corporate attorney in Washington, DC. The elder Cohen was named a Syracuse Letter Winner of Distinction in 1982; a recipient of the George Arents Pioneer Medal, the University’s highest alumni honor, in 1986; was Chair of the 1992 Coming Back Together alumni reunion; and was named to the Syracuse Men’s Basketball All-Century Team in 2000. Vincent Cohen Jr.‘s sister—Dr. Traci Cohen Dennis ’90—is also an active alumna, who supports the memorial endowment.
Vincent joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2021.
New York, NY
Mr. Diaz-Albertini is a partner at Milbank LLP in their New York City office. His practice focuses on complex finance and capital markets transactions, including leveraged sponsor buyouts, acquisition financings, the issuance of secured and unsecured high-yield debt securities, initial public offerings and follow-on equity offerings, and liability management transactions. He has represented clients in finance and capital markets transactions across a variety of industries including retail, financial services, technology, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, gaming, and telecommunications.
Prior to joining Milbank, he was a partner at a leading US law firm serving the financial industry where he principally advised clients on financing and capital markets transactions. He started his legal career as an associate at a Wall Street law firm where he spent several years representing investment banks, initial purchasers and syndicated loan groups in public and private debt and equity capital markets and leveraged finance transactions. Mr. Diaz-Albertini joined Milbank in 2021.
Mr. Diaz-Albertini graduated magna cum laude from Bryant University where he was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. He received his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law where he graduated magna cum laude, was a member of the Syracuse Law Review, the Order of the Coif and the Justinian Honor Society.
Mr. Diaz-Albertini was named a Rising Star by New York Super Lawyers and is recognized as a “Notable Practitioner” by ILFR 1000.
Antonio joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2020.
President & CEO
CI Renewables LLC
Alan M. Epstein is the President and CEO of CI Renewables LLC the parent of KDC Solar, which focuses on solar power generation for large industrial and commercial users. Since 2010 KDC Solar developed, constructed and operated 120 MWs of solar facilities at 20 separate locations. He has been involved in the energy and telecom businesses for more than 40 years.
Before accepting the position of President and COO at KDC Solar in 2010, Alan was a partner in the New York office of Sidley Austin LLP. While practicing law he advised clients in financing and structuring more than $15 billion of energy, telecommunications, alternative and renewable energy, and infrastructure projects in the United States and abroad. In the energy area, Alan represented clients in power generation projects including cogeneration facilities, coal-fired, gas-fired, biomass, wind, solar, and waste-to-energy facilities, LNG and pipeline projects, biodiesel projects, and transmission lines.
Alan joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2015 and serves as a mentor to the College of Law’s Class Act!.
Co-Deputy Chair, Litigation Department
Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC
Suzanne Galbato is Co-Deputy Chair of the Litigation Department at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC in Syracuse, NY, where she litigates commercial, False Claims Act, employment discrimination, antitrust, and environmental cases. She also handles multi-district litigation and class actions; drafts and argues appeals in state and federal court; and represents clients in administrative hearings, mediation and arbitration. Her clients come from the healthcare, manufacturing, media, pharmaceutical, financial, defense, insurance, not-for-profit, small business, and education industries. Before joining Bond in 2000, Suzanne served for two years as law clerk to the Hon. Rosemary S. Pooler of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Suzanne earned her J.D. (summa cum laude) in 1998 from Syracuse University College of Law. She also holds an A.B. (1995, magna cum laude) from Harvard University. At Bond, she serves as a member of the firm’s Management Committee and is a former Chair of the Associate Committee, Recruiting Committee, and Women’s Initiative. She also has been an active member of the firm’s Diversity Committee. For several years, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association, and she has worked on the Law Honors Committee. Also for her alma mater, she coaches student advocates for competition, judges advocacy competitions, and speaks regularly about private practice, interviewing, mentoring, work/life balance and diversity.
Actively engaged with the local legal community, Suzanne is a trustee of the Northern District Federal Court Bar Association, where she participates in continuing legal education programs and bench/bar activities. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of Hiscock Legal Aid Society and served as Board Chair for three years. She also is a member of the New York State Bar Association Women in the Law Section and has served as Co-Chair of the Appellate Committee of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section. She also serves as a Board member of the Central New York Women’s Bar Association and the Onondaga County Bar Foundation. Suzanne provides pro bono legal services through various organizations and NYSBA has designated her as an Empire State Counsel for her pro bono work.
Suzanne joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2020.
Real Estate Attorney
Sandra Wolk Gelb is a real estate attorney in Rochester, NY. Admitted to the New York bar in 1993 and US District Court Western District of New York and the US Supreme Court in 1997, Sandra worked for the Law Firm of Chamberlain, D’Amanda, Oppenheimer and Greenfield from 1994 until 2015. She also has worked at The City of Rochester Corporation Councils Office, the Trustees Office Western District of New York US Bankruptcy Court, and the University of Rochester Legal Department.
Sandra graduated from the University of Rochester, cum laude, in 1989 and the Syracuse University College of Law in 1992. She is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association, Real Estate Section, and she serves on the Parent Council and the Network Leadership Cabinet for the University of Rochester, where she is also a George Eastman Circle Member.
Sandra and her family have a long history with Syracuse University College of Law. Her grandfather, Robert Miller, graduated in 1929; her father, Allan Wolk, graduated in 1960; and her uncle, the Hon. Michael Miller, graduated in 1963. Her mother, Joan Wolk, also attended Syracuse University.
Sandra joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2020.
Winston & Strawn LLP
Melanie Gray was Chair of the Bankruptcy Litigation Practice and partner in the Houston office of Winston & Strawn LLP prior to her retirement in early 2020. Before joining Winston & Strawn in 2013, Melanie enjoyed almost three decades with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Melanie concentrated her practice in commercial litigation, with a special focus on complex bankruptcy cases.
Melanie has earned multiple recognitions for professional excellence and public service. She was selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America as a result of her exceptional accomplishments in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation. In both 2013 and 2014, Benchmark Litigation named her as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation and she is listed in the 2015 edition of Best Lawyers in America in the Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights category. In 2011, she received the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award from Syracuse University College of Law. In 2010, she was recognized as one of Texas’s Most Powerful Women by Texas Diversity Council. Melanie has been named a Texas Super Lawyer in each year since 2003 and was named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas in 2005 for her work in business litigation and bankruptcy. In 2003, she was recognized as a Woman Achiever by the New York YMCA and as one of ten Houston Women on the Move by Texas Executive Women in 2001. Litigation Management named her as a “Lone Star All Star” for being among the state’s “effective litigators and communicators with great judgment.”
Melanie has served in leadership roles in numerous legal organizations, including serving on the board of the Houston Bar Foundation, the Interdisciplinary Committee on Law and Accounting of the Houston Bar Association, the Texas Accounting and Lawyers for the Arts. In addition to being a Founder and an Executive Committee member of The Center for Women in Law, Melanie is widely known for her community service and contributions to the arts, education, and the advancement of women and serves (or has served) on the following boards: Baylor College of Medicine, Girls Inc., Greater Houston Community Foundation, Society for the Performing Arts, Foundation for Jones Hall, The Jung Center, Greater Houston Women’s Center, Legacy Community Health Services Endowment, Teen & Family Services, Post Oak School. Melanie is an inaugural Member of the Syracuse University College of Law Board of Advisors (2004). She is also a Life Trustee of Syracuse.
Melanie graduated from Syracuse University College of Law, is married to Mark Wawro—a partner with Susman Godfrey LLP, and has three children. Mark and Melanie were honored by the Anti-Defamation League at the 2015 Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award Luncheon.
Executive Vice President and COO
Bed Bath & Beyond
John currently serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Bed Bath & Beyond. Additionally, he is the president of buybuy BABY. John joined Bed Bath & Beyond in 2020 after seven years as president and chief executive officer of True Value Company. He previously served as the chief executive officer of Mitre10. He also held roles in technology, strategy, and M&A at The Home Depot as well as senior positions at HD Supply. For more than four years, John served as vice president of Corporate Services for Cardinal Health. He also formerly spent 10 years as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. John currently serves as a Regional Trustee for the Boys & Girls Club of America.
John graduated from Syracuse University in 1988, earning a JD from the College of Law. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and subsequently received a certificate in the Accelerated Leadership Program from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
John joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2005.
Entertainment Lawyer & Business Affairs Executive
New York, NY
Stephanie A. Jacqueney is an Entertainment Lawyer and Business Affairs Executive with more than 30 years of experience in television and live production. She has worked with companies ranging from start-ups to major corporations. Most recently she did work for the American Broadcasting Companies, providing legal counsel for television news and programming, production and marketing clients.
Stephanie previously served as Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs for Madison Square Garden Sports & Entertainment LLC where she was the lead production attorney for MSG and its Radio City Entertainment division’s live productions, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the New York Spectacular starring the Rockettes, as well as Super Bowl Halftime Shows and numerous other sports and entertainment large scale productions. She was also MSG’s lead intellectual property attorney and managed MSG’s intellectual property portfolio.
Before MSG, Stephanie held several positions with Time Warner Inc. including that of Vice President and General Counsel of Manhattan Cable TV, then the largest franchise cable television operator. There, Stephanie was responsible for all contracts, intellectual property, lobbying, and legislative analysis, as well as supervising in-house and outside counsel. Before going to Manhattan Cable TV, Stephanie was an associate with the law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.
In addition to her Syracuse University College of Law J.D., Stephanie also holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University. Stephanie is a member of the Board of the Alumni Association of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology and the Cornell University Council, as well as a founding member of Cornell University’s President’s Council of Cornell Women. She currently serves on the Entertainment Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association and previously served on its Copyright and its Arbitration Committees.
Stephanie joined the Board of Advisors of the College of Law in 2020.
Retired, Chairman & CEO
Millennium Partners LLC
Bernie Kossar, a classic entrepreneur, built a reputation as a brilliant deal master in creating companies and taking them public for the past 30 years. His model was, “Create a niche, build up an area of concentration outside the ‘majors,’ and wait to be bought out.” Bernie practiced law during his service in the Marine Corps, trained as a tax attorney, and was a lawyer in New York City until 1965, when he started in retail as a corporate counsel. His retail career was launched in the early 1980s with chemicals conglomerate, W.R. Grace, where he oversaw its eight operating retail companies and also headed the organization of HomeQuarters Warehouse Inc. His next venture, with Grace as a minority partner, was in creating OfficeWarehouse Inc. In 1995, Bernie established Millennium Partners LLC as a private investment partnership. His corporate board involvements have included Nature’s Elements Intl. (Nature’s Way stores), Greatbanc Inc. (bank holding company), Netmatics Inc., Augme Technologies, AudioEye and Cereus Technology Partners. Bernie earned his Accounting degree from the Whitman School of Management and his Juris Doctorate from the College of Law in 1955.
Bernie is a Lifetime Member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees and joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2004.
White & Case LLP
Donald T. MacNaughton retired from White & Case, LLP in 2007, where he practiced law for nearly 38 years, concentrating on international commercial litigation and arbitration. During his career, he worked in the firm’s New York, Washington, DC, and Hong Kong offices, represented clients based in every major Asian country and numerous European countries, and participated in proceedings in courts both in the United States and abroad. Don earned an undergraduate degree from Amherst College in 1965. He is co-author of the New York State Bar Association Report on the Adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law of International Commercial Arbitration by the Various States of the United States, as well as author of several articles on international arbitration and dispute resolution. Since his retirement, Don and Patty have retired to Wilson, Wyoming, where Don has resumed his study of Eighteenth Century English history, architecture and landscaping.
Don is part of a family legacy at SU that includes his father, the late Donald S. MacNaughton ‘39, L’48, H’78, who also served as a Trustee, and his brother David J. MacNaughton L’77.
Don has been a College of Law Board of Advisors Member since 2004. He is also Trustee of Syracuse University and a Member of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees.
Marnin Michaels is a senior partner at the Firm. Marnin has been practicing for more than 20 years in the areas of tax and wealth management. His practice ranges from insurance matters to tax investigations for both international families and financial institutions. He also counsels clients on US withholding tax and qualified intermediary rules (including FATCA), as well as money laundering avoidance legislation. Marnin was a member of the Firm’s Steering Committee leading the US Department of Justice Initiative for Swiss Banks. In the end, the Firm acted for 45 banks and the project won Litigation Firm of the Year from American Lawyer Magazine.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading wealth management lawyers, he is a former chair and co-chair of the regional and global Wealth Management Steering Committees. He is also a former member of the Global Financial Institution Industry Group and a member of the Swiss Offices Management Committee. Marnin is currently the Chair of the Firm’s EMEA Tax Practice Group.
In addition to writing extensively for many publications, Marnin also authored two legal treatises: International Taxation and Withholding and International Estate Planning, which were both published by Thomson Reuters. He also lectures in several LLM and MBA programs on various tax issues.
Marnin is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts and New York, and before the US Tax Court. He possesses a LL.M from University of Miami School of Law and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University, and he graduated from Wilkes University, cum laude. Marnin also serves as Chair of the SU European Council. His uncle, Lee Michaels L’ 67, is a College of Law alumnus and member of the adjunct faculty. Marnin lives in Zurich, Switzerland.
Marnin joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2016 and co-chairs the Board’s development committee.
Executive Director and Senior Portfolio Management Director
Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management
New York, NY
Kamesh is an Executive Director and Senior Portfolio Management Director at Morgan Stanley with over 19 years of experience. He focuses on helping corporate executives with their overall wealth planning, including integrating corporate benefits and concentrated stock planning, and in advising physicians and entrepreneurs on holistic wealth management issues. He is also an International Client Advisor ICA), working with Indian citizens and/or residents who want their wealth management portfolio based in the United States.
Mr. Nagarajan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Vassar College and a Juris Doctor with honors from Syracuse University College of Law.
Kamesh is a national speaker on various financial topics and has written many finance articles for various publications. In addition, he has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, CBS and Forbes.com as an expert on various financial topics. Mr. Nagarajan is the President of Ascend-NY and a charter member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE-NY). He is actively involved with Lend-A-Hand India and the American India Foundation (AIF).
Kamesh has been active with The Columbia Business School—Eugene Lang Entrepreneur Center as a sounding Board mentor and a mentor in The Columbia Mentorship Program for Entrepreneurs (CMPE) since 2010. In 1997, he served as the Vice Chairman of the India Community Center of Rochester. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Rochester Area Community Foundation. He is a founding member of DIAL (Development of Indo-American Leaders) and a previous Vice Chairman of the India Community Center of Rochester. In 2010, Kamesh was honored by Ascend at their national gala with their High Impact Leaders Award for professional accomplishments and for positive impact and contributions to the Asian American Community. At Morgan Stanley, he is a member of The Morgan Stanley President’s Club (2015) for top advisors at the firm. Kamesh was also a panelist at the 2013 Barron’s Top Advisor Diversity Summit.
Kamesh joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2016.
COO, Senior Legal Counsel and Senior Managing Director
Cerberus Capital Management LP
New York, NY
Mark A. Neporent has been chief operating officer, senior counsel and a senior managing director of Cerberus Capital Management LP since 1998.
Cerberus is a private investment firm with more than $50 billion of assets under management in four primary strategies: distressed investing, loan origination to middle-market business, control and non-control private equity, and real estate. Neporent is responsible for the day-to-day management of the firm and serves on its operating investment, compensation, valuation and risk/compliance committees. He also is in charge of the firm’s media relations and serves on the Board of Directors of Cerberus Operations and Advisory Co. LLC. Neporent joined the firm from Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, where he was a partner in its Business Reorganization and Finance Group.
Neporent has 39 years of experience in the distressed securities, private equity, global credit and lending business. He began his legal career with Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen PC in the Creditors’ Rights Department.
Neporent joined the Connecticut Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association in 1982 and ’83, respectively. He is a past member of both the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees and the Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization, the latter of which is part of the New York City Bar Association.
Neporent has served on the boards of Hamburg Commercial Bank A.G., SuperValu, Ally Financial (formerly GMAC LLC), AMC Financial Holdings Inc., EXCO Resources Inc., MCI Inc., SSA Global Technologies Inc., Tandem Staffing Solutions Inc., Fiat Chrylser Automobiles (formerly Chrysler Holding LLC), CorePointe Insurance Co., and Kokusai Kogyo Co. Ltd.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University in 1979 and a J.D. with honors from Syracuse University’s College of Law in 1982.
Neporent joined the Board of Trustees in 2011 and serves on the Board of Trustees Executive, Finance and Facilities Committees. His Syracuse University service includes the College of Law, where he is a member of the Board of Advisors since 2006, and lectures in the Continuing Legal Education Program.
He and his wife, Lisa Neporent, have provided the lead gift for the establishment of the Neporent Café in Dineen Hall and helped establish the Fund for the Future: Syracuse University College of Law Scholarship Endowment, and continue to bolster the College of Law’s Scholarship and Financial Aid Fund and Law Annual Fund. They have generously supported other initiatives in the College of Law and Syracuse University.
The Neporents reside in Vail, CO.
Palo Alto, CA
Cisco Palao-Ricketts is a partner at DLA Piper and the leader of its West Coast Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice. Palao-Ricketts advises start-up, emerging growth and public companies on complex tax, securities, employment and ERISA issues that arise in compensation arrangements. Located in Silicon Valley, his practice primarily focuses on counseling companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. He has been recognized by The Legal 500 US for his achievements at DLA Piper. Palao-Ricketts was born in Cuzco, Peru and lived there until he was about six-and-a-half years old as an American born abroad. In the early 1980s, he moved to Illinois and later graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory High School and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
Palao-Ricketts earned his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law in 2003. He also holds an LL.M. degree from Georgetown University Law Center in tax law. Before becoming the father of three children, Palao-Ricketts contributed to the advancement of the California Bar by developing model answers and grading exams for prospective California lawyers from 2007 through 2011.
As an active member of his community, Palao-Ricketts spends his free time as a coach for PONY League Baseball, as a co-Den leader and Assistant Treasurer for the Cub Scouts in Los Altos, and as a contributor to the advancement of the Latino community and working poor through his affiliation with La Raza Centro Legal (LRCL), one of the oldest non-profits in San Francisco.
Following graduation from our College of Law, Palao-Ricketts has been committed to helping many students and graduates navigate through their interest in tax law and ERISA, bar exam preparation, and the transition to the practice of law.
Cisco joined the Board of Advisors in 2020.
Retired, Director of Federal Affairs
Johnson & Johnson
Susan K. Reardon served as Director, International Policy, Worldwide Government Affairs and Policy at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) based in Washington, D.C., until April 2014 when she retired. In her position, she advanced global trade and health issues working with industry associations, government agencies, business organizations and others to shape policies consistent with J&J interests. Before the international position, she advocated on behalf of the medical device and diagnostic companies of J&J before Congress and US government agencies. Before her career at J&J, Susan held several positions at the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), where she was responsible for regulatory and reimbursement issues affecting the medical technology industry. She also served in the federal government, including the Department of Health and Human Services, where she was Acting General Counsel among other positions; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the Small Business Administration. She practiced law in Oswego, NY, and served as Counsel to the School District.
Susan earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in international relations from Syracuse University and her J.D. from the College of Law, where she served on the Syracuse Law Review and was published. She is the recipient of several awards, including the W. Quinn Jordan Memorial Award for significant government affairs accomplishments. At Syracuse University, she serves as the DC Regional Council chair and also serves on the National Campaign Council.
Susan joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2015.
Americas Chair, Global Co-Chair, and Global Co-CEO
New York, NY
Frank Ryan graduated from Syracuse University College of Law, earning magna cum laude honors and the Order of the Coif. Before law school, he graduated with a B.S. from Syracuse University and was a four-year varsity letter winner.
Frank is the Americas Chair, Global Co-Chair and Global Co-CEO of DLA Piper. Frank provides legal and strategic advice to domestic and multinational clients who draw on his experience in high-stakes litigation, intellectual property, media and sports, complex commercial and sovereign related issues. Frank’s clients turn to him as a go-to strategist and litigator for their most important matters. He has handled numerous jury trials and domestic and international arbitrations.
Frank is a member of DLA Piper’s Executive Committee and Global Board.
His wife, Melissa, is also a graduate of the College of Law.
Frank joined the Board of Advisors in 2017.
Director and Senior Legal Counsel
Robert Bosch LLC
Heather M. Schroder G’07, L’07 is Director and Senior Legal Counsel at Robert Bosch LLC, based in Robert Bosch GmbH’s North American headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. She is the Team Lead for Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Governance in North America. A New York native, prior to joining Bosch in 2014, Ms. Schroder worked as Senior Corporate Counsel at ATMI Inc., a publicly-traded, semiconductor company headquartered in Connecticut; prior to working in-house, she was a Corporate Law Associate at a law firm in New York City.
She is a regular speaker at various Association of Corporate Counsel events and other M&A legal conferences globally. Admitted to the bars of New York, Connecticut, and Michigan, Ms. Schroder earned her juris doctor as a joint-degree student at Syracuse, concurrently receiving a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. While at the College of Law, Ms. Schroder was an active Student Bar Association member, serving as SBA President during her 3L year. Ms. Schroder graduated Sacred Heart University, magna cum laude, with honors, with a B.A. in Political Science.
Ms. Schroder joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2016.
MBIA Insurance Corporation
Kiawah Island, SC
Mitchell l. Sonkin is a senior advisor at MBIA Insurance Corporation. He served as managing director responsible for insured portfolio management and government relations. He was also a member of the company’s Executive Policy Committee, a Vice President of MBIA Inc. and a member of the Board of MBIA Insurance Corporation and Capital Markets Assurance Corporation. He is also Chairman of the Board of the ResCap Liquidating Trust, successor to ResCap and GMAC Mortgage Corporations.
Before joining MBIA, Mr. Sonkin was a senior partner at the international law firm, King & Spalding, where he was co-chair of King & Spalding’s Financial Restructuring Group and a member of the firm’s Policy Committee. He has over 40 years of experience in U.S. and international bond issuances, corporate reorganizations and debt restructurings and has served as a court appointed examiner. In particular, he has played a significant role in numerous municipal, utility, insurance, airline, healthcare debt and international debt restructurings including the Anglo/ French Euro Tunnel debt reorganization.
Mr. Sonkin has lectured and served on panels on such topics as distressed debt trading, utility restructurings and life insurance company reorganizations. Prior to joining King & Spalding, Mr. Sonkin was senior partner and co-chair of the Financial Restructuring Department at the Wall Street law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.
Mr. Sonkin was a Founding Director of the East West Institute and served on the Board as a Director, Corporate Secretary and Legal Counsel over several terms totaling 15 years and thereafter as a Director Emeritus. Mr. Sonkin is a member of the Steering Committee of the Mroz Global Leadership Institute at the College of Charleston, the successor to the East West Institute.
Mr. Sonkin is a cum laude graduate of the Temple University College of Liberal Arts where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and is a member of the Board of Visitors. He received his J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law and has served on the College’s Board of Advisors since 2004. He is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Susman Godfrey LLP
Jim Southwick has spent his entire 30-year career in private practice representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation and trials, principally involving, monopolization, international cartels, and shareholder rights. For the past 20 years he has been a partner in the Houston office of Susman Godfrey LLP, a commercial trial boutique with 160 lawyers and offices in Houston, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. He began his career as an associate at Breed, Abbott & Morgan in New York City.
In the summer of 2019, Jim successfully led the month-long trial of the largest shareholder oppression case on record. Other significant representations include the Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation, where Jim was co-lead trial counsel in the first suit holding mainland Chinese companies in violation of US antitrust laws, resulting in the US Supreme Court’s June 2018 landmark ruling regarding how foreign governments’ statements about their laws should be treated by US courts.
Jim also worked extensively on suits against international money center banks for aiding the breaches of fiduciary duties at Enron, Microsoft’s monopolization of PC operating systems, News Corp.’s monopolization of certain advertising markets, and represented cities and counties in suits involving the public employee pension crisis.
A native of Fayetteville, NY, Jim received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of William & Mary in 1982 and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law in 1989. He has twice received awards for outstanding achievement in antitrust litigation from the American Antitrust Institute.
Jim joined the Board of Advisors of the College of Law in 2020.
Retired, Sr. Vice President of Employee Relations & Operations
The Boston Globe
Gregory L. Thornton L’71 worked as Senior Vice President of Employee Relations and Operations for The Boston Globe/New England Media Group. Before this appointment, in 2002, Thornton was The Boston Globe’s Senior Vice President of Employee Relations (1997-2002) and Vice President of Employee Relations (1988-1997). He also has held employee and labor relations positions at New York News Inc. and Gannett Company Inc.
Gregory has been Chairman and Vice Chairman of the American Newspaper Publishers Association (now the Newspaper Association of America) and Vice Chair of NAA’s Employee Relations Committee. In 2002, he was awarded the Cushing-Gavin Award for Excellence in Labor Relations for Management, given by the Labor Guild of Boston. As a law student, Gregory was a member of the Syracuse Law Review Editorial Board. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University.
Gregory joined the College of Law Board of Advisors in 2003.
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
Jim Zeszutek is the former Managing Partner of the firm’s Pittsburgh office and a Partner in the Litigation Department. He is Co-Chair of the Class Action Litigation and Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Practice Groups. Jim is involved in the defense of pharmaceutical and medical device products on behalf of the products’ manufacturers.
Jim has defended the Bjork-Shiley heart valve, breast implants, artificial hips and knees, endoscopic linear cutters, surgical staplers and tools, stents, fracture fixation devices, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and the OrthoEvra patch, among others. Jim is also involved in the defense of chemical and fiber products including products that contain asbestos, talc, benzene and acrylamide.
Jim presently serves on National Trial Teams for the defense of a client’s respiratory protection products and is National Coordinating Counsel for a manufacturer in the silica litigation, which is active in numerous jurisdictions. He represents banks and financial institutions in commercial litigation in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He has an active NCAA practice in which he represents coaches in hearings before the Committee on Infractions defending against allegations of NCAA Bylaw violations and has been involved in the Committee on Infractions hearings involving Syracuse University, Tulane University, Purdue University, The University of Tennessee and The Ohio State University, among others.
Jim also negotiates employment contracts for athletic coaches and physicians.
Professor of Law
Syracuse University College of Law
Assistant Dean for Advancement and External Affairs
Syracuse University College of Law
46th President of the United States
Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68, the 46th president of the United States. Biden, received a juris doctor from the College of Law in 1968. He is the first Syracuse University alumnus to hold the highest office in the country.
President Biden has returned to the University on many occasions, including to speak at the College of Law Commencement in 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2016. He was also the University’s Commencement speaker and received an honorary degree in 2009.
Biden has frequently spoken about his fondness for the University and the College of Law and their loyalty to him. “The type of loyalty that this school has extended to me is truly rare and genuinely welcoming,” he said during his 2016 address. “It was the same for my son, Beau, who loved Syracuse as well.” Biden’s late son, Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, was a 1994 graduate of the College of Law.
President Biden received the University’s Chancellor’s Medal in 1974; the Law Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003; and the George Arents Pioneer Medal, the University’s highest alumni award, in 2005. In 2018, he was honored with a prestigious Syracuse Law Honors Award from the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association and the College of Law. The award is conferred on alumni and friends of the college for extraordinary career accomplishments and service to the college, Syracuse University, the legal profession and society as a whole.
Hon. William Q. Hayes ’79 G’83 L’83
Southern District of California
San Diego, CA
Judge William Q. Hayes received his B.S. from Syracuse University in 1979. He was awarded his M.B.A from the Whitman School of Business and his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law in 1983. Judge Hayes began his law career as an associate at Scheid and Horlbeck in Denver, Colorado and later practiced at Stone and Associates, also in Denver. Judge Hayes left Colorado to become an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of California in 1987. He became the Chief of the Criminal Division and served in that role from 1999 to 2003. Judge Hayes was appointed a District Judge for the Southern District of California on October 6, 2003 and continues to serve in that capacity. He maintains his chambers in San Diego.
Judge Hayes has served as an adjunct law faculty member at National College, University of Colorado at Denver, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the University of San Diego School of Law. He has been a member of the Denver Bar Association, San Diego Bar Association, Rocky Mountain Business Law Association, and a Barrister of the Louis Welsh Inn of Court. He is currently a Master in the William Enright Inn of Court and a member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego.
Carolyn Dineen King
Senior Circuit Judge
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Carolyn Dineen King is a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Following her graduation from Smith College, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and Yale Law School, Judge King practiced law in Houston, principally with Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright), focusing primarily on corporate and federal securities matters. In 1979, she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Fifth Circuit. Judge King was the Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit from January 1999 through January 2006. She chaired the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States (which governs the federal court system) from 2002-2005. Judge King is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, the Houston Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.
Awards and Recognitions include:
Distinguished Service Award, American College of Bankruptcy, 2014
Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award, 2007
Doctor of Laws Degree, H.C., Syracuse University, 2006
Margaret Brent Award, American Bar Association, 2005
Honoree of the Year, National Association of Women Judges, 2005
Appellate Judge of the Year, Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, 2005
Doctor of Letters Degree H.C., University of St. Thomas, 2001
Outstanding Alumnus Award, Phi Beta Kappa Alumni of Greater Houston, 1998
Smith College Medal, Smith College, 1997
Hon. Theodore A. McKee L’75
United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Ted McKee was sworn in as a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on June 20, 1994, and became Chief Judge on May 4, 2010. He graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law in 1975 where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif, and earned several honors for outstanding academic performance. He began his legal career at a large Philadelphia law firm, but left there in 1977 to begin his career in public service. He has since been an Assistant United States Attorney, Deputy Solicitor to the Law Department of the City of Philadelphia, and General Counsel to the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
Judge McKee was appointed to serve as a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on Law and Justice, and is one of the inaugural members of the Council on Criminal Justice.
He also serves on the Board of the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement. Judge McKee’s official travels have included Ghana and Russia, where he had the honor of addressing the Council of Russian Judges on the Independence of the American Judiciary.
Hon. Rosemary S. Pooler
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Rosemary S. Pooler is a United States Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. At the time of her appointment in 1998, she was a United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York.
Judge Pooler received her B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1959, an M.A. in History from the University of Connecticut in 1961, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1965. She also attended the Program for Senior Managers in Government of Harvard University in 1978, and earned a Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Economics from the State University of New York at Albany in 1978.
Judge Pooler engaged in the private practice of law in Syracuse from 1966 until 1972. She served as Assistant Corporation Counsel/Director of the Consumer Affairs Unit for the City of Syracuse from 1972 to 1973. From 1974 to 1975, Judge Pooler was a District Representative on the Common Council of the City of Syracuse. From 1975 until 1980 she was Chair and Executive Director of the Consumer Protection Board of the State of New York. She served as a member of the New York State Public Service Commission from 1981 until 1986. In 1987, Judge Pooler was Staff Director of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions of the New York State Assembly. She was Visiting Professor of Law at Syracuse University from 1987 until 1988, and was Vice-President for Legal Affairs of the Atlantic States Legal Foundation from 1989 until 1990. In 1990, she became a Justice of the Supreme Court, Fifth Judicial District, State of New York, and served in this position until becoming a United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York in 1994.
Judge Pooler is a native of the City of New York.
Honorable Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. L’64
Senior U.S. District Judge
Northern District of New York
Senior Judge Scullin received his commission appointing him a United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York on February 10, 1992, and took the oath of office on March 13, 1992. On April 6, 2000, he became Chief Judge of the Northern District of New York. He became Senior Judge on March 13, 2006. Judge Scullin, a native Syracusean, attended and graduated from Niagara University in 1961 and Syracuse University, College of Law in 1964.
In November of 1964, Judge Scullin entered active duty with the United States Army, received training as a paratrooper and ranger, and thereafter served as an infantry commander with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Republic of Vietnam. He received numerous awards and decorations, and after release from active duty, continued to serve in the United States Army Reserve retiring in 1991 with the rank of Colonel.
Following military service, Judge Scullin entered the private practice of law with the firm of Germain and Germain, Syracuse, New York. Thereafter, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Onondaga County. In 1971, he was appointed by the New York State Attorney General as one of the original prosecutors of the then newly-formed Statewide Organized Crime Task Force and in that capacity, served as the Assistant in Charge of the Albany Regional Office. In 1978, he was appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida as Chief Prosecutor of the Governor’s Council for the prosecution of organized crime. He returned to the private practice of law in 1980 and in 1982 was appointed the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, a position he held until his appointment to the federal bench. In that capacity, Judge Scullin supervised numerous investigations and prosecutions in drug trafficking, organized crime, and—most notably—public corruption.
Senior Judge Scullin is a former member of the Second Circuit Judicial Council and was the Circuit representative on the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is the policy-making body for federal courts throughout the nation. In addition to his regular duties as a District Court Judge, Judge Scullin was a member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, having been appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to a seven-year term which ended in May 2011. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court meets in Washington, DC and is in session throughout the year.
Senior Judge Scullin is a member of the Federal Court Bar Association (NDNY), Federal Bar Council, State of Florida Bar Association, the Onondaga County Bar Association (having served on the Board of Directors from 1988 to 1990), honorary member of the Board of Advisors, Syracuse University College of Law, the Law College Association of Syracuse University and is a past member and chairman of the City of Syracuse, County of Onondaga Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission, member of the Board of Directors, Elmcrest Children’s Center, Christ the King Retreat House, and the Franciscan Collaborative Ministries Advisory Council.