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From the Playing Field to the Courtroom or the Boardroom

What Turns a Great Athlete Into a Great Lawyer?

In the last two Stories Books, we examined the intersection of law, creative pursuits, and other disciplines not often associated with the practice of law: fiction and non-fiction writing (2020) and music (2021). This year, we turn our attention to athletics.

How does one transition from the playing field to the courtroom or the boardroom? What are the connections between such physical and intellectual pursuits? What are the transferable skills and lessons, from sports practice and play to law school and the practice of law? We spoke with College of Law alumni and a current student who have competed in sports at the highest levels in both team and individual disciplines to learn how their experiences as athletes have informed their careers.

On Humility

Frank W. Ryan IV '90, L'94
Frank W. Ryan IV '90, L'94
Frank W. Ryan IV ’90, L’94 (Syracuse University Wrestling 1987-1990) Americas Chair, Global Co-Chair, and Global Co-CEO, DLA Piper

Wrestling teaches you humility. Mistakes on the mat lead to embarrassment. You must prepare to be humbled. You see your teammates struggle, and press, and find out who they really are when the storm hits.

David Moffitt L'96
David Moffitt L'96

David Moffitt L’96 (Professional hockey 1984-1986, Erie Golden Blades, Mohawk Valley Comets, Flint Spirit, 1996 Binghamton Whalers) Co-Head of US Credit Management, Investcorp

What hockey or any sport teaches you is a sense of selflessness and that you succeed as a team. You know there’s a time when you will sacrifice for the team without a quid pro quo, and if you do the right thing, you hope the right thing happens to you. It’s a nice intellectual approach but doesn’t always work out that way...

3L Tia Thevenin '18
3L Tia Thevenin '18

3L Tia Thevenin ’18 (Syracuse University Women’s Track & Field, 2014-2018; Canadian National Track & Field team, 2013-2020) Syracuse Law Student, 3L

All athletes should go to law school! I say that to my friends who are still competing. The determination and discipline are the same in both. You are used to being knocked down as an athlete. First-year law school will humble you and you need the will to wake up the next day and get it done. There’s a quote from track, “success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” That is exactly what law school is. You are going to fail and fail and win and fail, and you have to have that spark and enthusiasm.

On Teamwork

Matthew Moore '91, L'95
Matthew Moore '91, L'95

Matthew J. Moore ’91, L’95 (Syracuse University Men’s Lacrosse, 1988-1991, three-time National Champion; Professional lacrosse, Philadelphia Wings 1992-1993) Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP, Global Vice Chair of the Technology Industry Group, and a former Global Co-Chair of Latham & Watkins' Intellectual Property Litigation Practice.

I learned so much from being on the SU Lacrosse team, such as the importance of preparation and how to prepare; how to support your teammates, and how to be a leader. Sports are all about competition and getting the best out of you and your team, and we learned how to get the best from ourselves, our teammates, and our team. When you were on that team, one of the fun yet challenging things is that every game you play is the biggest game on your opponent’s schedule. Our ability

to be mentally and physically prepared for every game was special. It was expected that you would bring 100% every day; otherwise you would be letting the team down. This work ethic was critical to the next-man-up philosophy that helped those teams win game after game. That work ethic - if you can take that experience and translate it to any job-you’ll be successful.

A trial is also a team sport. I might do the opening and the closing, but if the documents are not ready when I reach for them, the team is not positioned for success. You need the mouthpiece, the people that understand the technology, the people that help with the examination outlines, the people who know the record, the logistics of getting the witnesses at the right time, and so much more. You must value all the people who put it all together with you equally because you would not succeed without them.

Ryan: Student-athletes can be powerful lawyers. Great athletes learn the selflessness critical to being an effective teammate, which translates well in the legal industry. Teamwork, equality, and hard work all equal success in sports and law.

Thevenin: I use the lessons learned through my athletic experiences every single day in law school, and this was true especially during my first year. Things come at you fast in the 1L year.

My classmates are my teammates. True, we are ranked, and that’s a mechanism that can divide us, so some people fear it in law school. But I remember sitting in class one day in my first year, as my classmates were speaking, they were offering perspectives that I didn’t consider, and that made me better. It’s like how teammates with different talents helped make me better. I realized I needed them to make me better. You put in work to see incremental changes. In law when you are trying to grasp a concept there’s always room for improvement, so it reminds me of hurdles.

I contrast the hurdles to life. You have obstacles you have to tackle and keep going. Track and field allowed me to stay sharp. I’m a high-energy person so hurdles were a good way to express who I am. The relay allows you to work with a team for a common goal. That’s transferable to any place in life as teamwork.

On Competition

Moffitt: Law school is almost the antithesis of playing a team sport. There’s a lot of competitiveness in any forced ranking system that mitigates against being a team player. Because it is a forced ranked competitive environment, many don’t know how to handle the competition. The one thing that helped me in law school was that I was a competitive athlete, and I knew how to handle one-on-one competition.

You would watch people melt down in ways that were modestly embarrassing, like a teacher gives you a facial in class because you said something stupid, and I would just laugh. I had this great professor that I was terrified of but learned a lot from in first-year: property Professor Laura Lape. She terrified everybody. She was so tough in the Socratic dialog that if you said something ridiculous, she would pause, and you knew it would be five minutes of torture. She is a genuinely nice person but takes her job seriously and the level of intellectual rigor you needed to bring to that class was probably the most I had to bring to any class. I’ve been yelled at by coaches, had things thrown at me, been verbally humiliated… the level of mental toughness coming out of a professional sport, knowing what it is like to spend three days on a bus you are sleeping on, play three games in three days and have your “A-game," prepares you for law school.

Moore: A trial is just like a game. You use individual skills, work ethic, and preparation. What great athletes and trial lawyers learn to do is overcome the fear and anxiety of competition. So many people never get over the fear of public speaking much less speaking in front of a jury. One of the things about being a trial lawyer is that it is the opposing counsel’s job to make you look bad. You are in that arena every day. You, and everyone on the team, must prepare enough so that your case comes through to the jury. Whether it’s the National Championship game or in a trial, you need to prepare and execute so you deserve victory. One of the things that gravitated me to this job is I can continue to compete and get the thrill as I did with Syracuse winning national championships.

On Leadership

Moffit: When you are a leader on a sports team, you need to lead from the front, make the sacrifices and be the one willing to give up the most. By doing that, others will emulate the behavior, and if you have a good team they will do even more. It’s something I learned from sports and it’s something I do to this day.

I recently read a quote from Napoleon: “leaders transact in hope.” And that’s the difference between leadership and management. Managers will tell you what to do, how to do it, and when to get it done. Leaders create a vision and communicate it to internal and external stakeholders. They don’t tell you how to get there, they lead you there. If you go off the track, they’ll go back and bump you back on the track. Leaders never tell you how to do things. They give you a vision of what it will look like when it’s done and leave it to your creativity to get it done.

Moore: We had some great leaders.I can see why Gary Gait is so successful. He led by example. He never acted like he was the best player on the team. Same with Paul [Gait]. They were just always working on the game. They did not think of themselves as the best or most important players. They were very humble, nice, and respectful to everyone. When you are that good, sometimes those lead players can put themselves before the team – not the Gaits.

They acted like they were any other player. They valued and appreciated everyone on the team; the walk-ons, the trainers, the backups, they made everyone feel just as important as they were. That’s not easy to do at that age, getting all that attention and having all the success they did. But they demonstrated leadership by example, working hard to get the most out of themselves and supporting everyone around them to get the most out of the team.

Thevenin: The best way to lead in sports is by how you carry yourself, through example and learning as a servant leader. I learned in law school it doesn’t have to be just one way. Leadership plays into how you affect changes.

The Final Word

What are the ties that bind athletes and lawyers? The competitive spirit, the strategic and tactical thinking, the willingness to sacrifice for the team and the greater good, the ability to perform under pressure, the desire to excel, and the determination to stay fit (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Moore sums it up: Successful athletes can be good at anything if they learn how to transfer their work ethic and leadership on the field into their work ethic and leadership off the field. Some get it and some don’t. If you can transfer what you learn from sports into being a lawyer, you will be successful.

Our Back Pages: Stories Book 2022

Do You Remember? Help Us Caption Our Mystery Photos!

The College of Law’s photo archive is a fascinating visual history of your alma mater, full of nostalgia, anecdotes—and a few mysteries. That is, some of our prints and slides lack information or captions.

That’s where you come in. In this feature, we challenge you to help us recall the people and scenes in our mystery photos.

For our new mystery, we have a classroom scene from the late 1980s or early 1990s. It seems that not everyone is paying attention to the professor!

If you know any of the students pictured, please email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@syr.edu, and we’ll publish what we discover in a future issue.

Mystery Photo Stories Book 2022
Mystery Photo Stories Book 2022

Mystery Unsolved!

It seems that the mystery photo from the 2021 Giving Book stumped everyone. We’re running it again to see if it jogs anyone’s memory. We know it is from the 1990 Law in London session. Can you help identify any of the students? If so, please email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@syr.edu.

2021 Giving Book Mystery Photo
2021 Giving Book Mystery Photo

Answering the Call to Serve Others

September 11, 2001, fell during the first week of high school for John C. Jensen L’12, and the impact on him was profound. The events of that day sparked in Jensen an interest in the law and in international affairs. “I also developed a great respect for firefighters,” Jensen remembers. Today an Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the New York State Attorney General, Utica Regional Office, Jensen also volunteers as an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B) and firefighter for the New Hartford, NY Fire Department.

John C. Jensen L’12
John C. Jensen L’12

​It was through this volunteer work that Jensen learned about the plight of an American family desperately trying to flee Afghanistan last August. Using his legal skills and knowledge of international law and bolstered by the aid and assistance of numerous people, most notably his former professor and mentor David M. Crane L’80, Jensen went on to help 16 people—15 Americans and one Afghan national— escape Afghanistan as the U.S. completed its withdrawal from the country.

It started in mid-August 2021, when fellow volunteer firefighter Sean Mahoney shared with Jensen that his friend, Schenectady, N.Y. resident Faziya Namaty had traveled to Afghanistan for a family gathering, and found herself unable to return to the U.S. When the Taliban seized control, Namaty was stuck with her family, unsure if they would be able to fly home. She sent videos of the deteriorating situation on the ground, showing Taliban checkpoints and the chaos near the airport in Kabul. 

“It started with rescuing one person,” Jensen remembers. “As more stories of persons left behind emerged, it became a mass effort.”

Jensen and Mahoney began working the phones and reaching out for assistance. “I felt like I had a pretty good idea who could help—the roles of the different government agencies,” Jensen said. Jensen was grateful for the help and direction they received from the offices of Congressman John Katko L’88 and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. It was Katko’s office that advised Jensen to compile GPS coordinates, passports, and other information about the evacuees, which were obtained via secure messaging apps.

Jensen also connected with other fellow Syracuse Law alums. “I just picked people’s brains. These relationships you have built over the years—in classes, the Student Bar Association— they all translate later,” he said. 

Jensen also got help arranging the rescue mission from a key group known as “Digital Dunkirk.” The volunteer group, largely made up of U.S. veterans and service members, worked to facilitate the evacuations of Americans and Afghan refugees. At one point, Jensen made a cold call to U.S. Central Command, which helped him get in direct contact with those coordinating the evacuations.

Important to the task at hand was Jensen’s coursework and experience at Syracuse Law. He took three classes from Professor Crane: National Security Law, Atrocity Law, and International Criminal and Civil Practice and Procedure, and he completed additional courses in the College’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (now the Institute for Security Policy and Law).

“Professor Crane’s courses provided me with an in-depth knowledge of international law, the law of armed conflict, and importantly the role of various federal and international agencies and NGOs in responding to international disasters, such as the one we experienced with the fall of the Afghan Republic,” Jensen said. “They also gave me a clear-eyed appreciation for the risks of leaving people, particularly U.S. persons, behind and the realities of the complex relationships between nations when dealing with humanitarian crises.”

During the crisis last August, Jensen felt part of his responsibility was to reassure the families he and Mahoney were working with. “You are limited in what you can do. We just tried to keep them calm.” Jensen advocated around the clock for a rescue mission to escort the Americans hiding from the Taliban to the airport. At one point, a military officer they were working with asked Jensen “What agency are you guys with, USAID?” The answer, of course, was “The New Hartford Fire Department.”

For Namaty and her family, there was a happy ending. Jensen and his wife, Sarah Murnane Kelly Jensen L’12, were driving with their infant son Colin on the way to Cape Cod, when he received a call that Namaty and 15 family members, then trapped in Kabul and Kandahar, would be rescued once those in Kandahar could relocate to Kabul. Under cover of darkness, the Kandahar group made their way to an undisclosed location where they were rescued by the U.S. military. All of them then flew from Kabul to Qatar, and then to Washington, D.C., on August 25.

For Jensen and his friend Mahoney, the work continued. With the assistance of Hale Transportation, a bus company in Clinton, N.Y. that donated a bus, and two volunteers Namaty’s family was driven from the Washington, D.C. airport to the family home in Schenectady. Everyone is doing well now and back to their lives, Jensen reports. He hopes to meet them all in person soon.

Jensen has now turned his attention to the crisis in Ukraine, volunteering with the Global Accountability Network, led by Professor Crane, to document the current war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in Ukraine.

Taking on Justice Causes in Pursuit of Truly Meaningful Representation

J. David Hammond L’07 and Melissa Swartz L’14

“I kept fighting for the court to do the right thing.” The words of a man who spent 16 years in prison and decades professing his innocence. The words of a man who sought help from the Innocence Project, the infamous Johnnie Cochran, and multiple attorneys including one who took his money, all his files and did nothing. The words of a man who finally succeeded in getting his conviction overturned in court because he never gave up, and because of the two tenacious graduates of the College of Law who have made justice causes their life’s work.

J. David Hammond L’07 and Melissa Swartz L’14
J. David Hammond L’07 and Melissa Swartz L’14

J. David Hammond L’07 and Melissa Swartz L’14 work for different law firms in Syracuse, but they have forged a formidable team in confronting injustice and incompetence in pursuit of what Hammond describes as “meaningful representation” for the client. Last fall, they succeeded in winning exoneration for Anthony Broadwater who was imprisoned in 1983 after being wrongfully convicted of raping Alice Sebold, a Syracuse University student who later detailed the rape in her memoir Lucky. Though released from prison in 1999, Broadwater was further “sentenced” to a life as a registered violent sex offender, severely limiting his ability to work and build a future. He waited forty years to be declared a truly free man, after Hammond and Swartz produced evidence that led a judge to vacate the conviction.

“No lawyer is perfect. But when you have a case that involves another attorney’s mistakes or misconduct, it’s vital that you place yourself in the shoes of a client and appreciate what they went through with that lawyer,” says Hammond. “The legal concept of ‘meaningful representation’ defines what a lawyer must do in terms of strategy and diligence in providing assistance to the client. If you are operating in a system that is patently unfair, you can’t just go in there kicking and screaming. Coming into a courtroom and expressing outrage is kind of a JV approach to lawyering. You have to know when it’s appropriate to challenge the system or just preserve an appellate issue.”

And you need to know when to call upon colleagues for specialized help. That’s why Hammond contacted his friend Swartz at Cambareri & Brenneck Attorneys at Law and asked her to join him on the Broadwater case after he was approached by a film producer and private investigator who were doing research related to a movie adaptation of Sebold’s memoir. The case raised alarming questions about misidentification in a police line-up and microscopic hair analysis that allegedly linked Broadwater to the rape. Hammond knew he would need the help of an attorney who specialized in forensic analysis.

“Melissa is a phenomenal lawyer, and probably among the best in this area,” says Hammond. “I’ve never met any lawyer better in forensics—blood spatter, DNA—she just eats it up! For every case with a forensic aspect, there’s nothing better than a lawyer who could moonlight as a forensic expert. Most lawyers can’t do that. And it’s good to have a teammate to plan with.”

Hammond says his methodical approach to developing and presenting a case was forged by his experiences in law school, followed by nearly ten years of military service. “Law school essentially reprograms your brain to think in a different way. Through the process of a good legal education, you can look at things less subjectively. It also takes tremendous self-discipline, and that was really strengthened for me during my time in the military.”

Hammond served in the military first as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army, prosecuting courts-martial cases, and conducting training on the military justice system for the Army’s police academy. Eventually, he became a Battalion Judge Advocate for the Airborne Special Forces at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (WA) where he served as the primary legal advisor to all levels of command on military justice, operational law, international law, domestic and foreign policy, fiscal law, administrative law, and legal assistance. He provided training to service members in Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) and Rules of Engagement (ROE). He finished his military career on the defense side, representing soldiers convicted at courts-martial on appeal before the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

“As a military officer you’re programmed to think strategically: every action has a consequence which produces another consequence, and so on. Whether you’re in a courtroom or preparing for the appellate argument, you have to plan for those third and fourth order effects,” says Hammond. “There’s an amazing quote attributed to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he was overall Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II. He famously said, ‘Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.’ In my view, it’s also the lawyer’s motto. There are lawyers who wing it and take things as they come, and they usually aren’t the best. It’s that methodical approach to every case that sets lawyers apart, and I think that’s what law school begins to teach and the military reinforced for me.”

The practice of law demands the same kind of discipline and focus that Hammond employed in military service. “I’ve dealt with the stress of military leaders relying on me for split-second decisions: Can I drop this munition on this target? If you can learn to deal with that sort of scenario, there aren’t a lot of situations in the civilian legal world that can shake you up. It’s about planning within the bounds of the law and ethical considerations. You have to continually ask yourself ‘What’s your desired end state and what plans can be put into place to achieve that desired end state?’ Thinking through all the possible courses of action. It’s the process that allows you to come as close to perfection as possible, to apply a method to the madness.” 

Hammond now works for Syracuse-based CDH Law, a veteran-owned legal defense firm, which states on its website: “We achieve results because we are disciplined. Our military, police, and prosecutorial backgrounds forged unmatched self-discipline into our character.” Certainly, that disciplined process has defined Hammond’s career, and continues to impact the cases he takes on. He served as the only military-appointed lawyer on Chelsea Manning’s appeal, following her conviction and court martial for leaking classified information (Manning was granted clemency in 2017 by President Barack Obama and her appeal continued for several years after). Manning’s trial record consisted of nearly 50,000 pages, one of the largest files in military history.

Hammond defines the Manning case as another “justice cause” involving government overreach and an unjust sentence by the court.

“Even though I am methodical and strategic in my approach, these justice cases also involve a personal element,” says Hammond. “I can’t help but become personally invested in the outcome. A lot of people get jaded and keep their personal feelings out of the equation. But it should matter to you.”

Swartz agrees that justice cases demand discipline and passion for the law and the client. “To be an effective attorney you really need to know your area of practice. You don’t just dabble, especially in criminal law, where lives hang in the balance,” says Swartz. “You can be a great orator, but that’s not enough.” In the Broadwater case, Swartz says her years of working “on the other side” in the Onondaga County district attorney’s office honed her appreciation for forensic evidence (or the lack thereof). The Broadwater conviction, largely based on microscopic hair analysis that has proven to be suspect, represented prosecutorial misconduct in her view.

“The system didn’t work for Anthony Broadwater,” says Swartz. “I’ve never had a case keep me up at night, until this one. The idea that he lost 40 years of his life. I want to do everything I can so that he is able to move forward.” She and Hammond are part of the legal team that recently filed a lawsuit in the New York State Court of Claims, working toward getting the state to compensate Broadwater for the years of life lost to the unjust conviction. “In law school they teach you about making people whole again,” says Swartz. “In reality, in cases like this one, you can never really achieve wholeness. We will fight the state of New York and pursue other avenues for relief so he can be financially compensated.”

Swartz’s passion for justice and criminal law developed long before law school. “I was in fourth grade when my math teacher allowed us to watch the OJ Simpson trial on television. It was obviously completely inappropriate,” she recalls. “I remember coming home one day and telling my parents I wanted to be Johnnie Cochran.” The irony of that is not lost on Swartz, given that Cochran turned down a request by Broadwater to take up his case.

Swartz grew up with what she terms an obsession with the criminal mind. “One of my beloved books was Helter Skelter,” she says. She approached law school with that same obsession, tailoring her courses to her passion. “I didn’t take a lot of bar courses to get ready for the bar, I didn’t care about law review or moot court. I took a seminar on the death penalty because I knew exactly what I wanted to do.” Most valuable to her were the experiences she gained externing in the district attorney’s office and the classes taught by working attorneys. “One of my bosses now, Steve Cambareri L’89, was my trial practice professor. I remember him telling me that I was sometimes dangerously close to being overly dramatic. And I was over-the-top. I’ve toned myself down,” she adds with a laugh.

Swartz still loves the legal drama, real and fictional. With both sincerity and humor, she easily shares a long-time dream—to play a character in a two-part episodic Law & Order, starting off as the victim who eventually unveils herself as the murderous perpetrator of the crime. Art imitating life? Life imitating art? The fact is, Swartz loves and lives her work.

“To be good at what you do, you need to love what you do,” says Swartz. “To be effective at it, you need to love your area of practice. I’m obsessed with it.”

Swartz says she and Hammond make a good pair because they are similarly passionate about criminal defense, and similarly hard-working, but bring very different viewpoints to each case. They argue. They debate. They trust each other. And, ultimately, they give to each client the best possible representation.

“We treat every case and every client as if it’s the case or the client of the century,” says Hammond. Because it just might be.

Sustained Support: LL.M. Program Provides Knowledge Needed to Succeed

Lawyers from more than 40 countries have earned their degrees from the College of Law LL.M. program during its 10 years of existence. Seeking to study and further their knowledge in the theory and practice of law in the U.S., LL.M. students are international lawyers who already possess a degree in law from their respective countries. These students come to the U.S. to learn and for a one-year program (or more if they would like to extend), and make the transition to practicing law in the U.S.

One of these students, Daria Ivasiuk LL.M. ’20, found her experience at the College of Law to be particularly beneficial in preparing her for future success.

Daria Ivasiuk LL.M. ’20
Daria Ivasiuk LL.M. ’20

Path to America

Ivasiuk is originally from Ukraine. She graduated from Ukrainian University with bachelor's and master's degrees in law. After working in Information Technology (IT) briefly after graduating, Ivasiuk’s family decided to move to the U.S. where they had family in the Syracuse area. Relocating to another country introduced a major professional transition for Ivasiuk, and she found herself on the fence about whether she should pursue a career in law or computer science.

Curious about the U.S. legal system, Ivasiuk ultimately chose to pursue law. She was pleased to discover that Syracuse Law offered a one-year LL.M. program that she was eligible to enroll in to practice law in her new home.

“When I was accepted into the program, my happiness was beyond any measure,” Ivasiuk explained. “Syracuse Law school is a nice place to study, in all terms, and was very helpful and welcoming to me in my journey. No matter your background, Syracuse will help you pursue your legal dream.”

Embracing Diversity

Ivasiuk quickly found that what makes the College of Law unique is how it embraces diversity, helping students of all different backgrounds and nationalities feel welcome and supported. She specifically remembers a meeting of LL.M. students held on the first day of orientation week.

Ivasiuk painted the scene, saying, “when I entered, I saw maybe 30 or more people from all around the world. Each brought their own background, history, cultures, and food preferences—and all were different. I was impressed by this diversity and that Syracuse welcomes everyone. It made me feel that I’m not a stranger here.”

The College of Law provides all LL.M. students with peer mentors to ease the transition in the social aspects of law school and living abroad. Embracing cultural differences and learning from each other is a mutually beneficial experience for the both the mentors and students. The social aspect of this experience is also key, as students are immersing themselves not only in the study of U.S. law, but also the whole experience of what it means to be a law student in the U.S.

The U.S. Law School Experience

As she began taking courses at the College of Law, Ivasiuk learned how the U.S. legal system and standards differ from that of Ukraine. She recalls the American Legal Systems course taught by Professor Shannon Gardner where she and her fellow classmates learned about constitutional law in the U.S. piece-by-piece, with a focus on the differences between law at the federal and state levels. 

Legal Writing for International Students is another course specifically designed for LL.M. students. This course focused on legal research, essential knowledge for all legal careers. Preparing for her legal memorandum assignment, Ivasiuk researched many facts and cases, piecing her case together to articulate her position. These types of legal writing skills have been very helpful to Ivasiuk in providing background and understanding of what her legal career in the U.S. would soon entail. 

Keeping classes small and providing access to professors sets LL.M. students up for success, enabling them to have enriching discussions around the subjects that they are seeking to master. “Professor Deborah O’Malley took the time to review every question we had until we had no more,” Ivasiuk was happy to find. “It was very helpful to me.”

Preparing for the Future

The main takeaway Ivasiuk learned from law school is that you must work for your results.

“You gain determination and become disciplined while at law school, which greatly prepares you to be a hardworking attorney,” Ivasiuk said. “I also learned communication skills at Syracuse that I use in my career now, mainly in how to pitch my own ideas.”

After graduation from Syracuse, Ivasiuk worked at a six-month internship focused on immigration law and asylum cases at the Law Offices of Jose Perez L’07. That fall, Ivasiuk received the good news that she passed the New York Bar exam. She then accepted an offer to join the Olinsky Law Group, focusing on disability law, and recently transferred to a nonprofit, Hiscock Legal Aid Society, as a staff attorney.

In the Next Five Years…

Ivasiuk’s favorite component of her current position is the fact that she can help underrepresented people and those with low incomes.

“I want to serve our community and help as many people as I can,” Ivasiuk explained, “because I believe that justice should be provided to everyone. Over the next five years, I want to deepen my knowledge in divorce law and be able to say I am a specialist. I’d like to advise people on every step of their divorce, and to make the process as amicable as possible so people won't be traumatized, especially when there are children involved.”

All in the (Syracuse) Family

Syracuse University, the city of Syracuse, and family ties mean everything to the Pearce family.

Left: Andrew Pearce L’12, his father Ted Pearce L’77, and Ted’s great-uncle Harry Kallet ’1912 showcasing 100 years of family ties to Syracuse University.
Left: Andrew Pearce L’12, his father Ted Pearce L’77, and Ted’s great-uncle Harry Kallet ’1912 showcasing 100 years of family ties to Syracuse University.

It all started at 2208 East Genesee Street in Syracuse. All five Pearce siblings went on to attend Syracuse University when they came of age, with Stephen attending just before WWII rocked the country and the world. His brother, Walter Pearce L’29, acquired his law degree at Syracuse Law, along with his cousin by marriage Judge Richard Aronson L’29, who went on to become a New York State Supreme Court Judge in Syracuse.

Stephen met his soon-to-be wife, Shirley Plehn, at school while she, too, was pursuing her undergraduate degree at Syracuse. Many years later, Stephen and Shirley had a son, Ted Pearce L’77, who now serves as counsel at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Charlotte, NC. 

Ted’s path to law school began as he was studying Constitutional Law in pursuit of his undergraduate degree. A history major, Ted felt a strong draw and interest in law as he navigated through his studies. In many ways, he found the two disciplines to be quite compatible and soon, he decided to explore these interests and apply for law school. When the time came for Ted to decide where he would go, there was one clear choice in his mind—Syracuse University College of Law.

Decades later, Ted’s son Andrew Pearce L’12 made that very same decision, with the influence of now over 120 years of family ties to the city and University. Andrew chose to study law at Syracuse not only because of his father’s positive experiences, but also because of the strong reputation the College of Law has in the New York City area, where he spent the first 10 years of his career in banking prior to his current position as an Associate at Mintz in Boston, MA. The strong alumni base and connections in the city made Syracuse a front runner for Andrew.

We spoke with both Ted and Andrew about their time spent at Syracuse as each is approaching a milestone class reunion this fall, Ted’s being the 45th and Andrew’s the 10th.

What are some of your favorite memories of law school?

Ted: Walking up the Crouse Irving stairs each morning during the winter on my way to the law school. I particularly enjoyed hearing the alliteration in speech by Professor Richard Goldsmith and the enthusiasm of Professor Travis Lewin during his evidence lectures. I do remember that the graduation ceremony at Hendricks Chapel was quite delightful.

Andrew: I played on an intramural ice hockey team at SU made up of all law students, which was a blast. It was a great way to take a break from studying and really bond with other classmates who were going through the same experiences and challenges I was while getting my degree. We had so much fun playing against other teams, and then grabbing beers and a burger afterwards to let off some steam.

I also have some great late-night memories, particularly during my first year of law school, studying in the law school library until it closed at midnight and then popping down to a bar at the base of campus for a beer and sandwich. It was the perfect way to cap off a long day with some of my best friends.

Did any faculty make a lasting impression on you? 

Ted: Professor Samuel Fetters ‘living people have no heirs’ and my daily runs with Professor Goldsmith.

Andrew: There were a number, but Professor Margaret Harding in particular taught a class that laid the foundation for the work that I do every day as a securities lawyer. Her class was a springboard for my career, fueling an interest that led me to my first summer associate position at an investment bank. The information she taught me was the initial foundation in my understanding of securities law, and her class had a larger-than-life lasting impression on me.

How would you summarize the value of your time at Syracuse Law?

Ted: I felt that my legal education at Syracuse was very solid. I never felt outgunned or outmanned by any of my legal adversaries I faced in my career who may have graduated from the “more prestigious schools.”

Andrew: I participated in the Law in London program during my 1L summer, providing me with eight weeks of working experience for a London borough in legal council’s office. It was a tremendous experience and great to addition to my resume that was key in helping me secure my first job at Deutsche Bank. It was a fantastic program that I cannot recommend enough.


Thirty-five years passed between the year of Ted’s commencement in 1977 and Andrew’s commencement in 2012. In talking to his father about his experiences, Andrew believes that there are many similarities, but also key differences in their time spent at Syracuse. “I actually had a few of the same professors who taught my father, specifically Professor Robert Rabin,” Andrew said, “which was a really cool experience for me, and I think that the way students are taught law and the Socratic method of teaching has remained largely the same over the years. There is a lot of history and reasoning behind that.”

On the flip side, Andrew thinks law school is now a friendlier place with a more approachable culture for the new generation of law students. Students have increased access to professors and more chances to get help and have conversations outside of the classroom to enhance the student learning experience. “The new facilities with a fireplace in the Atrium and open concepts also make a big difference in the atmosphere for current law students, I’m sure, which I didn’t get to experience myself but are a very nice addition,” Andrew explained in reference to Dineen Hall.

Another way the College has changed is the advent of technology such as Zoom to conduct classes. In spring 2023, will join the College as a Distinguished Lecturer teaching a JDinteractive residency on Franchising in North Carolina.

With more than 120 years of history with Syracuse, we asked Ted if he foresaw any future Pearce family generations attending Syracuse University and/or the College of Law. He said, “I currently have one granddaughter. Though she is only nine months’ old, there is generational promise!”

Lawyers in Love: Andrew Wright L’10 & Stacy Wright L’10

The Wright Family
The Wright Family
A strong relationship can be defined in a variety of ways. For Stacy Wright L’10 and Andrew Wright L’10, studying for the bar exam together was just a confirmation that the two of them can make it through anything together.

After receiving rankings for their first semester at the College of Law, Stacy was on a mission to find the number one ranked student, but little did she know that the mysterious student was her future husband.

“When we got back to school after our 1L first semester, and we got our rankings and I jokingly said to some of my friends ‘I want to meet whoever was number one in the class because I could use some work,’ and they told me I wouldn’t know him since he never goes out because he’s always studying,” Stacy said.

Stacy was not deterred by Andrew’s mysteriousness, and they finally met during their first summer. Andrew and Stacy began to spend a lot of time together inside and outside of school.

By their third year, they were practically living together, despite renting separate places. They appreciated the balance they provided each other, and as they spent more and more time together, both realized how much they valued the other’s presence as they challenged each other to grow into different and better people.

“I think we’re similar in lots of ways but we’re opposites in lots of good ways, too. I think that the more time we spent together in my second and third years of law school, the more I came to appreciate those things and I think she helped me grow into a different person than I was during the first year of law school,” Andrew said.

As law school ended, Andrew was planning to move to Buffalo, N.Y. after accepting a position with Hodgson Russ LLP, but realized he desperately wanted Stacy to join him. In April of 2010, Andrew asked Stacy to marry him and move to Buffalo together, and despite being from Miami, FL., Stacy said yes to both proposals.

“I knew he was the one when I said yes but it was reaffirmed when we survived studying for the bar together,” Stacy said. “We could make it through anything after that.”

Today, Andrew is still with Hodgson Russ LLP working as a partner in the state and local tax group and Stacy is in-house counsel for the London Stock Exchange Group. They have three children and will be forever grateful for the College of Law, as it changed their lives in the best possible way. 

“I met Mr. ‘Right’ and the rest was history,” Stacy said. “We fell in love.”

Lawyers in Love: Nichole Thompson L’95 & Troy Thompson L’96

Nichole Thompson L'95 and Troy Thompson L'96
Nichole Thompson L'95 & 
Troy Thompson L'96
Nichole Thompson L’95 met the man of her dreams at her undergraduate college, Clark Atlanta University, and thought she had to say goodbye to him for three years when she came to Syracuse in 1992 for law school. Little did she know that in 1993 the man of her dreams, Troy Thompson L’96, would follow her to Syracuse and join her at the College of Law. 

Growing up in New York City, Nichole knew that she wanted to go to Syracuse for law school as she wanted to pursue a degree in communications as well. Her initial goal was to enter the field of entertainment law, but she also knew that she wanted to return to Atlanta after law school.

During her undergraduate experience, Nichole was a part of the Divine Nine Panhellenic Council, where she met Troy and the two immediately hit it off. Both held leadership positions and their friendship quickly kindled into a romance. 

“There was a spark that just drove me towards his connection because of his intellectual probe and his ability to not just look at me as a beautiful woman, but as a beautiful mind, and we were connected in that space,” Nichole says.

After separating post-graduation so Nichole could follow her dreams of pursuing entertainment law, the two talked every night on the phone, with Nichole telling Troy about all of her coursework and exciting College of Law opportunities that she was experiencing.

“He said ‘you know what, I think I’m going to apply’ and I couldn’t believe it,” Nichole says. “And low and behold, he joined me the next year as a law student.”

In 1994, Nichole and Troy were married and welcomed their first child while still vigorously pursuing their law degrees. Despite the obvious challenges of raising a child while simultaneously seeking a law degree, Nichole and Troy flourished and had what they believe to be their most successful semester.

After graduation, the couple moved back to Atlanta, with three daughters eventually joining their family. Their son is a lieutenant for the Navy, their oldest daughter is an accountant, their middle daughter is finishing her undergraduate experience with the hopes of being a psychiatrist, and their youngest daughter is heading off to high school soon.

Although Nichole expected to pursue entertainment law, she quickly learned that she had a knack for Human Resources (HR). Over the last 25 years, Nichole has worked in a HR capacity at Target and at Union Pacific Railroads, which helped pave the way for other senior-level HR positions. Today Nichole is Senior Vice President of HR and the Chief People Officer at FLS Transport. Since Troy’s time at Clark Atlanta, his passion has always centered around technology. As President of Business Development and Government Relations at Judicial Innovations, Troy can blend his passion for technology and law together.

“I certainly can only speak to what I know and what I know is that Syracuse forged an indelible relationship between my husband and me, and the start of our family,” Nichole says. “The fact that we were married there, matriculated through the law school and then had our first child there, those are memories and those are lasting impressions that are very favorable for us. It delved a love of the institution that you can’t get in any other ways.”

The Murphy Family: The Story Continues!

When speaking with the Murphy family, one can’t help but notice their shared love of family and the city of Syracuse. Although each family member has a unique personality, the interest in law is a strong recurring gene. Every Murphy who has gone to law school has chosen the College of Law at Syracuse.

Timothy (Tim Jr.) Murphy Jr. L’21
Timothy (Tim Jr.) Murphy Jr. L’21
Daniel (Dan) M. McGarvey L’23
Daniel (Dan) M. McGarvey L’23

​The legacy started with Hon. Thomas J. Murphy L’54, and three of his sons who followed his footsteps and share a deep pride in continuing his legacy in law and at Syracuse. Now, the story continues with the family’s Class of 2021 graduate of the College, a current student at the College, and potential future applicants, too. 

The Hon. James (Jim) Murphy L’84 said his mentor has been his father. They’ve followed similar paths towards the bench, Jim now serving as Chief Administrative Judge for New York’s 5th District.

Jim and his brothers, Timothy (Tim) P. Murphy L’89, Managing Partner at Hancock Estabrook, and Martin (Marty) Murphy L’86, now retired after 34 years at the Onondaga County Attorney’s office, see and experience law as an opportunity to help people and make a difference. They all agree that if a family member expresses interest in law, they encourage them to explore it, but don’t pressure them. 

Timothy (Tim Jr.) Murphy Jr. L’21, is part of the third generation of Murphys to graduate from the College. He became interested in law after he took a pre-law course in college and loved it. “That’s what got me more interested, and then I started approaching my dad, and asking him more about his career and law school. The spark was ignited in college, but my dad was there to help my exploration, and answer questions,” he said.

Although they could go anywhere, Syracuse is home for the Murphys. Tim Jr. and Daniel (Dan) M. McGarvey L’23, a nephew of the Murphy brothers, son of their sister, says the proximity to family influenced their decision to pick the College of Law. Dan said the family’s connection to the College also factored into his decision, as it’s special to him, and he’s honored to be a part of the legacy. 

When asked why they think their family continues to choose Syracuse Law, Jim says that it may be because he speaks highly of it, and that his brothers have also had positive experiences. Tim emphasizes that the College offers great opportunities to get hands-on experiences. For Marty, the academic preparation he received at the College made all the difference; he described it as the foundation of his career. He’s also advised his nephews to get as much practical experience as possible, recalling that an internship led him to his 34 year-long career at the County Attorney’s office. Similarly, for Tim Jr., it was his externship that placed him in his current job with the Department of Commerce.

“I think our children see a lot of people happy with the career they chose, and it kind of rubs off on you in a funny way,” Marty said.

The Love of Family, First

As he grew up, Tim Jr. saw his predecessors’ successes and satisfaction with their legal careers, but he also observed how much they value their Murphy family. “I got to see the part that really mattered for all of them, which wasn’t the career itself, but what they came home to at the end of the day,” he said. “It’s great to have a career you love, but I've always appreciated that each of them also placed so much value on their family lives, and I’m a product of being raised with that love and care.”

For Jim, thinking back on his trial lawyer days, the importance of family was still relevant in the courtroom. When convincing a jury, Jim said he imagined them as family members. “I’m from a big family, so to me, it was always about convincing all my aunts and uncles that we’re right,” he said. “Believe me, families argue about everything, so if you can carry the day with your family, you’re probably a pretty good trial lawyer,” he joked. 

Thinking of his father’s legacy, Jim appreciates the reputation he set for his family. “I like to think that I could build on that as having a reputation of being fair, open-minded, and prepared,” said Jim. For his nephews, “I hope that I give them the same thing my dad gave me, which is a good reputation in the legal community.”

Tim echoed his brother’s sentiments, sharing that he’s proud his family has continued his father’s career. “He was the first person in my family to become a lawyer, and now we’re onto the third generation,” Tim said. Proud of all of his three children, he thinks law was the suitable choice for Tim Jr., as it matches his strengths in reading and writing, and feeds his intellectual curiosity.

The Third Generation

In the span of 70 years, each generation has received the same excellent education, but in different classrooms. “My father told us he went to law school in downtown Syracuse, and when I went it was next to the Carrier Dome,” said Marty. “Now, my nephews are going to the law school down the hill a little bit, across from the Stadium. It’s interesting and amazing that each generation attended the same law school, in three different locations.” 

For the younger Murphys, they’re honored to continue and be a part of their family’s legacy, which they highly value. “There's some responsibility in that, but it’s absolutely special, and it is definitely something that I'm keenly aware of every day,” Dan said.

“I acknowledge how privileged I am to have had two generations before me who had gone to law school,” Tim Jr. said. “It’s something I’ve never taken for granted or taken lightly because it is such a massive privilege, and I do appreciate that.” 

Marty echoed feeling proud of his family’s legacy, and of his nephews who continue it.

The Dinner Table Conversation Continues

Law is still a hot topic at the Murphy family dinner table, but a few members’ roles in the conversations have changed. As a law student, Dan’s questions have changed from general questions about the law to specific advice seeking. 

“Everybody needs help every now and again, and I’m so lucky to have such willing people there to ask,” Dan said.

Tim Jr. is also grateful for the advice his father and other members have given him. “I’ve had no shortage of people who could offer me advice. I always listened to what they said,” he said.

For Jim, it feels like he was sitting in his nephews’ spot not too long ago. Seeing young lawyers like them enter the field makes him feel better about the profession. “I think very highly of them,” he said. “Watching them grow up and hone their skills, I think they will do well. I have no doubt.”

Although nothing is for certain, most of the Murphys admitted they wouldn’t be surprised if a few more family members soon joined the legacy.

From the Legal Field to the Potato Field

How a College of Law Alum Became a Potato Chip Historian

As Alan B. Richer L’79, owner of TogaChipGuy.com, prepared for his interview on a History Channel series in 2020 about the history of potato chips, it felt like he was studying for the bar exam again.

Alan Richter in Law School
Alan Richer in Law School

​Richer grew up in New Jersey and came to Syracuse University where he triple-majored in Risk Management and Insurance, Accounting, and Communications. He continued his education at the College of Law, where he said his great professors made a big difference in his life. “It wasn't so much the content of the course material, but that they taught me how to think,” Richer said.

After law school, Richer was a tax lawyer for Exxon, and then moved on to computer company Data General. The new position taught him how to juggle lots of different responsibilities, but with fewer resources, he said. Eventually, he started doing international tax law and moved to GE in 1990, until his retirement in 2013.

At GE, Richer woke up at two o’clock in the morning and worked for 12 hours daily, working with colleagues in different countries. As part of his work, he traveled and met people of diverse backgrounds. “I met a lot of really bright people,” he said. “And one of the things that's nice about the tax area is you really have to continually stretch and be at your best because there are so many bright people in and surrounding the field.” No matter where his career took him, Richer returned to his roots nearly every year, visiting the law school and watching Syracuse basketball—a tradition he continues to this day.

During his career, he discovered an interest that would shape the rest of his life: the history of the potato chip. In 2004, Richer and his wife bought a second house on Saratoga Lake in New York. As he searched for artwork depicting lake life, he was directed to Michael Noonan, famed Saratoga photographer George Bolster’s protegee. Although Bolster was known as  the man who saved the history of Saratoga Springs through photography, Richer would soon begin to discover and document another part of Saratoga’s history: the potato chip, which was purportedly invented near his lake house.

“My mother always said I should do everything in moderation, but I never paid attention to that, so I started collecting everything. That’s how it all began,” Richer said. He learned that the inventor of the potato chip is unknown, but all potato chips were initially called Saratoga Chips. He was fascinated by how the name Saratoga was initially used to describe potato chips and became curious as to how the name phased out to become the generic potato chip we know today.

As neighbors began to hear about his collection, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation asked him to do a program about the history of the potato chip. Word was spreading, and a writer from the Albany Times Union ultimately deemed Richer the “Toga Chip Guy,” which Richer liked and kept as his moniker.

Alan Richter
Alan Richer
With his new title, Richer continued his research by calling others who may have stories or memorabilia. He referred to himself as “a Potato Chip Historian.” Some would laugh and hang up, he admitted, but that did not deter him. His big break came when he called the Snack Food Association, now known as SNAC International, in Washington, D.C. They connected him with Don Noss, son of SNAC’s founder, who enjoyed talking about the history of the potato chip.

Richer and Noss became “phone pals” and eventually met up. Together, they went on road trips to different “chippers,” which are family-started potato chip companies.

“I agreed that I would perpetuate the stories of their families and in exchange, they gave me their family’s chip memorabilia,” he said.

As he collected memorabilia and stories, he started a blog about his findings. The blog’s popularity and publicity led others to reach out to him. “I started getting calls and emails from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, all over the world,” he said. From these interactions, he continues his collection and research.

Even on his vacations, if something catches his eye, he dives in. Whether through public libraries, historical societies, museums, or even ancestry, he’s collected some of the oldest potato chip tins out there, and now has the largest collection of Saratoga Potato Chip memorabilia in the world.

In 2020, the History Channel called on him for their show, The Food that Built America. In preparation for an on-camera interview, he received over a hundred questions. “I must have stayed up 40 hours the next two days to research them all. I had never shot a TV show before, so I was thinking to myself I’d have to memorize all of my answers! I felt like I was studying for the bar exam all over again,” he said. He soon discovered his notes would be available for consultation. A success, his interview footage was used on several of the show’s episodes.

Potato Chip Memorabilia
Potato Chip Memorabilia

So how has Richer meshed his J.D. with his love for potato chips? Presentation skills and the ability to research have helped him, especially as he gives lectures on the history of the potato chip. At the beginning of his presentations, he uses the Socratic Method to challenge what people think, and he makes his lectures interactive, entertaining, and educational.

As to current trends in the potato chip industry, he says that health and wellness are a big factor. “Now, you find different cooking techniques using different ingredients, like mushrooms, seaweed and many vegetables other than potatoes.” Richer calls these chips “no-tato” chips. He has created other words, like “Chipcipes,” which are chip or dip recipes that can be found on his website.

His creativity and adaptivity reflect the characteristics of a well-rounded lawyer. From stand-up comedy to freelance journalism, Richer’s experiences exemplify this aspect of him.

During a conversation with Richer, it’s easy to imagine listening to hours of his countless, fascinating stories. From how the shape of the Pringles chip came to be, to Al Capone’s potato chip route from the East Coast into the Midwest. When he was a tax lawyer, Richer was bound by the rules of client confidentiality, often unable to talk about his work. Now, he can share his passion with anyone willing to listen.

A popular question? What is his favorite potato chip? Cape Cod Kettle Chips, 40% Less Fat.

Dean’s Message

Dean Craig M. Boise
Dean Craig M. Boise

​A telling theme that runs throughout this year’s Stories Book is “family.” I invite you to read on to learn about our alumni and their connection to each other as a family and as a community, and to explore with admiration how they are making an impact on the world. Both in professional and private lives, family and community inspire action and drive change.

Most obvious are our family legacy stories. One is an update on the Murphy family and its ongoing relationship with the College of Law that now crosses three generations. Since we first wrote about them in 2018, a third-generation member of the family has graduated from the College, and another is now entering his third year. When we meet up with the Pearce family, we learn that both father and son are celebrating milestone graduation years in 2022 while their forefathers first graduated from the College of Law and Syracuse University more than 100 years ago.

You can feel the impact of world events on families in the story about John Jensen L’12 and how he utilized the skills he learned at the College of Law to selflessly help families escape from Afghanistan in the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal of troops there. Daria Ivasiuk LL.M.’20 shares her journey from Ukraine to Syracuse, and her appreciation for the commitment to diversity she found here. 

The practice of law is a team sport, and sports teams are prime examples of individuals coming together as a single unit, or a family, for a common goal. This spring we continue our examination of how the law intersects with other pursuits and disciplines, in our special feature on Orange athletes . See how their experience as members of an athletic team made them feel part of a broader mission and helped shape their careers and their leadership styles in law practice.

With the gradual relaxing of COVID restrictions over this past academic year, I am reminded every day of the close-knit College of Law family that embraces our students and its importance during their studies. Each of the stories in this magazine illustrates the impact made by generations of the College’s dedicated faculty and staff on our alumni.

I hope you enjoy these pages as moments to learn, reminisce, and laugh with fellow alumni, Thank you for sharing your stories and being a part of our Orange family’s bright future.

Very truly yours,

Craig M. Boise

Dean and Professor of Law

The View from the Corner Office

Alums Reflect on their Journey from Law School to the C-Suite

The College of Law has produced extraordinary leaders throughout our history. Today, our alumni include the President of the United States, a congressional representative, elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, judges, other public servants, business and nonprofit executives, entrepreneurs, writers, managing partners and law firm chairs, and so many others in positions of influence.

In this third edition of The View from the Corner Office, we focus on alumni in senior leadership or entrepreneurial positions in medicine and pharmaceuticals. To be sure, the pandemic has placed a spotlight on public health, global health, and health care systems. Here are the stories of just a few of the College of Law’s alums who have risen to the daunting task of helping to attain the highest level of health care delivery by utilizing their law school training.

Along the way, we learn that for an Orange lawyer, any career benefits from a Syracuse law diploma. Look for more C-suite stories in future issues of the Stories Book, and if you missed them, prior issues, too, on our website.

Connie Matteo L'91

Assistant General Counsel in Pfizer’s Civil Litigation Group

Connie Matteo L'91
Connie Matteo L'91
Prior to joining Pfizer in October 2009, Connie Matteo L’91 was a Senior Corporate Counsel at Wyeth. Before going in-house, she was a principal of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman in Morristown, NJ and a member of the firm's Litigation Department. Her practice focused on complex product liability, including pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices product liability claims. She also counseled pharmaceutical clients on issues related to regulatory compliance.

Matteo has authored a number of articles related to product liability litigation and regulatory compliance, frequently speaks on topics related to such litigation, and serves as a guest lecturer at two law schools.

Her interest in science was prompted by Matteo's own struggle with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. “As a patient, I have a deep respect for the work that pharmaceutical companies do to improve the health of patients,” she says, noting the diagnosis pushed her to hone her focus on the pharmaceutical world.

What was your path to get where you are? 

When I started at the College of Law, I definitely didn’t see myself in my current role. As a first- generation student, my knowledge of the legal profession was fairly limited. I was also a bit shy, so I certainly never saw myself as a litigator. My original goal was to become a human rights attorney and to return to Amnesty International where I had interned in college. I attended an international law symposium during my first year of law school and quickly realized that international law wasn’t for me.

My career path was not typical for an in-house lawyer as I started my career as a plaintiff’s lawyer at a small firm. One of the two partners at the firm was a College of Law alum. As a benefit of working at a small firm, I had the opportunity to get substantive, hands-on experience, especially trial work. By my third year of practice, I recognized that I enjoyed cases that involved science and moved to a large firm’s product liability group in 1994. As an associate and partner, I worked on many matters for Pfizer and Wyeth. In 2007, I joined Wyeth which was later acquired by Pfizer.

How did law school prepare you for your current role?

One of the highlights of my time at Syracuse was participating in the College of Law’s trial advocacy program. I gained so much from that experience. I learned practical litigation skills, such as learning to think on my feet and make decisions quickly. I use the skills gained in the trial advocacy program almost every day.

Is there a professor or mentor during your time at the College of Law that stands out? 

Professor Travis H.D. Lewin. Not only did I gain a tremendous amount from his evidence and trial practice courses, but he was also a mentor and coach for the trial teams.

In light of the pandemic, what innovation has most affected your industry or how you practice law?

Zoom has dramatically changed my practice over the last two years, and I suspect it will continue to have a role after the pandemic. Before the pandemic, I traveled regularly for case management conferences, depositions, and trials. My only exposure to Zoom prior to the pandemic was once, as a guest lecturer at another law school. In the last two years, I’ve participated in roughly 10 mediations over Zoom. I’ve observed many oral arguments, case management conferences, depositions, and several jury exercises. We’ve even had an arbitration over Zoom. The ability to participate in hearings and conferences without traveling is a significant time-saver.

How has your organization overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Pfizer moved at lightning speed to make the impossible possible: Produce a COVID-19 vaccine in less than one year. But we also committed to change the normal ways of working. We’ve had to pivot from traveling to attend in-person meetings to Zoom, and have adopted this “lightning speed” mentality in all the work that we do. We cut out red tape where we can, and closely collaborate with colleagues and partners to accomplish our purpose—breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. As the litigation lawyer that supports Pfizer’s vaccine team, it has been a very busy past couple of years but the work I’ve done and continue to do is the most meaningful and satisfying work I’ve ever done.

Jeremy McKown L'98

Vice President of Law, Janssen R&D at Johnson & Johnson

Jeremy McKown L'98
Jeremy McKown L'98
In overseeing a global legal team at Johnson & Johnson, most recently pursuing an expedited development of a COVID-19 vaccine, Jeremy McKown L’98 relies on effective communication and practical decision making. Sometimes, including when facing a global pandemic, he says, solutions must be found both creatively and through compromise.

“For every facet of the vaccine development process, my team was involved from a contract perspective, but also from a counseling perspective, because we were trying and doing things we hadn’t attempted in the past.”

In his work, he most enjoys negotiating complex license agreements, but says he’s had a varied career. “It's been a very fulfilling journey.” He finds gratification especially in seeing a successful outcome after a patient has benefited from a J&J clinical trial or a newly approved medicine.

“When I see someone whose life we’ve helped or saved, it brings tears to my eyes. It's the same thing with our vaccine effort over the past two years, when I see what that's done for society across the globe, I take it to heart. It’s very rewarding, and it’s exciting working on programs that may save people's lives, or at the very least, make their lives better.”

What is your current position and what was your path to get where you are?

In my current role as head of R&D legal for J&J’s Pharmaceutical Group, I manage around 30 lawyers and professionals across the globe. We focus on transactions and spend much of our time drafting and negotiating clinical trial agreements, complex R&D agreements, and other types of agreements needed for our R&D business. Prior to taking this role in 2019, I worked at J&J as a patent attorney in our pharmaceutical and consumer businesses.

After my first year at Syracuse, I knew I wanted to do intellectual property law. To further investigate, while in school, I took a part-time job downtown with a small IP firm. This helped crystallize that I wanted to be an IP lawyer, particularly focusing on patent law. I first started in Washington, D.C. because I was told this is where all the patent IP firms were. I worked at Dorsey & Whitney and then Wilmer Hale and felt extremely fortunate to find general practice firms that exposed me to patent preparation and prosecution, patent litigation, IP due diligence, and significant transactions including complex license agreements.

How did law school prepare you for your current role?

Learning to think and approach problems differently was the biggest takeaway. Spending my undergraduate and graduate years in science required a different mindset. From the first day in law school, I recognized the need to approach problems from a different perspective. The most beneficial subject matter was taking federal courts and patent law courses and discussing practical examples. The best way to figure out how to draft a patent claim is to actually practice doing it. Professor Theodore Hagelin’s Law Technology Management Program (now known as the Innovation Law Center) was extremely important because it was less about reading textbooks and more about interacting with other law students and companies on projects. The huge benefit there was that we were working on real projects and interacting with different companies on these projects.

We worked on projects we knew would have an impact on large Fortune 500 companies or small start-ups. To sit across the table with business leaders and discuss our research and tell them what plans we’d developed and how they could maximize their intellectual property was an important skill building tool. It was as close as you could get to a real-world experience, and that hands-on experience was extremely valuable.

Is there a professor or mentor during your time at the College of Law that stands out? 

Professor Lisa Dolak L’88, who taught patent law and federal courts, was great because she had industry and legal experience. It wasn't just theoretical like reading a textbook, it was real-world experience that she was sharing with students. On top of that, during my third year, under Professor Hagelin, I was a teaching assistant for the Law Technology & Management program. The combination of learning from both professors really solidified my interest in IP.

In light of the pandemic, what innovation has most affected your industry or how you practice law?

Zoom has been incredibly important. Before we would do conference calls, but you never really knew if people were paying attention. During the pandemic, it was an extremely important tool to be able to visually connect and talk through issues. It didn't solve every problem, but it made things more personal. From a mental health aspect, it was essential given that many of my team members were isolated in their apartment buildings. After meetings I often received comments about how connected people felt thanks to this medium. This was really gratifying to hear and made me feel better as a team leader.

The pandemic also made people think differently about how and what tools can be used to get things done quicker and more efficiently.

Consider artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which have grown by leaps and bounds. We are now piloting AI tools to make the practice of law more efficient. We look at complex transactions a different way than simple transactions. Confidentiality agreements (CDAs) and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are the simplest form of contracts we work with. If we can use an AI tool to craft the CDA or NDA and redline it when it comes back from another party, it makes a lower priority – but essential - task much more efficient. Then we can focus on higher priority work. There's not an AI tool or company out there that I’m aware of that has solved every issue, but we are spending time looking at different tools that will make contracting more efficient, and, I think, easier for attorneys to spend more time on higher value work.

Can you talk about your legal role in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout?

I have a number of examples. To run a clinical trial, you need to have a clinical investigator and other health care professional work with the trial subjects. In many situations people didn't want or couldn’t go to a hospital or clinic because of the many restrictions related to COVID-19. This was completely understandable given the pandemic. We had to think about new ways of working, e.g., how to allow nurses and other health care professionals to go into people’s homes. My team—which includes Carrie Kissick Rabbitt L’03 and Michael McCabe L’06—worked with our clinical and R&D teams to develop creative solutions, in a compliant manner to make this happen. Given the benefits of these new practices, we continue to use some of these new ways of working.

For the vaccine itself, we were part of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), which was formed under the Trump administration and continues under the Biden administration. The goal of OWS was to accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19.

This required my team to quickly draft and negotiate agreements together with a number of different stakeholders within the federal government, including the National Institute of Health and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and develop budgets and flexible contract language, while also focusing on clinical data transfer and privacy issues.

Another significant issue was identifying clinical trial sites and recruiting patients, while managing through staff shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, and pandemic fatigue. We worked closely with our scientific teams as they utilized AI tools to predict the right hotspots three to four months in advance at a country, state, province, and county level. Setting up our clinical sites in the right locations was critical to evaluating the safety and efficacy of our vaccine. We had weekly meetings with our vendors and partners to ensure we were on track. As you can imagine, there were so many moving parts for the vaccine clinical trial.

And at times, the contracts weren’t exactly the way we wanted them, but we had to move quickly and balance the level of risk with the time necessary to negotiate the perfect contracts, because in a global pandemic, every day that went by was a delay of a getting a vaccine to the global population. People's lives were at stake. The amount of time we put in was unbelievable— the team gave up vacations, holidays, weekends, and reprioritized other projects. It was a heroic effort by everyone, from the scientists to the lawyers, to get things across the finish line.

Dean A. Rosen G'90, L;90

Partner at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas

Dean Rosen G'90, L'90
Dean Rosen G'90, L'90
As an expert on America’s complex health care system, Dean Rosen G’90, L’90 says health care became his focus by accident, but has endured because of his work’s important interplay and intersection with policy and people’s lives.

“Health care has been such an interesting career focus,” he says, “because it makes up one-fifth of our economy; because, at the federal level, it is the most heavily regulated portion of the economy, and because the government is a major payer for health care services.” The federal government, in his view, is more important to health care stakeholders than to almost any other constituent because of the unique nature of the sector—government programs impose detailed rules and regulations and set rates and reimbursement parameters and protocols.

Rosen played a leading role in developing and advancing health policy through influential posts on Capitol Hill for 15 years. On the Hill, he divided his time between traditional labor issues, law reform issues, and health care, which, he says, were the “Super Bowl of legislation” in the early ’90s. His efforts helped to create the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), among others.

Rosen says that lobbying and policy are a very “hands-on, personal services business” where one’s background is a driving force for success. Thus, his own experience and credibility on the Hill and his knowledge helped him grow the then Mehlman Castagnetti lobbying firm from a dozen clients to now approaching 150, half of whom are in the health care field

What was your path to get where you are? Did you see yourself in this role or field while in law school?

Initially, my interest was in a law career that embraced communications, which is why I did the dual degree with Newhouse. I was flexible on what that would be.

I loved the study of law, but I found the practice of it in a big firm setting not enjoyable. After a couple years working in the law firm setting, I volunteered on political campaigns and eventually took a leave of absence to work on Capitol Hill. That time really underscored for me that I wanted to have a career in government and politics, and not at a law firm.

In 1993, I was hired by my home state senator from Minnesota, David Durenberger, a health care expert. Bill Clinton had just been elected president, and his highest priority was comprehensive health reform. Senator

Durenberger served on two key committees in the Senate that dealt with health care, and I was hired because of my legal background and the work I'd done as an employment lawyer. When it was clear that the Clintons were going to really push on health care, Durenberger deployed all of us on his staff to work on the issue. I had to learn the issues really quickly, and I rapidly developed a deep interest in them.

So, health care was really by accident. After spending years working in various positions on Capitol Hill as a senior staff person for various committees that dealt with health care, policy issues, and Congressional leadership, I joined the firm Mehlman Castagnetti, which was at that time a five- or six-person lobbying firm. We've now grown to about 20 full-time lobbyists. We’re one of the biggest government relations firms in D.C. and have been ranked in the top 10 for the last couple years.

Now day-to-day, I use a lot of the skills and the strategic insights that I gained from working in government to help clients navigate through a number of issues, whether it be trying to pass or stop legislation, helping to shape regulations, or helping clients understand what's going on in Washington, and how that may impact their strategic goals and business.

How did law school prepare you for your current role?

I have a nontraditional career. I’m a lawyer in the sense that I keep my bar license and use my legal training, but I really don’t practice law. I work as a lobbyist, but just as I did on Capitol Hill, I utilize the skills I learned at Syracuse Law. My clients are trying to figure out, every day, how they can comply with the law, and how they can change laws. I apply what I learned from my coursework in administrative and regulatory law specifically, as well as more broadly what I gained in legal reasoning and interpretation skills. Beyond that, law school gave me the ability to look critically at an issue, to analyze a document, to think creatively about how to solve problems. I use that every day, whether I’m drafting a piece of legislation or analyzing a regulation.

Is there a professor or mentor during your time at the College of Law that stands out? 

Professor Theodore Hagelin, who led the Technology Commercialization Law Program, (now known as the Innovation Law Center), really cared about and understood the intersection between law and the technology sector. He was also my Law Review note advisor. My Law Review note was about a Federal Communications Commission regulation that I felt needed to be reexamined given the evolution of technology. Because it was a complex issue, I don't think I would have been able to write it without somebody like Professor Hagelin who understood and had the passion in this area. Also, Professor Travis H.D. Lewin, who led the moot court program, stands out. He had a way of making law fun, and he was passionate about his students. Public speaking is a big part of what I do now, and he helped me gain the confidence I need to advocate for issues in front of small and large audiences.

In light of the pandemic, what innovation has most affected your industry?

The rapid development of vaccines is the most significant. I think the fastest development of a vaccine before COVID-19 was five years, and the COVID-19 vaccine was developed within a year. Additionally, while doctors and nurses had begun using telehealth, the pandemic accelerated the use and acceptance of telehealth as a health care delivery method because of necessity. I personally worked on that front, in order to help providers secure the waivers and greater flexibility they needed for telehealth. There are strict government restrictions in place, with Medicare in particular, around how seniors can get care. These restrictions have been waived during the pandemic. I think that new modality may be one of the biggest changes in our health care system brought on by the pandemic. We have such a shortage of providers, especially in mental health, I believe this in an area where telehealth is going to expand and change how we deliver much needed care to patients moving forward.

G. Randall Green L09

Division Chief of Cardiac Surgery and Director of Upstate Heart Institute, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Founder at Phairify, Inc.

Dr. Randall Green L'09
Dr. Randall Green L'09
Day-to-day, G. Randall Green L’09 is a heart surgeon. In the midst of his decades-long medical career, he’s also completed both law and business degrees, which he utilizes within and outside of his demanding work at Upstate.

Green's time in legal practice focused on transactional health law. He represented physicians and physician groups in contract negotiations with hospitals. During this time, he says, it became clear that physicians struggled to define their fair market valuation. “In that process, I learned that fair market value was rarely what it seemed to be,” he says, because it is based off “horrendously bad information.”

The reason: The body of market research done by several third-party providers relies on a sample size of about 3% of physicians. This is often only representative of large, multi-specialty groups. Based on all he learned while representing physicians, and what he has observed in the field as a practicing physician and a medical team leader, Green decided to help solve the problem.

In 2019, he founded Phairify, a web-based platform that helps physicians measure their professional value based on aggregated and specialty-specific data. The platform also helps recruiters to better understand and price the market for physicians and inform recruitment practices.

What elements of your legal training do you apply in your current work?

I think the practical aspect of working with clients tops the list. In the third year of law school, I worked with two different clients, one from Rochester and one locally through the College’s Technology Commercialization Law Program (now known as the Innovation Law Center). These companies told us about a problem they had and, working in a four- person group, we analyzed the problem and the intellectual property around it. Efforts included commercialization opportunities, device research, examination of the finances, etc. It was a great opportunity to dive into a problem like an entrepreneur and then be meticulous in terms of parsing out the problem, understanding it, and then going through a series of solutions to be successful. It’s now the same thing my team does with our company.

The Innovation Law Center now continues this work, and things came full circle when we became a portfolio company in the center. I saw in action now what I saw in my third year. Students did their review and gave us ideas on what could be protectable intellectual property.

Is there a professor or mentor during your time at the College of Law that stands out? 

Professor Ted Hagelin, who founded and served as director of the Technology Commercialization Law Program, was spectacular. This program was heavy into patent law, IP, and very much about how you start with an idea, protect the idea, and commercialize the idea. Entrepreneurship was a big part of my life. Professor Hagelin really opened my eyes to what in a business is a protectable asset as intellectual property. He made it very clear how one can run a business up to the margin of the law. He helped me discover that I really understood very little about business. That's why I went on to Cornell University for business school immediately following law school. Professor Hagelin had a massive impact on my understanding of the commercialization process, and how business and law intersect.

Additionally, Professor Lisa Dolak L’88 was a powerful influence as well. I think she was a spectacular educator and taught me a great deal about patent law and, indirectly, business.

How has your work been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

I approach everything from a transactional health law perspective, centering on physicians and hospitals working together. I would have to say, COVID has strained that relationship. COVID put all health care providers in a trying position, by having to provide care to a great number of people in the setting of scarce and constrained resources. We are at an all-time high, I think, of physician burnout. Physicians are leaving their practices in large numbers, which exacerbates the looming problem of a predicted shortage of physicians. Many are leaving current roles to look for better offerings, with greater resources, and a solid percentage of physicians are permanently leaving. Many physicians are also near retirement, which exacerbates the problem.

Health care doesn't happen for patients unless physicians and hospitals work together… hospitals can't deliver the care without physicians. We are heading into an era where there are going to be very few physicians. We're looking at a shortage of about 140,000 physicians by 2035. As physicians become increasingly scarce, we see a real opportunity in empowering physicians and helping them to quantify their market value and exert control over the jobs they seek and get; in turn, that information allows employers to come in and shape jobs that meets physicians' expectations and advances their delivery needs.

How do you balance running a company and a full-time role as both a cardiac surgeon and hospital leader?

Any startup really has to be done in your spare time. And, you just have to make the time.

They're incredibly resource-needy. My hospital job takes precedence: I'm a heart surgeon all day long. I fit in all the other activities on nights and weekends. I'm lucky to have three outstanding co-founders. We meet Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights for two hours, no matter what.

We schedule additional meetings as needed. But you're always doing something: you're either raising money; selling the product, both to society and physicians; generating marketing and advertising content, or overseeing the design of the application.

Final thoughts?

As a practicing physician, an attorney and an entrepreneur, I credit a great deal of whatever small success I've had to Syracuse University College of Law. It was a great experience. It's a phenomenal law school, and I'm very proud to be an alumnus.

Giving Through the Years: Michael A. Kaplan L’11

Philanthropic Profiles

Our alumni’s generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success. For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! 
Here, alums celebrating years ending in one share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at SULaw@syr.edu.
Michael A. Kaplan L’11

Michael Kaplan is a partner at Lowenstein Sandler LLP focusing on litigation in the areas of bankruptcy and restructuring litigation, business litigation, products liability, and specialty torts. 

As a student, you helped to implement important changes to the Advocacy Honor Society—what were they?

When I took over, I felt there was little organization in the Advocacy Honor Society, and, in my view, there was nothing distinctive about it—purely just people who were good at arguing, and there were a lot of us who met that standard. This seemed absolutely wrong. So we did a complete reinvigoration. 

First, we set a GPA minimum. This was because I hold the firm belief that academics are the most important thing when you go to Syracuse. Then we created the 1L advocacy competition, now called the Hancock, Estabrook First Year Oral Advocacy Competition to give first years an opportunity to hone their skills and establish credentials. It is rewarding to see it still thriving. 

We also changed the Mackenzie Hughes LLP Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition in a couple of ways. We stopped using a ready-made problem from a book that also delivered the answers. A classmate Jared Mason, volunteered that year and wrote the problem, and he set the precedent! We also packed the final round with some serious judicial firepower. We brought in seven actual judges (i.e., members of the judiciary), reaching out to alums who had been elevated in their judicial careers. It was a nice way to honor and engage alumni. It made for a truly great competition. 

With respect to the Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition, we assigned one presiding judge and then two judges in the jury box. It always bothered me immensely that there were three judges sitting up on the panel for what was a trial. We wanted to model reality but also wanted the benefit of additional evaluators, so that solution seemed as simple as it was appropriate and realistic. 

Lastly, we created the Frank H. Armani L’56 Advocacy Award, another collaboration between the honor society and the alumni relations team. The award was established for a deserving competitor who would embody the character of advocacy that Frank showed throughout his career. I was glad that he could present the initial award. And to this day, he and his family often attend the final round!

Which law professors had a lasting impact on you?

Lisa Dolak L’88 who I had for civil procedure. For four solid four weeks every time I raised my hand, she told me I was wrong. She really made me work and taught me that a cursory level understanding wasn't enough to be successful. The other was Lucille Rignanese L’99 who was my LCR professor. She was a huge supporter of mine and just an unbelievable human being who really understood the art of legal writing. I owe the entirety of my legal writing ability to her.

When and why did you start to give to the College of Law?

It was pretty much right away. At first, I donated my time, because that’s all I really could give when I was a judicial law clerk. When the building campaign started, that’s when I made a meaningful financial contribution, which extends to this day, also in support of the Law Annual Fund.

How did it feel to celebrate your 10th class reunion and have your firm sponsor Law Alumni Weekend 2021 as the first-ever title sponsor of a Law Annual Weekend?

Being the first is always great; having others follow suit and expand a platform is even more rewarding. The idea to sponsor that weekend started as an off-the-cuff comment, but good on our alumni engagement team for following up on that because why not have my firm become the first title sponsor? I think it was fantastic for the College of Law and fantastic for the firm. And, I would be remiss if I did not thank Lowenstein Sandler LLP for its unwavering support.

I hope to see someone take up the mantle next year. This was a great marketing platform for the firm and me personally. Anyone interested, can call me and I’ll tell you how to do it!

Giving Through the Years: Cora True-Frost L’01

Philanthropic Profiles

Our alumni’s generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success. For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! 
Here, alums celebrating years ending in one share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at SULaw@syr.edu.
Cora True-Frost L'01

Specializing in international, constitutional, and human rights law, Associate Professor Cora True-Frost is the Bond, Schoeneck and King Distinguished Professor of Law. She is a co-editor, with Martha Minow and Alex Whiting, of The First Global Prosecutor: Promise and Constraints (University of Michigan Press, 2015). 

What inspired you to study law?

As a kid I was focused on addressing what I saw as inequities in our society. I tried to bridge the gaps I saw. I interned as a social worker at a jail while in college and I taught middle school with Teach for America at two under-resourced middle schools in Baltimore and Harlem. 

Ultimately, I chose to attend law school because I wanted to address social stratification at a systemic level and litigate education financing cases. I hoped that as a lawyer, I would have access to the keys to unlock the door to more social justice. 

Why study at the College of Law?

The opportunity to pursue dual J.D. and M.P.A. degrees at the nation's top policy school was very appealing to me. A truly fantastic feature of our law school is the number of dual degree offerings we offer students so they can really tailor their skillset to their proposed studies.

Syracuse Law and Professor Donna Arzt’s Global Law and Practice Center were engaged and generating tremendous work around the Lockerbie Trial, offering me an opportunity to develop and deepen my international knowledge. 

What part of law school made a lasting impact?

My most useful, meaningful, and memorable law school classes were the seminars where we were able to critically analyze cutting edge topics and the role of law in mediating new questions for society. 

The seminar on bioethics with Professor Leslie Bender, who was a key role model and mentor for me, stood out, as well as regulatory law and policy with Professor Richard Goldsmith. Then there were professors whose classes led to amazing debates between us students in the halls, such as Professor William Wiecek’s Constitutional Law II class, a class I teach today. Professor Chris Day was always willing to debate me about corporate law. We continue to engage now that we’re colleagues. 

Why is giving back important?

To build a better future for us all, we need to invest in and work to strengthen institutions that make positive change possible. Syracuse Law gave me the skills to pursue my passions, and I want to give back. I also give because of the transformative potential of education.

When I was in law school, I helped in the admissions office and felt a sense of gratitude and desire to help because of the fellowship that I had been awarded. Receiving fellowship support was a real game changer for me. While my father was a military officer, no one in my immediate family had been a lawyer. I really appreciated being able to study law with the support of the fellowship, so I still designate my gift to fellowships to support students whose lives will be changed by education. 

In addition to teaching, you are involved with a number student groups as a mentor. Why is this important to you?

Our students come to law school with ideas about what they want to do with their law degrees after graduation, and student organizations give them an opportunity to pursue these goals with colleagues and with the support of faculty.

I am very involved with the Women’s Law Student Association, serve as the faculty advisor to the Journal of Global Rights and Organizations/Impunity Watch News, and mentor the International Law Society. The time I put in reflects my commitment to support what our students want. Our students work hard, and it's an honor to work with and help them organize events, bring in speakers and, in the case of the Journal, write and publish on areas of the law that are often very new to them. 

These groups offer students the opportunity to build comfort and develop a sense of accomplishment before they enter the job market. The students also experience the power and potential of the law through their organizations. When our students can combine their law tools with the subject of their passion, such as international law or gender equity, magic happens, and happy practicing lawyers are born.  

Giving Through the Years: Laurence Stein L’91

Philanthropic Profiles

Our alumni’s generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success. For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! 
Here, alums celebrating years ending in one share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at SULaw@syr.edu.

Donna (Kenney) Stein L’92 and Laurence Stein L’91
Donna (Kenney) Stein L’92
and Laurence Stein L’91

Larry Stein is Senior Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, and Business Unit General Counsel for General Re Corporation and its various subsidiaries. He specializes in securities law; transactions and regulation; commercial real estate; commercial litigation; reinsurance and insurance; corporate governance, structure, and regulation; and international regulation and transactions.  

What inspired you to study law?

Watching my father help others. I was struck by how he made a difference in people’s lives with difficult problems. I used to go to his office and saw how his practice and life were very social and there seemed to be comradery among the attorneys and larger community where they practiced.

What law school memories stand out?

Hanging out in the old law student lounge with classmates, and, when thinking back to classes, Professor Sam Fetters’ quips at students who asked silly questions—I laugh just thinking of moments like that. 

My time as president of the Student Senate and dealing with controversies or trying to make law school better with improvements or social events such as The Libel Show, Barristers Ball, and Halloween Party also stand out. Many other great memories include places I love in Syracuse, such as Pastabilities, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Skaneateles Lake, and Doug’s Fish Fry. 

Most of all, meeting my wife, Donna (Kenney) Stein L’92, there and the great times we and our classmates had top them all.

Did a particular law professor have a lasting impact?

Again, Professor Fetters and, also, professors Rod Surratt, William Wiecek, Christian Day, Thomas Maroney L’63, Travis H.D. Lewin, Samuel Donnelly, and William C. Banks for their impact and lasting (often humorous) memories. What stands out most is their approach to teaching and supporting students. 

I also loved the extent to which students became friendly with professors outside the classroom at social events, dinners, or the occasional card games held at students’ houses.

When and why did you start to give back to the Syracuse Law?

It started while I was still a student. Back then, I wanted to help make the law school experience better for everyone. I volunteered or served in many capacities and enjoyed being part of student organizations. 

When Donna and I started our legal careers and could do more, we gave back for many reasons, not the least of which is that the great education we received along with the opportunities that followed. My public grade school education, my undergraduate degree and my legal education built for me a strong foundation for success, and I want these institutions to thrive and provide the same for others.

Of course, Donna and I also met at law school and had an amazing time in Syracuse. We love the College of Law, Syracuse University, Syracuse, and the surrounding areas and happily support them. Over the years, we have returned to visit often and brought our children as well.

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?

Stay involved and support those who have supported you and contributed to your success. I think it is important for students to keep in mind that no matter how they feel while in school, they don’t know where they will be in five, 10, 20, or 30 years. 

If you want to make a difference and help others, you don’t need to be wealthy or have a special career; you can make it part of your life now. Supporting institutions, charities, and people can begin at any time. It is being part of the community and supporting the community that has meaning. 

Perhaps over time what you do and how you give will change, but the help you provide today and the feeling you get from giving will always be worth it. 

Giving Through the Years: Joseph M. DiOrio L’81

Philanthropic Profiles

Our alumni’s generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success. For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! 
Here, alums celebrating years ending in one share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at SULaw@syr.edu.
Joseph M. DiOrio L’81

Joseph M. DiOrio runs a boutique firm—DiOrio Law Office—in Providence, RI, with practice areas focusing on commercial finance, bankruptcy, and creditors’ rights. Before following his entrepreneurial calling in 2005, he worked for more than two decades at large firms. 

In 2020, he was honored by the Hall of Fame of the Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly Excellence in the Law, receiving a special lifetime achievement award for senior leaders of the profession.

What brought you to study law?

It’s interesting. I majored in chemistry at Boston College. I feel very fortunate that BC had a strong liberal arts requirement. I was able to study much of the same material that those who studied political science or philosophy studied. As I considered my next steps, I felt my choices were to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry or polymer chemistry, or a law degree. My roommate and several others I knew were going to law school, and I wasn't in love with chemistry. I thought law would be a good fit. 

At the end of the day, working for a large chemical company that could relocate me and my family was not as appealing as earning a law degree, which would allow me to chart my own course. I found that option an exciting prospect—to control my own destiny—and it turned out to be true. At 22, making those decisions was dicey, but it turns out I was right.

What law school memories stand out?

In my experience, all the professors worked very hard in the classroom. Each had their own style, but each put great effort into teaching. They were enthusiastic. Reading the law was quite different from solving chemical equations. I was able to pick it up, and candidly it was easier for me than chemistry. 

Also, my college roommate went to SU with me, and we made three other good friends. We all stay in touch to this day, 41 or so years later. We participated in intramural sports. Somehow, we ended up in the super league for intramural basketball and played against the football players’ team. We got crushed, but we had fun. Finally—a great strength of the school, and I think the University overall—is its diversity. There were people from all different backgrounds. That was a real positive. 

Did a particular law professor have a lasting impact?

I got the book award in the future interests course. We studied the rule against perpetuities, which I understand has been abolished in every single state. Professor Samuel M. Fetters was brilliant as he described the machinations behind the rule—how it applied and didn't apply. I enjoyed all my classes, but perhaps the thought process in his course was like organic chemistry, which resonated for me. 

Why is philanthropy important to you personally?

Our charitable efforts go toward education. If I’m going to give, I give to my schools or the schools that educated my children. I wouldn’t say I’m a big donor, but I’m a consistent donor. Sometimes I give a little more, sometimes less depending on, say, whether we had to pay for my children’s college educations. 

It’s important not to forget the value you received from your schools. Syracuse gave me the tools to become a lawyer, and I don't want to forget that.

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?

Don’t forget the value you receive from your education because it pays dividends all your life.

Giving Through the Years: Barry Slotnick L’71

Philanthropic Profiles

Our alumni’s generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success. For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! 
Here, alums celebrating years ending in one share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at SULaw@syr.edu.
Barry Slotnick L’71

Barry Slotnick is a partner and Chair of the Intellectual Property and Entertainment Practice Group at New York City-based Loeb & Loeb LLP. His areas of focus include copyright, rights of privacy, and publicity and entertainment law. He is also a member of the board of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

What inspired you to study law?

As a kid, I had a propensity and a talent for arguing with people. I was also terrible in math and science, so med school was out of the question!

What brought you to Syracuse Law?

I chose to attend SU because of the quality of education it offered. I also had friends who were at or were going to the College of Law, which was a draw, and I received a scholarship.

What law school memories stand out? 

I recall feeling totally lost and overwhelmed the first few weeks of law school. That feeling eventually went away. Now, if I have such feelings—and they still do come back on occasion—I just ask an associate to give me the answer I am looking for!

Did you attend the most recent reunion?

I did not get to attend the 50th reunion because of COVID-19. I’m really not sure I wanted to see how old everyone else got! I find it hard to imagine it’s been 50 years. The time went by so quickly, but time flies when you are having fun.

Did a particular law professor have a lasting impact? 

Professor Thomas Maroney L’63, seemed to really love what he was doing. He taught at the school for 43 years.

Why is philanthropy important to you personally?

I started giving to the school a few years after graduation. It would have been difficult for me to attend law school without the financial assistance I was given. I also try to give of my time, because of the mentoring I received both at school and once I began practicing. How could I not do the same for the next generation?

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back? 

My advice is to do what you can. Make an effort and stay involved.

Giving Through the Years: The Hon. Carl J. Mugglin L’61

Philanthropic Profiles

Our alumni’s generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success. For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! 
Here, alums celebrating years ending in one share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at SULaw@syr.edu.
Hon. Carl J. Mugglin L'61

The Hon. Carl J. Mugglin practiced general law and served as a confidential law secretary to a judge and one term as Delaware County District Attorney. In 1985, he was elected a Supreme Court Justice for the Sixth Judicial District and was re-elected in 1999. He retired from the bench in 2007.

What inspired you to study law?

From 1954 to 1958 I was enrolled in the Syracuse University School of Business Administration. During this time, I took several courses in political science in the Maxwell School, and as a result of these studies, I was inspired to apply to law school. I scored well on the law aptitude exam and was accepted at the University of Chicago Law School.

Then why study at the College of Law?

When I found out that my wife, who was entering her senior year at SU, could only transfer enough credits to be a second semester freshman at Chicago, I went to visit Syracuse’s law school dean. This was about two weeks prior to the fall semester. He accepted my verbal application, and he enrolled me that day.

What part of law school made a lasting impact?

My memories of law school revolve around long hours of studying, which I came to see as good preparation for private practice, and the different methods of instruction used by the professors. This ranges from the instillation of fear of failure to friendly helpfulness, which was good preparation for trial practice. 

Looking back, what are some career highlights?

After graduation, I worked for a firm in Endicott, NY, for about one year. I then returned to my hometown of Walton, NY, where I engaged in general practice until January 1986. During this time, I held two part time positions. I was District Attorney of Delaware County from 1965 to 1967, and I was a law clerk for a Supreme Court Justice from 1973 to 1979. In November 1985, I was elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court for the State of New York. I served on the trial bench for 13 and a half years and on the Appellate Division, Third Department, for eight and a half years, retiring at the end of 2007 at the age of 70. 

Why is giving back important to you?

Philanthropy has always been an important part of my life, particularly where it comes to supporting those institutions or organizations that are not supported by tax dollars and that have been helpful or meaningful to me. Thus, I have been generous in my support of my church, the Boy Scouts, the local hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the College of Law. 

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?

Obviously, I could not have had the very enjoyable career that I did have without the education provided by Syracuse. I encourage all Syracuse Law graduates to remember their own careers and to give as generously as possible on an annual basis.

The Many Ways You Give Back: Robert Gang Jr. L’42

Once and Forever Orange

Bob Gang Jr. L'42 cutting a ceremonial cake

The College’s oldest living alumnus turned an amazing 103 years young in June, and to celebrate that milestone—not to mention his service to country, community, and profession—the College of Law honored Robert “Bob” Gang Jr. ’39, L’42 not once, but twice in 2021.

First—fittingly on June 6, 2021, the anniversary of D-Day—Dean Boise and other Syracuse Law representatives celebrated Gang's birthday at his Syracuse home and presented him with a proclamation recognizing the day as “Bob Gang Day.” 

Then, in September, Gang was invited back to his alma mater for Law Alumni Weekend 2021. The photo shows Gang at the  Syracuse University National Veterans Resource Center cutting his cake with a ceremonial sword, surrounded by faculty, alumni, students, family members, and other honored guests. Gang also received a special citation from New York Rep. John Katko L’88.  

Also pictured is Gang’s Army jacket, now on display in Dineen Hall. As an undergraduate, Gang served in the Syracuse ROTC. He cut his third year at Syracuse Law short to serve our nation from 1942 to 1951. As a US Army infantry officer, Bob used his legal training to represent soldiers charged with misconduct. After serving his country, he came back to Syracuse to begin a successful career in private practice.

Thank you for your service, Bob. Once Orange, Forever Orange!

Bob Gang's L'42 Army jacket on display

The Many Ways You Give Back: Lauren Blau L’17

Syracuse Law alumni help their alma mater in many ways, and in this feature we offer a few vignettes about how they have offered their time and talent over the past year—from creating scholarships, to guest lecturing, to hosting externs, to hiring graduates, and more.
We not only ask what alums are doing, but why they do it. Remember, every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. 

Stewarding a Scholarship

“Don't Forget the Commitments”

Lauren Blau L'17

When a student receives a scholarship, the bonds that are created can sometimes stretch far beyond the transactional.

That is not to say that students don’t express their heartfelt thanks for the financial assistance that helps make their career dreams a reality. In fact, many scholarship stewards receive warm letters from recipients, and those letters are received with equal gratitude. Sometimes they are so cherished, they lead to unique bonds between generations of Orange lawyers. 

That certainly was the case with letters that Bill Burrows L’55 has received over the years from Class of 1955 Scholarship recipients, a fund that Burrows has stewarded for many years. When former recipient Lauren G. Blau L’17 agreed to take over that task from Burrows, as part of the hand-over, he sent her a folder full of thank-you notes—and hers was on top. 

“My letter told him how much the scholarship meant to me and how it allowed me stay in Syracuse while I studied for the bar,” says Blau, an associate specializing in matrimonial and family law at Chemtob Moss Forman & Beyda LLP in New York City. “Mr. Burrows wrote back telling me he was glad the scholarship went to me as he could see what a difference it made.”

Lauren Blau Quote

The Class of 1955 Scholarship was an enormous benefit for Blau, especially when tragedy struck her family during her third year. “My mother was diagnosed with cancer, so the scholarship came at a time when I was dealing with that, as well as the stresses of my 3L year,” she explains. “It just took a burden off me.”

One criterion for the scholarship was a particularly good fit for Blau. The recipient, it asks, must demonstrate service to the College. In that respect, Blau has been giving back from day one. She was part of the Student Bar Association for three years, involved with two clinics at the College, was the Lead Articles Editor of the Journal of International Law and Commerce, an honorary member of the Moot Court Society (now the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society); and a Student Ambassador, among other activities. 

“When Mr. Burrows was looking for someone from the next generation to be the steward of the Class of 1955 Scholarship, he was inspired that the scholarship had resonated with me,” says Blau. 

Burrows agrees, “I think Lauren is perfect for this job. She was a great student, she has a good career ahead of her, and she’s dedicated to the alumni association. I wanted to have confidence about the 1955 fund, and now I can go to sleep at night!”

As Burrows mentions, Blau continues to serve the College as Chair of the SULAA Engagement Committee, encouraging fellow alums to get involved with their alma mater, through philanthropy and other means. 

“I give back to the College not only through SULAA but also by donating to the Class of 1955 Scholarship that helped me,” Blau explains, adding that as part of her stewardship she wants to encourage other recipients to remember the fund that supported their law school career and support it in turn. 

“I want to remind alums that someone helped them through law school, so please don’t forget the commitments that others have made in the past,” Blau adds. “The College needs alumni to remember those who gave to them and to give back, by donating to the College or by providing mentorship and career opportunities to students.” 

The Many Ways You Give Back: Kimberly Lau L’06

Syracuse Law alumni help their alma mater in many ways, and in this feature we offer a few vignettes about how they have offered their time and talent over the past year—from creating scholarships, to guest lecturing, to hosting externs, to hiring graduates, and more.
We not only ask what alums are doing, but why they do it. Remember, every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. 

Hiring Graduates

“Don't Forget Your Beginnings”

Aubre Dean L’20 (left) and Kimberly Lau L’06 at the offices of Warshaw Burstein LLP in Manhattan.
Aubre Dean L’20 (left) and Kimberly Lau L’06
at the offices of Warshaw Burstein LLP in Manhattan.

Giving back, for Kimberly Lau ’03, L’06, is a way to express what she calls her “personal love of the University”—where she received both her undergraduate and law degrees—and a way to recognize how Orange connections helped launch her successful career.

“I was awarded scholarships for both my undergraduate degree and law school, so I’ve always felt supported by Syracuse, and also I understand the importance of the alumni network because that is how I got my first job,” says Lau. 

Currently Partner and Chair of the Title IX/College Disciplinary Department at New York City law firm Warshaw Burstein LLP, Lau’s first job was with white shoe Manhattan firm Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti LLP. “University alumnus Daniel Carroll ’66 hired me for a litigation job there, and I haven’t looked back.”  

“When I reflect on my positive experiences at the University, I ask myself, how can I give back? That’s what drives me,” Lau explains. And now that she is in a position to hire externs, interns, and associates at Warshaw Burstein, she can positively affect the careers of young Syracuse grads the way Carroll did for her.

A case in point, Lau has signed on with the Office of Career Services to accept spring externs and summer interns. In summer 2019, one of those interns was Aubre Dean L’20

“Aubre performed very well as an intern,” says Lau. “I was familiar with her work and received positive feedback about her work with other partners. I could see she had potential. She was sharp, analytical, and able to anticipate questions.”

By the end of that summer, Lau knew that Dean was full-time associate material. “Aubre is still in her first year with us, and she’s doing well,” notes Lau. “She has definitely learned a lot, and the traits she brought during her internship summer continue to guide her positive development as an attorney.” 

Hiring isn’t the only way Lau continues to help the College and University. “I donate every year to scholarship funds, and I jump at opportunities to speak with students at the law school. My advice to other alums when thinking about giving back is to look inward and don’t forget your beginnings.”  

The Many Ways You Give Back: PJ Jayachandran L’98

Syracuse Law alumni help their alma mater in many ways, and in this feature we offer a few vignettes about how they have offered their time and talent over the past year—from creating scholarships, to guest lecturing, to hosting externs, to hiring graduates, and more.
We not only ask what alums are doing, but why they do it. Remember, every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. 

Teaching in the JDi Program

A Meaningful Way

PJ Jayachandran L’98

For Prashanth “PJ” Jayachandran L’98, giving back to his alma mater also meant fulfilling an aspiration to teach law. “I've been in private practice for close to 25 years,” says Jayachandran, Chief Supply Chain Counsel at Colgate-Palmolive Company. “I've done some guest lecturing and training, but I wanted to teach in a more meaningful way for some time.”

A conversation with Dean Boise led to the suggestion that Jayachandran could teach in the College’s JDinteractive online law degree program, from his home in New Jersey. 

However, while talking with Associate Dean of Online Education Kathleen O’Connor, in fall 2021, they concluded that Jayachandran’s proposed class—“The Corporate Lawyer in a Sustainable World”—would be perfect for an in-person, three-day JDi residency course. 

As lead counsel for Colgate-Palmolive’s global supply chain Jayachandran oversees global commercial contracting and provides advice on legal issues related to logistics, international trade, and labor. Additionally, he works closely with Colgate-Palmolive’s sustainability and responsible sourcing teams. 

Jayachandran Quote

In introducing the JDi residency students to the “growing and evolving area” of sustainability Jayachandran touched on climate change, human rights compliance, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We opened the course by telling the  students that they had been hired as sustainability counsel by a fictitious public company that is launching a global sustainability program,” explains Jayachandran. “We then covered various topics related to the sustainability program, with the students split into teams to analyze and debrief on key issues. I enjoyed it immensely.” 

Jayachandran says he particularly appreciated teaching JDi students whose journeys to law school are non-linear. “The students were a hard-working group, many with full-time jobs and distinguished careers, and some who traveled a long way to Syracuse, as far as from Hawaii and Europe,” he says.

Jayachandran is slated to teach the course again in spring 2022. But in fact, he again offered his expertise during Law Alumni Weekend 2021, as moderator of the Corporate Law Society panels addressing in-house counsel and corporate counsel practice. 

Also sitting on the in-house counsel panel was PJ’s wife, Neena Patil, Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, whom Jayachandran met while they both worked at the Syracuse-area law firm, Bond, Schoeneck & King.

“The panels were made up of very accomplished lawyers,” observes Jayachandran. “I hope that students feel their Syracuse law degree will offer them the same kind of opportunities to pursue success like the kind we witnessed on the panels.”

“The panelists did a good job of explaining how an in-house corporate career differs from other legal careers,” Jayachandran adds. “As an in-house lawyer, you are a business advisor with a law degree, and that point was well-made. You need a good legal skill set, but you must have the curiosity and desire to understand the business you are in.”

PJ Jayachandran L’98 (second from left) listens to student presentation during his “The Corporate Lawyer in a Sustainable World” course for JDinteractive residency students in August 2021.
PJ Jayachandran L’98 (second from left) listens to student presentation
during his “The Corporate Lawyer in a Sustainable World” course for
JDinteractive residency students in August 2021.

The Many Ways You Give Back: The Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91

Syracuse Law alumni help their alma mater in many ways, and in this feature we offer a few vignettes about how they have offered their time and talent over the past year—from creating scholarships, to guest lecturing, to hosting externs, to hiring graduates, and more.
We not only ask what alums are doing, but why they do it. Remember, every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. 

Hosting Externs

“We all enhance each other”

Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L'91

The Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91 became a United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York in 2012, and in that same year she began working with the Office of Career Services to host externs at her chambers in downtown Syracuse. 

Since the 2012-2013 academic year Judge Dancks has hosted 41 externs, including her current cohort of students, and 36 of those externs have been from Syracuse Law. The only summer she has missed during that time was summer 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Dancks took time out of her busy schedule to discuss what externs can expect while working in her chambers, and about her rule for who buys lunch ... 

Why do you continue to support externship programs and host externs? 

For two reasons. First, I believe all of us practicing and working in law careers have an obligation to train the next generation of lawyers. Second, it's important that students also get practical experience. Here, they get to know the workings of the courts from backstage, so to speak, understand what goes into decision-making, learn how a good brief is written, and see what to do and—importantly—what not to do in a courtroom or chambers.

My law clerks agree with me and buy in to this—including my Career Law Clerk Jill C. Levy L’05—so I credit them for their willingness to help train the next generation.

What sort of tasks do your externs perform?

When we have a new cohort of externs coming in, I will talk with my clerks about cases that are coming up or that are fully briefed and ready for decisions. We then try to start the externs off with distinct projects such as a discreet issue within a larger motion.

After that, we'll give them a larger project within a case, such as a civil rights matter or social security appeal. My clerks will oversee and check the externs’ work by assisting them with organizational structure, legal reasoning, supportive authority, and other revisions before it comes to me. Our goal is to help the students improve their written and analytical skills.

Giving back in another way, the Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91 (seated, far right) took part in a Women’s Law Student Association networking event during Law Alumni Weekend 2021.
Giving back in another way, the Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91 (seated,
far right) took part in a Women’s Law Student Association networking event
during Law Alumni Weekend 2021.

How many hours do your externs typically work?

Summer externs might be here for as many as 40 hours a week, with academic year externs putting in about 12 hours a week. We want them to get a substantive practical education. We'll bring them along slowly at first, but by the end of their time with us they may have worked on two or more full case motions, under supervision from my clerks.

I also encourage the externs to watch proceedings in other courts and see what other judges are doing. You learn a lot by observing. I know I did. The students do great. I have rarely been disappointed.

Do you keep in touch with former externs? 

I keep a list of all of them, and I follow their careers to cheer them on and let them know they are not alone. When externs work in my chambers, they know my door is always open, and they can ask me anything about work, career, school, and life. 

I also always invite students to stay in touch as they progress through their careers. Some stay in touch regularly and others pop up every now and then to fill me in on their lives. It is very gratifying to know I played some small part in their legal education, and I love to see them succeed. 

Mentoring young lawyers is so important to keeping our profession civil and respected, and in the long run, to help uphold the rule of law.

So, what is your special rule about who buys lunch?

One rule in my chambers is that no student is ever allowed to pay for their lunch when we get take-out or go out as a group. I know the students are on budgets, so I just ask that they plan to do the same for a student somewhere down the road in their careers. This goes for mentoring too, when they are at a place in their careers to do so. I tell them that we all enhance each other with our successes, so it is important for them to help other Orange alums succeed.

Have any of your externs returned to you as clerks?

None yet, but some have become clerks for other judges. We train them well for someone else, I guess! I know that they are much more attractive as clerks because they have seen what goes on in chambers and the backrooms of courts. 

The Many Ways You Give Back: Art Lussi L’88

Syracuse Law alumni help their alma mater in many ways, and in this feature we offer a few vignettes about how they have offered their time and talent over the past year—from creating scholarships, to guest lecturing, to hosting externs, to hiring graduates, and more.
We not only ask what alums are doing, but why they do it. Remember, every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. 

Creating a Scholarship

Giving Students an Edge

W. Carroll “Nick” Coyne ’54, L’57 and Art Lussi L’88.
W. Carroll “Nick” Coyne ’54, L’57 and Art Lussi L’88.

The August 2021 Syracuse University obituary of alumnus W. Carroll “Nick” Coyne ’54, L’57 illustrates the twin passions of the late University Life Trustee, who was a labor relations attorney for more than 40 years at Hancock & Estabrook LLP.

A baseball and basketball letterman, who was honored with the 1977 Letter Winner of Distinction Award, Coyne loved sports and he loved the Orange. These passions helped spark a life-long friendship with fellow law school alum and athlete Art Lussi L’88.

Now, Lussi has memorialized their long friendship by creating an academic scholarship in Coyne’s name, for deserving students entering Orange Edge, Syracuse’s summer pre-law program. 

Lussi, the President of Crowne Plaza Lake Placid, first got to know Coyne in the Adirondack resort town. Coyne’s daughter Christina ’94 played tennis with Lussi’s younger sister, and the Coynes would often stay in an area lodge. Lussi was an avid ski-racer “and Nick knew that my competitive spirit would serve me well if I gained admission to the law school.” 

Lussi Quote

However, Lussi admits that his undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College had taken a back seat to his skiing career, so to give him a jumpstart on law school, Coyne encouraged him to enroll in the Law Education Opportunity (LEO) Program, the predecessor to Orange Edge.   “LEO was a six-week summer course then, and if you passed it, you were admitted into the 1L year,” recalls Lussi. “The course helped you to prove that you could hang with the regular admits, and it gave me the confidence that I could survive academically and do well as a law student.” 

Emil Rossi L’72 and the late Samuel Donnelly taught my course,” Lussi continues. “Both of them got you thinking like a lawyer. Donnelly in particular was instrumental because he knew many of the LEO students were intimidated. He was a brilliant person, and we became good friends.” 

In addition to motivating Lussi to apply for law school, Coyne encouraged him in other ways. “I continued to ski-race while in law school, and Nick was a big supporter of staying athletically involved as well as academically involved.”

And when it came to Lussi’s career, Coyne inspired him to use his legal training to get deeply involved in his community. “He encouraged me to broaden my legal horizons, so I became an Adirondack Park Agency commissioner, and later I joined the Olympic Regional Development Authority. Nick was a big fan of Lake Placid’s Olympic facilities.” 

Adds Lussi, “I miss Nick’s company at football, basketball, and lacrosse games, my perfect study breaks during law school. I hope the recipients of this Orange Edge scholarship continue the tradition of studying hard and cheering hard for the Orange.”

Art Lussi L’88 racing at the Vail Alpine Slalom Championship in 1989, which he won.
Art Lussi L’88 racing at the Vail Alpine
Slalom Championship in 1989, which he won.

The Many Ways You Give Back: Marty Feinman L’83

Syracuse Law alumni help their alma mater in many ways, and in this feature we offer a few vignettes about how they have offered their time and talent over the past year—from creating scholarships, to guest lecturing, to hosting externs, to hiring graduates, and more.
We not only ask what alums are doing, but why they do it. Remember, every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. 

Creating Fellowships

Supporting Careers in Social Justice Law

Marty Feinman L'83 visits Professor Lauryn Gouldin's Criminal Justice Reform Seminar in October 2021.
Marty Feinman L'83 visits Professor Lauryn Gouldin's
Criminal Justice Reform Seminar in October 2021.

Marty Feinman L’83, Director of Juvenile Justice Training, The Legal Aid Society, is shown visiting Dineen Hall in October 2021, where he had lunch with the executive board of the Syracuse Public Interest Network, met with students interested in public interest law careers through a dedicated “office hour,” and later visited Professor Lauryn Gouldin’s Criminal Justice Reform Seminar to discuss the evolving world of juvenile justice.

Feinman has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of social and juvenile justice, advocating for children and families, defended indigent adults, training young attorneys, and advising policymakers.

For many years, he has supported student exploration of careers in public interest law careers through the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic and the Syracuse Public Interest Network, by encouraging The Legal Aid Society to host Syracuse interns and externs and to hire graduates, and in recent years by funding fellowships to help build a deeper bench of advocates for the field.

In addition to continuing his direct interactions with students as a mentor and guest lecturer, in fall 2021 Feinman will endow a special fellowship fund to support students who wish to pursue a career in the field he has so passionately represented. 

Feinman Quote

Specifically, distributions from the fund will make available, on an annual basis, three fellowships in support of students who wish to pursue a career in public interest and who demonstrate a commitment to the field with a focus on criminal defense on behalf of indigent persons and juvenile justice. The annual Feinman Fellowship Awards seek to build the field by reducing the impact of the financial barriers an externship or job in certain positions present.

Two awards of $2,500 will be conferred to 3L students who select for their externship a public interest or public service position, and a postgraduate fellowship award of $5,000 will be made to a graduating student who chooses in their final spring semester to pursue and accept postgraduate employment in the field.

In considering applications, preference will be given to students who secure an externship doing (a) criminal defense work on behalf of indigent persons; and/or (b) legal advocacy on behalf of children in the juvenile justice system or direct representation of children in the welfare system; and/or (c) legal policy or research promoting criminal and/or juvenile justice reform on behalf of an organization whose mission it is to represent the rights of those populations.

As Feinman told Syracuse Law magazine in November 2020, “Social justice law work can be intimidating and emotionally overwhelming, but on the flip side, it’s just so extraordinarily rewarding. You are engaged in work that can be life-saving and difference-making.” With this new endowed fund, he is betting on Syracuse Law students to continue the important work of representing our most vulnerable populations and ensuring their equal access to justice.

Our Back Pages

Do You Remember? Help Us Caption Our Mystery Photos!

The College of Law’s photo archive is a fascinating visual history of your alma mater, full of nostalgia, anecdotes—and a few mysteries. That is, some of our prints and slides lack information or captions.

That’s where you come in. In this feature, we challenge you to help us recall the people and scenes in our mystery photos.

For our new mystery, we head “across the pond” to Law in London in 1993. Although we know the year this group photo was taken, we’d like to caption as many names as possible (including the student who appears to have gone shopping locally for an English cricket sweater!)

If you know any of the students pictured, please email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@syr.edu, and we’ll publish what we discover in a future issue.

Our Back Pages Giving Book 2021

Mysteries (Mostly) Solved!

Many thanks to Francis R. Rivette L’77 and Helen Zamboni L’77 for helping us with the mystery photo published in the 2021 Stories Book

Writes Rivette, “The photo was brought to my attention by Helen Zamboni. I think I am the person with my back to the photo, with my then roommate Mike Rosh L’77 and [now the Hon.] John Nesbitt L’77 to the right of the photo, looking sideways. No guarantee!”

Our Back Pages Photo 2021

The 2021 Yearbook mystery was solved by Alphonso A. Collins L’95, who wrote to us via Instagram, identifying this group as (L to R) Youn J.L. Oh, Brett S. Director, Kyle S. Kotake, and Jennifer M. Lee.

And thank you also Jay Brown L’95, who confirmed that “those students are definitely class of 1995,” and James V. Fazio L’95, who seconded that “the male student pictured with eyeglasses is Brett Director.”

Our Back Bages for Yearbook 2021

Message from SULAA Board President

By Mark O’Brien L’14

Mark O'Brien L'14

Dear Alumni and Friends  of the College of Law:

You don’t need me to tell you that so much has changed in legal education during the last year, let alone the last five years that Dean Boise has been at the helm of our College of Law. 

When I think about the adaptation that law schools and other institutions of higher learning have had to make during the pandemic, I cannot help but take pride in knowing many of them turned to Syracuse as a leader in that realm.

Frankly, it’s easy to see why. For one, JDinteractive has set the bar for the future of legal education. The growth of our online option for a J.D. has been phenomenal, from hosting 32 students in the first cohort in 2019—who will graduate this coming spring!—to 97 students this year. 

Witness also the continued expansion of international programs, which under the stewardship of Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L’10 saw the largest matriculating LL.M. class in 2021, along with the development of groundbreaking partnerships such as the 3+3 Program with Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Atlanta.

“How can you help young alumni land that first job or

make the transition to a more meaningful career path?”

Additionally, Dean Boise’s promotion of Professor Suzette Meléndez as the law school’s first-ever Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion speaks to the College’s  commitment to equity and inclusion. So does the College of Law’s agreement with AccessLex Institute to offer a robust bar preparation program free of charge and ensure that all students have the tools they need to pass the bar exam upon graduation.  

I am delighted to see the expansion of these and other opportunities for our current and future students. Growth of opportunities is so critical not only for their success but also for ours as an institution.The Syracuse University Law Alumni Association has been busy, too. See how you can help:

  • In April, outraged by the torrent of anti-Asian racism and acts of violence around the country, SULAA issued a statement in solidarity to stop Asian hate and called on all alumni to condemn the discrimination and xenophobia. 

My question to our alumni family is: How can we use our influence to take a stand for justice and healing?

  • In May, SULAA welcomed the Class of 2021 to  our alumni family. Like the Class of 2020, these graduates faced remarkable circumstances, including the inability to celebrate together in person their hard-earned accomplishment of graduating law school and having to take socially distanced, remote bar exams. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to their impacts on the legal profession, their communities, and our law school. We also recognize the challenge of launching a career is far from over.

How can you help young alumni land that first job or make the transition to a more meaningful career path?

  • In June, SULAA hosted “Tips for Tackling a Remote Bar Exam,” a special panel discussion for the Class of 2021 featuring Aubre Dean L’20, Natalie Switzer Maier L’20, and Delaney Rose Moore L’20, organized and moderated by Lauren Blau L’17.

What experiences can you share with fellow alumni to help smooth the path for those who follow in your footsteps?

  • Also in June, SULAA welcomed six accomplished alumni to its Board of Directors: Sonia Worrell Asare L’06, BreAnna Avery L’17, Brittany Jones L’14, Benita Miller L’96, Sean Palmer L’01, and Kathleen Turland L’95. Additionally, throughout the year, we have welcomed alumni participation across our many committees and initiatives. 

There are many ways to get involved in our alumni network—how will you participate?

  • In September, SULAA, the SULAA Inclusion Network, and the College honored eight distinguished alumni and faculty during the annual Syracuse Law Honors and Alumni of Color awards ceremonies during Law Alumni Weekend. They included Seuk Joon Lee L’99 as the inaugural recipient of the Asian Pacific Island Legacy of Excellence Award. This award would not have been possible without the vision and leadership of SULAA Board Members Kimberly Lau L’06 and Astrid Quiñones L’18, Professor Mary Szto, and the student leaders of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Korean Law Students Association, and the South Asian Law Students Association. Nominations for next year’s recipients are already being received (email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@syr.edu to learn more). 

How will you reconnect and reengage with the law school and your former classmates?

  • In October, building on the success of our partnership in 2020, SULAA and the College of Law Board of Advisors launched another dollar-for-dollar fundraising challenge, to match the first $10,000 donated by law alumni during Boost the ’Cuse

Which College of Law programs or initiatives will you support through your financial generosity?

SULAA is committed to engaging and empowering our alumni through communication, knowledge, and resources. How would you like to see SULAA advance our mission of linking the past, present, and future of our College of Law family? I don’t ask these questions rhetorically. On the contrary, I welcome your input and participation. SULAA is your law alumni association (remember, all alumni become members upon graduation).  

If you have not done so already, please join the conversation on our LinkedIn page (search for Syracuse University Law Alumni Association), and please don’t hesitate to reach out to any Board member at any time. We would love to hear from you.

Go Orange,

Mark O'Brien L'14 signature

Mark O’Brien  L’14
President, Syracuse University Law Alumni Association

Message from Board of Advisors Chair

By Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83
Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Dear Alumni and Friends of the College of Law:

Last year, we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the founding of the College of Law. Although we all had the opportunity to celebrate and recognize the many achievements of the College over those 125 years, for many it remained a time of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. 

While much has changed over the past year, issues that challenged us then continue to evolve even as new issues have arisen. Not surprisingly, the College has met them head-on. 

For example, historical shortcomings in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) among our political, civic, legal, and other institutions are in sharper focus. Recognizing the impact a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment can have, the College launched a cultural competency curriculum this Fall. Residential and online students will be required to take a cultural-competency course as a requirement for graduation. This effort will expand and deepen as the College community works to better understand the role of DEI in legal education and beyond.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the stuff of science fiction for many years. More recently, it has become a focus of the College’s Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL). National security decision-making long has been the province of human effort. Increasingly, however, AI not merely supports those efforts but, in fact, it may supplant those efforts. SPL explores the legal and policy boundaries between the benefits provided by AI and the need for human (ethical) control.

“I am especially proud that the College is now ranked #11

nationally in Trial Advocacy by U.S. News and World Report.”

As the College continues to rise to meet existing and new challenges, it continues to deliver a high-quality legal education. Faculty are always advancing their knowledge in their respective fields through teaching and writing, generating an extraordinary number of scholarly books and other publications.  

Bolstered by externship opportunities, the College’s clinics offer proving grounds for our students who deliver much needed representation across the disciplines of bankruptcy law, criminal defense law, disability law, tax law, transactional law, and veterans law—and who gain meaningful practical skills as student attorneys. 

Finally, the Advocacy Program provides extensive and rigorous opportunities for students to develop their trial, appellate, and negotiation skills. I am especially proud that the College is now ranked #11 nationally in Trial Advocacy by U.S. News and World Report.

What the College is today and where it will go in the future is in no small measure driven by the engagement and support of the alumni and friends of the College. Your generosity enables us to lean into the challenges that lie ahead. On behalf of the Board of Advisors, faculty, and students, I thank you for your support and hope that you’ll remain engaged with your alma mater well into the future.

With gratitude,

Hallenbeck Signature

Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Law Alumni Weekend Returns to Dineen Hall!

Thank you for making Law Alumni Weekend 2021 a tremendous success. After last year’s 100% online gathering, this year’s event returned to Dineen Hall, with most events also available online. 

Across the weekend, more than 400 attended 19 events, featuring dozens of alumni and guest presenters, 10 honorees, and nine student organizations. “It was a joy to reconnect with so many of you in Dineen Hall after such a long absence, and from my perspective, the energy, enthusiasm, and sense of renewal were palpable,” says Dean Boise.

Of course, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you to all who attended an event or get-together in person or online, moderated or served on a panel, engaged with students and fellow alums, or worked with us behind the scenes.

Many thanks also to our sponsors, including Lowenstein Sandler LLP (title sponsor); Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC; the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media; Mackenzie Hughes LLP; the Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association; the Syracuse Civics Project; The Tully Center for Free Speech; and Wladis Law Firm. 

If you missed any of the programs, videos of Dean Boise’s State of the College Address, the annual United States Supreme Court Preview, and the Law Honors Awards and Alumni of Color Awards ceremonies are posted at alumniweekend.law.syr.edu.

And it’s not too early to start planning for LAW 2022. Be sure to visit law.syr.edu/honorsaward to submit candidates for the next Law Honors and Alumni of Color awards.

LAW 2021 Collage

  1. LAW 2021 featured the final round of the 50th anniversary of the Mackenzie Hughes LLP Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition. Pictured (L to R): The Hon. David E. Peebles L’75, US Magistrate Judge, US District Court of the Northern District of New York (NDNY); Hon. Brenda K. Sannes, US District Judge, US District Court of NDNY; 3Ls Cierra Thomas and Gabriella Kielbasinski (winners); the Hon. Frederick J. Scullin Jr. L’64, Senior US District Judge, US District Court of NDNY; Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91, US Magistrate Judge, US District Court of NDNY; and Hon. Ramón E. Rivera L’94, Judge, NY Court of Claims.
  2. The Corporate Law Society’s “Inside the Minds of Inside Counsel" panel featured (L to R) Scott P. Boylan L’85, Partner, StoneTurn Group LLP; Lisa K. Levine L’96, General Counsel, National Women’s Soccer League; Aaron M. Tidman L’07, Global Compliance Counsel, Pinterest; and Assistant Dean of Career Services Lily Yan Hughes. Neena M. Patil, Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, joined via video.
  3. Michael Kaplan L’11 (far right), Partner at Lowenstein Sandler LLP, hosted a timely CLE presentation on “Virtually Litigating: Pros and Cons of Litigation Practices Developed During COVID-19.” Other panelists were (L to R) Kara Krueger L’11, Senior Counsel, National Grid; Allison B. Fiut L’11, Partner, Harris Beach PLLC; and the Hon. Mae A. D’Agostino L’80, US District Judge, US District Court of NDNY. 
  4. The Hon. James P. Murphy L’84, NYS Administrative Judge, Fifth Judicial District, delivered the keynote address at the annual Lunch with Judiciary and Alumni.
  5. The College of Law’s fifth annual United States Supreme Court Preview featured a keynote address from David G. Savage, Supreme Court Correspondent, The Los Angeles Times. The keynote was followed by a panel discussion that featured (L to R): Savage; Professor Gary Kelder; Bond, Schoeneck & King Distinguished Professor Cora True-Frost L’01; the Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby L’85, Chief US District Judge, US District Court of NDNY; Jesse Feitel L’16, Media Associate, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; Associate Dean for Faculty Research Kristen Barnes; and Vice Dean Keith Bybee.
  6. The 2021 Law Honors Award Ceremony honored five recipients. Seated in the front row are: Professor and Director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative Paula Johnson; Carey Ng L’02, Assistant District Attorney, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office; Laurence Bousquet L’80, Partner, Bousquet Holstein PLLC; and Melanie Gray L’81, Partner (Ret.), Winston & Strawn LLP.  On screen is recipient Joanna Geraghty L’97, President and Chief Operating Officer of JetBlue, who could not attend the ceremony. Standing at back are Mark O’Brien L’14, SULAA President; Richard Levy Jr. L’77, Co-Chair, SULAA Syracuse Law Honors Committee; Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby; and Dean Boise.
  7. The Law Honors Award reception is always a time to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, including this group of current students pictured with Law Honors recipient Melanie Gray L’81 (center right). 
  8. Alums, faculty, staff, and students convened at SU’s new National Veterans Resource Center for the event “Supporting Veterans in Our Community.” Attendees met student attorneys and learned about the work of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC). Also—in a special ceremony—Robert J. Gang L’42, the College’s oldest living alum, was honored with a proclamation from Rep. John Katko L’88 recognizing his Army service in World War II and the Korean War and his long dedication to the legal profession. He is pictured with VLC Executive Director Elizabeth Kubala and Holly Gang.
  9. LL.M. alums from across the years and around the globe reconnected with each other at the annual LL.M. Reunion and heard program updates from Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L’10.
  10. Members of the classes of 2020 and 2021 got back together for a casual afternoon lunch reunion. 
  11. LAW 2021 concluded with the Fourth Annual Alumni of Color Awards Ceremony. The Hon. Ramon Rivera L’94, second from left), New York State Court of Claims, received the LALSA Legacy Award and standing next to him is the Hon. Rodney Thompson L’93, Presiding Judge, Family Division, Superior Court of New Jersey, BLSA William Herbert Johnson Legacy Award. On the screen is Seuk Joon Lee L’99, Senior Foreign Counsel, Yulchon, the recipient of the inaugural Asian Pacific Islander Legacy of Excellence Award. Award. Standing next to Rivera is SULAA Board member and Inclusion Network chair Astrid Quiñones L’18 and next to Thompson is SULAA Board member Betina R. Miller L’96.
  12. Recent graduates returned to Dineen Hall to celebrate at the Fourth Annual Alumni of Color Awards Reception.

“Vision and Generosity”

Announcing the Deborah and Sherman F. Levey ’57, L’59 Endowed Scholarship

Sherman F. Levey L'59
Sherman F. Levey L'59

Sherm was passionate about his alma mater, and  throughout his career, as a lawyer, a teacher, and a philanthropic leader and volunteer, he was a strong believer in lifting up his communities,” says Deborah Ronnen, the wife of alumnus and former College of Law adjunct professor Sherman F. Levey ’57, L’59, who passed away in April 2018.

To honor the many contributions that Levey made to his alma mater, his community, and the legal profession—and to encourage diversity across the law, a cause close to his heart—Syracuse Law and Ronnen have created the Deborah and Sherman F. Levey ’57, L’59 Endowed Scholarship.

“Sherm’s spirit is embedded in this endowed scholarship,” observes Ronnen. “It exemplifies all that is great about him: his keen intellect, his kindness and grace, his enduring commitment to his profession, and his open heart and generosity in support of countless generations of students.” 

“Sherm’s spirit is embedded in this endowed scholarship.”

Deborah Ronnen

As Dean Boise explains, “This scholarship will enable our students to achieve their dream of a career in law and advance diversity and inclusion in our profession. Levey Scholars will bring wide-ranging perspectives to our classrooms, continuing Syracuse Law's firm commitment to diversifying legal education and the legal profession, just as Sherm imagined it should be.”

Boise continues, “Deborah Ronnen’s vision and generosity—in Sherm’s memory—will not only help ensure that law school is accessible to brilliant minds among the broadest possible group of students, it will actively encourage them to select Syracuse Law as their law school of choice.” 

The inaugural Levey Scholar is 2L Kerstein Camilien. “As a Syracuse law student, there is no greater feeling than knowing that our alumni and their families keep us in mind. It’s a reminder that the rigors of law school need not be dealt with alone and some of them can be soothed,” he says. “Law school is stressful, and this scholarship has eased that stress by giving me one less thing to worry about. It’s made my career goals more achievable.”

Camilien adds, “I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and Sherman Levey’s inspiring legacy, and am very proud to be a Levey Scholar.”

Deborah Ronnen and Sherman F. Levey ’57, L’59
Sherman F. Levey ’57, L’59 and Deborah Ronnen.

An Exceptional Lawyer

Born in Rochester, NY, on July 4, 1935, Levey earned a full scholarship to Syracuse University. After graduating in 1957, he enrolled in the College of Law, where he graduated with honors in 1959. He also was active on Syracuse Law Review; the Fall 1958 (Vol. 10, No. 1) masthead lists Levey as an associate editor. 

After graduating from law school, he formed the tax  law firm of Rubin and Levey in Rochester, with Sydney  R. Rubin. The firm eventually merged with Harris, Beach and Wilcox to form Harris, Beach, Wilcox, Rubin and Levey. 

“What I like about practicing law is dealing with real people and real problems,” Levey once told Syracuse Law magazine. “I never quite believed in the grandeur of the law. But I do believe in the rule of law trying to solve problems in a civilized way by an orderly process. The law is basically a framework by which society attempts to solve, or hopefully avoid, problems among people.” 

Later in his distinguished career in tax law and estate planning, Levey joined the Rochester firm Boylan Code as Counsel. In his passing, his friends and colleagues at the firm remembered Levey as “an exceptional lawyer and a great man who will be missed by so many.” 

Proudest Accomplishment

Levey was also passionate about teaching the law, serving as an adjunct professor at Cornell University Law School, the Simon Business School of the University of Rochester, and Syracuse University College of Law. 

He noted in a Syracuse Law feature that—as a teacher—his proudest accomplishment was establishing and co-directing the College’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, which continues its work to this day. Levey helped to secure the clinic’s original funding through a Congressional program. 

Levey’s daughter—Lynn Levey L’94—followed her father to the College and then on to the faculty roster in 2006. She taught legal writing until 2017, when she joined Clark University in Worcester, MA, as its Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Dean for Wellness.

Another important contribution to his alma mater saw Levey establish a lecture series in his name in 1999. The Levey Lecture Series brings distinguished practitioners to Syracuse, including former American Bar Association president Robert MacCrate, the inaugural lecturer, and William E. Kennard, former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. 

The Class of 1959 poses together during its 25th anniversary in 1984. Sherman Levey is back row, fourth from left.
The Class of 1959 poses together during its 25th anniversaryin 1984.
Sherman Levey is back row, fourth from left.

A Great Friend

Lifelong supporters of music and dance, Levey’s and Ronnen’s philanthropy has enhanced multiple artistic projects in their hometown, where Ronnen is proprietor of Deborah Ronnen Fine Art. 

Among the Rochester organizations that have benefitted from the couple’s generosity are the George Eastman Museum, the Memorial Art Gallery, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Eastman School of Music, and Garth Fagan Dance. 

Levey was generous with his time, serving as Chair of the Jewish Home Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of the George Eastman Museum. He also worked with the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and he was on the board of Rochester public media company WXXI.

Class of 1959 graduates George Bruckman, Art Sherman, and Alan Herman remember their classmate as “an exceptional student and a great friend.”

“He was a proud alum and very generous to the College, including as an investor in the Class of ’59 Endowed Scholarship,” say the classmates, in union. “Deborah’s extraordinary contribution in Sherm’s memory is not only fitting of his lifelong record of generosity and excellence, it also will complement the endowed scholarship we established together.”

Nearly 100 Years After Graduation, Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924 is Still Making an Impact

Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924
Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924

When Irving S. Devorsetz L’1924 graduated from the College of Law, little did he know how his career in law and service to the Syracuse community would resonate for generations.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1900, Devorsetz moved with his family to Syracuse as a teen. After serving in World War I, he attended Syracuse University for his undergraduate and law degrees. 

After graduation, he established his solo private practice in Syracuse and provided general legal services—from family law to criminal defense work—for clients from all walks of life.

In addition to his solo practice, Devorsetz was deeply committed to public service. He was an examiner for the Public Service Commission, a member of the Syracuse Housing Authority, Secretary of the Citizens Committee of the Board of Supervisors, which recommended state acquisition of the Onondaga Sanatorium, and on the board of the Onondaga Bar Association.

“It’s always heartening to hear from a student and

how the scholarship has helped in their studies.”

Sidney Devorsetz

“He became close friends with many of his clients, including African Americans. He took me with him on many occasions when he visited with them in their homes,” remembers his son, Sidney Devorsetz. “He was supportive and sympathetic with their fight against discrimination.”

Irving and Ruth Devorsetz with their children Sidney and Amy.
Irving and Ruth Devorsetz with 
their children Sidney and Amy.

Recognizing a need to diversify the legal profession to serve all constituents, Irving established the Irving S. Devorsetz Scholarship in 1960 to provide legal education funding to a student from an underserved population. The scholarship was fully endowed after his death in 1963. 

“My father foresaw that to pursue justice for all people, there needed to be more attorneys from underrepresented populations, and he knew that the cost of a legal education would be a barrier. Therefore, he was determined to start a scholarship fund to help pay tuition for underrepresented law students,” says Amy Eliezer, Irving Devorsetz’ daughter.

Since that time, the Scholarship has met Devorsetz’s desire to diversify the legal profession with students receiving financial awards for nearly 50 years.

In a letter to the Devorsetz family, Kenneth Knight L’21, a recipient of the Scholarship, stated, “Thank you for your pledge to the College of Law and the leaders of the future. I hope this is only the introduction to a life-long bond that will continue well beyond my time at the College.” 

“He was always a champion of inclusivity and very assertive in that regard,” says Sidney. “It’s always heartening to hear from a student and how the Scholarship has helped in their studies. The family is happy that the Scholarship is doing good in our father’s memory.”

Georgia on Our Mind

From Her Home in Tbilisi, Chiora Taktakishvili LL.M.'19 Keeps Her Syracuse Connection Strong

During the visit of members of the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) to  Syracuse on September 15, it was inevitable that Chiora Taktakishvili’s name was mentioned. 

After all, it was the LL.M. Class of 2019 Taktakishvili who introduced GBA President David Asatiani and Executive Director Giorgi Tchekhani to Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew Horsfall L’10. This introduction led to a fall visit to Syracuse and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to promote scholarly exchange and cooperation among Syracuse Law, Syracuse University, and GBA.

“Chiora was the linchpin of the connection,” says Horsfall.  

“GBA is a relatively young organization as compared to the American Bar Association,” explains Taktakishvili, who has worked with GBA on policy and legislative issues in the past. “To deepen ties to the United States and GBA’s understanding of the US rule of law and civil society functions, Executive Director Tchekhani is interested in a cooperation plan with American universities. I was happy to help introduce GBA to the Syracuse University College of Law, and I am pleased to see the fruits of that introduction.”

Chiora Taktakishvili LL.M.'19

“What I wanted to do”

Assisting her nation’s bar association is just one of many initiatives Taktakishvili has pursued since returning to her native Georgia after graduating with her master of laws degree, with a specialization in international human rights law, and completing her postgraduate work experience at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights.

“I’m now working as a Senior Researcher at Policy Daily LLC, a policy consultancy company based in Tbilisi, where I help Georgian and foreign NGOs with organizational development training and non-discrimination policies,” says Taktakishvili, who also holds a law diploma from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University and a master’s in public law from Université Paris 8. 

Taktakishvili’s current work leverages not only her knowledge and experience of human rights and American law but also her previous government experience. From 2004 to 2008, she was the head of the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science Legal Department, and from 2008 to 2016, she was a member of the Georgian parliament, and served as First Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Issues Committee, a Deputy Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, and a member of the parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe. 

“Chiora is a burst of energy—

"engaged and responsive. She gets it.”

In addition to her research position at Policy Daily, Taktakishvili is a guest lecturer at Ilia State University, where she teaches a course on “Emerging Technologies from a Constitutional Law Perspective” to master of laws students. Taktakishvili’s course is inspired by one she took at Syracuse from the Hon. James. E. Baker. “That course was on emerging tech and global threats, but we also looked at artificial intelligence and its effects on human rights, collection of data, and privacy,” Taktakishvili recalls. “Judge Baker's class was so impressive to me. My opening lecture always acknowledges my experience at Syracuse Law and especially Judge Baker’s class.” Taktakishvili adds that her current combination of policy and academic work is “exactly what I wanted to do.”

“Really helped me”

Taktakishvili also benefitted from Syracuse’s writing instruction. “When I joined the LL.M. program, I wanted to bolster my writing and research skills, and I was always looking for classes with lots of papers to write. These classes have really helped me.” 

Specifically, Taktakishvili’s training at the College of Law has helped her to co-author of a new book (with Giorgi Beraia, Davit Zedelashvili, and Maia Kopaleishvili) that further illustrates her extensive knowledge of rule of law matters. 

Funded by a USAID Promoting Rule of Law in Georgia (PROLOG) grant, Right to Fair Trial: Institutional Guarantees for the Independence and Impartiality of Judges (Free University of Tbilisi, 2021) is a comparative analysis of US Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights, and Constitutional Court of Georgia case law concerning the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. 

“Independence and impartiality standards for tribunals and judges is the most pressing issue in Georgia currently,” Taktakishvili explains. “I’m happy that lawyers and students will now be able to learn more about the American and European standards for fair trials in their own language.”

Dean Craig M. Boise (right) and Georgian Bar Association (GBA) President David Asatiani sign a September 2021 Memorandum of Understanding to promote scholarly exchange and cooperation among Syracuse Law, Syracuse University, and GBA.
Dean Craig M. Boise (right) and Georgian Bar Association (GBA) President
David Asatiani sign a September 2021 Memorandum of Understanding to
promote scholarly exchange and cooperation among Syracuse Law,
Syracuse University, and GBA.

"She gets it"

Horsfall notes that Taktakishvili remains close to the master’s degree program in other ways. “This year, we tapped Chiora to help with an LL.M. Orientation Zoom call between program alumni and new students,” he says. “She’s always happy to give her perspective. Chiora is a burst of energy—engaged and responsive. She gets it.” 

Notably this year, when two new Georgian students—Nino Elbakidze and Nana Gochiashvili—joined the master’s degree program, they turned to Taktakishvili for advice. 

“They asked about how to get settled, what to expect—and the Syracuse winter,” she recalls. “I was happy to share my experience. I told them I actually enjoyed the Syracuse winter, as well as the Finger Lakes and the fall colors. I didn't really know Syracuse before I went, so I know how they were feeling.”  

Taktakishvili’s perspectives are also critical for the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association, which she serves as both a board member and a member of the Law Honors Committee. 

“Having master’s degree alumni on the SULAA Board offers a nice mix of experiences. After all, we shared so many classes and professors with the J.D. students,” Taktakishvili observes. “It was also a great honor to be involved in this year’s alumni awards. It was an excellent opportunity for me to learn about so many of Syracuse’s bright alumni.”

“Despite living far from Syracuse now, Chiora remains enthusiastically engaged with SULAA and the College of Law, and we’re all the better for it,” says Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby. “It’s important to have SULAA reflect the perspective of master’s degree students. I hope her involvement and counsel inspires future LL.M. graduates to do the same.”

A Class Ahead

The Annual Giving Leaderboard

Our alumni family’s generosity continues to drive Syracuse Law’s success, enabling us to offer a forward-leaning legal education, recruit and retain the best and brightest students and an outstanding faculty, and build upon our traditions and strengths. 

We couldn’t do it without you. Thanks to your gifts, each year we have new philanthropic successes to report:

  • During a global pandemic that tested us all, we exceeded our overall fundraising goal by more than $1 million, and we saw increased giving to our priority funds: the Law Annual Fund and the Scholarship and Financial Aid Fund
  • We also successfully endowed new scholarship funds, including the Syracuse Black Law Alumni Collective William H. Johnson L’1903 Endowed Scholarship—named in honor of the College’s first African American graduate—and the Deborah and Sherman F. Levey '57, L'59 Endowed Scholarship. These two new funds represent a landmark step in our continued efforts toward increased diversity, for our law school and the legal profession at large. 
  • Moreover, our alumni consistently lead the University in giving participation when compared to their Orange peers and continue to lead the University in Forever Orange campaign participation. Our alumni family has much to be proud of! 

In this chart, we highlight the top 10 classes by giving participation for Fiscal Year 2021, as well as the top classes by giving participation for each decade. Congratulations and thanks to these classes for their outstanding contributions!

Annual Giving Leaderboard 2021
Annual Giving Leaderboard 2021

Dean’s Message

Leading by Example

Dean Boise

The Giving Book lifts up the myriad ways our alumni stay involved and active with the College of Law, and again this year there is much to share and celebrate. In short, we look back on an extraordinary year of participation and generosity.

The numbers tell part of the story. As you’ll read, we exceeded our overall fundraising goal for the year, saw increased giving to our priority funds, and endowed new scholarships. In this issue, you’ll also read how Orange Law alumni consistently and exceptionally support the College with their time, talent, and treasure. Throughout the year, you have responded to our requests for assistance with an enthusiasm that is inspiring.

As with previous issues of the Giving Book, in these pages you will read examples of alums hiring graduates, hosting interns or externs, teaching, assisting at orientation and residencies, serving on panels, and judging and coaching advocacy competitions. You will also see examples of alumni leadership in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community and energizing the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.

“The example you set is an integral part

of the education our students receive.”

Your purposeful engagement leads to positive career outcomes for our students. It’s that simple. Along the way, you lead by example, and the example you set is an integral part of the education our students receive from your alma mater. 

The Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91 gives voice to the importance of modeling the right professional and ethical example for young lawyers: 

“Mentoring young lawyers is so important to keeping our profession civil and respected, and in the long run, to help uphold the rule of law,” Judge Dancks says, noting that she urges interns in her charge to consider mentoring junior lawyers as soon as they are in a position to do so. “I tell them that we all enhance each other with our successes, so it is important for them to help other Orange alums succeed.”

Well said, Judge Dancks. In the spirit of the holiday season, I thank our alumni family sincerely for your generosity, engagement, and leadership, and I wish you peace, happiness, and good health.

Very truly yours,

Craig M. Boise
Dean and Professor of Law

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Making a Lasting Impression

Clee Malfitano’s L’21 Mentorship Initiative Inspires New Program

Clee Malfitano L’21 with her uncle, Marc Malfitano L’78
Clee Malfitano L’21 with her
uncle, Marc Malfitano L’78

Clee Malfitano L’21 experienced the importance of mentorships and making lasting professional connections early in her collegiate career.

While an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, she founded Women in Business, a student organization focused on empowering women. Through its Mentorship Program, Women in Business connected undergraduates with Nashville businesswomen, who helped guide the undergraduates’ educational and career decisions.

When Malfitano arrived at the College of Law in 2018, she realized the doctrinal 1L courses were not structured to provide exposure to different legal career paths. “Not all students know during their 1L year what direction they want their careers to go,” she says. 

Seeing a gap in providing first-year law students with more insight into what they could do with their law degree, Malfitano approached Assistant Dean of Advancement and External Affairs Sophie Dagenais and the Office of Career Services staff with an idea to apply her Women in Business model to the law school’s Corporate Law Society (CLS).

“As with all relationships, some pairings were deeper than others, but I know

some students who are still in contact with their alumni mentor on a weekly basis.”

Clee Malfitano L’21

“When I met with Dean Dagenais and the career services team, they were enthusiastic and supportive in getting the initiative started,” relates Malfitano, who was initially able to match 17 alumni with CLS members based on responses to a survey.  

“The survey helped pair students with the right alum based on the knowledge and connections of Dean Dagenais,” Malfitano says. “As with all relationships, some pairings were deeper than others, but I know some students who are still in contact with their alumni mentor on a weekly basis.”

The small-scale CLS mentorship pilot helped jump-start the College’s Mentoring in Action Program, which began in fall 2020 by matching participating 1L students first with Syracuse Law faculty. Once 1Ls become 2Ls, they are matched with alumni mentors.  

Malfitano, now a Corporate and Commercial Litigation Associate at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP in Wilmington, DE, is excited to see that—thanks in part to her CLS initiative—all Syracuse Law students have the opportunity to work with faculty and alumni mentors. 

“I am looking forward to contributing to the initiative in any way I can,” she notes. So far, Malfitano happily joined the orientation program of Mentoring in Action as a panelist to help the participating students prepare for their introduction to alumni mentors.

One Leader to Another

Malfitano class pictures

Clee Malfitano’s L’21 success at the College of Law comes as no surprise to one of her biggest fans, her uncle, Marc Malfitano L’78

The former Board of Advisors Chair and catalyst behind the Dineen Hall building project says, “Clee is a leader and she’s exhibited that since high school, through team sports, high school trial teams, and at Vanderbilt where she established with five other students the Women in Business program that has continued beyond her tenure. I’m not surprised at all she’s been a leader and am proud of what she’s accomplished.”

Further cementing their bond was a gift that Clee gave Marc after she graduated. “She was able to get a print of my class picture and combined it with her class picture in a frame with our class years. She is my legacy, and that gift is a daily reminder. The gesture moved me and my wife, Jeanette a lot, as does the knowledge that she was able to accomplish so much at the College of Law.” 

Marc is fully supportive of the mentorship initiatives at the College of Law. “Many students have not had the benefit of having a lawyer in their family to give guidance, so the more we can connect students who have experienced the same thing as they have is a great thing. It develops a legacy, and it offers perspective and a comfort level.”

A long-time adjunct professor who teaches a course in advanced real estate law each spring, Marc Malfitano was back in the classroom a semester early this year. He was invited by Chancellor Kent Syverud to co-teach the Chancellor’s popular seminar in negotiation. 

“I was honored to be asked by the Chancellor based on my business and teaching and life experience background to co-teach negotiation during the first weekend of law school classes,” Marc observes. “It was a great opportunity, a lot of fun, and many of my experiences and thought processes dovetailed into what the Chancellor teaches. We plan to co-teach next year, and I am committed to doing so.”

“An Orange Family”

How the Coles Keep their School Spirit Alive

2021 Law School Graduation: Lenore Cole (Lisa’s mom, Vinny’s wife), Vinny Cole, Joey Cole (brother), Lisa Cole, Chris Cole (twin), and Josephine Ymer (grandmother).
2021 Law School Graduation: Lenore Cole (Lisa’s
mom,Vinny’s wife), Vinny Cole, Joey Cole (brother),
Lisa Cole, Chris Cole (twin), and Josephine
Ymer (grandmother).

In the first few days of law school, Lisa J. Cole L’21, G’21 entered her torts class knowing good and well that 40 years before her father had completed the same course with the exact same professor—Peter Bell, his first course teaching her father and one of his last teaching her.

“He pulled me aside after to say he remembered my dad—Vincent J. “Vinny” Cole L’81,” Lisa recalls. He even had a seating chart from that year. “He showed me exactly where my dad used to sit. It was special that we had that continuity four decades later.”

But Lisa didn’t always know she wanted to be a lawyer. “I think because my dad was a lawyer, I grew up thinking I wanted to do something totally different.” But while studying business at Babson College, a required business law course shifted her mindset. “This was when I was first exposed to business law, and it piqued my interest.” 

Next, Lisa completed a summer internship at Cerberus, a private equity firm, where her work straddled the border of business and law. “I became really interested in the legal side of it. That’s when I decided on law.”

Before her final year of undergrad, Lisa told her father she wanted to apply to law school. Needless to say, the former Board of Advisors member hoped for Syracuse. “Obviously, she was free to go wherever she wanted, and she had choices,” Vinny recalls. “I was just absolutely thrilled when she decided to go to Syracuse.”

For Vinny, his passion to study law was motivated by two things: Perry Mason and a prominent lawyer working in his Pennsylvania town who had graduated from the College of Law. “He’s long since deceased—Mike DeSisti L’41—but all three of his daughters attended Syracuse University. There’s a long heritage of connection with Syracuse University.”

Cole Family Connection

As a family, visits to Syracuse were frequent because of a long history with Syracuse. Vinny not only graduated from the College of Law but attended Syracuse University as an undergraduate. His son, Joey Cole, also attended SU for computer science, graduating in 2019. Vinny’s cousin, Janine Stover Yates, was a few years ahead of Vinny at SU and his goddaughter, Sarah Skerpon, attended as well.

“We used to go back frequently for homecomings and various events,” Vinny says. “We’ve maintained that connection with the school and lasting friendships.”

“We’re an Orange family,” adds Lisa, describing the many times she’s cheered on SU in a big, crazy orange wig holding a pair of metallic pom poms. “I grew up coming to campus a lot as a kid. I remember seeing the school and meeting all of the lifelong friends that my dad had made.” 

She remembers feeling a real sense of community at Syracuse. “It was really special to follow [in my father’s footsteps]—albeit quite a few years later than my dad —at the law school as well.”

Staying Connected & Helping Students

In 2014, the family dedicated two vitally important suites to the school as Dineen Hall opened: the Lenore & Vincent J. Cole Admissions & Financial Aid Suite and the Career Services Suite.

“My theory was to help them get in and then make sure they get out successfully into their professional careers,” said Vinny of his reasons for making gifts in support of the two offices. 

“My theory was to help them get in and then make sure they get

out successfully into their professional careers.”

Vincent J. Cole L’81

Vinny says he’s been very fortunate over his career and has always felt it important to give back, “not just financially, but also of time and effort.” In 2004, he joined the school’s Board of Advisors and stayed on for 12 years. “Everyone is trying very, very hard to advance the law school’s mission and improve its reputation,” Vinny notes.

Being fresh out of school, Lisa has yet to make a mark through financial contributions to the College, but she follows her dad’s example of giving one’s time. She helps coach the Advocacy Honor Society trial teams and continues her works with the Syracuse Law Review. “Even though I’ve graduated, I think it’s important to still stay connected and help students,” said Lisa, who notes she often is contacted by students through LinkedIn and is happy to jump on a Zoom call to answer questions on the career search process as well as the J.D./M.B.A. joint degree. “Serving as a mentor is another valuable way to give back.”

While Lisa says her father has provided a lifetime of advice, when it came to law school and now her career, he advised her to work hard, do her best and explore. “He’d say, as many have, ‘once you find something that you love, if you can make a career out of it, you’ll never work a day in your life.’”

Vinny offers much the same advice to law students he meets: Keep an open mind and try everything. 

“Hopefully, you’ll find passion, and that passion will guide you to do what you like in life.”

“I think when you start in the legal profession, you need to try as many and as diverse opportunities as you can, because no one coming out of law school really has a clue what they want to do,” he adds. “Until you get in there and do it, you really don't know.”

Compare & Contrast

Homecoming Weekend: Vinny Cole, Joey Cole, Lisa Cole, and Lenore Cole (Vinny’s wife).
Homecoming Weekend: Vinny Cole, Joey Cole,
Lisa Cole, and Lenore Cole (Vinny’s wife).

In Vinny’s final year with a job offer already in hand, he says his final months were quite social, with many hours spent at Varsity Pizza and Faegan’s Pub. “I kicked back a little bit and enjoyed my year, but unfortunately for Lisa wrapping up during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was socially distant from everyone and didn’t have that same luxury.”

“I’ve made an appearance or two at both Faegan’s and Varsity,” Lisa says with a laugh. “But yes, for me, a lot of my law school experience was virtual because of COVID.” The pandemic impacted almost half of her time in law school, but there were still highlights during her law school experience, such as participating in Advocacy Honor Society trials, which provided her invaluable mentorship from fellow students and coaches and gave her exposure she could not have gotten in the classroom. 

“A highlight of my law school experience was when my trial team got to travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Tournament of Champions — we finished as semifinalists.” Lisa and her team went on to compete in the National Trial Competition, where her team won Regionals but could not compete in Nationals due to COVID. 

Now as the ink is still drying on her diploma, Lisa has passed the bar and started her first job at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP in New York City. She’s opted to work in-person four days a week and remotely one. 

“It’s been very, very busy,” she observes. “But a lot of fun.” She’s found that her J.D./M.B.A. joint degree provides a leg up amongst her peers, many who attended top-ranked law schools. “It’s proved advantageous because a lot of the work that I do now is corporate law,” she says. “The J.D./M.B.A. curriculum —particularly the finance courses—has given me an early understanding of the work that I do and what is important to our clients.” 

Similarly, her father, who also began at Cahill and later moved on to Lexmark International, started in the field doing both litigation and corporate work.

“Utilizing my vague memory, my first year out of law school was exciting as hell,” Vinny recalls. “It was very intense, but so was law school. I enjoyed working long hours, but what I was most thrilled by in my first year, is how well I thought Syracuse prepared me to participate in that work environment.” 

He says Syracuse graduates should not be intimidated as they move into a career and face colleagues who may have attended Ivy League schools. “I feel Syracuse prepared me well,” he said, stressing he competed perfectly on par with others and felt adequately prepared. “And not just theoretical preparation, but also a good, practical, common-sense level of training.”

Feeling thoroughly prepared from her time at Syracuse Law, Lisa is now embarking on a new chapter of her life as an attorney, following in her father’s footsteps in proud Syracuse Orange fashion. 

We’re Number 1!

Did you know that Syracuse is one of the first universities to develop a way to measure both the number of alumni engaged with the University and the quality of that engagement? 

By creating this metric, the University and the College of Law recognize that volunteering—such as serving on a panel, teaching a class, judging an advocacy competition, or hosting an extern—is vitally important to our mission. 

We also know that strong financial participation follows robust alumni engagement. 

How do we know this? Well, for one thing, despite the economic challenges of 2021, last year the College raised more than $3.5 million from 1,400 donors, exceeding our target for the year and then some.

And there’s more! Thanks to the many ways you give back to your College, we can proudly say that among the 12 University schools and colleges, Syracuse Law ranks #1 in alumni engagement! 

Thank you for all you do for the College of Law!

Alumni Engagement 2021

A Strong Start for Class Act!

Class Act 2021 Group

The Class of 2022 has hit the ground running with their class giving campaign! Class Act! encourages all seniors at Syracuse University to launch their philanthropy in support of SU and make a gift in honor of their graduation year—in 2022, the suggested amount is $20.22. 

Led by J.D. Class President Gabrielle Kielbasinski, the 2022 College of Law Class Act! Committee kicked things off in style by tabling during Boost the ’Cuse with coffee and doughnuts. A visit from Otto capped off the day. More than 30 gifts from classmates marked a strong start for the campaign, which has consistently led the University in participation. 

In a Syracuse Law first, the Class of 2022 also raised enough gifts by the time of the College’s annual Fireplace Lighting Ceremony on November 8 to “fire up” that event with a friendly and sweet pie-in-the-face challenge, featuring Dean Boise and Director of Student Affairs Sarah Collins!  

Best of luck to the Class of 2022, and thanks to the dedicated student volunteers who make up the 2022 Class Act Committee. Special thanks to Board of Advisors member Alan Epstein L’74, co-founder of the College of Law’s Class Act! campaign. 

Your efforts, and creative leadership, are greatly appreciated.

Class Act Group 2021
Class Act Group 2021

Forever Syracuse Law!

Forever Orange Logo

We are in the home stretch of Forever Orange, a campaign that will help Syracuse Law continue to graduate Extraordinary Lawyers who will go on to lead Extraordinary Lives.

Led by your remarkable generosity, as of fall 2021, we have raised close to 70% of our $38 million goal. And with 28.7% of our alumni meaningfully engaged with their alma mater, we are within touching distance of our 30% campaign engagement goal, which exceeds the University’s 20% engagement goal.

Your gift to our Forever Orange campaign ensures that we can continue our forward trajectory.  We are experts at innovating legal education for the 21st century—and with your support, we can  do even more to ... 

  • Attract the best and brightest students and offer them appropriate financial aid to help  make their career dreams a reality. 
  • Recruit and support a world-class faculty whose practical experience and intellectual  scholarship meet the needs of students and employers and advance the research and  programs that are our hallmark.
  • Ensure we have financial stability and flexibility now and into the future. 

The bottom line? Forever Orange is all about the extraordinary things that we can do together to  take the College to the next level.

To donate to your alma mater and to learn more about volunteering, visit law.syr.edu/giving.

Forever Orange 2021

Status of The ’Cuse? Boosted!

Thank you to alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends who made gifts to Boost the ’Cuse on Oct. 7, 2021, the University’s annual day of giving. 

Once again, this 24-hour campaign was a huge success. The College of Law ended the day with 466 donors, easily beating its 310-donor goal. For good measure, Syracuse Law helped the University beat its 5,000-donor goal—SU logged an incredible 5,109 donors!

Special gratitude goes to the Board of Advisors and the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Board for renewing their $10,000 matching challenge, which was unlocked early on October 7, around 10:30 a.m.

Boost the 'Cuse 2021

Law Firm Giving Challenge Returns!

Paul Lyons L’09 and Fritz Diddle

The 2022 Law Firm Giving Challenge is on! The fourth annual Challenge is a friendly competition that encourages Syracuse Law alumni at Central New York law firms to make a gift to their alma mater, in solidarity with their colleagues. 

Once again, the challenge kickoff coincided with Boost the ’Cuse, Syracuse University’s Annual Day of Giving in October.

To show appreciation for the generosity of our area alumni, Syracuse Law staff visited participating firms with doughnuts in October. Pictured are Paul Lyons L’09, Member at Bottar Law, and Fritz Diddle, Assistant Director of Development, along with a box of Syracuse-based Glazed & Confused’s finest. 

The Law Firm Challenge continues through June 30, 2022. To learn more, call Fritz Diddle at 315.443.1339 or email fjdiddle@law.syr.edu.

Bousquet Holsetin Law Firm Giving Challenge team

Orange lawyers and staffers at Bousquet Holstein are pictured with their 2020 Law Firm Challenge Award. From left: Jeffrey Fasoldt L’20; Larry Bousquet L’80 (recipient of a 2021 Law Honors Award); Rosemary Lepiane L'04John Valentino L’87; and Philip Bousquet L’89. Congratulations to the other 2020 winners: Bond, Schoeneck & King, Hancock Estabrook, and Bottar Law.

Our Back Pages

Do You Remember? Help Us Caption Our Mystery Photos!

The College of Law’s photo archive is a fascinating visual history of your alma mater, full of nostalgia, anecdotes—and a few mysteries. That is, some of our prints and slides lack information or captions.

That’s where you come in. In this feature, we challenge you to help us recall the people and scenes in our mystery photos. For our new mystery, we’ve unearthed a fascinating photo, or what actually appears to be a tearsheet from a publication. 

Possibly a classroom scene from White or MacNaughton halls, there is no information accompanying this tearsheet, so if you know the names of any of the students pictured and/or when the photo was taken, please email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@syr.edu, and we’ll publish what we discover in a future issue and on our social media.

Our Back Bages for Yearbook 2021

Faculty Publications

Discover faculty research at papers.ssrn.com.

Hon. James E. Baker

Professor of  Law

Director, Institute for Security Policy and Law Professor of Public Administration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (by courtesy appointment)

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

From Shortages to Stockpiles: How the Defense Production Act Can Be Used to Save Lives, Make America the Global Arsenal of Public Health, and Address the Security Challenges Ahead, 11 J. NAT’L DEC. L. & POL’Y 157 (2020).

Leadership in a Time of Pandemic: Act Well the Given Part, 11 J. NAT’L DEC. L. & POL’Y 1 (2020).

Reports, News, and Commentary

Ethics and Artificial Intelligence: A Policymaker’s Introduction, CSET POLICY BRIEF (Ctr. for Sec. & Emerging Tech, Walsh Sch. of Foreign Serv., Georgetown Univ.),  Apr. 2021.

A DPA for the 21st Century: Securing America’s AI National Security Innovation Base, CSET POLICY BRIEF (Ctr. for Sec. & Emerging Tech, Walsh Sch. of Foreign Serv., Georgetown Univ.), Apr. 2021. 

Good Governance Paper No. 21: Obedience to Orders, Lawful Orders, and the Military’s Constitutional Compact, JUST SECURITY, Nov. 2, 2020.

Kristen Barnes

Associate Dean for Faculty Research

Professor of Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Reframing Housing: Incorporating Public Law Principles into Private Law, 31 DUKE J. COMP. & INT’L L. 91 (2020).

The Pieces of Housing Integration, 70 CASE W. RES. L. R. 717 (2020).

Todd A. Berger

Professor of Law

Director, Advocacy Programs

Director, Philly Ex

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Male Legal Educators Cannot Teach Women How to Practice “Gender Judo”: The Need to Critically Re-Assess Current Pedagogicwal Approaches for Teaching Trial Advocacy, 45 J. LEGAL PROFESSION 1 (2020).

Peter D. Blanck

University Professor 

Chairman, Burton Blatt Institute

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Thirty Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Law Students and Lawyers as Plaintiffs and Advocates , 45 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY REVIEW OF LAW & SOCIAL CHANGE/THE HARBINGER 8 (2021).

Disability Inclusive Employment and the Accommodation Principle: Emerging Issues in Research, Policy, and Law, 30 J. OCCUPATIONAL REHABILITATION 505 (2020). 

Gig Workers with Disabilities: Opportunities, Challenges, and Regulatory Response (with Paul Harpur), 30 J. OCCUPATIONAL REHABILITATION 511, (2020). 

Diversity and Inclusion in the American Legal Profession: Workplace Accommodations for Lawyers with Disabilities and Lawyers Who Identify as LGBTQ+ (with Fitore 

Hysein & Fatma Altunkol Wise), 30 J. OCCUPATIONAL REHABILITATION 537 (2020). 

Before the Accommodation Principle: Disability and Employment Among Union Army Veterans (with Larry Logue), 30 J. OCCUPATIONAL REHABILITATION 565 (2020). 

California’s Response to the Status of Gig Workers with Disabilities: An Update (with Paul Harpur), 30 J. OCCUPATIONAL REHABILITATION 689 (2020). 

Diversity and Inclusion in the American Legal Profession: First Phase Findings from a National Study of Lawyers with Disabilities and Lawyers Who Identify as LGBTQ+, (with Ynesse Abdul-Malak, Meera Adya, Fitore Hyseni, Mary Killeen, and Fatma Altunkol Wise) 23 UDC/DCSL L. REV. 23 (2020). 

Doron Dorfman

Associate Professor of Law

Book Chapters

The Universal View of Disability and its Danger to the Civil Rights Model, in DEFINING THE BOUNDARIES OF DISABILITY: CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES (Licia Carlson & Matthew Murray, eds.) (2021).

Treatment of Disability Under Crisis Standards of Care: An Empirical and Normative Analysis of Change Over Time During COVID-19 (with Ari Ne’eman, Michael Ashley Stein & Zackary D. Berger), J. HEALTH POL. POL’Y & L. (Mar. 2020).

Book Reviews


Reports, News, and Commentary

Mask Exemptions During the COVID-19 Pandemic—A New Frontier for Clinicians (with Mical Raz), 1 JAMA HEALTH FORUM (July 2020).

Opinion, How an Unexpected Collaboration Led Utah to Amend its Discriminatory Triage Plan, THE HILL (Aug. 28, 2020).

Opinion, Thirty Years Later, Still Fighting Over the ADA (with Thomas F. Burke), REGUL. REV. (Dec. 7, 2020).

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

The Professionalization of Urban Accessibility (with Mariela Yabo), 47 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 1213 (2020).

Disability Rights as a Necessary Framework for Crisis Standards of Care and the Future of Health Care (with others), 50 HASTINGS CENTER REP. 28 (2020).

Reweighing Medical Civil Rights (with Rabia Belt), 72 STAN. L. REV. ONLINE 176 (July 2020).

David M. Driesen

University Professor

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

The Unitary Executive Theory in Comparative Context, 72 HASTINGS L.J. 1 (2020).

Implied Presidential and Congressional Powers (with William C. Banks), 41 CARDOZO L. REV. 1301 (2020).

Reports, News, and Commentary  

Opinion, How Science Will Save the World, Dec. 16, 2020, THE HILL (Dec. 16, 2020)

Opinion, How Private Companies Could Step Up to Help Save Our Election (with Eric W. Orts & George Aposporos), THE HILL (Aug. 25, 2020).

Opinion, This Election Is About the Survival of Our Democracy, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, July 26, 2020, at E1. 

Opinion, The Seila Law Case: Liberty and Political Firing, THE HILL (July 1, 2020).

Trump’s Quislings, HIST. NEWS NETWORK (Apr. 26, 2020).

Book Review


Ian Gallacher

Professor of Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Here’s Tae Us, Wha’s Like Us: Some Thoughts on the Future of Legal Writing in American Law Schools, 24 J. LEGAL WRITING INST.29 (2020). 

Shubha Ghosh

Crandall Melvin Professor of Law

Director, Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Myriad Post-Myriad, 47 SCI. & PUB. POL’Y 638 2021). 

Do the Games Never End? 71 FLA. L. REV. F. 76 (2020).

The Elusive Quest for Digital Exhaustion in the US and the EU: The CJEU’s Tom Kabinet Ruling a Milestone or Millstone for Legal Evolution?, 8 HUNG. YB INT’L L. & EUR. L. 249 (2020).

A Revolution Ignored?, 65 ANTITRUST BULL. 606 (2020).

Book Review

Recognizing and Correcting a Discrepancy, JOTWELL 


Lauryn P. Gouldin 

Crandall Melvin Professor of Law

Director, Syracuse Civics Initiative

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Reforming Pretrial Decision-making, 55 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 857 (2020). 

Reports, News, and Commentary

Opinion, Why Is There Over-Policing for Low-Level Offenses?, THE HILL (Apr. 23, 2021).

Roy Gutterman

Director, Tully Center for Free Speech

Associate Professor, Newhouse School

Professor of Law (by courtesy appointment)

Reports, News, and Commentary

Assaults on Press Freedom, Here and Abroad, Endanger Democracy, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, April 30, 2021.

Is Election Disinformation Free Speech or Defamation? Courts Will Decide, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, February 26, 2021 at E1. 

Biden Must Swiftly Restore Press Freedom, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, December 13, 2020 at E1.

The Right to Vote Is “the Essence of a Democratic Society.” Exercise it., SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, October 25, 2020 at E1.

Advice for Individuals, Not Governments, to Safeguard Free Speech, WASH. POST, August 2, 2020 at B6.

Trump, Twitter and the Distraction of Censorship Order Likely Violates First Amendment and Contradicts His New Neutrality Policy, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, May 31, 2020 at E3.

Book Review


Paula C. Johnson

Professor of Law

Co-Director, Cold Case Justice Initiative

Reports, News, and Commentary

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian Made an Impact on SU, Too, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, July 19, 2020 at B4.

Arlene S. Kanter

Laura J. & L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence

Professor of Law

Director, Disability Law and Policy Program

Faculty Director of International Programs

Professor of Disability Studies, School of Education (by courtesy appointment) 

Reports, News, and Commentary 

Individuals with Disabilities Are not “Them,” They Are “Us,” SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, December 3, 2020 at A19.

Religious Freedom Is No Reason to Deny People with Disabilities the Right to Equality in the Workplace, THE HILL (July 26, 2020).

Turning Their Back on People with Disabilities in the Name of Religious Freedom, JURIST (July 26, 2020). 

Can Faculty Be Forced Back on Campus?: Several Covid-Related Regulations and Federal and State Laws Provide Guidance, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, June 15, 2020.

Nina A. Kohn

David M. Levy L’48 Professor of Law

Faculty Director of Online Education

Book Chapters

Fiduciary Principles in Surrogate Decision-Making, in OXFORD HANDBOOK OF FIDUCIARY LAW (R. Sitkoff et al. eds., 2019). 

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Nursing Homes, COVID-19, and the Consequences of Regulatory Failure, 110 GEO. L.J. ONLINE 1 (2021).

How the Guardianship System Can Help Address Gun Violence, 48 Supp. J. L. MED. & ETHICS 133 (2020).

Reports, News, and Commentary 

It’s Time to Care About Home Care, THE HILL (May 31, 2021).

COVID Awakened Americans to a Nursing Home Crisis. Now Comes the Hard Part, WASH. POST (Apr. 28, 2021).

Netflix’s “I Care a Lot” Should Worry You (with David M. English), THE HILL (Feb. 24, 2021).

When it Comes to Healthy Aging: Location, Location, Location (with Jennifer Goldberg), THE HILL (Oct. 15, 2020). 

Coronavirus Isolated Nursing Home Residents. Now it Might Keep Them From Voting: States Can Step in to Help, but Many Aren’t, WASH. POST (Oct. 14, 2020). 

Older Adults Are Feeling the Heat, Literally (with Karl Pillemer), THE HILL (Aug. 29, 2020). 

Come Fall, Universities Must Expand Vision: Traditional Learning Can Be Replicated Online, ALBANY TIMES UNION (June 6, 2020). 

Nursing Homes Need Increased Staffing, not Legal Immunity (with Jessica L. Roberts), THE HILL (May 23, 2020). 

Move Class Online ... But Do it Right, SYRACUSE.COM (Mar. 19, 2020).

Robin Paul Malloy

Ernest I. White Chair and Distinguished Professor of Law Kauffman Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Director, Center on Property, Citizenship, and Social  Entrepreneurism

Professor of Economics, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (by courtesy appointment)

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Advancing Accessible Communities, 27 VA. J. SOC. POL’Y & L. 233 (2020). 

Mary Helen McNeal

Professor of Law

Director, Elder and Health Law Clinic

Co-Director, LondonEx

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Addressing Elder Abuse: Service Provider Perspectives on the Potential of Restorative Processes, 32 J. ELDER ABUSE & NEGLECT 357 (2020).

Elder Restorative Justice (with Maria Brown), 21 CARDOZO J. OF CONFLICT RESOL. 91 (2019).

Aliza M. Milner

Teaching Professor

Director, Legal Communication and Research

Book Chapters

Triple Step: The Choreography of Teaching Reading in the Doctrinal Classroom, in LAWYERING SKILLS IN THE DOCTRINAL CLASSROOM: USING LEGAL WRITING PEDAGOGY TO ENHANCE TEACHING ACROSS THE LAW SCHOOL CURRICULUM (Tammy Pettinato Oltz ed., 2021). 

Mark P. Nevitt

Associate Professor of Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Domestic Military Operations and the Coronavirus Pandemic, 11 J. NAT’L SEC. L. & POL’Y 107 (2020).

On Environmental Law, Climate Change, and National Security Law, 44 HARV. ENVTL. L. REV. 321 (2020).

Reports, News, and Commentary 

Should the COVID-19 Vaccine Be Required for the Military?, JUST SECURITY, Apr. 12, 2021.

Is Climate Change a National Emergency?, JUST SECURITY, Feb. 25, 2021.

Tragedy at the Capital: Four Questions That Demand Answers, JUST SECURITY, Jan. 9, 2021.

Important Context Missing from the Austin Nomination Debate, JUST SECURITY, Dec. 17, 2020.

Climate Change, National Security, and the New Commander-in-Chief, JUST SECURITY, Dec. 2, 2020.

Good Governance Paper No. 6 (Part Two): Domestic Military Operations—The Role of the National Guard, Posse Comitatus Act and More, JUST SECURITY, Oct. 21, 2020. 

Good Governance Paper No. 6 (Part One): Domestic Military Operations—Reforming the Insurrection Act, JUST SECURITY, Oct. 20, 2020.

Climate Change, Arctic Security, and Why the U.S. Should Join the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, RULE OF LAW POST (Center for Ethics & the Rule of L., U. Pa.), Sept. 30, 2020.

As Climate-Related Disasters Intensify, Retreat Emerges as Adaptation Strategy, ENERGY POLICY NOW (Podcast, Kleinman Center for Energy Pol’y, U. Pa.), Sept. 15, 2020. 

Climate Change: A Threat to International Peace and Security?, OPINIOJURIS (Int’l Comm’n of Jurists), Aug. 29, 2020.

Climate Adaptation Strategies: How Do We Manage Managed Retreat?, (Report, Kleinman Center for Energy Pol’y, U. Pa), August 2020.

Secretary Pompeo’s Surprising Defense of International Law, Allies, and the Law of the Sea Convention, JUST SECURITY, July 15, 2020.

The President and the Domestic Military Deployment of the Military: Answers to Five Key Questions, JUST SECURITY, June 2, 2020.

Michael A. Schwartz

Associate Professor of Law

Director, Disability Rights Clinic

Book Chapters 

Deaf Research Methodologies? Confronting Epistemological Silences and Challenges in Qualitative Research (with Bronagh Byrne), in SOCIAL RESEARCH AND DISABILITY: DEVELOPING INCLUSIVE RESEARCH SPACES FOR DISABLED RESEARCHERS (Ciaran Burke & Bronagh Byrne eds., 2021). 

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Enhancing Deaf People’s Access to Justice: Implementing Article 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (with Bronagh Byrne & Brent C. Elder), 23 SCANDINAVIAN J. DISABILITY RSCH. 74 (2021).

A. Joseph Warburton

Professor of Law

Professor of Finance, Whitman School of Management

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles

Business Development Companies: Venture Capital for Retail Investors, 76 BUSINESS LAWYER 59 (2021).

Faculty Books

Disability Law and Policy

University Professor Peter D. Blanck

West Academic, 2020
Disability Law and Policy

Disability Law and Policy provides an overview of the major themes and insights in disability law. It is also a compelling compendium of stories about how our legal system has responded to the needs of impacted individuals.  

The year 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. During the past three decades, disability law and policy, including the law of the ADA itself, have evolved dramatically in the United States and internationally. 

As the book illustrates, walls of inaccessibility, exclusion, segregation, stigma, and discrimination have been torn down, often brick-by-brick. But the work continues, many times led by advocates who have never known a world without the ADA and are now building on the efforts of those who came before them.

Mastering Criminal Procedure (3rd. Ed.)

Professor Sanjay K. Chhablani, et al.

Carolina Academic Press, 2020
Mastering Criminal Procedure

Mastering Criminal Procedure, Volume 1: The Investigative Stage provides a concise treatment of the relevant federal constitutional doctrines that guide and constrain interactions between the police and individuals in the investigation of criminal conduct. 

Volume 2: The Adjudicatory Stage focuses on the charging and trial process of a criminal case from the filing of charges against a defendant through the pre-trial and trial stages of the prosecution, culminating with post-conviction proceedings.

The Specter of Dictatorship: Judicial Enabling of Presidential Power

University Professor David M. Driesen

Stanford University Press, 2021
Specter of Dictatorship

In The Specter of Dictatorship, David Driesen analyzes the chief executive’s role in the democratic decline of Hungary, Poland, and Turkey and argues that an insufficiently constrained presidency is one of the most important systemic threats to democracy. 

Driesen urges the United States to learn from the mistakes of these failing democracies. Their experiences suggest, Driesen shows, that the US Supreme Court must eschew reliance on and expansion of the “unitary executive theory” and apply a less deferential approach to presidential authority, invoked to protect national security and combat emergencies, than it has in recent years. 

Ultimately, Driesen argues that concern about the loss of democracy should play a major role in jurisprudence because the loss of democracy can prove irreversible. As autocracy spreads throughout the world, maintaining democracy has become an urgent matter.

Advanced Introduction to Law and Entrepreneurship

Professor Shubha Ghosh

Edward Elgar, 2021
Law and Entrepreneurship

This Advanced Introduction considers the multiple ways in which law and entrepreneurship intertwine. It explores key areas defining the field—including lawyering, innovation policy, intellectual property, as well as economics and finance—to enhance both legal and pedagogical concepts. 

Key features include: a survey of critical scholarly articles in the field of law and entrepreneurship; analysis of challenges to legal professions in the new technological environment; and a tracing of the roots of entrepreneurship and law and the scholarly study of intellectual property.

Forgotten Intellectual Property Lore: Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Intellectual Property

Professor Shubha Ghosh (Editor)

Edward Elgar, 2020
Forgotten Intellectual Property Law

Forgotten Intellectual Property Lore explores forgotten disputes over intellectual property and the ways in which creative people and sovereigns have managed these disputes throughout the centuries. 

With a focus on reform, the book raises important questions about the resilience of legal rules and challenges the methodology behind traditional legal analyses. Focusing on lore and traditions, Shubha Ghosh brings together expert contributors who incorporate into their analyses contextual understandings that are rooted in history, sociology, political science, and literary studies. 

Real Estate (4th Ed.)

Professor Robin Paul Malloy (with James C. Smith)

Wolters Kluwer, 2021
Real Estate

Part of Wolters Kluwer’s Emanuel Law Outlines series, Real Estate offers a comprehensive study guide to a spectrum of real estate law topics, including transactions and markets; types of brokers; contracts; risk management, liability; escrow; titles and deeds; contract remedies (damages, forfeiture, slander of title, and tort); land descriptions and surveys; public land records; mortgage products and obligations; foreclosure; and commercial real estate matters. 

“May You Live in Interesting Times”

By Robert Nassau, Associate Director, Office of Clinical Legal Education, and Director, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic; and Teaching Professor

Clinic Director’s Report

Professor Robert Nassau
Professor Robert Nassau

The precise origin of the phrase “may you live in interesting times” is unknown, and it’s also unclear if it is meant as a blessing or a curse. But whether a blessing or a curse, or a little bit of both, that phrase certainly has rung true for the student attorneys and directors of the College of Law’s eight clinics during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Below, we summarize some of the amazing work performed by our student attorneys and clinic directors during these interesting and challenging times. These summaries are just the tip of the iceberg for all that we have accomplished this past year. 

And while the coronavirus pandemic has created significant obstacles, it also—as Associate Dean of Clinical and Experiential Education Deborah Kenn wrote in last year’s Clinic Director’s Report—provided teachable moments and learning opportunities that will better prepare our student attorneys for legal practice in a post-pandemic world.

Why am I writing this year’s report rather than Professor Kenn? It is because she has stepped down from her position as clinical program director due to a terminal illness diagnosis. Deb arrived at the College in the fall of 1989 when she started the Community Development Law Clinic. For the past 10 years, under her leadership as Associate Dean, the Office of Clinical Legal Education has added the Bankruptcy Clinic and the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Law Clinic, and the College dramatically expanded its experiential learning opportunities, consistent with new ABA and state requirements. 

Professor Deb Kenn
Professor Deb Kenn

On top of her leadership of the College of Law’s clinical and experiential education, Deb has taught doctrinal courses in, among other things, Animal Law, Property, and Nonprofit Organizations Law, and she led three study abroad trips to South Africa.

All of her colleagues in the Office of Clinical Legal Education will miss Deb’s camaraderie, leadership, and dedication to our clients and our students. None more than me. And more importantly, the hundreds of students whom Deb has taught, guided, and mentored over the decades will remember her fondly and gratefully throughout their careers.

To paraphrase another unattributable proverb, but one that perfectly encapsulates Deb’s tenure at the Syracuse Law: “She left it better than she found it.”

Clinic Reports

Bankruptcy Clinic

Lee Woodard
Professor Lee Woodard

Director: Adjunct Professor Lee E. Woodard

During 2020-2021, the Bankruptcy Clinic produced results for its clients despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. Various legal aid societies and numerous other sources continued to refer clients and bankruptcy courts continued to conduct hearings and process filings virtually.

Appearing in court or at meetings of creditors virtually presented its own challenges, such as having clients sign petitions and schedules and then getting the originals filed with the court. A combination of Zoom, FaceTime, phone, e-mail, and regular mail was used, and the clinic was able to file all its cases.\

With in-person instruction starting again in fall 2021, student attorneys are looking forward to interacting with clients directly, sitting down with them to go through their financial information world and helping them create a fresh start.

Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic

Beth Kubala
Professor Beth Kubala

Executive Director: Professor Elizabeth Kubala

Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the practice of law, and student attorneys in the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC) have adapted and evolved to continue to best serve our community’s veterans.

While many courts closed or suspended operations, the US Department of Veterans Affairs continued processing disability claims, requiring students to find innovative ways to meet with clients and maintain good client relationships.

In fact, the significant shift to virtual proceedings meant increased opportunities for student attorneys to participate in hearings and appeals. And because classes were delivered virtually, the clinic was able to integrate JDinteractive students who benefited from experiential learning opportunities provided by the clinic.

Student attorneys performed a broad array of administrative and court appeals to challenge wrongful denials of federal veterans’ benefits, adapting seamlessly to the VA’s tele-hearing format and regularly appearing before the Board of Veterans Appeals.

Students also collaborated for their appearance before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on a still-pending, novel case involving a veteran suffering from military sexual trauma. Finally, two student attorneys worked as part of a national team to draft an amicus brief filed before the US Supreme Court that addressed issues involving veteran suicide rates, Gulf War Illness, and military sexual trauma.

Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic

Professor Suzette Meléndez
Professor Suzette Meléndez

Director: Professor Suzette Meléndez

Despite the pandemic—and perhaps because of it—the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic (CRC) was hard at work this past academic year with students engaged in the active representation of their clients even while the courts had to severely reduce the matters heard. 

CRC students were able to finalize an adoption for a family that had taken in a teenager after a very unstable and abusive childhood and was now adopting him as an adult after 18 years. The whole family showed up in the Zoom courtroom for the event.

The Clinic was able to process divorce matters in multiple counties. In one of our cases, we are resolving the divorce for a client experiencing debilitating PTSD, who was referred to us by the VLC. VLC Law Fellow Matthew Bulriss was a critical bridge in forming a successful attorney/client relationship. 

The CRC also helped a young mother regain significant custodial rights and parenting time for her child after the mother successfully recovered from a drug addiction that led to a jail sentence. Additionally, the CRC engaged in representations that required significant research and detailed written analysis seeking legal options for our clients about how best to move their cases forward once courts resume normal activity. 

Our clients retained us for the following matters:

  • Joint tenancy issues and options for a partition action for an unmarried couple
  • Bankruptcy issues related to marriage
  • Issues of property division when workers’ compensation settlement proceeds were used to buy a marital home
  • Inherited property and claim against the marital home purchased with said inheritance 

Additionally, CRC students assisted clients in an expungement hearing arising from an erroneous determination after a child welfare inquiry; the preparation of annulment paperwork after a bigamous marriage was discovered, and the pursuit of an order of protection necessary to extract a woman and her children from a violent home. Students also participated in mediation training and observations in cases where alternative dispute resolution was offered.

Criminal Defense Clinic

Professor Gary Pieples
Professor Gary Pieples

Director: Professor Gary J. Pieples

The Criminal Defense Clinic (CDC) had several successes during the 2020-2021 academic year. Victoria Lezette L’21 and Michael Stoianoff L’21 represented a client charged with a series of minor, victimless charges, mostly resulting from her substance abuse and mental health issues. After Stoianoff developed a motion based upon statements from her family and social workers detailing her mental and physical condition, the court agreed to dismiss all charges.  

In another case, James Thyden L’21 and rising 3L Katherine Davis convinced the judge and prosecutor to reduce the charges and reduce the protective order prohibiting their client from being in his family home. His mother wanted him home to help with the younger siblings while she cared for her ailing husband. As a result of the negotiated plea, no convictions were added to the client’s history, and he was able to move back home.

The CDC also successfully got a client’s case dismissed because of prosecutorial violations of updated New York discovery rules. A team of Donatello Lazarati L’21, Andrew Rahme L’21, and rising 3Ls Lilian Baah and Shannon Edwards researched, filed, and argued several motions arguing numerous discovery violations. On the eve of trial, the judge ruled that dismissal was warranted after multiple failures by the assistant district attorney to provide required discovery.

Disability Rights Clinic

Professor Michael Schwartz
Professor Michael Schwartz

Director: Professor Michael A. Schwartz

The following are five exemplary accomplishments of the Disability Rights Clinic (DRC) during the past year:

  • DRC partnered with a Rochester, NY-based law firm to file a lawsuit against a franchisee of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, alleging violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York state anti-discrimination law. The case concerns a Deaf driver who was refused service at the franchise’s pick-up window because he could not use the ordering kiosk. Initial mediation is mandatory.
  • DRC joined a local non-governmental organization in defending a lawsuit brought by a roofing company against the clinic’s client, an elderly Deaf man, in Small Claims Court. The clinic, in turn, filed a discrimination claim against the company with the New York State Division of Human Rights, which found probable cause to go to a public hearing.
  • DRC continues to advocate for snow removal and maintenance of sidewalks for wheelchair users in a suburb of Syracuse.
  • An Institutional Review Board approval was obtained for a study of educational policies and practices involving members of the Deaf New American community. 
  • The clinic continues to advocate for accessible access to health care facilities for people with disabilities, including immigrants with disabilities.

Elder and Health Law Clinic

Professor Helen McNeil
Professor Helen McNeil

Director: Professor Mary Helen McNeal

Despite the many challenges of COVID-19, the Elder and Health Law Clinic (EHLC) shifted quickly to virtual representation. Students executed wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies, and living wills; handled appeals of public benefit denials; assisted clients with minor probate issues; litigated a financial exploitation case; and represented family members seeking guardianship of parents with end-stage dementia. 

As students learned the law, they simultaneously faced the challenges of virtual representation, including clients’ limited access to technology, limited ability to use technology, social isolation, and declining physical and mental health. While many people faced these challenges over the last year, they were exacerbated for many older people.

Student attorneys represented several patients residing in the long-term care unit at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital who were seeking end-of-life documents. One client’s situation exemplifies the challenges both clients and students faced. The client, who had advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, wanted a will and power of attorney. He had neither access to—nor ability to use—technology. With the assistance of a VA social worker, student attorneys Dianne Jahangani L’21 and Benjamin Kaufman L’21 met virtually with the client, whose health was deteriorating rapidly. 

After several meetings, they drafted a will and arranged for a “virtual signing,” with final documents signed virtually, transmitted via email, and then virtually notarized pursuant to New York’s COVID-related executive orders. While Jahangani and Kaufman had intended to complete other legal tasks for the client, he unfortunately passed away within days of the will signing. As Jahangani and Kaufman wrote in their closing memo: “He was a wonderful client whom we had the pleasure of working with and ensuring that his final wishes were memorialized.” 

In spring 2021, the EHLC participated in launching the “Enhancing Services for Older Victims of Abuse and Financial Exploitation” project, a collaboration among Vera House, the Center for Court Innovation, Christopher Communities, and Syracuse University. A major goal of the project is to offer restorative justice options as an alternative to litigation for those impacted by elder financial exploitation. EHLC and Elder Justice Fellow Allison Wick are integral parts of this project, providing legal information, training, referrals, and limited representation.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic

Professor Robert Nassau
Professor Robert Nassau

Director: Professor Robert Nassau

In addition to its typical array of casework—such as helping clients obtain rightful refunds or fend off debilitating collection activity—student attorneys participated in the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic’s (LITC) first-ever Remote Tax Court Trial and increased their expertise in all three of our government’s pandemic-related stimulus payments.

The trial involved a taxpayer’s claim that she had signed an Extension of Time to Assess Tax under duress. Student Attorney Meredith Wallen L’21 examined the taxpayer at trial while rising 3Ls Justin Lange and Michael Towey assisted with a post-trial briefing. 

Regarding the stimulus payments, LITC helped numerous taxpayers obtain payments, which—for reasons ranging from a failure to file a return to having been fraudulently claimed by another taxpayer—they had wrongfully been denied. The clinic anticipates a similar tax activity in the coming year in connection with the expanded Child Tax Credit.

Transactional Law Clinic

Professor Jessica Murray
Professor Jessica Murray

Director: Professor Jessica Murray

While continuing to work with clients who are starting and operating businesses and not-for-profit organizations during the unusual circumstances of a global health crisis, the Transactional Law Clinic (TLC) took advantage of online meeting technology to invite alumni to share experiences in their transactional law practices since graduating Syracuse Law.

Alumni speakers included:

  • Erin Chrzanowski L’19, Corporate Legal Counsel Americas for Dassault Systèmes, joined the class from Massachusetts to discuss her in-house practice, which includes work similar to that done by student attorneys.
  • Haley DeCarlo L’18, an associate at, Block, Longo, LaMarca & Brzezinski PC in Syracuse, provided an overview of practicing residential real estate law in Central New York.
  • Marysia Mullen L’13, an associate at Latham & Watkins, and Tyler Mullen L’13, Government Contracts Attorney, US Defense Information Systems  Agency, both joined the class from  Washington, DC, discussing how TLC experiences impacted  their careers. 
  • Austin Judkins L’18, an associate at Boylan Code in Rochester, NY, talked about the business and corporate finance practice of a medium-sized firm. 

The visiting alumni also discussed life-work balance, career opportunities, changes resulting from COVID-19, and diversity initiatives at their workplaces. These online visits proved so popular that the clinic will continue them even after students return to the classroom, and some student attorneys have already expressed interest in returning to the clinic as future alumni guest speakers.

Beginning a New Chapter

By Dafni Kiritsis ’97, Director of Externships and Career Services

Externship Program

Dafni Kiritsis '97
Dafni Kiritsis '97

I’m very excited to have joined the College of Law as Director of Externships and Career Services. In this position, which I started in June 2021, I report to the Assistant Dean of Career Services, and I will help to design and implement programs and services for the Office, in part by expanding our already robust Externship Program. In doing this, I look forward to using my diverse legal and human resources experiences and to engaging with our alumni base, which already provides such extraordinary support to our externs.

A little about myself. I’m a Syracuse native, the daughter of Greek parents who immigrated to Central New York from Northern Greece. An Orange alumna, I graduated from SU in 1997 with a B.A. in International Relations and French Language, Literature, and Culture, and a minor in Women’s Studies. I also met my husband as an undergraduate!

After earning my J.D. in 2000 from Albany Law School, I began my law career as an associate in the Albany, NY, firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP. I then joined Green & Seifter (now Bousquet Holstein PLLC) as a senior associate and stayed with the Syracuse firm for nine years, practicing employment law and litigation.

I then worked as an attorney for the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of District Counsel for eight years, providing counsel, conflict resolution, and legal representation to VA Medical Center facilities in the North Atlantic District.

In 2018, I returned to my alma mater as a Senior HR Business Partner, counseling senior leaders in the University’s Business Finance Administrative Services group, as well as College of  Law staff and faculty.

As I pick up the reins of the Externship Program, I thank my colleagues for so ably overseeing it during such a challenging—and, we hope, unique—time in its history. The coronavirus pandemic disrupted work for almost all of us, and that’s no less true for our spring 2021 externs. Nevertheless, and with the invaluable assistance and patience of our hosts and alums, we continued to provide our students critical applied learning experiences through remote placements.

"As I pick up the reins of the Externship Program, I thank

my colleagues for so ably overseeing it during such a

challenging—and, we hope, unique—time in its history."

Deborah O’Malley, the 2020-2021 NYCEx and PhillyEx Director, notes that even though they were not on-site with their employers, our students impressed their site placement supervisors. “Each participant in the NYCEx and PhillyEx programs for the spring semesters received excellent final evaluations,” she says.

The New York City/Philadelphia course seminar was also continued via Zoom, with guest lectures from Everett Gillson L’85, Chief Administrative Officer, Defender Association of Philadelphia; Kimberly Lau L’06, Partner, Warshaw Burstein LLP; Kevin Belbey L’16, Sports Media Agent, Creative Artists Agency; and Jesse Feitel L’16, Media Associate, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

Overseen by Professor Terry Turnipseed, Faculty Director of Externship Programs, the Washington, DC, program also continued its strong placement track record, with DCEx placing nine students across government, nonprofit, judicial, and corporate organizations. “I was quite pleased with the quality of the positions,” he says. “For instance, we placed five participants at the US Department of Justice, including two in the Tax Division for the first time.”

All DCEx placements were remote, except an in-house placement at Orbis Technologies, hosted by Erin Lawless Miller L’10, Vice President of Corporate Business Services. Rachel Stanley Nguyen L’07 and Joe Di Scipio L’95 were among alums offering insights and advice during the DCEx seminar series.

Looking to the future, I look forward to executing Dean Boise’s vision of integrating our Externship Program within the Office of Career Services as part of our efforts to achieve the highest level of placement outcomes for our students.

Because the number of students in the JDinteractive program is the highest it has been since JDi was implemented, the main focus will be on finding these students top externship opportunities.

This coming year, we will not only continue to grow our externship opportunities for our residential students, we will place our JDi students in their first externships of their law school journey. We’ll also begin to implement our Third Year Away program, allowing students to spend their final year of law school in a city of their choice. These 3L students will earn their final credits in a combination of externship placements and online classes.

I look forward to working with our alumni on all these fronts. College of Law alumni have been an integral part of our students’ successes in our Externship Program—and post-graduation, too!

Spring 2021 Externship Placements


City of Syracuse
Alumni Host: Kristen Smith L’05,  Corporation Counsel

Hon. Deborah H. Karalunas L’82, Presiding Justice, Supreme Court  of the State of New York, Commercial Division (Onondaga County) 

Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91, US Magistrate Judge, Northern District of New York

Nave Law Firm
Alumni Host: Dennis Nave L’14,  Managing Partner

Alumni Host: Mary Snyder L’03,  Executive Vice President, General Counsel


Insured Retirement Institute

Orbis Technologies

Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Trading and Markets

US Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of Hearings & Appeals
Alumni Host: Hon. J. Jeremiah Mahoney L’69, Chief Administrative Law Judge

US Department of Justice, National Security  Division

US Department of Justice, Office of Legal Policy

US Department of Justice, Tax Division

US Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Southern Division


Goldman Sachs
Alumni Host: Timothy Paul L’84  Chief Fiduciary Officer, Goldman Sachs Trust Company

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation
Alumni Host: Kimberly Warner L’14, Assistant Director for Housing

Shihadeh Law PC

Sony Music Entertainment PC

Superior Court of New Jersey
Alumni Host: Hon. Rodney Thompson L’93, G’93 Presiding Judge, Family Division


York County (PA) District Attorney's Office

Capital Service: Professor Terry Turnipseed Steps Down from DCEx

Professor Terry Turnipseed
Professor Terry Turnipseed

Professor Terry Turnipseed—Faculty Director of Externship Programs—has stepped down as the Director of the Washington, DC, Externship Program after a spectacular five year tenure in that role.

Conceived to develop students’ professional skills inside and outside the classroom in the capital’s diverse legal community, DCEx was launched in January 2014. From the start, the program leveraged Professor Turnipseed’s substantial knowledge of DC as a graduate of Georgetown Law and a former wealth management and estate planning expert at Covington & Burling, Deloitte & Touche, and elsewhere. 

With Professor Turnipseed’s guidance, over the past five years students have been given a taste of the capital’s unique legal and professional environment through placements at the White House, US Department of Justice, US Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI, NASA, United Nations, Planned Parenthood, Federal Communications Commission, and elsewhere, as well as at world-class law firms and consultancies such as Arnold & Porter, DLA Piper, K&L Gates, and Ernst & Young. 

DCEx will build upon this strong tradition, drawing from Syracuse Law’s extensive Capital Region alumni community to offer unparalleled applied learning and networking experiences and to provide Distinguished Guest Lecturers for “The Washington Lawyer” seminar program, another of Professor Turnipseed’s DCEx innovations. 

As Ethan Paraboschi L’19 observes, “I will tell you: DCEx is a fantastic opportunity. Not only does it offer great networking opportunities, it gives you the chance to visit some of the more exclusive buildings and offices in the US!”

How a “Small but Mighty” LL.M. Cohort Forged Ahead During Lockdown

By Andrew S. Horsfall L’10, Assistant Dean of International Programs

Office of International Programs

Andrew Horsfall L'10
Andrew Horsfall L'10

In early spring 2020, weekly enrollment reports showed that applications to the LL.M. program were soaring well above where they usually are. I was holding weekly admission interviews with applicants from nearly every corner of the globe and working with incoming students on their visa paperwork (a good sign that one has committed to Syracuse Law).

It felt as though we were on track to exceed our enrollment goals for the fall 2020 semester until talk of a pandemic began to be all too real. Looking back, it is easy to think that everything changed overnight—lockdowns, mask mandates, and canceled plans—but there was still hope through the late spring and early summer that we would be back to normal sometime during summer and that it would be business as usual by fall.

However, summer brought border closures, student visa restrictions, and the near-hourly requests from students to “defer to a later semester.”

“Throughout, there was a refrain of

gratitude for the opportunities to learn

and engage with the Syracuse Law community.”

I couldn’t blame anyone for wanting to delay their LL.M. experience. Many applicants would be accessing Zoom lectures from up to 12 hours ahead or behind Syracuse time. Although admissions numbers started to evaporate, I was struck by the optimism and determination of a small group of students who committed to starting their LL.M. studies with us in August.

In total, 10 students from eight countries enrolled. This class was extended across different locations and time zones: three students were located in Syracuse, another three were elsewhere in the Eastern Time Zone, and four studied from their homes in Mexico, Kenya, Germany, and Ghana.

By Labor Day 2020, with orientation behind us and the first weeks of classes over, I was afraid our small but mighty group would become even smaller with students deciding that this “wasn’t for them.” Despite the usual growing pains of a new semester, the requests to drop or defer didn’t come in. Nor did they come in September, nor after mid-terms, and nor leading up to final exams. They had done it! 

Every LL.M. student who started in the fall successfully completed the semester, and then went on to do the same in spring. Indeed, our “small but mighty fall” cohort was joined by 13 new LL.M. students for spring 2021.

Our LL.M. students not only attended classes—sometimes well past midnight their time—but they participated in student organizations, made meaningful editorial contributions to student journals, and formed relationships with one another and their professors. Throughout, there was a refrain of gratitude for the opportunities to learn and engage with the Syracuse Law community. The LL.M. program is always a transformative experience for our students, and over the 2020-2021 academic year our students—our “COVID Class”—were asked to transform and adapt to many more challenges than they could have foreseen. 

Not that we have surmounted the obstacles of that year, we can proudly look ahead to a return to in-person classes and the opportunity to welcome one of our largest incoming cohorts of LL.M. students—from more than 20 countries! Having thrived in their studies during a pandemic, the COVID Class has set a very high bar for our future students, and I look ahead with all the optimism and determination that our students demonstrated over the past year.

Assisting Uzbekistan with Disability Rights Building Capacity

In December 2020, Dean Boise joined Chancellor Kent Syverud, Provost John Liu, Syracuse Law colleagues, and representatives from three Republic of Uzbekistan institutions to sign an agreement that strengthens academic ties between the University and the republic. The agreement includes a collaboration to create a disability law clinic at Tashkent State University of Law, led by Professor Michael Schwartz, Director of Syracuse Law’s Disability Rights Clinic.

“Syracuse Law enjoys institutional relationships with more than two dozen foreign law schools and government agencies,” says Dean Boise. 

“This agreement marks our first in Uzbekistan. It will be among our most robust partnerships, bringing together parties and interests across various strata of civil society, including academia, governmental, and nonprofit organization.

Syracuse University signs an MOU with representatives from three Uzbek institutions.
Syracuse University signs an MOU with
representatives from three Uzbek institutions.

In Memoriam

Zaiden Geraige Neto
Zaiden Geraige Neto

The College of Law mourns the passing of Master of Laws student Zaiden Geraige Neto in March 2021.  Zaiden was a prestigious and well-respected class action lawyer and law professor in Sao Paolo, Brazil, who held an LL.B., Masters, and Ph.D. from Pontifical Catholic University.

“I knew Zaiden as a perennially positive and optimistic person who was excited about his studies with us and always enjoyable to see,”  reflects Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew S. Horsfall L’10.

Where Law, Technology, and Business Intersect

Innovation Law Center

ILC students and faculty partner across disciplines, helping clients bring next-generation products to market.

When rising 3L Jake Goldsmith was a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, he had no idea that he would parlay his education into the courtroom—and the boardroom. “There’s not much difference between science and law,” he says. “In both cases, I’m organizing data to be understood by others.”

Today, Goldsmith is a student in the Innovation Law Center (ILC) and an aspiring intellectual property attorney. ILC not only gives Goldsmith hands-on legal training but also enables him to help innovators, entrepreneurs, and companies bring their ideas to life.

For more than 30 years, ILC has been a pioneer in technology commercialization law, which encompasses the legal, business, and technical aspects of product development. In addition to offering a graduate-level practicum, ILC is New York State’s only official science and technology law center and is a sought-after legal incubator.

Students such as Goldsmith work with faculty experts at ILC, which advises more than 60 clients a year, ranging from startups and established companies to federal laboratories and other research institutions. Most clients, he says, seek out ILC for actionable research analysis about early-stage technologies. The center responds with a detailed landscape report covering the technology’s intellectual property rights, competition, marketplace, and regularlatory environment.

“I came to Syracuse because of ILC, whose entrepreneurial

environment reminds me of the West Coast.”

Viviana Bro L’21

Recent projects include an amphibious, all-terrain vehicle; a wind tunnel simulation-testing tool; a gas turbine for an unmanned aerial system; and an at-home catheterization and sterilization system.

“We help clients figure out what to do next,” says ILC Director M. Jack Rudnick L’73. “If the technology is sound, we recommend they contact a patent attorney. If it isn’t, we encourage them to go back to the drawing board. Either way, ILC provides something of value at little or no cost.”

Adds Goldsmith: “We help clients understand what they don’t know.”

Success Breeds Success

ILC is open to students of all majors. Most are second- or third-year law students, but Rudnick has noticed a surge in M.B.A. candidates from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and graduate students from the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

One such participant is Patrick Riolo ’20, G’21, an M.B.A. and a B.S. graduate in bioengineering. He recently proved his interdisciplinary mettle by conducting marketing research for several ILC clients, including a major cybersecurity firm.

Viviana Bro L'21 and Patrick Riolo
Viviana Bro L'21 and Patrick Riolo '20, G'21

“ILC has changed how I view my audiences,” says Riolo, who appreciates the reciprocity between technology and the marketplace. “Here, I’m not writing for a professor or an imaginary judge, I’m writing for a real-world client who is emotionally invested in their product and understands the technology behind it. I like to put myself in their shoes and wonder how their invention might look to an angel investor or a venture capitalist.”

The first in the nation to apply scholarly legal analysis and experiential education to product commercialization, ILC has enjoyed a strong upward trajectory. Its designation as the New York State Science and Technology Law Center in 2004, followed by Rudnick’s arrival in 2013, has enhanced the state’s role as a global leader in unmanned vehicles, medical, and infrastructure technologies.

“Success breeds success. We went from six to 60 clients almost overnight. Now we have more than 120,” says Rudnick. “I’m always thinking about how ILC students can benefit other students on campus and companies throughout the region.”

Ergo his emphasis on effective client management—asking the right questions at the right time to achieve clarity and understanding.

Viviana Bro L’21 discovered this during her first day on campus when she met Rudnick at a student-faculty luncheon. “I came to Syracuse because of ILC, whose entrepreneurial environment reminds me of the West Coast,” says Bro, a veteran of California’s semiconductor industry. “The program has taught me that a lawyer can be a fundamental partner or ally instead of someone who always says ‘no.’”

Bro’s projects also reflect ILC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Chilean-born scholar recalls working with three entrepreneurs on an app that connects people who are deaf and hard of hearing to American Sign Language interpreter services. “Today, the app is widely available,” she says. “We hope it becomes as ubiquitous and easy-to-use in the Deaf community as Uber is for city passengers wishing to hail a ride.”

Supporting the Innovation Ecosystem

David Eilers ’80, who teaches part-time in ILC, says the program’s success is measured in different ways. “Sometimes, the best thing we can do for a client is deliver bad news, saving them millions of dollars down the road. Other times, we’re able to hand them off to a good patent attorney or an investor who helps get their product off the ground.”

An adjunct professor in management and law, Eilers credits ILC for staying nimble amid an uncertain global economy. The key to ILC’s longevity, he surmises, is being different things to different people.

“If you’re a client from New York state, we can serve you as the NYS Science and Technology Law Center. If you’re from out of state or overseas, we can work with you as a tech incubator, with no territorial restrictions,” says Eilers, who also teaches in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program. 

“Thanks to support from Empire State Development [New York’s chief economic development agency], we can do pro bono or low bono work and pay our students.”

Eilers is struck by the similarity between scientific and legal literacy. “Just as there’s a hypothesis to prove in the scientific method, there’s a business thesis needing to be attacked through a rigorous discovery process. Good data is key.”

Nowhere is this rigor more evident than within Central New York’s thriving innovation ecosystem, where ILC enjoys longstanding relationships with Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries, the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental Energy Systems, the Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering, and the CNY Biotech Accelerator.

“Some of our most gratifying projects are those conceived and cultivated in our own backyard,” says Rudnick, recalling a recent collaboration with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry involving tissue engineering. “We want to make New York State and the world a better place to live.” 

ILC’s Student-Led Research Reports Give Innovators an Edge

During 2020-2021, Innovation Law Center students’ applied learning experiences continued apace with virtual student teams developing  research reports for clients who brought a spectrum of technologies to the Center, including innovations in green building systems, plastics recycling, medical sensors, biometrics, 6G cell service, streaming media,  and infrastructure logistics.

That variety was matched by the research tasks students performed, among them prior art searches, the potential for patent infringements, and commercialization pathway mapping. 

This research offers invaluable work experience, as Nikkia Knudsen L’21 discovered when assisting biotech firm Triton Bio. “My team helped Triton narrow down what their technology could look like and then created a report based on potential technological iterations,” says Knudsen, who recently joined the health care practice at Columbus, OH, firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. “This process helped me learn how to guide a client and help them figure out exactly what type of research is useful to them.”

Selected 2020-2021 NYSSTLC Clients

  • Icarus Biomedical—Icarus’ Knoggin technology is a mobile application that allows the user to perform tests to assess the cognitive state of a person with a head injury.
  • Intermix—A copolymer that adheres the various polymers found in mixed post-consumer plastics, helping increase the amount of plastic that can be effectively recycled.
  • MicroEra Power—Solutions for retrofitting existing  HVAC systems in commercial buildings to make them  more cost-effective and energy-efficient.
  • Organic Robotics—Developed at Cornell University, this platform technology uses networks of sensors to read athletes’ body movements.
  • NSION Technologies—A media streaming and data management platform that provides real-time, multi-source situational awareness for events and disasters.
  • Soctera—This Cornell University-based start-up has developed a high-speed, high-voltage transistor to improve radar sensitivity for future 6G cell service.
  • Skip-Line—Real-time information on fleet location, material usage, and application performance for contractors completing road work.
  • Optimed—Commercializing University at Buffalo technology, Optimed is currently assessing the patentability of 3D-printed dentures. 
  • Triton Bio—Novel technology to isolate microbes from biological samples for medical diagnostics.
  • Vita Innovations—A “smart” face mask for emergency rooms and similar clinical environments that monitors patients’ vital signs with embedded technology.   

The Innovation Review

In fall 2020 ILC launched a series of student-written articles to assist inventors and start-ups navigate common issues in IP and regulatory law. The articles are published in The Innovation Review, a monthly newsletter produced on behalf of the New York State Science and Technology Law Center. Read the newsletter at nysstlc.syr.edu/innovation-review.

  • Viviana Bro L’21: “Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Ushered in the Drone Age?”
  • Kaitlyn Crobar L’21: “General Wellness v. Medical Device Considerations”
  • Nikkia Knudsen L’21: “Has Crowdfunding Become the Best Way for Start-Ups to Raise  Funds? Not So Fast!”
  • Sehseh Sanan L’21: “Implications of Van Buren v. United States and the Reach of the CFAA”
  • Sohela Suri L’21: “Considerations for Choosing a Business Entity”

Human-Machine Teaming: SPL Research Asks How Law and Ethics Can Best Regulate AI

By Matthew Mittelsteadt G’20, AI Research Fellow, SPL

Institute for Security Policy and Law

We are amidst an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. If the last decade was the dawn of the “Age of AI,” then this decade has seen the technology mature as it has begun to be widely deployed. Its growth and use in the next few years will be exponential. However, the use of AI opens a Pandora’s box of legal and security challenges. The law has yet to catch up. 

Led by the Hon. James E. Baker and Professor Laurie Hobart, Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL) researchers are currently exploring these challenges—and trying to bridge the gap between AI reality and AI regulation—funded by a research grant from the Center for Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET). 

Our focus: Ethical decision-making, bias, and data regulation so that the national security community can maximize the benefits of AI and minimize and mitigate the risks.

The central question of our research is posed in Baker’s landmark book, The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution: What is the appropriate mix of human and AI decision-making?

This is the puzzle known as the “Centaur’s Dilemma.” Just as a centaur is part man and part horse, with AI we must ask the question with each AI application what part should be machine-driven and what part reserved to human decision. The dilemma is in reaping the benefits of operating at machine speed with machine capabilities while maintaining appropriate legal and ethical human control. 

SPL Publications: Breaking New Ground

As nearly every AI legal and policy question involves a variant of the Centaur’s Dilemma—and recognizing that policymakers have done little to address AI up until now—SPL research sets out to determine how law and policy can be applied to make AI more accurate and effective while also maintaining necessary human control.  

“Twenty-first-century lawyers will need

to understand the constellation of technologies

known as AI, or they will be left behind.”

We recognized that the answer must start with Socratic inquiry, asking questions such as: What is the purpose? Where is the data from? Is there bias? What laws, if any, can we use to guide AI regulation? And where do gaps exist? 

In his policy paper, “A Defense Production Act (DPA) for the 21st Century,” Baker addresses these questions by turning to the US Code, noting that there are few statutes that explicitly map federal AI authority. To fill this void, policy—and therefore law—must be flexible. The DPA, for instance, can be extended to AI to promote robust research and development and to adapt to AI’s rapid evolution.

Turning to the courtroom, in Baker, Hobart, and my forthcoming guide “AI for Judges,” we seek to give judges a legal reference, outlining appropriate processes to guide their jurisprudence while flagging the questions they will address when AI issues arise in court. This first-of-its-kind work will offer a primer to judges as they attempt to define AI’s legal scaffolding and answer the Centaur’s Dilemma.  

Furthermore, my issue brief—“AI Verification: Mechanisms to Ensure AI Arms Control Compliance”—in turn recognizes that many have called for AI controls, but no one has explained exactly how that will be achieved. How, for instance, will we verify that a state or an application is complying with the law or ethical principles? Without verification, it is hard to apply law and ethics. The brief attempts to do just that, proposing first-of-their-kind technical mechanisms that can be used to inspect AI “arms” and providing a means whereby regulatory authorities and the international community can be confident that AI regulations are being respected. 

A National Symposium 

In each of these publications, our guiding philosophy has been an emphasis on explaining technology in “plain language.” We believe anyone can understand AI if given the proper guidance, and we aim to make the field accessible to non-technologists, including lawyers. 

This philosophy guided an AI symposium for national security lawyers that SPL hosted in October 2020. Acting as a live AI security policy discussion, we first offered the audience a primer on how AI works. Three live panels followed: AI and the Law of Armed Conflict; AI and National Security Ethics: Bias, Data, and Principles; and AI and National Security Decision-Making. 

Top experts and policymakers fielded audience questions, debated the core policy issues, and introduced the audience to the many challenges and benefits AI will create. The Symposium concluded with a conversation between Baker and CSET Founding Director Jason Matheny (now Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security and Technology, and Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy) about the way AI will transform—or should transform—how and where national security lawyers practice law.  

The bottom line? Twenty-first-century lawyers will need to understand the constellation of technologies known as AI, or they will be left behind. The symposium provided attendees an overview of the emerging field and broadcasted the importance of AI policy in light of the Centaur’s Dilemma. 

Ultimately, the Centaur’s Dilemma is a “wicked problem” only answerable by a slate of ethically grey solutions. Recognizing this, SPL’s research recognizes there is no single, definitive answer to this problem. In the past year, however, the SPL and CSET collaboration has made strides towards clarifying the legal landscape, crystalizing the process, and deepening understanding. 

AI is here to stay, and it requires serious policy and legal attention. Our hope is that our work will inspire the vigorous thought needed to maximize the benefits of human-machine teaming while mitigating the risks. Visit securitypolicylaw.syr.edu for updates and further reading on AI.

New Frontiers in AI: Policy Briefs and Reports

A DPA for the 21st Century

Read and download at: securitypolicylaw.syr.edu/AI-research.

“A DPA for the 21st Century,” by the Hon. James E. Baker

The Defense Production Act can be an effective tool to bring US industrial might to bear on national security challenges, including those in technology. If updated and used to its full effect, the DPA can encourage the development and governance of AI. 

“Ethics and Artificial Intelligence: A Policymaker’s Introduction,” by the Hon. James E. Baker 

A primer on the limits and promise of three mechanisms to help shape a regulatory regime that maximizes the benefits of AI and minimizes its potential harms.

“AI Verification: Mechanisms to Ensure AI Arms Control Compliance,” by Matthew Mittelsteadt G’20 

A starting point to explore “AI arms control,” defining the goals of “AI verification” and proposing several mechanisms to support arms inspections and continuous verification.

“National Security Law and the Coming AI Revolution,” by the Hon. James E. Baker, Laurie Hobart G’16, Matt Mittelsteadt G’20, and John Cherry

Observations from the October 2020 AI law and policy symposium hosted by SPL and the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

Inclusion, Empowerment, and Participation in Community: BBI’s Year in Review

Burton Blatt Institute

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, former dean of SU’s School of Education and a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. 

With its focus on research, education, and outreach in law and public policy, BBI incorporates cross-disability issues, focusing with an intersectional lens across the whole of life, to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities, while building on the University’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Below are highlights of BBI’s impactful work this year.

July 2020

Toward Creating a Disability-Inclusive Law School Environment

BBI co-hosted a national symposium of leading law schools titled “Call to Action: Creating a Disability-Inclusive Law School Environment” from July 7-9. The symposium convened top law schools to work on disability inclusiveness and accessibility to share ideas and resources, identify existing barriers, and ultimately form a task force that creates a more disability-inclusive future in legal education. 

Symposium topics included (1) how ableism and racism function together; (2) racial disparities in COVID-19 that impact students of color; (3) race-based trauma; and (4) the need to combat anti-blackness in disability advocacy. Co-hosts included the ABA Commission on Disability Rights, National Disability Law Student Association, Law School Admissions Council, and Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation at Loyola Law School.


Thirty for ADA@30

For the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, University Professor Stephen Kuusisto, Director of the BBI Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach, published 30 short essays about the law, the anniversary, and the cultural impact of ADA@30. According to Kuusisto, “I’m doing this as a disabled person who’s lived half his life before the ADA. I’m reflecting on the ‘before and after’ of the law.” Read the essays at bbi.syr.edu/2020/07/thirty-for-thirtieth-ada-anniversary

August 2020

Addressing Digital Access and Accessibility

The Aug. 3, 2020, edition of ADA Live!—a podcast produced for the Southeast ADA Center by BBI—took a deep dive into access for students receiving special education during the coronavirus pandemic. The podcast addressed the shift to online instruction for schools across the United States, which has exposed troubling gaps in digital access and accessibility, especially for low-income students and students with disabilities. “Schools now face the difficult task of re-imagining what instruction will look like in the future,” explain the hosts. 

September 2020

Analyzing D&I in the Legal Profession

BBI and the American Bar Association published a groundbreaking report in September 2020, uncovering prevalent reports of discrimination faced by disabled and LGBTQ+ lawyers. The study of 3,590 lawyers from every state and the District of Columbia was among the first and largest undertaking of its kind to focus on lawyers who either identify as having disabilities or who identify as LGBTQ+ in their workplaces. BBI Chairman and University Professor Peter Blanck, lead author of the study, wrote that “the longer-term objective is to help measurably enhance the professional lives of lawyers and others in the profession by understanding and mitigating pernicious sources of attitudinal stigma and structural bias.”  

Particularly noteworthy, the study examines individuals with multiple identities that intersect, such as people of differing sexual orientations and gender identities who also have disabilities. Read the study at americanbar.org/groups/diversity/disabilityrights/initiatives_awards/aba-bbi.

Disabilty Law and Policy

Professor Blanck Publishes “Disability Law and Policy”

Released to mark the 30th anniversary of the ADA, Professor Blanck’s 2020 book is a compendium of stories about how the legal system has responded to the needs of impacted individuals. 

The Foreword to Disability Law and Policy (Foundation Press) is written by Lex Frieden, an internationally distinguished disability rights scholar and advocate, and former Chairperson of the US National Council on Disability. “My story is one of many in the modern disability rights movement,” writes Frieden. “In Disability Law and Policy, Peter Blanck retells my story, and the personal experiences of many others living with disabilities, in a master tour of the area.”

BBI to Lead National Center on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities

In September 2020, BBI received $4.3 million from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research to lead a new national Rehabilitation Research Training Center (RRTC) on “Disability Inclusive Employment Policy.” RRTC’s goal will be to design and implement a series of studies that produce new data and evidence on policy levers to increase employment rates of persons with disabilities, with the objective of informing current and future policy and program development.

According to principal investigator Professor Blanck, RRTC will “ambitiously look across the employment lifecycle, to enhance employment entry, economic outcomes, and career growth.” The five-year project will develop a post-COVID-19 policy framework to accelerate opportunities for employment, career pathways, entrepreneurship, and economic self-sufficiency for youth and adults across the spectrum of disability.

November 2020

The Future of Workplace Accommodation

To commemorate the ADA’s 30th anniversary, the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation presented a special section of articles guest-edited by Professor Blanck. At the heart of the ADA’s drive for inclusion was the workplace accommodation principle; the special section highlights emerging research, policy, and law on the future of employment and the accommodation principle for people with disabilities, envisioning a potential future of full disability-inclusive employment. Read JOOR Vol. 31, No. 2 at link.springer.com/journal/10926/volumes-and-issues/31-2. 

Imagining Inclusive Public Spaces

In November 2020, BBI and the University of Leeds announced a project to investigate problems caused by unequal access to streets in 10 cities around the world and the way law and government respond to them. As part of its research, the Inclusive Public Space (IPS) project asks pedestrians about their experiences, in particular people with disabilities, older adults, and parents or caregivers. IPS is a five-year project

December 2020

Professor Peter Blanck and Professor Paul Harpur
Professor Peter Blanck and Professor Paul Harpur

Exploring New Norms in Public Health Surveillance 

Professor Blanck and BBI International Distinguished Fellow Paul Harpur were awarded a Social Science Research Council Just Tech Covid-19 Rapid-Response Grant—funded by the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation—in December 2020. 

Their project—“The Unsettling of Old Norms by a New World of COVID-19 Public Health Surveillance”—asks, How has COVID-19 public health surveillance shifted social norms pertaining to health status in public spaces? How are new health norms created by COVID-19 health surveillance creating new sites of disablement in society? How do disability discrimination and ability equality measures apply to people disabled by COVID-19 health surveillance?  How can this unsettling of abled and disabled be used to  help make a more inclusive society?

February 2021

A Crip Reckoning

Postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, the University’s celebration of the ADA@30 took place in February 2021. “A Crip Reckoning: Reflections on the ADA@30” featured a distinguished panel of thought-leaders and scholar-activists from the worlds of disability culture, education, advocacy, and innovation. Discussion topics included ableism, cultural change, equity, creativity, and intersectionality. “This event was not a day late and a dollar short,” said Professor Kuusisto. “By taking extra time, we’ve been able to focus on how diverse the disability community really is.”

Reporting on Alternatives to Guardianship 

A collaboration between BBI and The Arc of Northern Virginia, February 2021 saw the release of a report on the findings and recommendations of the Virginia Supported Decision-Making Pilot Project. This report provides background information and foundational research on supported decision-making as an alternative to guardianship and a way to increase self-determination and enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. Among the report’s findings, project participants who used supported decision-making showed improved independence and decision-making skills, made better decisions, and had enhanced quality of life.

April 2021

Professor Stephen Kuusisto
Professor Stephen Kuusisto

Kuusisto Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

In April 2021 Professor Kuusisto received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, awarded to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or creative ability in the arts. In addition to directing BBI’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach, Kuusisto is a poet and writer who has authored the memoirs Planet of the Blind, Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening, and Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey, as well as the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. 

Inclusivity Through Universal and Sustainable Design 

Professor Blanck spoke at the April American Institute of Architects symposium “Inclusivity in Sustainable Design: Global Universal Design Commission—How Architecture Can Transcend Accessibility, Innovate, and Serve All.” Blanck is also Chairman of the Global Universal Design Commission. 

The discussion focused on insights, design details, and a critical paradigm shift towards the implementation of Universal Design principles that allow the development of built environments usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for retrofitting or specialized design. 

Eleven Up: Advocacy Program’s Reputation Goes from Strength to Strength

Advocacy Program

Advocacy Ranking

Given the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society could have been forgiven if it had stepped back this year and waited for the dust to settle.

But in 2020-2021, students, professors, coaches, and judges did quite the opposite. They embraced virtual tournaments; added, launched, planned—and hosted—competitions; and boosted Syracuse’s national reputation to such an extent, Syracuse Law is now ranked number 11 in the nation for Trial Advocacy by U.S. News and World Report, having climbed 16 places in two years. That’s on top of placing number seven in Fordham Law’s 2020 Trial Competition Performance rankings. 

Among the highlights of this academic year, two teams won their regional rounds for the second year in a row: the Black Law Students Association Trial Team and the National Moot Court Competition Team. The BLSA team then progressed to the elite eight of their national tourney, the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition.

In February 2021, Syracuse swept the National Trial Competition Region 2 tournament, also for the second year in a row, meaning the Program again sent two teams to the NTC national finals and lifted the Tiffany Cup—awarded by the NYSBA Trial Lawyers Section, which sponsors the NTC New York Regional—for the third year in a row. 

Syracuse’s national reputation undoubtedly was boosted by the excellence of hosted competitions. In October 2020, the second Syracuse National Trial Competition became one of the first live-streamed tourneys in the nation. The SNTC organizers convened 22 top teams, managed nearly 50 trials, and gathered an awe-inspiring 150 volunteer evaluators, including many of our alumni. Loyola Law School Los Angeles prevailed over Georgetown Law in the final round. 

The Program then launched a new international competition in March 2021. The Transatlantic Negotiation Competition—a collaboration with Queen’s University, Belfast—brought together 60 students and judges (including alumni) from 23 countries, with Liberty University School of Law winning the inaugural tournament.

Next year, these two hosted competitions will be joined by the new National Disability Law Appellate Competition. Co-hosted by Syracuse Law and the National Disabled Law Students Association, NDLAC will feature a minimum of 12 teams from law schools across the United States competing in an appellate brief writing component and an oral argument component. 

BLSA Mock Trial Team
BLSA Trial Division Team

“NDLAC is the first national appellate advocacy competition to focus exclusively on disability law. It will enable students to develop their oral advocacy skills while simultaneously navigating a challenging and important area of disability law,” says Professor Michael Schwartz, Director of the Disability Rights Clinic.

With the addition of NDLAC, Syracuse Law now boasts three invitation-only competitions in each of the recognized advocacy divisions—Alternative Dispute Resolution, Appellate, and Trial.

In intracollegiate tournaments, notably this was the first year that JDinteractive students competed, and JDi students won both the Hancock Estabrook Oral Advocacy Competition and the Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition. 

In sum, rather than diminishing or even shutting down advocacy tournaments and training during the coronavirus pandemic, faculty, students, and alumni volunteers embraced online competition, allowing new opportunities to be seized.  


  • In late November 2021, there was good news from Boston, where Joseph Tantillo L’21 and rising 3Ls Kelsey Gonzalez and Olivia Stevens won the Boston Regional of the appellate division National Moot Court Competition. Tantillo also won Best Oralist. This success marked the second consecutive year Syracuse won the Boston Regional, and that Tantillo took home his individual award. Emily Brown L’09 and David Katz L’17 coached the team.
  • In February 2021, the Black Law Student Association trial division team—Ken Knight L’21, Sharon Otasowie L’21, and rising 3Ls Abigail Neuviller and Alexis Eka, coached by John Boyd II L’16—advanced from the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition regionals for the second year in a row.
  • Sharon Otasowie L’21 and rising 3L Robert Rose posted award-winning performances at the 2020 Buffalo-Niagara Trial Competition in October 2021. Otasowie won Best Overall Advocate and Rose offered the Best Direct Examination.
  • In March 2021, Syracuse swept the National Trial Competition Region 2 tournament for the second year in a row. This double win meant that the College once again sent two teams to the NTC national finals and took home the NYSBA’s Tiffany Cup for the third year in a row. Joanne Van Dyke L’87 and Peter Hakes coached rising 3Ls Marina DeRosa and Amanda Nardozza,  who took first place, and runners-up Joe Celotto L’21 and Christy O’Neil L’21. 


  • Audrey Bimbi L’21 and Carly Cazer L’21  won the 49th Mackenzie Hughes LLP Edmund H. Lewis Appellate Advocacy Competition. The final round, on Oct. 1, 2021, marked the first-ever virtual moot court competition hosted by the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society. Bimbi also won Best Advocate. 
  • Rising 3Ls Penny Quinteros and Margaret Santandreu won the 2020 College of Law Bond, Schoeneck & King Alternative Dispute Resolution Competition. The final—held virtually 
  • in October—was judged by the Hon. Joanne F. Alper ’72, Circuit Court of the Seventh Circuit of Virginia (Ret.); James L. Sonneborn, of Bousquet Holstein PLLC; and Brian Butler L’96, a managing member for Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC.
  • In March 2021, Allyssa-Rae McGinn won the 11th Hancock Estabrook 1L Oral Advocacy Competition, judged by Dean Boise; the Hon. Mae A. D’Agostino L’80 and the Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91, both of the US District Court for the Northern District of New York; and Timothy P. Murphy L’89, Managing Partner, Hancock Estabrook LLP. 
  • Alex Eaton L’21 and Tyler Jefferies L’21 won the 43rd Annual Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition. Jefferies took home the Best Advocate award. Held virtually for the first time in its history in March 2021, the final round was judged by the Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby L’85, US District Court Judge, Northern District of New York; the Hon. Rodney Thompson L’93, New Jersey Superior Court Judge; and the Hon. Bernadette Romano Clark L’89, New York State Supreme Court Justice. 
  • Rising 2Ls Payton Sorci and Nicco Vocaturo prevailed in 
  • the second annual Entertainment and Sports Law Society Negotiation Competition, held on April 8, 2021. The competition was held in conjunction with the seventh annual Entertainment and Sports Law Symposium, the first time both events were held completely online. Competition judges were Professor Elizabeth August L’94; Kevin Belbey L’16, Sports Media Agent, Creative Artists Agency; and Beverly Sarfo, General Counsel, TVO. 


  • Executive Director’s Award: Tyler Jefferies L’21
  • Ralph E. Kharas Award: Joseph Tantillo L’21
  • Faculty Advocacy Director’s Award: Sharon Otasowie L’21
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award: Joseph Celotto L’21 & Christy O’Neil L’21
  • Richard Risman Appellate Advocacy Award: Joseph Tantillo L’21
  • Emil Rossi L’72 Scholarship Award: Rising 3L Amanda Nardozza
  • Lee S. Michaels L’72 Advocate of the Year Scholarship Award: Rising 3L Marina De Rossa
  • Models of Excellence in Advocacy Award, given in Honor of Everett Gillison L’85: Rising 3Ls Kelsey Gonzales & Olivia Stevens
  • Order of the Barristers: Carly Cazer L’21, Joseph Celotto L’21, Lisa Cole L’21, Kenneth Knight L’21, Allison Kowalczyk L’21, Christy O’Neil L’21, Sharon Otasowie L’21, Joseph Tantillo L’21

A 360° View: Remarks by Professor Todd Berger at the 2021 Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society Banquet, April 2021

Professor Todd Berger
Professor Todd Berger

Syracuse might well be the only law school in the country with a large student organization whose students are deeply integrated into an academic program—our Advocacy Program—which encompasses the fields of trial and appellate advocacy, as well as alternative dispute resolution.

No school in the country has five internal advocacy competitions. Few schools host a trial competition as competitive as the Syracuse National Trial Competition. There is only one other school in the world—our co-hosting partner, Queen’s University, Belfast—that holds an international negotiation competition, the Transatlantic Negotiation Competition. 

There are few schools that match our record of intercollegiate success and offer scholarships to high-performing student advocates, both upon entry to law school and based upon their advocacy success while in school. And there are only 10 other law schools with a higher U.S. News ranking. 

I’m also proud of our advocacy-focused curriculum, which includes our basic advocacy courses and more advanced offerings, such as advanced trial practice, deposition practice, and  jury selection. 

While some schools might do a few of these things, in short, Syracuse is doing all of them. 

High Praise

Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby
Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby L'85

As he rendered the panel’s decision on the final round of the Lionel O. Grossman Trial Competition in March 2021, the Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby L’85, Chief United States District Judge, US District Court for the Northern District of New York, addressed the four finalists*, observing:

“I’ve been doing this a long time, since law school. I’ve judged a lot of moot court competitions. The four of you are four of the best I’ve ever seen. Those were the two best opening statements in a moot court competition since I’ve been doing this. I’m just so impressed with all of you. You have a great future ahead of you.”

*Alex Eaton L’21 and Tyler Jefferies L’21 (winners); rising 3Ls Will Hendon and Nate Kelder (runners-up)

College of Law Introduces Cultural Competency Curriculum

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In May 2021, Dean Boise shared two important developments addressing efforts to achieve a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable law school community. 

First, following recommendations by the Curriculum Committee and the Inclusion Council (formerly the Inclusion Initiatives Committee), a new three-pronged Cultural Competency Curriculum will be launched in fall 2021, applicable to all students beginning with the Class of 2024. 

The new curriculum consists of:

  1. A diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) primer module for Orientation  and JDinteractive residencies.
  2. A 1L DEI Summer Initiative to develop themes and materials that will become part of the 1L curriculum.
  3. A graduation requirement, applicable to students beginning with the Class  of 2024, which may be satisfied by selecting a cultural competency-related course from a list of existing courses and new courses to be developed. 
Hon. Sandra Townes L'76
Hon. Sandra Townes L'76

Second, the new Hon. Sandra L. Townes L’76 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student Resource Center will open in fall 2021. Named for the pioneering jurist and educator—who was the first Black woman appointed as a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York— the Center will be located in the Susan K. Reardon L’76 Room in Dineen Hall’s Law Library.

Developed in coordination with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Center will be a space for students and faculty to convene and curate resources for sharing, experiencing, and actualizing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College and in the law profession.

“We envision the center to both serve as a space to promote diversity and cultural competence and a safe space for minority students to engage with one another,” says rising 3L Mazaher Kaila, 2021-2022 Student Bar Association President, who was President of BLSA in 2020-2021. “The Student Resource Center will begin as an extended library space where students can access computers, printers, white boards, and books, as well as hold discussions and plan events. Our vision is for this Center eventually to offer student advising, mental health support, support for students with disabilities, and trainings and other tools essential for reaching diversity and inclusion goals.”

Professor Meléndez Named Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion

Professor Suzette Meléndez
Professor Suzette Meléndez

Dean Boise has appointed Professor Suzette Meléndez as Syracuse Law’s first Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion. 

“In this position, Professor Meléndez will work with me and across the entire College to lead ongoing efforts to foster a learning community that seeks to address and eradicate racism and other forms of discrimination, that values and builds on our community’s diversity, and that equips our students with the cultural competence necessary to function effectively and ethically in 21st century legal practice,” says Dean Boise.

In doing so, Professor Meléndez will draw and continue upon her work as Chair of the Inclusion Council, which will continue to meet regularly to evaluate the College climate and make recommendations for actions to create and sustain inclusivity. In addition to her new duties, Professor Meléndez will continue her teaching in the area of Family Law.

College of Law Student News


Lisa Cole Honored with Ms. JD Fellowship

Lisa Cole
Lisa Cole

In August 2020, 3L Lisa Cole was among 12 law students from around the country honored with a Ms. JD Fellowship. According to Ms. JD—a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks to support and improve the experiences of women law students and lawyers—fellows are selected based on their academic performance, leadership, and dedication to advancing the status of women in the profession.

The Father-Daughter Duo Taking on the College of Law

Scott and Lauren Deutsch
Scott and Lauren Deutsch

In November 2020, father and daughter law school students Scott and Lauren Deutsch were profiled by Syracuse University News: “He told me how welcoming the school was,” Lauren—a rising 2L—says, referring to her father’s advice about choosing Syracuse Law. “I want to be at a school where everyone is welcome, where the diversity is enormous, and I’ve found that here.”

In the story, rising 3L Scott—an Army veteran—notes Syracuse’s strong commitment to veterans and their families: “It’s a major point of pride; you see why veterans are drawn to campus.”

Powers Awarded Scullin Scholarship

Leita Powers
Leita Powers

At a December 2020 ceremony, rising 3L Leita Powers was awarded the Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association Scullin Scholarship. The award—named for the Hon. Frederick J. Scullin Jr. L’64—is given each year to an exemplary College of Law student who shows a keen interest in federal practice.

Yanez Chosen for Prestigious AAPD Summer Internship

Matthew Yanez
Matthew Yanez

In January 2021, rising 2L Matthew Yanez—recipient of a Dean’s Scholarship and a JK Wonderland Scholarship—was chosen to be an American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) summer intern. “This is a prestigious summer internship that receives hundreds of applications each year from undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities from all academic fields within the US,” explains Professor Arlene Kanter, Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program. “Only a fraction of those students are selected each year.”

Frimpong Becomes the First Black Student to Lead Syracuse Law Review

Hilda Frimpong
Hilda Frimpong

In February 2021, rising 3L Hilda Frimpong was elected by her peers as the first Black student to lead the Law Review as Editor-in-Chief since it began publishing in 1949. “I am honored to break down barriers as the first person of color and first Black woman in this role. I am proud that my expertise and unique perspective will be added to the legacy of the Law Review,” says Frimpong.

Added Law Review Faculty Advisor Professor Robin Paul Malloy, “This is wonderful news for Hilda, the Law Review, and the College. I am proud to serve as Advisor during this groundbreaking and overdue moment in its history.”

Thevenin Trades Her Running Spikes for Law Books

Tia Thevenin
Tia Thevenin
In her March 2021 Syracuse Stories profile, rising 2L Tia Thevenin ’18—a former standout Syracuse University hurdler—discusses picking herself up from the disappointment of not competing for Team Canada in the 2020 Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic: “I had planned to go to law school anyway, so I sped up my timeline. Walking away from the sport—and Team Canada—was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. It’s also exciting to do something new.” 

Thevenin adds, “Studying law is not so different from running track. My goal is not to compete with my classmates but to inspire them to reach their fullest potential.”

Jasper Pursues His Dream of a Law Degree Online

Joseph Jasper
Joseph Jasper

In his March 2021 Syracuse Stories profile, Joseph Jasper—a rising 2L and US Army Chief Warrant Officer—spoke about  how the “stars aligned” after transferring to Fort Drum in  Upstate New York and learning about Syracuse Law’s JDinteractive program: “I was enticed by the hybrid format and  the fact that it was accredited by the American Bar Association.” For Jasper, attending law school is a “dream come true:” “I have  not stopped being excited about the opportunity to attend such  a reputable university in pursuit of my legal education.”

A Powerful Voice for Justice

Mazaher Kaila
Mazaher Kaila

In the third March 2021 profile, Syracuse Stories turned the spotlight on rising 3L Mazaher Kaila, an immigrant from Sudan who is driven by civic engagement: “It’s a core value for me. I have always aspired to help the communities I’m from.” Kaila is not waiting until she graduates to assume the role of advocate and change-maker. She serves as President of the Black Law Students Association and is leading efforts to help the University administration address issues of diversity and inclusion.

Marquette Receives Best for Vets Award

Ryan Marquette
Ryan Marquette

At its May 2021 awards ceremony, rising 3L Ryan Marquette received the Student Veterans Organization’s Best for Vets Award, given to the student veteran who has done the most to help fellow student vets succeed on and off campus. Marquette serves as President of Veterans’ Issues, Support Initiative, and Outreach Network (VISION) and President of the National Security Student Association.

Otasowie MCs ROTC Review

Sharon Otasowie
Sharon Otasowie
Sharon Otasowie L’21—an Air Force ROTC Cadet and US Air Force JAG Corps graduate law candidate—had the honor of performing MC duties at the 104th Chancellor’s ROTC Review Ceremony in April 2021. The Chancellor hosts the annual ceremony to recognize the distinguished performance of cadets in the University’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs.

Law Students Awarded ICCAE Downey Scholarships


Rising 3Ls Abigail Neuviller ’19, Penny Quinteros, and Meghan Steenburgh G’97, and rising 2L Miriam Mokhemar, were among a group of 13 undergraduate, graduate, and law students awarded Downey Scholarships by the Syracuse University Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (ICCAE) in May 2021. The award recognizes academic excellence, commitment to public service, and potential to bring diverse and distinctive backgrounds and experiences to the US Intelligence Community.

In Memoriam

John Goerner
John Goerner

The College of Law mourns the passing of John P. Goerner, a Class of 2023 student in the JDinteractive program, in April 2021. An avid hockey and rugby player, Goerner held a B.S. in Information Systems from Bellevue University, Nebraska, and an M.B.A. from Alvernia University in Reading, PA.

John planned to use his law degree to represent the less fortunate. “John was a fighter,” Associate Dean for Online Education Kathleen O’Connor told The Daily Orange. “He was a wonderful student and an exemplary man.”

College of Law Faculty News


August 2020

Professor Ghosh Submits Public Interest Statement to Trade Commission

Professor Shubha Ghosh
Professor Shubha Ghosh

Submitted to the US International Trade Commission, Professor Shubha Ghosh’s Public Interest Statement raises questions around a finding that Daewoong Pharmaceuticals had misappropriated Medytox’s trade secrets in developing and importing Nabota, a competing botulinum toxin product. Ghosh expressed concerns about the anti-competitive effects of the administrative judge’s determinations.

Professor Johnson Appointed to Judicial Commission

Williams Judicial Commission

Professor Paula Johnson, Co-Director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative, was appointed the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission. The Commission advises decision-makers throughout the New York court system on issues affecting both employees and litigants of color. All members are appointed by the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

Professor Kanter Moderates Fulbright ADA Panel

Professor Arlene Kanter
Professor Arlene Kanter

Professor Arlene Kanter, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence and Director of the Disability Law and Policy Program, moderated a panel discussion in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Part of the Fulbright Impact in the Field Panel Series, the discussion convened more than 300 Fulbright alumni scholars with disabilities, accessibility and inclusion advocates, and legal experts.

Beth Kubala Appointed US Army Civilian Aide

Professor Beth Kubala joins fellow civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army at an August 2020 swearing-in ceremony.
Professor Beth Kubala joins fellow civilian
aides to the Secretary of the Army at an
August 2020 swearing-in ceremony.

Teaching Professor Beth Kubala, Executive Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, was named one of six civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army. CASAs promote good relations between the Army and the public and advise the secretary on regional issues.

Thanking the new CASAs, Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said, “These are unprecedented times, and the Army is fortunate to have you in the community interacting with civic leaders, educators, and businesses.”

September 2020

Professor Barnes Named Associate Dean for Faculty Research

Professor Kristen Barnes
Professor Kristen Barnes

Kristen Barnes—an expert in property and housing law, anti-discrimination, and civil rights—succeeded Professor Lauryn Gouldin as Associate Dean for Faculty Research.

“As Associate Dean, Professor Barnes leads the College’s continued placement of faculty scholarship in top-tier law journals, brings noted law experts to Dineen Hall to facilitate the exchange of ideas, encourages grant-funded research projects, and broadens our faculty’s involvement with noted institutions around the world,” says Dean Boise.

Professors Ghosh and Gouldin Appointed as Crandall Melvin Professors

Recognizing their significant scholarship and thought leadership, as well as their excellence in teaching, Dean Boise re-appointed Professor Shubha Ghosh as Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and appointed Professor Lauryn Gouldin as Crandall Melvin Associate Professor of Law, each for a five-year term.

November 2020

DHS Senior Executive Matthew Kronisch Joins SPL

Professor Matt Kronisch
Professor Matt Kronisch

The Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL) welcomed Matthew L. Kronisch as a Distinguished Fellow-in-Residence. Kronisch is the first-ever Department of Homeland Security Office of the General Counsel Senior Executive assigned to an academic institution under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

Kronisch conducts research, teaches homeland intelligence topics, and serves as a career advisor for the Syracuse University Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. 

December 2020

Professor Dorfman Publishes 2020 Israeli Municipal Accessibility Index

Professor Doron Dorfman
Professor Doron Dorfman

For the second year—in his capacity as an affiliated researcher at aChord-Social Psychology for Social Change—Professor Doron Dorfman led a study on attitudes toward disability in Israel and the state of disabled Israelis. The Municipal Accessibility Index also examines Israeli public opinion about experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 2021

Faculty Participate in Society of Socio-Economists Annual Meeting

Several College of Law faculty members participated in the 2021 Society of Socio-Economists Annual Meeting, hosted by the College of Law and titled “Pressing Social Issues.” Joining Professor Robert Ashford, Program Co-Chair for the AALS Section on Socio-Economics, were professors Christian Day, David Driesen, and Shubha Ghosh.

April 2021

Professor Gardner Receives Meredith Teaching Recognition Award

Professor Shannon Gardner
Professor Shannon Gardner

Teaching Professor Shannon Gardner was awarded a Syracuse University 2021-2022 Meredith Teaching Recognition Award for Continuing Excellence in Teaching, recognizing her contributions to teaching and learning. The award is one of the highest teaching honors bestowed by the University.

May 2021

Wentworth-Mullin Appointed to NYSBA Committee on Veterans

Chantal Wentworth-Mullin
Chantal Wentworth-Mullin

Chantal Wentworth-Mullin, Managing Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, was appointed to the New York State Bar Association Committee on Veterans.

Wentworth-Mullin will assist her colleagues in program development, advocacy, and strategic collaborations that address the legal issues and needs of military servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

Dean Boise Appointed SU Board of Trustees Representative

Dean Craig M. Boise
Dean Craig M. Boise

As Dean Representative to the Board of Trustees, appointed by Chancellor Kent Syverud, Dean Boise will participate, ex officio, on the Board of Trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee, and report to the Board at Executive Committee and full Board meetings.

June 2021

Professors Berger and Gouldin Promoted

Dean Boise announced that—with the concurrence of Chancellor Syverud— and the University Board of Trustees, professors Todd Berger and Lauryn Gouldin have been promoted to the rank of full professor.

College of Law News


Dean Boise Joins Governing Advisory Council of ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium

ABA Logo

In October 2020, Dean Boise joined a 10-member Advisory Council to govern the newly formed ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium. As a member of the Advisory Council, Dean Boise will help lead Consortium efforts to leverage expertise across the ABA and among collaborating law schools to develop projects that promote better police practices throughout the United States.

“As a former police officer and commissioner on the Cleveland, OH, Community Police Commission, I care deeply about building positive community/police relations,” said Dean Boise. “Syracuse is fully committed to helping the Consortium use the combined power of the bar association and law schools to effect change to police practices. The Consortium also will provide our students with meaningful opportunities to contribute to the imperative work of police reform locally and nationally.”

First-Time and Ultimate Bar Passage Rates Released

First time and ultimate bar passage rates for Syracuse Law graduates were posted in March 2021. Of first-time bar exam takers in the New York jurisdiction, 81.31% passed (compared to the state average of 85.93%). 

The Ultimate Bar Passage rate for students graduating in the 2018 calendar year was 94.08%.

College of Law Rises Nine Place in U.S. News Rankings

The College of Law rose nine places in the 2022 edition of the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, released in April 2021. Among drivers of this improvement, the College’s median LSAT rose one point to 155 and the Undergraduate GPA increased from 3.33 to 3.53. In fact, Syracuse Law was among just 25% of law schools that improved both LSAT and UGPA, tying for the largest increase in UGPA. 

 The College’s selectivity improved by seven percentage points, the bar passage rate climbed from 85% to 88%, and the influential Judges/Lawyers Assessment Score went from 2.9 to 3.0. Notably, the Advocacy Program climbed from #15 to #11, marking a 16-place rise in the rankings in the last two years.

“The U.S. News rankings are just one way to measure our success,” noted Dean Boise. “Despite their pervasiveness, we remain singularly focused on our mission, which is to graduate extraordinary law students who go on to lead extraordinary lives enriched by all they learn and experience at Syracuse Law.”

Celebrating Classes of 2020 and 2021

(L to R) Dean Boise, Professor Laura Lape, and Vice Dean Keith Bybee at the filming of the special 2021 Commencement ceremony.
(L to R) Dean Boise, Professor Laura Lape, and
Vice Dean Keith Bybee at the filming of
the special 2021 Commencement ceremony.

On May 7, 2021, Syracuse Law celebrated the graduation of both the classes of 2020 and 2021 with a virtual Commencement ceremony featuring an address by Joanna Geraghty L’97, President and COO of JetBlue.

 “The rule of law can never have enough friends across the globe, where it can appear to be under siege at different times and in different circumstances,” Geraghty told the graduates. “Syracuse taught you that, be a friend to the rule of law wherever and whenever you come across it—and you will.”

 Class of 2021 President Troy D. Parker and SBA LL.M. Senator Fildous Hamid offered their colleagues words of congratulations and encouragement. Alicia Loomis L’19, an associate at Costello, Cooney & Fearon PLLC, sang the National Anthem and Alma Mater. In addition to the virtual Commencement, on May 6 the College held a virtual awards ceremony honoring student, faculty, and staff excellence. 

Disability Rights Luminaries Speak at DLPP/Syracuse Law Review ADA Symposium

The College hosted a star-studded Americans with Disabilities Act Symposium in April 2021, commemorating the ADA’s 30th anniversary, as well as the Disability Law and Policy Program’s 15th anniversary and a special ADA volume of the Syracuse Law Review. 

Guest speakers included disability law luminaries Alison Barkoff, Acting Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging, US Department of Health and Human Services; international disability rights activist Judy Heumann; and Arlene Mayerson, Founding Directing Attorney Emerita, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

Many of the papers discussed during the symposium will be published in a future edition of the Law Review, focusing on the past, present, and future of disability rights domestically and internationally. 

CCJI Helps Launch Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project

Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project
Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project

To honor the sacrifice and memory of two civil rights activists from Natchez, MS, Professor Paula Johnson and students in the Cold Case Justice Initiative helped launch the Wharlest and Exerlena Jackson Legacy Project with a two-day virtual symposium for public junior and senior high school students in both Natchez and Syracuse on March 26-27, 2021.

In addition to honoring the Jacksons’ service and sacrifice (both were active in the NAACP, and in 1967 Wharlest was killed in what the FBI considers a Ku Klux Klan attack), the Legacy Project aims to provide resources to enable students to achieve their life and career goals and to continue the Jacksons’ dedication to civic engagement.

To assist the project, Syracuse Law students have volunteered as “Life Buddies”—or mentors—to help school students navigate the next steps in their lives. Junior high and high school students who register in the Life Buddies program will be assigned a law student who can answer questions about the path to college and other career decisions. 

Syracuse Law Hosts Policing Reform Panel Discussion

Exploring policing reform efforts in Onondaga County and connecting those local and community efforts to the broader national conversation about policing practices, Syracuse Law hosted the “Policing and Reform in Onondaga County and Beyond” panel discussion in April 2021. 

Sponsored by the Syracuse Civics Initiative and hosted by Dean Boise and Professor Lauryn Gouldin, the discussion featured Syracuse Police Chief Kent Buckner; Lisa Kurtz, Innovative Policing Program, Georgetown Law; Jimmy Oliver, Syracuse Police Director of Community Engagement; Sarah Reckess L’09, Director, Center for Court Innovation-Syracuse Office; and Onondaga County Legislator Vernon Williams Jr.

The panel addressed key provisions of the Police Reform and Reinvention Plans recently developed by Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse, including use-of-force policies, police-community relations, and alternatives to arrest.

Long-Term Care After COVID: A Roadmap for Law Reform

By Professor Nina A. Kohn

Professor Nina Kohn
Professor Nina Kohn

Professor Nina Kohn has become a leading voice for reforming long-term care in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Her recent articles on regulating nursing homes and other forms of long-term care have been published in The Washington Post, The Hill, Georgetown Law Journal Online, and elsewhere. She has been quoted in more than 600 news stories in the past year, and has testified on long-term care issues before the New York legislature.

Also the Solomon Center Distinguished Scholar in Elder Law at Yale Law, Kohn is the author of Elder Law: Practice, Policy, and Problems (Wolters Kluwer, 2d ed. 2020). At Syracuse Law she teaches torts, elder law, and trust and estates. This short article was originally published in Spring 2021 in Bill of Health, the blog of Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School.

Long-Term Care Reform
Long-Term Care Reform
Between May 2020 and January 2021, 94% of US nursing homes experienced at least one COVID-19 outbreak.1 And nursing home residents—isolated from family and friends,2 dependent on staff often tasked with providing care to far more residents than feasible, and sometimes crowded into rooms with three or more people3—succumbed to the virus at record rates. By March 2021, nursing home residents accounted for a quarter of all US COVID-19-related deaths.

The poor conditions in nursing homes that have been exposed by the pandemic are symptomatic of long-standing problems in the industry.

Fortunately, as I discuss in the Georgetown Law Journal Online,4 there are a series of practical reforms that could readily improve the quality of nursing home care, in large part by changing the incentives for nursing home providers.

The Danger of Chronic Understaffing 

A key problem exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic is the danger of chronic under-staffing in nursing homes. Low staffing levels—and especially low levels of nursing staff 5—predict facilities’ inabilities to control COVID-19 outbreaks and avoid fatalities.6

The dangers of understaffing were an open secret long before the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, researchers had shown that most facilities lacked the staff necessary to avoid systemic neglect.7 Likewise, pre-pandemic nursing homes’ inspection reports provided ample evidence of facilities lacking the staff needed to care for residents, such as those needed to help residents eat without choking, maintain mobility, or simply stay clean. ProPublica’s database of nursing home inspection reports, for example, turns up scores of cases of residents with maggot-infested wounds and skin in the two years preceding the pandemic.8

Chronic understaffing doesn’t just result in bad care: it can be lethal. 

For example, when staff members are not available to assist residents who need help to stand or walk, residents may fatally injure themselves attempting to get about on their own. Understaffing is also associated with abusive practices. 

A 2018 Human Rights Watch report found that US nursing homes routinely overmedicate residents with dementia to make them docile and easier to control.9 This practice can increase the risk of death and strip residents of their personalities—as one daughter put it, her mother became a “zombie.” Nevertheless, as a 2017 review found, under-staffed facilities appear to use psychotropic medication as a “cost-saving alternative to hiring additional RNs.”10

Understaffing is commonplace because while federal regulations set expected outcomes for facilities, regulators do not hold nursing homes accountable for those outcomes. Instead, when nursing homes are found to have violated federal regulations designed to protect residents, they typically face no fine or other penalty; they are simply directed to correct the deficiency. 

Therefore, unscrupulous providers can increase profits by short-staffing facilities. Indeed, private equity firms continue to buy low-quality nursing homes11 because of the profit such facilities can generate—especially when owners are willing to sacrifice resident safety to maximize profit.12

The Power of the Federal Wallet

To address this issue, federal regulators could change the way nursing home penalties are assessed and enforced, imposing more significant fines and using the full range of penalties that federal statutes already authorize. This includes not only monetary fines but also holds on new admissions and suspensions of payment.

Regulators also could require facilities to have minimum direct care staffing levels that accord with what researchers have found necessary to provide humane care (slightly over four hours per resident, per day).13

In addition, regulators could require facilities to use a substantial portion of their revenue to care for residents. For example, New Jersey has adopted legislation requiring nursing homes to spend 90% of annual aggregate revenue on direct resident care. This approach could prevent unscrupulous providers from pocketing funds needed for resident care. 

The key will be to require financial transparency so that facilities cannot hide profit as expenses and to set spending minimums high (such as New Jersey’s 90% requirement and unlike the 70% threshold New York adopted as part of its 2021 Budget Bill).14

The federal government—the primary payer for long-term care services in the US—could use the power of its wallet to incentivize better care. It could pay nursing homes that provide high-quality care more than those that provide substandard care. Elsewhere in the US healthcare system, pay-for-performance is the norm. But nursing homes that provide excellent care are generally still paid the same as those that provide shoddy care.

“The good news is that, by exposing the dangers of the current system, the

pandemic could create an opening for these types of meaningful law reform.”

The federal government also could improve long-term care by fixing a fundamental market failure that it has created. The federal statute governing Medicaid requires states to cover long-term care services provided in nursing homes to Medicaid beneficiaries, but it allows states to choose whether to cover those services in more integrated settings. 

States that wish to provide home and community-based services (HCBS) to Medicaid beneficiaries needing long-term care typically apply for a “Section 1915(c)” waiver from the federal government. Under this waiver program, states are not required to provide HCBS on equal terms with institutional long-term care services, but rather they may cap the number of beneficiaries served under the waiver and the cost of services provided. 

The result is that most states have waiting lists for at least one type of Medicaid-funded HCBS care, and approximately three-quarters of states limit how many hours of care they provide to beneficiaries receiving services through a HCBS waiver program. This institutional bias could be eliminated by amending the underlying statute, as draft legislation being circulated by Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and a handful of US senators would do.15

But Is There an Appetite for Reform? 

The good news is that, by exposing the dangers of the current system, the pandemic could create an opening for these types of meaningful law reform.

Unfortunately, the political response to COVID-19 provides reason for skepticism about the extent of reform it will spark. At both the state and federal levels, policymakers’ primary response to concerns about COVID-19 transmission within nursing homes was not to protect nursing home residents, but rather to protect the nursing home industry.

As I outline in The Hill, roughly half the states in the US granted immunity to nursing homes amid the crisis (some even went so far as to grant immunity from criminal liability and from acts that would otherwise be construed as gross negligence).16 Similarly, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services used his authority under the Federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the “PREP Act”) to bar state and federal claims against nursing homes  that unreasonably administer or use infection “countermeasures” such as  masks and testing.17 

In addition, policymakers responding by waiving—and even eliminating in some cases—existing requirements designed to protect residents. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initially responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by waiving a series of regulatory requirements for nursing homes and suspending most enforcement actions. Arkansas even rolled back its minimum staffing requirements in response to industry lobbying.

That said, there are some promising measuring under consideration. For example, at the federal level, there is the Dingell proposal, as well as a Senate bill introduced by Pennsylvania’s senators that would expand the number of poorly performing nursing homes subject to additional inspections.18 Moreover, the Biden Administration has proposed an additional $400 billion (over eight years) for HCBS, which would help increase access to alternatives to nursing home care, although it would not eliminate Medicaid’s bias in favor of institutional care.

States also are considering reform.  For example, proposed legislation pending in Rhode Island would require nursing homes to provide the 4.11 hours of care per resident, per day19 that research has indicated is necessary to avoid neglect (see footnote 13).

In short, policymakers interested in improving long-term care have a variety of straight-forward options available to them. Accordingly—as I suggested in The Washington Post, examining the politics of nursing home reform20—the key question is not what can be done to fix America’s long-term care crisis. The key question is whether there is the political appetite to make the changes that are so clearly needed. 


[1] "COVID-19 in Nursing Homes: Most Homes Had Multiple Outbreaks and Weeks of Sustained Transmission from May 2020 through January 2021," US Government Accountability Office (May 2021).

[2] "Is Extended Isolation Killing Older Adults in Long-Term Care?" AARP (Sept. 3, 2020).

[3] "Black and Latino Nursing Home Deaths in Illinois Linked to Overcrowding," WMAQ-TV (NBC Chicago) (April 30, 2021).

[4] "Nursing Homes, COVID-19, and the Consequences of Regulatory Failure," Georgetown Law Journal Online Vol. 110 (Spring 2021).

[5] "Nurse Staffing and Coronavirus Infections in California Nursing Homes," Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice Vol. 21, No. 3 (August 2020).

[6] "Staffing Levels and COVID-19 Cases and Outbreaks in US Nursing Homes," Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Vol. 68, No. 11 (November 2020).

[7] "Registered Nurse Staffing Falls Short in Most Nursing Homes," Skillednursingnews.com (March 15, 2018).

[8] "Nursing Home Inspect," Propublica.org (May 2021).

[9] “'They Want Docile:' How Nursing Homes in the United States Overmedicate People with Dementia," Human Rights Watch (February 2018).

[10] Variation in Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Homes in the United States: A Systematic Review," BMC Geriatrics Vol. 17, No. 1 (January 2017).

[11] "Private Equity Ownership Is Killing People at Nursing Homes," Vox.com (Feb. 22, 2021).

[12] “Does Private Equity Investment in Healthcare Benefit Patients? Evidence from Nursing Homes," NYU Stern School of Business (Nov. 12, 2020).

[13] "The Need for Higher Minimum Staffing Standards in US Nursing Homes," Health Services Insights Vol. 9 (April 2016).

[14] State of New York, Budget Bill S.2507/A.3007 (Jan. 20, 2021).

[15] “Draft: A Bill to Amend Title XIX of the Social Security Act to Require Coverage of Home and Community-Based Services Under the Medicaid Program” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) (2021).

[16] "Nursing Homes Need Increased Staffing, Not Legal Immunity," The Hill (May 23, 2021).

[17] "Guidance for PREP Act Coverage for COVID-19 Screening Tests at Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Long-Term-Care Facilities, and Other Congregate Facilities," US Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (Aug. 31, 2020).

[18] US Congress (116th), Nursing Home Reform Modernization Act of 2020 S.4866 (October 2020).

[19] State of Rhode Island, Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act S.0002 (January 2021).

[20] "Covid Awakened Americans to a Nursing Home Crisis. Now Comes the Hard Part," The Washington Post (April 28, 2021).

The Three Global Hotspots of the Climate-Security Century

By Professor Mark Nevitt

Adapted from an article first published in the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s Fletcher Security Review.

"Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back, and it is increasingly doing so with growing force and fury … we must use 2021 to address our planetary emergency.1 
—António Guterres, State of the Planet Speech, Columbia University (December 2020)
Professor Mark Nevitt
Professor Mark Nevitt

The climate-security century is here. With global temperatures rising, climate change is poised to massively destabilize the physical environment.2  This century may well be defined by our ability (or inability) to reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions. We must also adapt and respond to climate change’s multivariate security impacts. From raging wildfires in Australia and California to melting ice sheets and permafrost in the Arctic, climate change acts as both a threat accelerant and a catalyst for conflict.3

Climate change is also unlike any other traditional security threat. It accelerates and exacerbates existing environmental stressors, such as sea level rise, extreme weather, drought, and food insecurity, leading to greater instability.4  Climate change impacts are already taking center stage this century, forcing us to think more broadly about climate change’s relationship with human security and national security.5

The Climate Security Century

Complicating matters, climate-driven temperature increases do not rise in a neat, uniform fashion around the globe. The pace of climatic change unfolds unevenly and erratically. Some parts of the world—such as the Arctic—are warming at a rate two to three times faster than the rest of the world. 

Three specific climate-security “hotspots” foreshadow greater destabilization and serve as climate “canaries in a coal mine”—a sneak preview of our climate-destabilized future:

  1. The Arctic—transformed by climate change and a new operational environment, opening trade routes and sparking a potential race for natural resource extraction in the High North.
  2. Pacific Small Island Developing States—where climate-driven sea level rise is swallowing nations whole, raising the specter of climate refugees and possible nation extinction.
  3. The African Sahel—where climate change is leading to increased drought and food insecurity, serving as a tinderbox for resource conflicts. 


Global Hotspot #1

Due in large part to the pace of climate change, the Arctic is quickly emerging as a region of increasing military and economic importance. The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, driven by a self-reinforcing feedback loop known as the albedo effect, which accelerates the melting of polar ice caps and permafrost.

In turn, melting polar ice sheets are forming new trade routes through Canada (the Northwest Passage) and along the Russian border (the Northern Sea Route). Along the Arctic’s continental shelf, climate change is renewing interest in natural resource extraction, where close to 30% of the world’s untapped natural gas resides. 

The “Law of the Arctic” is largely governed by the work of the Arctic Council, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and an assortment of laws and bilateral agreements among the eight Arctic states. 

In contrast to its South Pole cousin—governed by the comprehensive Antarctic Treaty System (ATS)6 —there is no Arctic Treaty. The Arctic Council is characterized by an evolving “soft law” system of collaboration among the eight Arctic Council states: Canada, Denmark (via Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. Critically, China is not a voting member of the Arctic Council, although China has declared itself a “near Arctic” nation and has increasing ambitions in the region. Of these eight members, Denmark, Russia, United States, Norway, and Canada are Arctic “coastal states”—with a continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean—and can potentially extract natural resources. 

Despite the potential for conflict and tension, the Arctic Council has enjoyed some success in managing competing Arctic interests. It has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to tackle increasingly complex issues, such as an agreement addressing unregulated fishing and Arctic search and rescue. 

However, in the face of climate change, tension points are starting to emerge. By its own mandate, the Arctic Council is prohibited from addressing matters of military security.7  This is largely left to NATO and individual nations to navigate. Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and the US are original NATO members, providing a counterweight to growing Russian militarization. As Russia has invested heavily in Arctic military infrastructure, so the NATO members of the Arctic Council have shown a renewed interest in military exercises in the region. 

While the Arctic Council’s 2008 Ilulissat Declaration reaffirmed the Arctic Council’s commitment to the Law of the Sea framework, one key Arctic Council member—the United States—remains an outlier as a non-party to UNCLOS.8 This international treaty, often referred to as the “Constitution of the Oceans,” largely governs maritime issues in the Arctic Ocean to include the increasingly important rights of Arctic innocent and transit passage.9  Additionally, UNCLOS establishes the Commission for the Limits on the Continental Shelf (CLCS), which provides technical expertise to help ascertain the breadth of each individual nation’s continental shelf claims.10  

Four of the five Arctic coastal states have submitted information to CLCS in support of continental shelf claims. The United States has not made a similar submission for its enormous Alaskan continental shelf. As a non-party to UNCLOS, the US likely will not be able to avail itself of the CLCS process.

In 2007, Russia shocked the world by planting its flag on the North Pole. This was an act of no legal significance but nevertheless signaled broader Russian ambitions in the Arctic. Today, Russia claims an outer continental shelf that extends to the Lomonosov Ridge—an enormous area with vast untapped oil and natural gas resources that overlaps with the North Pole. 

While remaining a non-party to UNCLOS, the US has nevertheless served as a good law of the sea partner. For example, the US views UNCLOS’s key navigational provisions as binding customary international law. Additionally, the US Navy has complemented and enforced many key UNCLOS provisions via freedom of navigation operations and diplomatic assertions around the world. 

Despite the US Senate’s failure to provide its advice and consent to UNCLOS ratification, a remarkably diverse coalition of American national security experts, environmentalists, and business interests support the US becoming a party to the convention. US should ratify UNCLOS as it is contrary to our long-term national security and economic interests in the Arctic and elsewhere.11 

Outside of natural resource extraction, two seasonal waterways—the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route—are both found in the Arctic. Canada has long viewed the Northwest Passage as their internal territorial waters.12  While the US and Canada have “agreed to disagree” on the legal status of the Northwest Passage, tensions have risen regarding Russia’s authority to regulate shipping along the Northern Sea Route. Russia has increasingly asserted an expansive view of its authority over ice-covered areas along the route, requiring prior notification from foreign ships before transiting.

Perhaps most importantly, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. The melting permafrost in Greenland and Arctic tundra increases the possibility for cataclysmic “green swan” events causing dramatic sea level rise, impacting coastlines and small islands, as discussed below.


Global Hotspot #2

Far away from the Arctic, scientists predict that four Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) may become uninhabitable by mid-century due to climate change-driven sea level rise and wave-driven flooding.13

The specter of potentially “stateless” UN member states—Kiribati, Maldives, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu—strikes at the core of the UN Charter system, raising novel questions of both international law and environmental justice. It also exposes a governance gap in international law, which does not adequately protect climate migrants fleeing from climate-driven weather impacts and uninhabitability. The 1954 World Refugee Convention, for example, is silent on migrants fleeing environmental or climate disasters.

Since  World War II, the UN Charter has played an important role in stabilizing international order by upholding national territorial integrity and the sovereign equality of each member nation.14  While SIDS are relatively small, they have equal standing as sovereign nations. 

Several questions now arise: With climate change undermining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of these nations, what is the responsibility of developing nations to alleviate this slow-moving tragedy? Can international governance institutions afford to remain silent while nations face climate-driven statelessness? What are the legitimacy costs of both action and inaction?

The plight of global climate migrants is an issue of increasingly grave concern.15  By one estimate, more than 150 million people will be displaced by rising sea levels by the year 2050.16  One recent study found that two-thirds of the world’s population faces severe water shortages, a catalyst for cross-border human migration.17  

In addition, many small island nations are uniquely vulnerable to extreme weather patterns. Scientists now link climate change, rising temperatures, and the increased likelihood of extreme weather,18 to which small island nations often lack the capacity to adapt and respond. In 2020, when Cyclone Harold struck several Pacific island nations, it triggered an estimated 99,500 displacements.19 

Finally, critical US national security infrastructure in the region is increasingly at risk. The US operates a key military installation and radar facility at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands that helps protect the US from North Korean missiles. Rising seas may cause parts of the Marshall Islands to become uninhabitable as early as 2035.


Global Hotspot #3

In a cruel twist, climate change disproportionately harms nations that contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions and have the fewest resources to adapt to climate change’s impacts. This includes both SIDS and the poverty-stricken African Sahel, an area already suffering from climate-exacerbated food insecurity and conflict.20

The Sahel region of West Africa, for example, is one of the poorest regions in the world with 40% of the population living on less than US$1.90 per day. The region’s population is growing at an astonishing rate, expected to double by 2045,21 yet the climate is warming in the Sahel far faster than the rest of the world.

In a recent Security Council debate on climate and security, the World Meteor-ological Chief Scientist stated that climate change has a multitude of security impacts “increasing the potential for water conflict; leading to more internal displacement and migrations ... it is increasingly regarded as a national security threat.” 22 

There is a growing body of scholarship that connects climate change’s multivariate impacts and violent conflict.23  In 2020, the International Committee of the Red Cross estimated that 12 of the 20 most vulnerable countries to climate change were in a state of conflict.24  An estimated 1.25 million people have been displaced in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger due to extreme rainfall and flooding.25 

Climate change’s destabilizing role in the African Sahel is forcing international legal institutions to reimagine what role they might play in addressing underlying causes of conflict and instability.  

Consistent with its mission to maintain international peace and security,26 the UN Security Council (UNSC) has begun to address climate change. It first recognized the link between environmental security and international security in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War (1992) and the destruction of oil fields.27  Recognition of other non-traditional security threats followed, such as HIV/AIDS (2000) and Ebola (2014).

In 2017, UNSC took the historical step of linking climate change with the deteriorating security situation in the African Sahel. In Resolution 2349, the “adverse effects of climate change and ecological change” in destabilizing the security situation in the Lake Chad Basin is specifically highlighted.28  Since this Resolution was issued, the Council followed up with additional resolutions for Somalia, Darfur, West Africa and the Sahel, and Mali.29

While it has yet to make the formal determination that climate change effects are a “threat to the peace” within the meaning of UN Charter Article 39,30  there is a growing precedent for UNSC to use its authorities to address non-traditional security threats. 

As the earth warms, climate hotspots such as the African Sahel will increasingly bear the brunt of climate change’s impacts. In the coming years, the UN will be under increasing pressure to address climate-driven security matters in some fashion.31  An Article 39 declaration serves as the legal key, opening the door for the Council to use its awesome Chapter VII authorities.  


United States Reset

Within a month of taking office, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 released two important executive orders on climate-security matters: (1) “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” and (2) “Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration.”

“Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” makes clear that the world faces a “profound climate crisis” and that US international engagement “is more necessary and urgent than ever.” 32 In the EO, President Biden makes it clear that climate considerations “shall be an essential element of US foreign policy and national security.” In re-energizing climate-security matters, the new Administration understands that it is simply too important to be left solely in the hands of the defense or state departments. 

By elevating several people within his Cabinet who have deep experience in climate change and security matters, and by favoring a whole-of-government approach, President Biden acknowledges that climate change requires integrated national security planning. For example, as Special Envoy for Climate former Secretary of State John Kerry will have a seat on the National Security Council—a historic first. Additionally, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy serves as the nation’s first National Climate Advisor, leading a new interagency National Climate Task Force.

President Biden’s EO on resettling refugees emphasizes that human migration is often due to climate change impacts.33  This order reinvigorates the role of the United States Refugee Assistance Program throughout the immigration process “in a manner that furthers [American] values as a Nation.” 

This EO also requires that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan develop a comprehensive report for the President on climate change’s impact on migration as well as its international security implications. While it remains unclear how results of this report will be implemented, this signals an important willingness to think broadly about the relationship between climate change and immigration patterns.  

Relatedly, a reinvigorated role for climate-security matters in the forthcoming National Security Strategy (NSS) is expected, a document that sets the tone for the new administration’s national security policies. 

Since President George H.W. Bush, every US president has issued an NSS that squarely addresses climate change and national security. For example, President Barack Obama’s 2015 NSS stated that, “The present-day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.”34 

In a prescient nod to the importance of recognizing non-traditional security threats, the 2015 NSS made clear the high priority of “meet[ing] the urgent challenges posed by climate change and infectious disease.” 

While climate change was omitted from the Trump Administration’s 2017 NSS, the Biden Administration’s Interim NSS states that, “The climate crisis has been centuries in the making … if we fail to act now, we will miss our last opportunity to avert the most dire consequences of climate change for the health of our people, our economy, our security, and our planet.”35


[1] Quoted in The Washington Post (Dec. 15, 2020).

[2] J.B. Ruhl and Robin Kundis Craig, C (2021 manuscript).

[3] “Threat Multiplier: The Growing Security Implications of Climate Change—A Conversation with Sherri Goodman,” Fletcher Security Review (July 2018); Center for Naval Analyses, “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” (2007).

[4] Marwa Daoudy, The Origins of the Syrian Conflict: Climate Change and Human Security (Cambridge 2020).

[5] “Climate Tipping Points: Too Risky to Bet Against,” Nature Vol. 575 (2019, corrected April 2020).

[6] “Polar Opposites: Assessing the State of Environmental Law in the World’s Polar Regions,“ Boston College Law Review Vol. 59 (2018).

[7] Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council/Ottawa Declaration (1996).

[8] The Ilulissat Declaration, Arctic Ocean Conference (May 2008).

[9] UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Art. 17 (Right of Innocent Passage) and Art. 38 (Right of Transit Passage).

[10] UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Art. 76 (Definition of the Continental Shelf).

[11] “Polar Opposites: Assessing the State of Environmental Law in the World’s Polar Regions,“ Boston College Law Review Vol. 59 (2018).

[12] “The US-Canada Northwest Passage Dispute,” Brown Political Review (April 8, 2020).

[13] “Most Atolls Will Be Uninhabitable by the Mid-21st Century Because of Sea Level Rise Exacerbating Wave Driven Flooding,” Science Advances Vol. 4, No. 4 (2018).  

[14] UN Charter, Art. 2, Para. 1.

[15] “Forced Migration After Paris Cop21: Evaluating the ‘Climate Change Displacement Coordination Facility,’" Columbia Law Review Vol. 116, No. 8 (Dec. 2016).

[16] “Refugees Flee from the Earth,” The New York Times Magazine (July 26, 2020).

[17] “Two-Thirds of the World Faces Severe Water Shortages,” The New York Times (Feb. 12, 2016); Human Rights Commission, Figures at a Glance (August 2020).

[18] “Explaining Extreme Events of 2017 from a Climate Perspective,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Vol. 100, No. 1 (January 2019).

[19] World Meteorological Organization, Provisional Report on the State of the Global Climate 2020 (December 2020).

[20] "Addressing Security Council, Pacific Island President Calls Climate Change Defining Issue of Next Century, Calls for Special Representative on Issue," United Nations (July 11, 2018).

[21] "Climate Change in the Sahel: How Can Cash Transfers Help Protect the Poor?" Brookings Future Development (Dec. 4, 2019).

[22] "Climate Change Recognized as ‘Threat Multiplier’, UN Security Council Debates Its Impact on Peace," UN News (Jan. 25, 2019).

[23] "Climate Wars? A Systematic Review of Empirical Analyses on the Links between Climate Change and Violent Conflict," International Studies Review Vol. 19, No. 4 (December 2017).

[24] "Climate Change and Conflict Are a Cruel Combo that Stalk the World’s Most Vulnerable," ICRC (July 9, 2020).

[25] WMO, State of the Global Climate 2020.

[26] UN Charter, Art. 24.

[27] UN Security Council, "Provisional Verbatim Record of the Three Thousand and Forty-Sixth Meeting" (Jan. 31, 1992).

[28] UN Security Council, Res. 2349 (March 31, 2017).

[29] UN Security Council, Res. 2408 (March 27, 2018).

[30] UN Charter, Art. 39.

[31] “Is Climate Change a Threat to International Peace & Security?” Michigan Journal of International Law (forthcoming 2021).

[32] “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” Executive Office of the President (January 2021).

[33] "Executive Order 14013: Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs To Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration," Executive Office of the President (February 2021).

[34] “National Security Strategy,” Executive Office of the President (February 2015).

[35] “Interim National Security Strategic Guidance,” Executive Office of the President (March 2021).

By the Numbers

By the Numbers 2021
By the Numbers 2021

Dean’s Message

Our Rising Stars

Dean Craig M. Boise
Dean Craig M. Boise

When I became Dean of this great College five years ago, one of my goals was to amplify and promote the thought leadership of our extraordinary faculty. I witnessed professors and researchers whose scholarship in critical and emerging areas of the law was already exemplary, but not as well-known or understood as it could be.

As our roundups of faculty publications illustrate, our faculty’s scholarly reputation is not only as  robust as ever, it is sought-after, visible, and rising.

For instance, the two main features in this Yearbook exemplify our faculty’s status as influential  scholars. As I write this in midsummer, two stories that remain in the news cycle are the rising death tolls from climate disasters in the Pacific Northwest, Germany, and China and the push for long-term care reform in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Our lead authors—professors Mark Nevitt and Nina Kohn— are highly in demand scholars and commentators on the security implications of climate change and elder care, respectively.

“Our students benefit immeasurably from a faculty

who are thought leaders, dynamic educators, and productive scholars.”

In this issue, Professor Nevitt widens the lens on the impact of climate change, offering a portrait of three global “hotspots” that will dominate the “climate-security century.” One of his research questions— “What is the true pace of climate change in the Arctic?”—is especially prescient given the recent Pacific Northwest “heat dome” pushed as far north as Canada’s Yukon Territory. In “Long-Term Care After COVID,” Professor Kohn addresses “the dangers of the current system” and offers her own prescriptions for reform.

Of course, our students benefit immeasurably from a faculty who are thought leaders, dynamic educators, and productive scholars. As demonstrated in this year’s review of our Strategic Research Institutes and academic programs, an engaged faculty provides many meaningful applied learning opportunities for students. 

Whether writing intellectual property reports for startups, advocating for vulnerable populations through our clinics, earning praise for their professionalism from externship hosts, or excelling in advocacy competitions, our students are guided toward a bright future by professors whose intellectual rigor is matched by their expertise and care in the classroom and beyond. 

I am grateful to our staff who have worked diligently throughout the coronavirus pandemic to support our learning community and to ensure that our operations continued as smoothly as possible. We look forward to being back in Dineen Hall for the new academic year ahead, and I’m certain the positive lessons of the last year will make us stronger still. I hope as you read these pages, you are as proud and as inspired as I am by the remarkable accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. 

Go Orange!

Boise Signature

Craig M. Boise
Dean and Professor of Law

Dean’s Message

“The time is always right to do what is right” 
—Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dean Craig M. Boise

When Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 was sworn in as President of the United States, it was a moment of immense pride for Syracuse University and the College of Law. At 11 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2021, President Biden became Syracuse University’s first alumnus to reach the highest public office in the United States and only the seventh US president to graduate from a law school. He also became living proof of what we often tell our students: there is simply no limit to what a Syracuse Law graduate can achieve.

In this special issue of the Stories Book, we mark President Biden's achievement by interviewing his College of Law classmates, teachers, and friends. For them, his election is the culmination of a lifetime of service and leadership, the beginning of which was evident at Syracuse in the late 1960s. We also highlight the voices of our current students and learn about the strength and inspiration they draw from President Biden’s example.

Alongside President Biden in this issue, you will find profiles of other, exemplary public leaders. Among them are US Rep. John Katko L’88; New York State Minority Leader Will Barclay L’95 and his late father Ambassador H. Douglas Barclay L’61; former FBI Special Agent John Hartmann L’88; US Department of Interior Chief Diversity Officer Erica White-Dunstan L’98; and US Department of State Operations Planning Specialist Adom Cooper L’12.

Their stories vividly illustrate the many reasons why our alumni enter public service: to effect meaningful change; to help the less fortunate; to keep communities safe and prosperous; to act as stewards of public commons; to uphold the rule of law; and to expand professionalism, ethics, and trust in public agencies. 

“The College of Law prepares students to serve

with dignity, courtesy, wisdom, and responsibility.”

The College of Law prepares students to serve in these roles with dignity, courtesy, wisdom, and responsibility. As Representative Katko says so eloquently, “I learned very quickly that there was a lot of good that someone could do with a law degree, and you could tell the College of Law deliberately worked to instill this lesson in us. All Syracuse Law students should know that it’s a distinct honor to serve the public.” 

This edition of the Stories Book also includes our regular features about alumni lives outside the office. Following up on our last issue’s exploration of the connections between literature and the law, we include interviews with alumni-musicians whose experiences integrate music and the law.

This topic has special resonance for me. I began playing piano as a second grader, and still enjoy playing to this day. I find music-making to be a great stress therapy, and I enjoy losing myself for an hour or two playing Chopin or Rachmaninoff. I agree with David Miller L’69—himself a successful public sector attorney and accomplished jazz pianist—that a good lawyer is a well-rounded lawyer.  

“Be multidimensional,” he says, and don’t let go of your creative pursuits.

So, whether you take your inspiration from our stories of public service, the leaders we profile in “View from the Corner Office,” our “Lawyers in Love,” or the wise words of our alumni-musicians, I hope you enjoy this issue. And I hope you note the bright threads woven among these stories that illuminate the many ways that the lives of our College of Law alumni intersect across the years.

If you have a story you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at SULaw@syr.edu.

Very truly yours,

Craig M. Boise
Dean and Professor of Law

Syracuse Law Alumni and Friends Reflect on President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68

Preisdent Joseph R. Biden Jr. L'68
Preisdent Joseph R. Biden Jr. L'68

In his final speech before leaving for his Jan. 20, 2021, inauguration in Washington, DC, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 referenced Syracuse, as he recalled the beginning of his life in public service: “When I came home after graduating from Delaware and then going on to law school in Syracuse, I came home after law school to Wilmington, to our county. And it had gone dark. Dr. [Martin Luther] King was assassinated. Wilmington had been in flames. The National Guard patrolled the streets. That turmoil inspired me to become a public defender: a step I never anticipated would lead me towards this improbable journey” (as quoted in Syracuse Post-Standard, Jan. 19, 2021).

Biden may have called his journey from law student, to public defender, to Delaware councilor, to senator, to vice president, to the first Syracuse alumnus elected to the nation’s highest office as “improbable.” But to some of those who know him best, the steps President Biden first took in law school always pointed in that direction.

In this article, we deliver a profile on President Biden in the words of his Syracuse friends and professors who taught him or later worked with him, and a new generation of students who are inspired by his story and his service. 

Themes emerge through these vignettes, traits that can be seen as touchstones for anyone considering public service in any form, including deep empathy that balances focused ambition, an ethical core that underwrites trust in public institutions, and faith and self-assurance that help to overcome obstacles and, in President Biden’s case, multiple tragedies. 

Syracuse University and the College of Law are proud to count a President of the United States among our alumni. But public service is no exception among our Orange family. However you serve your community—whether as a volunteer; a public defender; in the military, the judiciary, or public office; or in any other way on the front lines or behind the scenes—we dedicate this profile to you, and we thank you for your service.

In Their Words: Classmates and Other Friends

Syndicus 1968

William J. Brodsky L’68

Chairman, Cedar Street Asset Management, LLC; Former Chairman & CEO of Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)

“The only political race I ever lost was to Brodsky,” has come up many times.  

I didn’t know Joe well during my first semester of law school, but I beat him by one vote even though I had never run for Class President before.  Later I learned that Joe had held that position all through his high school and college years. 

Years later, I held a fundraiser for him in Chicago with high-level executives such as Jamie Dimon, and Joe would publicly announce: “That SOB Brodsky was the only guy who beat me.” It was my political claim to fame!

I remember conversing with Joe in the school lounge sometime before graduation. All of us were focused on the bar exam and finding a job. I asked him what his plan was post-graduation and he said, “I’m going into politics.” My thought was “that’s not a job!”  In hindsight, it is clear that he knew exactly what he wanted to do.  At that time to me, success meant finding a legal position.

Our lives intertwined in many ways over the years, and that has led to a long, pleasant and warm relationship. I supported him financially in every election he was in after graduation.  Later, two of my sons interned for Joe.  My oldest had interned for a member of the House of Representatives. When my son, Michael and I ran into Joe as we were walking around on the Hill one day, Joe asked who Michael was interning for, and Mike said the congressman’s name.  Joe then said to me, “Your other two sons, Stephen and Jonathan better work for me!”  And they did!

How does it feel now that Joe is president after all the ups and downs he's had, and what does it say about him?  Determination, character, kindness and decency.

Roger Harrison ’65, G’68

President, RH Associates

I first met Joe in 1965 while I was a Resident Advisor in my first year of graduate school. Joe was Assistant Resident Advisor to me in Watson Dormitory. We were only a few doors apart. After activities, we’d spend time talking as peers, and we became friends. In fact, I was asked to be an usher at his and Neilia’s wedding, and I asked him to be an usher at my wedding.

I knew of Joe’s ambition to run for political office early on. In 1972, he had a decision to make: run for governor or the US Senate. The Senate played into his long-term goal.  

I joined his ’72 campaign as a volunteer, helping with communications and advertising. That period further solidified my relationship with Joe and the Biden family. When he became a senator in January of 1973, I was appointed Administrative Aide (similar to a Deputy Chief of Staff today) for his Washington, DC, office, and I commuted with him to Delaware for a while. When you travel with someone, you get to know them in a way that others don’t.

There’s consistency in his personality. Joe’s the same person in public as in private. He is smart, confident, charming, and opinionated. He stands by his convictions. He’s strong in his ambitions, but not arrogant. His confidence was always contagious, without a hint of superiority. His presidency brings attention and pride to the University, and it bucks the Ivy League trend.

“I’m very proud for the University;

having an alum at the highest level will be

very good for the law school’s future.”

Robert Osgood L’68

Clayton Hale L’68

Partner and Co-General Counsel, Mackenzie Hughes LLP

Joe and I were good friends. We had a lot of fun hanging out together. He’s a nice guy. In law school, it was obvious he wanted to get into politics. He had a stutter, so he spent a lot of time talking to high school groups. As a little kid, you might dream about being president, but somewhere along the way that changes, so it’s an awesome thought that someone I used to hang out with holds that office.

Jeffrey Harris L’68

Managing Partner, Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke LLP

I recall being in the White Hall lounge one day and asking Joe what he was going to do after law school. He said, “Go home and be elected to the Senate.” That answer stuck with me—it wasn’t the answer I expected: we were just looking for jobs and to pass the bar!  

As a classmate, he was an affable guy. The same traits you see today were how he was in law school: a regular guy, fun to be with, easy to talk to. He’s made for this moment.  

He has the qualities that are needed, and they are the same ones he had in law school. 

SU Football Coach Dino Babers has said that Joe Biden being President will make recruiting easier. I hope the law school can be enhanced by his presidency. 

President Biden speaks at the 2016 Law Commencement.
President Biden speaks at the
2016 Law Commencement.

Donald T. MacNaughton L’68

Syracuse University Trustee and Member, College of Law Board of Advisors Partner, White & Case LLP (Ret.)

Joe was open, warm, and well-liked. He had no pretensions. That was one of Joe’s appeals as a classmate, and it remains so today. He is a natural leader who brings people together. I see him as the quintessential Irish American politician, much like Tip O’Neal. When Joe ran for Class President, he made sure to meet everyone, and he got along with everyone.

Two years out of law school, I ran into Joe at a New York City Bar meeting. He was running for Newcastle County Council. Why? Joe explained that Delaware is a small state and Newcastle County is the premier county, so it would give him statewide recognition for an eventual Senate election. There was an older Republican incumbent in the Senate, and Joe had eyes on taking him on. He wasn’t casual about it. He had his eyes on it.

Joe gets things done and brings people together. I’m very proud of him, the law school, and the Class of 1968, which has in it a very impressive group of people who have had terrific careers. Syracuse prepared us well for the future. Plus, I can joke with my old law firm partners that their law schools don’t have a United States president!

One dear memory I have of Beau Biden L’94: Joe had given the law school Commencement address in 2006. It was now several years later, and Beau had been invited to give the 2011 Commencement address. I saw him in the old Dean’s library practicing his speech. He was nervous. I told him he’d do fine, but Beau said that he knew he was following in his dad’s footsteps, and he didn’t want to let his dad down.

Beau was a wonderful young man. His speech was terrific and very well received. Syracuse is very proud to have both Joe and Beau as part of the Orange family.

Ed Moses L’68

Partner, Mackenzie Hughes LLP

Joe was conscientious. He and I were close in law school. I met him on our first day and asked what he wanted to do with his law degree. Joe’s idea was to run for office. His goal was clear: to get into politics in order to help his community. 

When he was a 1L, as a Resident Advisor, he was always looking out for the isolated kids. He’s a compassionate guy, and he genuinely cared about the well-being of those who didn’t seem to fit in easily. He helped them tremendously. His empathy serves him well. 

Robert Osgood L’68

Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP (Ret.)

Looking back now on his journey to Washington, DC, Joe’s rise in politics seems very natural. He was personable as a student, with a winning personality and the best smile in politics. 

He was friends with everyone! In one class, when he was called upon by the professor, the professor said “Mr. Bidden.” In 1965, it was gutsy for a first-year, first-semester law student to correct a stern professor in class, even if was over the pronunciation of one’s name. It was slightly brash but done with a dazzling smile. 

I recall that Joe was co-chair of the students’ Speaker’s Committee, and he’d look for opportunities to go into the city of Syracuse and speak to people. It was an indicator he’d pursue a political career. He was good at it. His character is not a fabrication, it’s real. I’ve been in the Senate lunchroom with him and seen how he jokes and throws his arm around Republican members as if they were brothers. 

I’m very proud for the University; having an alum at the highest level will be very good for the law school’s future.

“Syracuse holds a special place in my heart.

I made lifelong friends here at the law school,

including my best friend Jack Owens, who ended up

being my law partner and my brother-in-law.”

President Biden, Congratulations video to the Syracuse University Class of 2021.

John T. (Jack) Owens L’68

Former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania; Chairman, Mediguide International LLC

Joe and I spent up to an hour and a half in the locker room talking during our first encounter. We hit it off. I grew up on Long Island and had some interest in politics, but here’s some guy from Delaware saying he was going to be a senator. I am often asked if he brought up wanting to be President of the United States. I was expecting it, but he never did bring that up.

Joe may not have been too serious about books in law school but over time, he became a very serious person. He does not get enough credit for how bright he is. The truth is he’s very smart and strategic. He’s focused on getting things done correctly, and he’s a natural-born leader who draws people to him. His son, Beau, was the same way. 

His first wife Neilia deserves a lot of credit for helping him pass the Delaware bar on the first try. Delaware was one of the tougher bars at the time, and she helped him prepare for the test. Neilia was a star. Plus, Joe had the boys [Hunter and Beau] to keep him motivated. 

After Neilia died, my wife—and Joe’s sister—Valerie, became the boys’ second mother. When Valerie and I were engaged, we moved in with Joe and the boys, and we lived together for two to three years. During these tough times, not a single cross word was passed between us.

Richard Boddie L’70

Vice President, Coast Community College Association

I remember my Orientation days in 1967. It was crowded in the old building, but I heard what I thought was this Black guy talking. I couldn’t wait to meet this brother. It turned out to be Joe Biden holding court in the room. We became close friends. I remember political discussions in the law school, and it would often be me and him “against” 10 classmates. Joe and I were generally the only two or three voices in any debate regarding what is now called “social justice,” and know that I am still trying to understand and accept that term.

In law school, I knew Joe would have success in politics. He said even back then he’d be the youngest senator ever. He had name recognition in Delaware because his father had the largest Chevy dealership in the state: Biden Motors. In fact, in my day, the law school parking lot had lots of Chevy Corvettes in it—about 15 to 20 of us had them: we got them at cost through Joe!

The Hon. Joseph E. Fahey L’75

Onondaga County Court (Ret.)

The friendship between Judge Fahey and Joe Biden began back in the 1960s. The pair lived in Syracuse’s Strathmore neighborhood, while Joe finished law school and while Judge Fahey was heading into his freshman year at Onondaga Community College.

Joe and his first wife Neilia lived on Stinard Avenue (Neilia taught at the nearby Bellevue School) and I lived on South Geddes Street. He got to know all the guys in the neighborhood. He’d play stick-ball and basketball with us. Anytime the Biden name comes up, we talk about how Joe was my neighbor in law school and what a nice, great guy he is. (As told to the Syracuse Post-Standard, March 23, 2019, and WSYR, Jan. 19, 2021).

In Their Words: Syracuse Law Faculty and Leaders

From left, Professor Emeritus Tom Maroney, President Biden, Don MacNaughton, and an unidentified guest at the Class of 1968's 30th reunion.
From left, Professor Emeritus Tom Maroney,
President Biden, Don MacNaughton, and an
unidentified guest at the Class of 1968's 30th reunion.

Professor Emeritus Thomas Maroney L’63

I’m very proud of him, and I’m proud for myself, not just because I had a little part in his development. I’m a first-generation Irish American. My parents were Irish immigrants who moved to Syracuse. That Joe Biden—an Irish American like me—is President of the United States makes me deeply proud.

I remember one day after class he came in to have a chat with me. It was a long, interesting talk. I came home and told my wife; this student has a presence. I said he’s going to be something one day. I had a good feeling about him. I think he will do what is right. He has experience, he has integrity, and he has compassion. (Quoted in Syracuse Post-Standard, Jan. 20, 2021.)

Robert M. Hallenbeck G’80, L’83

Chair, College of Law Board of Advisors; Becton, Dickinson & Co. (Ret.)

In 2009, when Joe Biden was sworn in as Vice President, I took even greater pride in my degree from the College of Law. Every time I saw the life-sized cutout of him grinning in the Admissions office, I couldn’t help but return his smile. 

Twelve years later, although few of us have been able to get to campus in a long while, I still smile when I recall that cutout. Along with all of the other Orange alumni, I feel immense pride in the accomplishments of someone who walked the same halls I did. 

President Biden’s election reinforces the pride I feel in the accomplishments of so many of our amazing fellow alumni. From judges to legislators, from entrepreneurs to corporate executives, from the military to public service, and from firms large and small, the College continues to admit, educate, and graduate individuals who through their time, talent, and treasure have made their communities better places.

Michael Hoeflich

John H. & John M. Kane Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Kansas School of Law; Dean, Syracuse University College of Law, 1988-1994

I got to know the Bidens when they stayed with me while Beau was a law student and I was Dean. Speaking of Beau, he was my Research Assistant during his 2L and 3L years. There was pressure on him coming from a public family, to be sure. 

One memory I have of Joe and his wife, Jill, was of a dinner together at the Brewster Inn in Cazenovia. I had asked the owner to find us an area away from the main dining room, to help avoid the predictable traffic jam. As we walked through the dining room, Joe spent an hour going from table to table since he was so friendly and wanted to connect with people.

“The University, its law school, its public policy school,

and all its components, value, inspire, and nurture

those who serve the public in all walks of life.”

The Hon. James E. Baker

The Hon. James E. Baker

Director, Institute for Security Policy and Law

One of the things I respect about the University and President Biden is they share a common belief that public service has something to do with serving the public, not oneself. Service is not measured by the attainment of a particular position, but by what you do in the position you attain.

In the case of President Biden, this is reflected in his response to the COVID pandemic. He has mobilized the nation; he has communicated clearly and consistently; and he is relying on fact-based science, public health specialists, and logistics professionals.

I also value and respect all University and College of Law graduates who have gone on to serve the public, whether in the military, Peace Corps, public health work, teaching, or elective office. I respect the College as much for the hundreds of lawyers it has sent into government service as much as I do for the emergence of the 46th President. I do not presume to speak for him, but I suspect President Biden would agree.  

The University, its law school, its public policy school, and all its components, value, inspire, and nurture those who serve the public in all walks of life. There is no better academic institution in the world to prepare to do so. And now that Syracuse Law becomes only the fifth law school to graduate a President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief, we have added an exclamation mark to this long tradition.

President Biden and Professor Emeritus William C. Banks in 2016.
President Biden and Professor Emeritus
William C. Banks in 2016.

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks

I first met Joe in 1992, when he came to campus to visit Beau. In 1994, he asked me to serve as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee that was considering the nomination of Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court. Even though Justice Breyer’s confirmation was not in doubt, Joe treated the task with the seriousness and dedication that he devotes to all of his public service. 

At some point, I either asked him or he volunteered why he was working so hard to learn about Justice Breyer and the issues that he would confront on the Court. He reminded me that he and the Senate need to take the confirmation of justices seriously so as to educate Americans about the role of the Supreme Court. Throughout the process and on the floor of the Senate on the day of confirmation, I could see Joe doing what he does best—providing a basic civics lesson to the American people. 

Joe demonstrates a seriousness of purpose; a dedication to our fundamental values of decency, humility, and empathy; and a commitment to make our democracy just a little better. 

President Biden’s ascension shows that hard work, persistence, and perseverance has its rewards, and that a law student from Syracuse can go toe-to-toe with anyone and come out on top. No one has overcome the tragedies and picked himself up as Joe has. There has never been a more dedicated public servant. All of us can learn from his example.

In Their Words: College of Law Students

President Biden meets with Syracuse Law students in Dineen Hall, 2016.
President Biden meets with Syracuse Law
students in Dineen Hall, 2016.

Ken Knight L’21

President, Student Bar Association, Class of 2021

There have only been 46 presidents, and to have one of them from the College of Law is historic. We must celebrate our victories. Public service has always been a staple of the College. To see this commitment reaffirmed at the highest level is a confirmation for all who are connected to the College. 

President Biden also demonstrates that, with public service, there is always more work to be done. There are times when you will be called upon to follow and other times when you will be called upon to lead, but leadership does not outweigh service. Service must be to all the citizens of our country, and I hope to see action that is very intentional and impactful for the communities that have been disparately impacted over countless generations of oppression. 

I hope this administration leads us towards equality and beyond performative justice. I am proud to put that challenge in the hands of a College of Law graduate, and I know that greatness awaits all of our graduates. 

Troy Parker L'21

President, Class of 2021 

When I think that a College of Law alum is President of the United States, I’m inspired and so proud. President Biden’s stature highlights the strong academic work we are conducting at Syracuse. 

It shows that with drive and passion, the degree we’re receiving can make a large impact on people’s lives. And it reinforces that a J.D. gives us immense power and privilege, and that we all have a duty to use it for good. It is an honor to share the same alma mater as the President. Hopefully, he isn’t the last.

“It makes you think, for what future moment

is my present education preparing me?”

Gabriella Kielbasinski, Class of 2022

Gabriella Kielbasinski, Class of 2022

President, Class of 2022

President Biden’s commitment to public service is evidence of something that is already made clear within the College of Law every day: that its students, past and present, have a regular and renewed commitment to serving the community at large. It is encouraging to think that our College of Law played a role in shaping the President who is to meet this unprecedented moment. It makes you think, for what future moment is my present education preparing me?

President Biden poses with Syracuse Law students during his 2016 visit to Dineen Hall.
President Biden poses with Syracuse Law 
students during his 2016 visit to Dineen Hall.

Kendall Anderson, Class of 2023

President, Class of 2023

We have a vast alumni network, people who are dedicated to serving their communities  and their country, and President Biden is one of those alums. Whether it was his defense of public housing in the 70s or his work with President Barack Obama on the Affordable Care Act, he has a desire to defend his community, a desire I feel is shared by many in the College of Law community. 

President Biden’s election reaffirms my belief that we can do anything we set our minds to. We can be the change we want to see from the world and push it forward. Seeing an alum in this prominent position is nothing short of inspirational.

In Their Words: Chancellor Kent Syverud and Dean Craig M. Boise

A thank you from President Biden to then Assistant Dean for External Relations and Administration Janice Herzog Donohue after the 2006 Syracuse Law Commencement at which Biden spoke.
A thank you from President Biden to then Assistant
Dean for External Relations and Administration Janice
Herzog Donohue after the 2006 Syracuse Law
Commencement at which Biden spoke.

Chancellor Syverud on President Biden

In his address to the Class of 2021, President Biden talked about his love for Syracuse University and his appreciation for the education he received here. I can attest to the truth of these words and the passion with which he lives them. He credits the College of Law with instilling the confidence that launched his life in public service. He also expressed unwavering faith in our students’ ability to take their Syracuse education and transform their lives, their communities, and the world. 

That faith and optimism are character traits that President Biden has exhibited since he was a young law student. I am struck by how the new generation of law students reflect those characteristics in their comments. Their sense of purpose is infectious and inspiring.  

President Biden has talked about his feeling, upon graduating from the College of Law in 1968, that he and his classmates were entering public life at a critical inflection point in our history. He believes this is also true for the present generation of Syracuse University graduates. To declare victory over the coronavirus pandemic, to advance justice and equity for all, and to surmount the global challenges we face will require all the talent, hope, and courage our graduates have to offer. It will take greatness. 

As we reflect on an alumnus’ ascent to the highest elected office in our land, we can all be proud that Syracuse University produces graduates who rise to the highest levels indeed. We should all stand taller as Orange alumni knowing that leaders and luminaries continue to build their foundation for making an impact here at Syracuse University. 

Dean Boise on President Biden 

One of the enduring phrases from President Biden’s inaugural address is, “We will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example.” Reading their reflections on Biden's presidency, I know that our students have taken this phrase to heart. They recognize and share his qualities of hope, resilience, and confidence whether or not their politics align with President Biden’s. These are traits that those who know President Biden personally recognize as a constant, driving force throughout his life. 

Perhaps these shared qualities are driven by a sense of urgency and destiny. Biden himself has drawn parallels between his generation—graduating into the tumult of the late 1960s—and this one: the Boomers and the Zoomers, if you will. Today’s graduates are facing, as Biden notes elsewhere in his inaugural address, a “historic moment of crisis and challenge.” I have no doubt our students can and will meet these numerous challenges and summon the willpower to turn them into triumph. But they can’t do it alone. 

Let’s not forget the role we must play as alumni and supporters of our great College, the role President Biden remembers his alma mater playing in his journey. Whether it be service to your community, ethical and inclusive leadership, or offering guidance to aspiring lawyers that cultivates them beyond the classroom, our students appreciate and draw strength from what you do. 

As we look forward, let’s strengthen our resolve to support our students in whatever ways we’re able. And like you, they will not only make us proud of their leadership, they will continue to pay it forward.

“I’m here to do what’s right”

John Katko L’88 discusses how Syracuse Law prepared him for his career as prosecutor and Congressman and what it takes to lead in Washington, DC.

John Katko L'88
John Katko L'88

Elected for a fourth term in the US House of Representatives in November 2020, Rep. John Katko L’88 serves New York’s 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne counties, as well as the western portion of Oswego County in Central New York.

Currently, Congressman Katko is Ranking Member on the House Committee on Homeland Security—leveraging his years as a federal prosecutor litigating narcotics and gang cases—as well as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Serving as a Congressman is the latest position in a distinguished public service career for the Central New York native. Today, Congressman Katko resides in Camillus with his wife, Robin, a registered nurse, and is the proud father of Sean (currently a second lieutenant in the US Army), Logan, and Liam.

After earning degrees from Niagara University and the College of Law, Congressman Katko began his career at Washington, DC, firm Howrey & Simon. He then worked at the US Securities and Exchange Commission before becoming an Assistant US Attorney for the US Department of Justice, serving as Special Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia and with the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section. In this capacity, he served as a Senior Trial Attorney on the US-Mexico border in El Paso, TX, and in San Juan, PR.

Later, Congressman Katko returned to Central New York as a federal organized crime prosecutor in Syracuse for the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of New York, spearheading high-level narcotics prosecutions.

Throughout his 20 year career as a federal prosecutor, Congressman Katko was repeatedly tapped to train prosecutors in Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and Russia. He also was selected to serve as the only foreign prosecutor to lead an investigation and prosecution of government troops in Albania who shot and killed numerous protestors. He was awarded top prosecutor awards by three different Attorney Generals.

Notably, in the mid-2000s, Congressman Katko led the Syracuse Gang Violence Task Force, which employed the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, along with other federal statutes, to prosecute gang-related crime in the city. Between 2003 and 2012, the Task Force prosecuted 90 suspected members of six Syracuse street gangs. 

While first running for Congress in 2014, Congressman Katko referred to his work breaking up Syracuse gang violence in a Syracuse Post-Standard interview: “If I can get gang bangers to cooperate, I can certainly work with the knuckleheads in Washington and help them straighten things out.”

We recently caught up with Congressman Katko to ask him about his service to his community and the nation, how Syracuse Law prepared him for life as a prosecutor and Congressman, and what it takes to lead in Washington, DC, in the midst of a highly partisan atmosphere.

What led you to pursue a law degree at Syracuse Law?

As a student, I quickly developed an interest in public service and found that I enjoyed working on issues that supported my community and our nation. That, combined with the appreciation I always had for Syracuse University growing up, sort of instinctively led me back to the College of Law after my undergraduate degree, and that turned out to be a great decision.

“It’s clear that the College provided both President

Biden and me with a high-quality education that

we’ve relied on for our successes.”

When did you know you wanted to be a federal prosecutor and later seek public office?

I still remember the first time I was at the podium while serving at the US Securities and Exchange Commission and was introduced as “John Katko on behalf of the United States of America.” That was the moment where everything clicked for me, and I knew what I wanted to do.

How did Syracuse Law prepare you to become a federal prosecutor? 

I remember how fired up I would get for trial practice classes, and how much that feeling stuck with me. Those classes really prepared me to pursue a career as a prosecutor. 

Why is public service important to you, and what should the public understand about the role of public servants in a democracy?

As a federal prosecutor, it was drilled into your head to always be non-political and to only look at the facts. Integrity and ethics always came first and foremost, and it was important to remember that I was in that role to seek justice, not just to win cases. 

Those principles date back to my earliest classes at Syracuse Law.  It was hammered into our heads as students that upholding the law is a tremendous responsibility to be entrusted with, and therefore we have to be as objective as possible in every decision we make.

Now, as a member of Congress, I still make every decision by analyzing the facts and assessing the evidence in front of me. Sometimes, that leads to a choice that’s not popular with everyone, but ultimately, I’m here to do what’s right.

Rep. John Katko L’88 meets with Washington, DC, externs in November 2019.
Rep. John Katko L’88 meets with Washington, DC,
externs in November 2019.

Many alumni serve the public—from your perspective, is that a coincidence or the result of a Syracuse Law education?

Syracuse provides a lot of opportunities to serve our communities, such as the legal clinics and other chances to deliver pro bono service to give back and make a difference. I learned very quickly that there was a lot of good that someone could do with a law degree, and you could tell the College of Law deliberately worked to instill this lesson in us.

All Syracuse Law students should know that it’s a distinct honor to serve the public and to realize our ability to have a positive impact on society. There’s no better reward than being able to help people and feel good about the work done along the way.

In your opinion, what makes a good leader? How do these skills relate to your work as a Congressman?

People have to recognize when they don’t have all the answers and learn to value other sides of an argument. In Congress, I interact with a lot of different opinions on just about every issue imaginable. Whether I’m listening to constituents or working on a bill with members of Congress representing different districts across the country, I always want to keep an open mind and find ways to make compromises.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be elected to Washington, DC, and to advocate for policies that help my district. It turns out that writing off half your colleagues as enemies isn’t the most effective strategy to get this done, so I’ve been willing to work with anyone, regardless of party, who shares my concern for an issue.

What are your thoughts on a fellow alum being elected President while you are serving in Congress?

I’m proud of our school. It’s clear that the College provided both President Biden and me with a high-quality education that we’ve relied on for our successes. It’s exciting to see that we’re just two of the many distinguished alumni who have come out of Syracuse Law, and I hope the school continues the tradition of providing a superb education that helps students do good in the world.

How would you define your legacy in public service?

I’m a normal guy who’s been granted some extraordinary responsibilities in my life. I guess I want to be remembered as someone who never let these get to his head and as someone who used his good fortune to give back to the community he grew up in and loved.

A River Runs Through It

Will Barclay L’95 Reflects on His Family’s Legacy of Stewardship, Leadership, and Public Service

Will Barclay L'95
Will Barclay L'95

“Think about it. Nine generations. It's an incredible fact.” William A. Barclay L’95, New York State Assemblyman from the 120th District, who currently serves as Assembly Minority Leader, is referring to his deep roots in the small Central New York village of Pulaski, NY. That’s where his family settled on a farm in the early 19th century, on the banks of the Salmon River, known worldwide for its excellent fishing.

Today, Leader Barclay and his family—wife Margaret and sons Harry and George—live on that 500-acre farm, as does his mother Sara (known as "Dee Dee"), wife of the late H. Douglas Barclay L’61. A Life Trustee of Syracuse University and a former New York State Senator in Albany, NY (1965-1984), who served as US Ambassador to El Salvador from 2003 to 2006, Ambassador Barclay passed in March 2021.

If there's a thread that connects bucolic Pulaski to Syracuse to Albany to El Salvador, it's the Barclay family's stewardship of the natural beauty and resources that abound on and around their homestead. In recent generations, care for the land has grown into a sense of duty and service for the people and communities who share and depend on those resources. 

“We're blessed to have these natural resources,” says Leader Barclay. “These are some of the best fisheries in the world. We do our best to protect them, and that really informs how we take care of our property. It's something that's in the blood.”

Asked whether stewardship of the land informed his decision to go into public service, Leader Barclay points out that while “people provide for their communities in many ways, be it volunteering at church or for not-for-profits. I naturally enjoy politics, which has given me the ability to be a voice for the community where I grew up, that has shaped so many generations of my family.”

Something Deeper

That enjoyment may come from the fact that Leader Barclay—the youngest of five children—had his formative years during the peak of his father's political career. 

“I'm the only one of my siblings who became an attorney and went into public service,” he explains. “When my older siblings left, I was still with my father. I admired and respected what he did, and that was a big influence on me. I always liked the political side of things, and I would go to events with dad.”

“I’ve done a lot of things in my life that didn’t leave

me with a great impression, but that was not my

experience at Syracuse Law.”

But before Leader Barclay followed his father’s footsteps to Albany, there was Syracuse University, another enduring family legacy. “I am an Orange fan, so going to Syracuse was an easy decision,” he observes. “My dad did have an influence on that decision, but there's also something deeper that runs in my family.”

Leader Barclay notes that he has uncles who are Orange alumni, “and my grandfather on my mother’s side was a three-sport letterman.” Then there are Leader Barclay’s sisters—Susan Barclay G’91 and Dorothy Chynoweth G’88—and niece Sara Chynoweth ’15 and nephew William Chynoweth ’18, G’19. 

Of course, many College of Law graduates will know Ambassador Barclay for the White Hall library named in his honor. “It was sometimes tough to be studying in the Barclay Library at 2 a.m.,” says Leader Barclay, noting the portrait of his father that hung outside. “I got a little ribbing for that.” 

A Good Feeling

It's hard to underestimate the influence Ambassador Barclay had on the University. As a Trustee (1979-2007; Chairman, 1992-1998), he chaired the committee that selected Kenneth “Buzz” Shaw as the 10th Chancellor and President, and he was awarded the George Arents Pioneer Medal for Excellence in Law and Public Service in 1984. He also led the University’s first major capital campaign, surpassing the initial $100 million goal  by $60 million, enabling endowed professorships, merit scholarships, and other expansive academic goals to be realized. Ambassador Barclay also served as a College of Law Board of Advisors member.

Nevertheless, Leader Barclay admits there was some trepidation when he stepped on the campus after receiving his undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. “Syracuse University is a much bigger institution, and I didn't know what to expect,” he says. “But starting with Dean Michael Hoeflich, I always felt I was part of a community at Syracuse Law, which was a big concern for me coming from a small place like Canton, but I made great friends immediately.”

Leader Barclay recalls that in particular professors William C. Banks and Robert Rabin made him feel at home. “I've done a few  things in my life that left me feeling unfulfilled, but that was not my experience at Syracuse Law. I made great friends, got a great legal education, and I left law school with a good feeling and an important foundation.” 

(L to R) Margaret Barclay, Ambassador H. Douglas Barclay L’61 (1932-2021), and Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay L’95.
(L to R) Margaret Barclay, Ambassador H. Douglas
BarclayL’61 (1932-2021), and Assembly Minority
Leader Will Barclay L’95.

Respect & Compassion

After graduating law school, Leader Barclay served as a clerk for the Hon. Roger J. Miner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, before joining the law firm of Hiscock & Barclay, now Barclay Damon, the firm his father first joined in 1961. Whereas Ambassador Barclay specialized in banking and administrative law, the younger Barclay—now a partner—concentrates his practice on business law with an emphasis on contracts and mergers and acquisitions.

First elected New York's 120th district Assemblyman in 2002, Leader Barclay has risen through the ranks of his Republican conference, taking on a number of key roles. Before being elected Minority Leader by his colleagues in January 2020, he served as Deputy Minority Leader, Assistant Minority Leader, Chair of the Minority Joint Conference Committee, Vice Chair of the Minority Program Committee, and Ranking Minority Member on the Ways and Means Committee. 

Asked what influence his father has had on his leadership style in Albany, Leader Barclay is clear: “I watched how my father would manage and treat people. He always treated them with respect and compassion.”

Like his impact on Syracuse University, Ambassador Barclay left an enduring mark across the New York State. In his 19 years in the Senate, he was responsible for more than 500 pieces of legislation, and he served as Chair of the Committee on Judiciary, the Select Task Force on Court Reorganization, and the Senate Republican Majority Conference.

“It's an honor”

Referring to his own ascension in the state capitol and Republican conference, Leader Barclay says he always looks "at where I can be most helpful, and sometimes that means moving up the ladder." He notes his father did the same, especially when the call came from President George W. Bush to represent his nation as Ambassador to El Salvador. "My father loves local and state government, but he also thought he could do something on the national level too."

After his post ended in 2006, Ambassador Barclay turned his attention toward home and to the Central New York economy. He became President of the Metropolitan Development Association (now the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity) and spearheaded the ambitious Vision2010 regional economic plan. 

Ambassador Barclay hoods Will Barclay at his son’s 1995 law graduation.
Ambassador Barclay hoods Will Barclay at his
son’s 1995 law graduation.

Ambassador Barclay's collaboration with multiple stakeholders during his time at MDA again left a deep impression on his youngest son. “He'd get really involved, take everyone seriously, and talk to people from the other side of the aisle,” recalls Leader Barclay. “He always spoke highly of them, listened to them, and was empathetic toward them. That kind of understanding is a skill.”

When asked what drives his passion for public service, Leader Barclay turns again to his abiding love of Central New York and a desire to help its citizens. “Pulaski has given us a lot, and there's something about giving back,” he explains. “I'm rewarded by helping constituents because that's one thing you can really do. Anything I can do to help, I'm willing to do it. I don't see it as a burden. It's an honor.” 

And is the torch of public service being passed to the next generation? Yes, says Leader Barclay. “I want my kids to be happy and to feel as though they are contributing something to their community as my parents have done,” he says. “We don't take things for granted. It takes work, effort, and compassion, but it makes me happy. That’s why I continue to do it. And I know my father felt the same way.”

“Be Flexible”: Will Barclay on Working with the NYS Assembly Minority Conference

There’s no doubt that tough yet finely honed leadership skills are required for the rough and tumble politics of New York State, yet Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay L’95 knows that getting things done in Albany means listening, collaboration, and not digging in your heels too hard:

 “When I have ideas about what I want our  conference to accomplish, I strategize on how to do that,  get input from staff and policy experts, and then meet with the conference to go over these strategies and get their perspective. You can find you are not always right, and you must be open to other viewpoints. Sometimes you have to let things go.”

 “In other words, don't be so rigid that you can't adapt. In my business, if you are too rigid, you will lose the faith of your conference. So try to be flexible and don't take it too personally. If that process means you come out with a better policy, that's good.”

Special Section: Syracuse Law Leaders in Public Service

In this issue of the Stories Book we celebrate alumni in public service. 

We begin with reflections by friends, teachers and classmates of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 who in January 2021, became the first University and College alumnus to reach the highest office in the United States, and only the seventh US president to graduate from a law school. 

We then catch up with other College of Law alumni in public service, including in this section, US Rep. John Katko L'88 and New York State Minority Leader Will Barclay L'95

Public Service Wordcloud

Always Ready to Take a Risk

Ahmed Hmeedat LL.M. ’16 on Using Law and Art to Empower Fellow Palestinians

Ahmed Hmeedat LL.M.’16
Ahmed Hmeedat LL.M.’16

In his remarks during the Class of 2016 Commencement exercises—at which now President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 delivered the formal address—Ahmed Hmeedat LL.M.’16 told of growing up a refugee and the importance of the rule of law.

Hmeedat recounted how he was raised in a refugee camp built near Jerusalem for internally displaced Palestinian people. During high school, he started to study the law, believing that “the rule of law and the development of a strong civil unoccupied society was what my country needed the most.”  

In his speech, he noted the ongoing injustices in Israeli-occupied Palestine, and at its conclusion, he shook Biden’s hand and offered him an open invitation to visit Bethlehem. Biden welcomed the gesture, as well as a gift of a charcoal portrait of himself that Hmeedat had drawn. 

After his studies in Syracuse, Hmeedat moved to Washington, DC, to support humanitarian work, first as a legal assistant with Physicians for Human Rights and then at Usilaw, a firm that provides immigration services and solutions.   

Although helping immigrants was rewarding, Hmeedat decided to return home, choosing to work at his former undergraduate university, Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences in Jerusalem. In addition to the role he plays as a member of the College’s administration, he has developed and now teaches a course incorporating his two passions: art and law.  

We recently caught up with Hmeedat to see how his career in progressing in Palestine …

How has your training at the College of Law helped in your current position?

Law school taught me to be organized, professional, and a hard worker. During my time at Syracuse, I familiarized myself with a rigorous study style. I’d spend five to six hours daily at the library after classes. That became a habit even on brutally snowy days.

 Also, serving as the LL.M. senator and representative for the Student Bar Association helped my professional journey. In my current role—as an Al-Quds Bard College communication and recruitment officer and a lecturer in human rights and international law—I am constantly applying what I learned at Syracuse Law on different levels. For example, in law school I organized student events, whereas now I organize college fairs and tours. Also at Syracuse, I wrote long legal research papers and practiced presentations; now I teach students the same writing, research, and presentation skills.

What is your fondest memory at the College of Law? 

Sharing the Commencement podium with law school deans and Joe Biden and delivering a Commencement speech was a very profound experience. I got to speak to a huge crowd and truly be myself. I loved it because I sensed the trust that my fellow LL.M. students put in me to represent them at that landmark event.

“In my current role, I am constantly applying what

I learned at Syracuse Law on different levels.”

Outside of school, I greatly enjoyed exploring Central New York, and I miss the area’s natural beauty. On Fridays and Saturdays, I hosted gatherings at my home on Ostrom Avenue for international students. These were fun times to socialize and cook together.  

What advice do you have for a foreign lawyer who wishes to study in the United States? 

I do not like to advise. Advising is about telling people what to do and what not to do. It is like forcing others to try a shoe that only fits my foot. This would not be practical or helpful. I’d rather suggest some thoughts that people might benefit from:

  1. Have a five- to 10-year plan thought out and written down before you graduate.
  2. Find a mentor and ask about their experience. For instance, if you have a passion to be a criminal law attorney, find someone who is working in that field. You can get connections with many alumni through the law school’s LinkedIn page. Then, ask that person for a Zoom or phone call. The goal is to find someone in the same field you dream to work in. When you meet, ask how they feel about their current role and what a typical workday is like. Next, visualize yourself in that position and ask if this is what you envision for yourself? If yes, pursue that path, knowing the law school will point you like a torpedo towards that goal. If no, adjust your plan and use the school to further explore the things you are passionate about.
  3. Ensure balance. Try to manage your time to include room for shopping for healthy food, working out, and socializing. Expand your networking circle outside of the master’s degree class. Meet with J.D. students and participate in other clubs. Such connections might help refer you to jobs. You never know when you will use these connections, so always network.
Ahmed Hmeedat's LL.M.'16 charcoal portrait of then Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L'68 was given to Biden at the 2016 Commencement.
Ahmed Hmeedat's LL.M.'16 charcoal portrait of then
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L'68 was given
to Biden at the 2016 Commencement.

You’ve been described as a gifted artist and presented Biden with a portrait at your Commencement. Do you think it might be hanging at the White House?!

It was the idea of the law school to present my work as a gift from the college. I visited the art store in Syracuse for nearly 30 minutes to buy the needed supplies. I used charcoal to create the portrait,  which took me at least four hours. I sat for quite a while to think about how I could make a detailed portrait that would resemble him. It can be quite easy to create a portrait but to achieve resemblance is quite challenging.  

I wasn’t allowed to present the portrait directly to Biden, but it was given to one of his consultants who said it would be delivered as a gift. I can’t say if it is now hanging at the White House, but it would be great if I could know where it ended up!

How would you describe the relationship between art and law? 

For some, the relationship between art and law might be arbitrary; however, I have found a compromise. I see art as creativity—thinking out of the box, being adventurous, and willing to take risks. Law is about rationalization, circumstances, and reasoning. I like to blend these.  

Regarding law, I am always ready to take risks and jump into new tracks. I have used both vocations to create the syllabus for a new course, which I am teaching in the spring 2021. In this interdisciplinary course—“Resistance: Art of Activism and Human Rights”—I bridge the gap between art and law. Students read texts about the Palestinian citizenship legislation, and they study art projects that empower their sense of citizenship.

Driven: Gunther Buerman L’68 on the Road from Syracuse Law to the Newport Car Museum

Maggie and Gunther Buerman at the Newport Car Museum.
Maggie and Gunther Buerman at the Newport Car Museum.

Gunther Buerman L’68 could lay claim to being “The Most Interesting Man in the World!”

Through a legal career that saw him grow the Harris Beach PLLC law firm from 20 lawyers to over 200, to founding and owning the American Rock Salt Company, to his competitive sailing endeavors, to establishing what USA Today calls one of the “10 Best New Attractions in America”—the Newport Car Museum—Buerman also embodies Dean Boise’s belief that a “well-rounded person makes a well-rounded lawyer.”

Buerman’s path to the College of Law started as an undergraduate at St. Lawrence University, where he studied history and government. He thought about teaching, but when he learned his friends were applying to law schools, he took the law boards and scored in the 98th percentile. 

“Syracuse was gracious to see what I did in undergrad, and provided me with a full scholarship,” he recalls.

“Be entrepreneurial”

Top, Buerman competes in sailing events from his home in Newport, RI. Bottom, Buerman, on the left, is presented with a trophy after a race.
Top, Buerman competes in sailing events from his home
in Newport, RI. Bottom, Buerman, on the left, is
presented with a trophy after a race.

While in law school, business-related courses caught his interest. “Going back to undergrad, I was always interested in learning how to run a business, so courses on Contracts and Financial Transactions have served me well all these years and continue to do so,” Buerman says.

Upon graduating from Syracuse Law, Buerman began his legal career in Rochester, NY. He became Harris Beach’s Managing Partner by age 40 and served in that role and Chief Operating Officer for nearly 30 years, overseeing the tenfold growth in the firm’s personnel. 

“The business of running a law firm was a constant in my legal career,” says Buerman. “How does a firm in Upstate New York serve its clients with a good team, and how do you add to that team?” he says. The answer, he reveals, is to be entrepreneurial, and to instill that mindset in the attorneys and staff. Embracing new technologies quickly helps a firm stay on top, he adds. 

Along the way, Buerman assembled a sizeable private collection of automobiles. He had become hooked on the art of car design while at St. Lawrence. “I almost majored in fine arts. Cars are kinetic art and a reflection of the culture of when they were built. For example, the 1950s and ‘60s cars of the new jet and rocket age had rocket-like fins and tail lights like jet planes, and rocket exhausts. The collection started with an old ’66 Ford Mustang I inherited and fixed up. Then a Porsche, and from there it kept snowballing.” So much so, he had to install lifts in his home garage to store his collection.

“Let’s start a Museum!”

After retiring from Harris Beach, Buerman and his wife Maggie began splitting their time between Newport, RI—where they would race his TP52 and 12 Metre sailboats during the summer weekends—and a home in Florida. Their automobile collection was scattered between the two residences.

“Maggie and I realized we weren’t able to drive and enjoy the cars as much while racing the sailboats, so I said to her that we should sell them or start a museum. Her immediate response was, ‘Let’s start a museum!’” says Buerman. 

The Newport Car Museum features approximately 85 cars representing six decades of automobile innovation.
The Newport Car Museum features approximately
85 cars representing six decades of automobile innovation.

Using his experience as a lawyer, he and Maggie established the Newport Car Museum, a 501c(3) organization that occupies a former Patriot missile factory in nearby Portsmouth, RI. The Museum opened in 2017 and displays approximately 85 cars representing six decades of automobile innovation.

Having the Museum cars—all of which are from Buerman’s collection—open and accessible to visitors was an important feature for Buerman. Each car is on a platform and without ropes around them, which enables easy access and the ability to have them driven on the Museum grounds.

“Experience life”

Like for other businesses and attractions, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the Museum. “We closed on March 15 but were open in a limited capacity by early June,”  Buerman explains. “You couldn’t just open the doors. We had to put in place a whole new set of COVID-19 protocols. Since we have a lot of physical space, people could be socially distanced.” Now we are fully opened, without any COVID-19 restrictions.

Again, Buerman’s background as a lawyer helped the Museum navigate new regulations on labor issues that became critical during the pandemic.

The Museum is seeing a rebound in traffic as vaccines are rolled out and pandemic restrictions are rolled back. Buerman is bullish about the immediate future: “I see a ’Roaring ’20s scene about to happen again. People are looking for opportunities to get out and experience life. Maybe even the Charleston will come back!” 

“Looking back, I was lucky to go to a law school that served me so well and continues to do so,” Buerman adds. 

The View from the Corner Office

Alums Reflect on Their Journey from Law School to the C Suite

The College of Law has produced extraordinary leaders throughout its history. Today, our alumni include a president of the United States, congressional representatives, a state attorney general, college presidents, numerous judges, and other public servants, as well as business and nonprofit executives, entrepreneurs, managing partners, and many others in positions of influence.

In this second edition of The View from the Corner Office, we celebrate not only the journeys four alums have taken from the classroom to the executive suite but also their exemplary public service, on local, national, and international stages. 

Along the way, we learn that for an Orange lawyer, almost any career benefits from a Syracuse law diploma. Look for more C-suite stories in future issues of the Stories Book!


COO, Bed Bath & Beyond President, buybuy Baby
John Hartmann L'88
John Hartmann L'88

As career changes go, John Hartmann's move from a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Bed Bath & Beyond and President of buybuy BABY may seem unusual, but in this interview he explains the organic logic of his path and the skills he easily transferred from public service to corporate leadership.

Hartmann's path from the FBI to BBB began with a senior role at Cardinal Health, a health care services and logistics firm, where he leveraged his skills as an operative and his knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry he’d gained at the Bureau. His time at Cardinal Health led him to the logistics of the home improvement industry, first serving as Chief Executive Officer of Mitre10 then joining The Home Depot and HD Supply, where he had roles in technology, strategy, and mergers and acquisitions. 

Tapped to be President and Chief Executive Officer of True Value Company, he led the company—one of the world’s largest hardware wholesalers—through its transition from a dealer-owned co-operative to a network of independent retailers. Under his leadership, True Value implemented a successful "hyperlocal" marketing model and doubled the size of its sales force.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Hartmann’s journey eventually led him to his current position at one of the largest houseware goods specialty stores in the nation.

Did you imagine in law school that you’d eventually land in a corporate leadership role?

I knew that my Syracuse education would prepare me for an exciting career, but I didn't know I'd end up in a senior leadership role. As I progressed through law school, I was preparing for parallel career options. On one track I was preparing to be a practicing attorney in a law firm or company, but I was also interested in federal law enforcement and intelligence. After I took the bar exam, I became an FBI agent.

I've always had a passion for leadership. I was a member of the Army Reserve and President of the Law Student Senate while at Syracuse. During my tenure in the FBI, other leadership opportunities presented themselves. In my final year, I was a supervisory special agent, working with teams across the country and around the globe. I also investigated how foreign governments steal American technology, so economic espionage became a focus, and I learned a lot, about a lot of industries, such as in one particular investigation about pharmaceuticals. 

That experience helped my transition to Cardinal Health, where I was exposed to all aspects of business, which led me to The Home Depot in 2002.

How did law school prepare you for your current role?

Everything that is gained in a legal education can be applied to business. That includes critical thinking, listening to different perspectives, learning how to negotiate, and analytical thinking, which helps get at the root causes of business challenges and their solutions. 

What elements of your legal training—and your work at the FBI—do you apply in your position at Bed, Bath & Beyond?

Part of the fundamental intersection between my law school training and my experience at the FBI is the critical and analytical thinking, as well as emotional intelligence, that my day-to-day work at BBB requires.

At the FBI, you learn interpersonal and hone investigatory and problem solving skills. The vast majority of an agent's time is spent interviewing people, searching for truth and data points, and asking pertinent questions. You also gain social experiences by talking to thousands of people from all walks of life, all demographics. In turn, those critical formative experiences help develop emotional intelligence, which is very important in whatever direction you take your career.

In a rapidly changing world, what innovation has most affected your industry?

There's nothing more dramatic in retail than the proliferation of data and the ability to use that data to satisfy a customer's desire for prompt and effective solutions. Consumer expectations have changed dramatically. Now transactions take place in stores and online at about the same rate, and that dynamic continues to evolve.

How has your business overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Bed Bath & Beyond pivoted dramatically to continue to serve customers even while the majority of our stores were closed. Our online fulfillment model was already underway, but we accelerated our digital transformation to ship products and to offer curbside pickup and "buy online/pickup in store," or BOPIS, once stores reopened. 

 There is still absolutely a place for the store experience, however. Our customers desire it, and they help us inform that experience. We continue to meet the customers where they are and curate an experience that is inspirational, whether online, curbside, or in store. In the end, COVID-19 accelerated the direction retail was already heading. 

What memory from your law school days is dearest to you?

Thinking of the formal side of law school, there was my experience on the Law School Senate and the superb relationships I developed with professors, especially Professor William C. Banks. I admire Professor Banks not only for the work he did teaching us Constitutional Law but also for his work in national security law and for the United States in general. He's a tremendous asset to the law school and the country. 

Informally, there was a group of us that would go out on Thursday nights together. We weren't of extravagant means back then, but we would head to a local establishment and talk about our experiences, decompress, and build the kind of Orange experience that Syracuse promises—and delivers.


President, Crowne Plaza Lake Placid
Art Lussi L'88
Art Lussi L'88

Art Lussi is President of the Crowne Plaza Lake Placid, a resort in the Adirondack village that hosted the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics. Restored and expanded, the resort now spans more than 1,000 acres of the Adirondacks and includes 45 holes of championship-level golf.

A Lake Placid native, Lussi excelled in tennis and skiing at Dartmouth College, and during law school he skied in the World University Games in Czechoslovakia. Admitted to the bar in New York State and Washington, DC, Lussi worked as a ski coach in Vail, CO, before returning to Lake Placid to help his family operate the Holiday Inn, now the Crowne Plaza. 

A member of the Lake Placid Vacation Corporation since 1991, Lussi was involved in the village of Lake Placid and town of North Elba Community Development Commission, which produced a Comprehensive Plan in 1997, mapping the economic future of the area. He is also a Commissioner for the Adirondack Park Agency and a Board Member of the Olympic Regional Development Authority and New York Ski Education Foundation, having served as the foundation's Chairman for 10 years. 

Did you imagine in law school that you’d eventually land in a corporate leadership role?

I thought I would be a sports agent, but I soon learned that you have to be an extremely aggressive negotiator and marketer to be successful, so I decided to coach ski racing after law school. After three years in Vail, teaching, working in a ski shop, and meeting my wife on the chairlift, I decided to join my family in the hospitality business. 

How did law school prepare you for your current role?

The summer legal educational opportunity program helped me realize that I could become a lawyer, and it was professors Samuel Donnelly and Emil Rossi L’72 who gave me the confidence to lead a business and stand up for environmental protection. Professor Robert Anderson was the zoning guru who prepared me for years as an Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner. Now 

I lead our family through local zoning issues in resort development.

What elements of your legal training do you apply in your position at Crowne Plaza?

Thinking like a lawyer really works! I'm an active listener—to employees, customers, and my family—and I document when the parking lot is plowed and the sidewalk shoveled! I also have defended employees in court when our insurance companies have recommended we retain outside counsel, and those wins have been especially sweet.  

In a rapidly changing world, what innovation has most affected your industry?

People now make reservations at the last minute in resort areas based on weather reports and real time adjustments, and we are fixated with online reservation services, so keeping up reservation availability and rate structures remains challenging. 

How has your business overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We are fortunate to be in a remote area where visitors can play outside on our mountains and in our parks, on our golf courses, and on our ski slopes—and still remain socially distanced. We “super clean” our hotel rooms, and we are lucky  to be able to provide fresh air directly to our  guest rooms through sliding glass doors.

What memory from your law school days is dearest to you? 

In January 1987 I was selected to represent the College in Alpine skiing in the World University Games in Czechoslovakia, but I needed Acting Dean Stephen Wechsler’s approval. He said, 

“Young man, you do not take three weeks off to go ski racing in Europe and stay in law school.” However, Professor Peter Bell supported me, and the Dean relented—but he gave me my only D in law school later that spring, in contracts. 

There was no internet back then, and I remember on my return, in a cab in DC, asking the driver how the Orange was doing in the Big East Tournament. The driver said, “Man, Where you been? Them Orangemen’s in the Sweet Sixteen of the Big Show.” SU kept on winning , and I ended up flying to New Orleans with fellow classmate—and now judge—Mike St. Leger L’88 for the Final Four! 


Director and Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of Civil Rights for the Office of the Secretary, US Department of Interior (DOI)
Erica White-Dunston L'98
Erica White-Dunston L'98

An expert in civil rights and employment law, Erica White-Dunston is Director and Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of Civil Rights for the Office of the Secretary, US Department of Interior (DOI). As Director, White-Dunston is responsible for developing and implementing workplace strategies that aid DOI in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. She also provides oversight to DOI bureaus, identifying and eliminating discriminatory practices via applicable Title VI and Title VII laws.

From 2001 to 2010, White-Dunston worked at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), first in the Office of General Counsel as a trial attorney in systemic litigations, with collateral duty assignments with the Office of Federal Operations and the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). In 2006, White-Dunston was reassigned to OEO, where she performed federal sector review for complaint processing. In 2008, she chaired the agency’s Disability Task Force, which resulted in the restructuring of the agency’s Disability Program. 

Recognizing her superior knowledge in human rights and Equal Employment Opportunity laws and training, in 2014 White-Dunston became one of only 11 Internal Revenue Service employees named a Department of Treasury Certified Strategic Partner. In 2015, she became a Presidential Management Council Interagency Fellow, a program to nurture excellence through cross-agency exposure, and she served a six-month detail to the Chief Human Capital Officers’ Council at the Office of Personnel Management. In May 2016, White-Dunston returned to EEOC as the new OEO Director. 

As a law student, White-Dunston received the Seely Johnson Award for Outstanding Leadership in an African American student, the Ralph Kharas Award for Outstanding Leadership in Moot Court, and the Order of the Barristers.

Did you imagine in law school that you’d eventually land in a government leadership role?

No! I knew I would be focused on serving underserved communities, but not in this capacity.

How did law school prepare you for your current role?

My class was comprised of a spectrum of races, national origins, and religions, and there was always something to learn from everyone, so I developed skills that focused on collaborative partnerships and the interpersonal and negotiation skills necessary to obtain buy-in from differing points of view.

What elements of your legal training do you apply in your position at the US Department of the Interior?

I use every bit of my legal training when assessing claims of discrimination and delivering findings. I approach questions through the IRAC (issue, rule, analysis and conclusion) model, which I learned in law school and which I have taught my staff.

In a rapidly changing world, what innovation has most affected your industry?

The ability to electronically file and  respond to complaints of discrimination increases opportunities and access to address not only Title VI and VII complaints, but all equity, diversity, and inclusion-related concerns in the workplace.

How has your department overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Because my department was already heavily focused on complying with tech requirements as mandated by the EEOC, we were not as affected by the pandemic challenges. We were immediately able to meet our customer needs while working  from the safety of our homes with little to  no break in customer service and organizational support.

What memory from your law school days is dearest to you?

The friendships that I still have cannot be over-emphasized, but my dearest memory is of the Hon. James Graves L’80. During one of the Coming Back to Syracuse events, I told him of the challenge I was having with administrative law. Despite his busy schedule, he tutored me by phone. His willingness to help has never been forgotten because it made such a difference for me. I never forgot how a small act of kindness  can have a huge ripple effect. Because of  that kindness, I strive to provide that type  of support daily. 

"A Really Exciting Time!" The Role of a Government Diversity Officer Under a New Administration

Erica White-Dunston L’98 became Director and Chief Diversity Officer in the Department of the Interior's Office of Civil Rights in September 2019. DOI employs 70,000 people across 11 bureaus and seven offices. To understand her critical role within her department and the government—especially under the transition to the President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 administration—we asked White-Dunston to describe her mandate and how it is evolving ... 

My mandate is to ensure that every employee has an employee life cycle that provides a work environment that is free from discriminatory animus and hostility.  

I ensure that Title VII, and all of the discriminatory bases covered by it, are not evidenced in the workplace. To the extent they are, my role is to ensure that the department eradicates and corrects such behavior. We do this is a number of ways, ranging from proactive prevention with training  and consultative services for employees and management to findings of discrimination that may result in compensatory damages and/or some form  of discipline for bad actors.  

With the recent change in presidential administration, there is a significant change in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) community— as it is known in the federal sector—because of the issuance of executive orders 13985 and 13988 by President Biden.  

Those EOs specifically reinstate diversity and inclusion training that had been held in abeyance since the former administration issued its Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping order in September 2020. The new EOs mandate that every federal agency review its policies, practices, and contracts to determine whether they are being conducted with an EDI consideration. 

The Biden EOs also require federal agencies to review whether EDI programs are sufficiently funded to combat the disparity in the employee life cycles of underrepresented groups in federal government.  

This review is unprecedented in that there has never been a requirement for this level of consideration of EDI on governmental services. Needless to say, I'm incredibly busy because the work of my program is now a department priority. It is a really exciting time!


Chief Operating Officer, Reddy Vineyards
Eric Sigmund L'12
Eric Sigmund L'12

Eric Sigmund has been Chief Operating Officer at Reddy Vineyards since 2019. “My path to wine came somewhat unexpectedly,” he says. While working in international law in Washington, DC, he took a weekend job at Total Wine & More stocking shelves and selling wine to help pay off student loans.

“Then I made a dramatic shift and took a full-time job at Total,” Sigmund explains, becoming first a sales associate, then a supervisor, then wine manager at the flagship store in Maryland, before landing the role of assistant French Fine Wine Buyer.

An introduction from Sumeet Batra L’12—now a senior business analyst at Amazon who grew up with Akhil Reddy—connected Sigmund with the vintner as he planned to launch the estate-grown Reddy Vineyard wines and build a new state-of-the-art winery. With his extensive on-the-job wine experience and mind for business and law, Sigmund was a good fit. 

In February 2019, Sigmund moved his family to Texas to work full-time with the Reddys. Today, the Brownfield, TX-based vineyard has planted more than 300 acres on the fertile Texas High Plains. “I believe in 10 to 15 years, Texas wines will be right up there with California, Oregon, and Washington," says Sigmund.  

Did you imagine in law school that you’d eventually land in a corporate leadership role?

My initial career plan looked much different! After graduating, I worked as a legal adviser for the American Red Cross. It was a wonderful and challenging opportunity, but institutional challenges made it difficult to continue our work. At the same time, I had begun to be interested in wine working at Total Wine & More. This interest developed into a passion. I quickly earned multiple promotions until I became Assistant Wine Buyer at the company's national headquarters, where I was responsible for procurement, logistics, and compliance for the company’s French wine portfolio.

How did law school prepare you for your current role?

Due to my international law focus, I spent a lot of time with Professor David Crane L’80. He knew how to motivate through honest and direct feedback that would build your confidence, he showed compassion, and he always found a way to elevate my game. Professor Sanjay Chhablani, revered as a no-nonsense teacher, taught me how to truly prepare for a task and to think critically.

What elements of your legal training do you apply in your position at Reddy Vineyards?The law and the alcoholic beverage industry are intertwined in ways that many people are unaware. Legal compliance touches many facets of my job—from production parameters; to how wines are labeled; to taxes, logistics, interstate sales, reporting, and more. Whether its navigating the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau's regulations or strengthening direct-to-consumer sales, I use the research, analytical, and writing skills I developed in law school. 

In a rapidly changing world, what innovation has most affected your career?

Looking back on my law education, I'd say that experiential learning had the most dramatic impact on my career. Role-plays and simulations prepare students to be far more competent practitioners. In my opinion, experiential learning is the single most powerful tool educators can use to prepare their students for the real world.  

How has your business overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 presented significant challenges to our business, but it also presented unique opportunities that we were able to capitalize on in order to grow our business. 

COVID forced brands to be flexible and evolve industry marketing tactics by years in a matter of months. Reddy Vineyards was very quick to pivot our sales strategy to optimize our digital presence, and we adopted virtual strategies to bring our products directly into peoples’ homes.

We also doubled down on our wholesale strategy, something that very few producers in Texas have chosen to pursue, even accelerating our production timelines to launch a new line of wines to provide greater access to the retail marketplace. 

As a result, we found success through the off-premise (retail) alcohol boom, and our products are now distributed statewide in partnership with the nation’s largest distributor. We will continue to diversify our business model this year by opening our first tasting room, looking to capture the rise in wine tourism as the state reopens. 

Next year is the 25th anniversary of Reddy Vineyards, so we are already preparing programming to celebrate that occasion. I am incredibly proud of our team’s hard work, and I am excited to see the company continue to grow. 

What memory from your law school days is dearest to you? 

The College of Law had a unique way of bringing people at all levels together through openness, respect, mentorship, and a desire to elevate everyone in the school. I am grateful to be a part of the family!

Adom M. Cooper L’12 Finds Risk and Reward at the State Department

Adom Cooper L'12
Adom Cooper L'12

Given his current line of work, one of Adom M. Cooper’s L’12 pieces of advice to current law students is entirely appropriate: if you want to enter the field of national security and international affairs, he says, “really think about what risks you are willing to take.”

As an Operations Planning Specialist, High-Threat Programs at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Cooper works in a part of the state department that spends a great deal of time assessing hazards for those who serve abroad in embassies and consulates. His journey to this niche career in public service was itself filled with risk—and plenty of reward. 

“Hooked on learning”

At the University of Michigan, Cooper—whose father is an anesthesiologist—was contemplating a science and biology track before he took his first risk and switched to political science and communications. But when he took part in a summer 2008 WorldTeach service project in Namibia, his career began to bend toward the law and specifically its interaction with diplomacy, development, security, and social justice. 

“In Namibia, I helped schools and teachers get acquainted with computer literacy and the Internet after the Ministry of Education passed a law mandating that all teachers must have a basic, working knowledge of computers. Many of them had never used a computer before,” Cooper says. 

His post was in the far north of the country, beyond the “red line,” a 600-mile fence (officially for pest control measures) that demarcates the rural north from the former colonial south. “I helped a school get its first Internet connection, and I became hooked on learning how laws worked differently in different countries.” 

Returning home to the 2008 economic crash, Cooper decided to take another chance and switch from journalism—where jobs were becoming scarce—toward legal studies and Syracuse. 

Another big leap saw Cooper return to southern Africa at the end of his 1L year. “I wanted to get involved in international law, so in summer 2010 I studied abroad at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, as part of a Howard University-run program.” While in Cape Town, Cooper took international law classes, worked at a law firm, and in the evenings enjoyed World Cup games being played across South Africa that year.

Back in Syracuse, Cooper continued to specialize, taking national security classes with professors William C. Banks and David Crane L’80, international law classes—such as Law of the Sea with Professor Tara Helfman—and international relations classes at the Maxwell School. 

“Squeeze every resource”

Graduating with certificates in national security and postconflict reconstruction, Cooper spent time networking and shopping his resume, especially at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. 

His second piece of advice to students is borne out of these experiences. “Find ways to get connected to people in your chosen field,” he observes. “I can’t tell you how many informational interviews I have done, even with my peers.”   

“I can't tell you how many informational interviews I have done, even

with my peers. As an African American, there are constant barriers to entry,

and you have to squeeze every resource around you for all they are worth.”

“As an African American, there are constant barriers to entry, and you have to squeeze every resource around you for all they are worth. Many internships and fellowships, which lead to great job opportunities, are unpaid. This instantly rules out candidates from marginalized and untapped communities.”

His determined networking eventually led to a job at the UN Population Fund, where he helped edit a landmark report called “Marrying Too Young: End Child Marriage.” He also coordinated legislative initiatives pushing countries to raise their legal age of marriage to 18 and organized a high-level panel event for the 2012 International Day of the Girl Child, which included luminaries such as Desmond Tutu and Michele Bachelet. “I later packaged up the report and sent it to all 193 member countries,” he adds. 

After that essential experience, Cooper moved to Washington, DC, as an International Law Fellow at the American Society of International Law (ASIL). Because of the fellowship’s low stipend, Cooper notes that “I was only able to move to DC as my godparents live here and were gracious enough to host me, changing my career trajectory.”

“A historical lens” 

After ASIL, Cooper joined consultants Lee Bayard Group LLC as Legislative and External Relations Director. Then, after responding to an ad on a Syracuse University listserv, he moved to the state department in early 2015. 

Cooper says the focus on “high threats” at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security is a response to the 2012 attack on US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the deaths of two diplomats and 10 government investigations.  

One recommendation from the 2012 unclassified Congressional Accountability Review Board called on the state department to reform its security approach at "high threat posts," or embassies and consulates in conflict zones. With his background in national security, development, and international law and relations—as well as his experiences abroad—it’s work Cooper is well-suited to do.

Today, in addition to his state department duties, Cooper is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a leadership development project of the Truman Center for National Policy for which Cooper has returned to another of his vocations: writing. 

“The Truman Center encourages its members to get their voices out there. So in 2020, I started writing and publishing more,” says Cooper, whose work has been featured in Just Security, NY Daily News, USA Today, and elsewhere. “I write about things that aren’t often addressed, and I like to look at contemporary issues of national security through a historical lens.”

“Find your tribe”

Cooper’s Just Security article— “US ‘National Security’ Must Apply to the Entire Nation”—is an example of his approach. It connects his maternal grandfather’s service on a World War II submarine chaser to his and his African American compatriots’ experiences before and after the war (“continually exposed to domestic enemies at home, in the forms of institutionalized racism and hate groups”), to the importance of the US “effectively addressing foreign policy and national security challenges and issues” by doing more “to acknowledge, accept, and confront its flawed history.” 

Recently, Cooper contributed a personal narrative to a Truman Center report—"Transforming State”—about modernizing and diversifying the state department. 

Like his opinion pieces, this narrative also interrogates the nation’s "flawed history." He writes about his uncomfortable experience passing Confederate flags and monuments while on a temporary tour of duty (TDY) near Charlottesville, VA, at the time of the notorious 2017 "Unite the Right” rally. "The fact that I was working on international security issues during this TDY while there were clear and present domestic security issues close to me is sadly ironic and dysfunctional.”

Cooper urges the state department to find “the personnel, ethos, or resources” to ensure the safety of its increasingly diverse personnel, “and it must address this domestically in the same manner that it does abroad.”

This latter comment brings us to Cooper’s final piece of advice to students, especially “students who look like me interested in this kind of career.” It echoes his  “Transforming State” narrative and its call to support people from marginalized and untapped communities in national security. 

“You will need a close group of friends to bounce ideas off and to vent to,” he notes, admitting that the path won’t always be smooth. “Every day, I still connect with three other African American alums—David Chaplin L’13, G’13; Yemi Titus Falodun G’12; and Jonathan Marshall G’11—via a group text we started before we graduated. No topic is off limits, and we support each other. We talk about everything: relationships, finances, sports, politics, and life decisions. So, I’d tell students to ‘find your tribe!’”

Practice Makes (Law) Perfect

Five Musician-Attorneys Discuss the “Duet” Between Music and the Law

Where do you stand on the “left brain v. right brain” debate? Anecdotally, you may know of effortlessly creative people—artists, actors, writers, musicians—who get a little flummoxed by math, and of brilliantly rational minds who wonder at the emotions others feel for paintings, songs, or movies. 

But in reality, there is plenty of debate about whether our brains really are wired in such a strict, bicameral way. In fact, when it comes to practicing law, the ability to combine and balance our rational and artistic “sides” might give those entering the profession from creative disciplines special advantages. But what are they? 

In the 2020 Stories Book, we explored the nexus of creativity and law with alumni who write fiction and non-fiction. In this issue, we turn our lens on five musician-attorneys—four alumni and one professor, representing a spectrum of instruments—and ask them about how their passion for music has affected their practice of law.

Organizing the article in a form familiar to musicians of all abilities, we present their perspectives in five lessons ...

Lesson 1: Pursue your passions, both within and outside the law.

David Miller L’69 with his daughter, and singer, Rebecca Dumaine. Photo credit: Rosaura Studios.
David Miller L’69 with his daughter, and singer,
Rebecca Dumaine. Photo credit: Rosaura Studios.

As a partner at Northern California firm Hanson Bridgett LLP, David Miller L’69 has enjoyed a long and successful career in public agency law. Over the years, he’s provided counsel to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District and the Caltrain commuter rail system, among other high profile clients, and this deep experience has meant invitations to offer his wisdom to graduating students.

“I once gave a commencement address about pursuing one's passions,” Miller recalls. “I told the graduates that you might be entering a field that you spend a good part of your day doing, but anything that's an avocation is a vital piece to carry forward, be it acting or music or art. When you go into practice, don’t let go of what drove you into those other areas of your life. Be multidimensional.”

Miller certainly practices what he preaches. His avocation is piano, particularly jazz piano: “I was trained classically, but today I play a range of jazz styles.” His combo has been productive during the coronavirus pandemic, recording two CDs—featuring his daughter Rebecca DuMaine on vocals—for Summit Records, Someday, Someday and The Mask-erade. “Both CDs, but particularly Someday, Someday, include tunes that speak to loss of the types experienced by so many during the past year.”

Encouraged by his musically gifted family—and especially his maternal grandmother—to pursue musical study, Miller admits that the piano lid was closed while he studied law. But as a young attorney in California, his love of playing re-emerged, thanks in part to happenstance. Miller recalls a Hanson Bridgett function that had booked a three-piece jazz combo, but when the pianist didn’t show up, Miller filled in. 

“That function was 38 years ago. I wound up making a lifelong friendship and partnership [with drummer Bill Belasco] out of that gig!”

After that event, music continued to dovetail with his practice, often because his public service clients requested music at events. “One example was when I worked with former Sen. Barbara Boxer. Through this relationship, I got to play political events and was invited to Senate retreats, where I would accompany musical shows the senators put on,” recalls Miller. “The connection between work and music seemed natural to me.”

Lesson 2: Music can balance a sometimes stressful occupation.

Mike Tyszko L’15 (drummer) and Joseph Frateschi L’14 (sax) play at the 2019 Law Alumni Weekend.
Mike Tyszko L’15 (drummer) and Joseph Frateschi L’14 
(sax) play at the 2019 Law Alumni Weekend.

Also dovetailing—or to use a term familiar to a drummer, syncopating—his law career and love of music is Michael W. Tyszko L’15, a business and tax practice associate at Syracuse, NY, firm Bousquet Holstein PLLC.

Like many attorneys, Tyszko is active in his community, and for him that service has a musical flair. He plays drums in Bousquet Holstein's company band, which has participated in Syracuse’s Rockin’ the Red House Battle of the Bands fundraiser (for the Red House theater) since 2016. His jazz combo—which includes fellow alum Joseph Frateschi L’14, of Baldwin, Sutphen & Frateschi PLLC, on saxophone—plays local fundraisers and other events, including for the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, the Women's Bar of Central New York, and the College’s Law Alumni Weekend. 

Rounding out the styles this versatile percussionist plays, Tyszko also has time for a brass ensemble. 

“Since before law school, I’ve played in the percussion section of the Syracuse University Brass Ensemble,” says Tyszko, who currently serves as Chair of the group’s Board of Directors. “It's a great community of friends, and I want music to be like this, to be joyful.” 

“I always had to prove my chops earlier in life,” says Tyszko, who holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Michigan and who at one point wanted to be a school music director. “Now I don't want to take myself too seriously.”

“Law can be such a stressful profession at times,” Tyszko continues, admitting that during his undergrad studies, music “got wound up” with stress too. “I was starting to think of it as a job. I didn’t want my music to be like that, so that was the beginning of my move into law.”

Today, Tyszko says that he sees music as a “balance point” for his legal career, or as he observes—paraphrasing jazz drumming great Art Blakely—“music washes away the dust of everyday life.”

Lesson 3: Skills required by music can give lawyers an edge.

Professor David Driesen (back row, second from right) poses with the Excelsior Cornet Band.
Professor David Driesen (back row, second from
right) poses with the Excelsior Cornet Band.

Miller and Tyszko address how music can both complement and balance a legal career, but what of skills that transfer between the two disciplines? It seems that, like a good duet, there’s plenty of interplay.

“In my opinion there is a great deal of transfer of skills,” says Tyszko, noting that one of these transferable skills is problem solving “which for a musician means working on a passage of music and being aware of how it is performed before presenting it.”

Another skill is what David Miller calls “refinement,” akin to a writer's editing and shaping process. “What do we learn in law school? To refine our ability to communicate, to be logical and understandable, and to simplify complex issues,” he observes.

To these commonalities, Professor David Driesen offers another: “There's a special skill both law and music require, to quickly and intuitively respond to a complex situation.” Much like musicians learning to play as an ensemble, lawyers must process and synthesize information quickly. In law, says Driesen, “You need to read a lot of cases, see patterns, and intuitively understand them.”

Like Miller and Tyszko, Driesen was formally trained—he holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance—before switching disciplines and becoming one of the nation’s leading experts on environmental law and the rule of law. Earlier in his music career, he played orchestral works, “but today I play in the SU Brass Ensemble and the Excelsior Cornet Band.”

The latter bills itself as New York State’s only authentic Civil War-era brass band, performing period music on 19th century instruments. That means Driesen must master a different kind of brass: the modern trumpet is a piston valve instrument, but for the cornet band he picks up the rotary valve Bb saxhorn (sometimes called a rotary valve cornet).

Having been a professional musician in his 20s, Driesen says that—like Miller—playing took second fiddle once his law career began. Today, like Tyszko, he sees playing as “a sort of balance thing.”

“If you are working all day in one way, it gets stale. It’s good exercise to flit back and forth between writing and music playing. That’s just good for your mind,” says Driesen. “These days, I don’t have the time for three hours of practice a day and hustling for gigs. With Excelsior and the brass ensemble, I have found a nice balance.”

Lesson 4: A critical common skill is performance—whether playing for an audience or advocating for a client.

Gabriela Wolfe L’16 meets now President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68 at the 2016 College of Law Commencement.
Gabriela Wolfe L’16 meets now President Joseph R. Biden
Jr. L’68 at the 2016 College of Law Commencement.

Fear of public speaking is a potential barrier for anyone entering the law. Whether being called upon in class, speaking in court, or advocating for a client in front of a stern hearing panel, young lawyers must learn to speak in front of others with confidence and flair.

Musicians call this fear stage fright, something which afflicts even top professionals, such as singer Barbra Streisand and guitarist Robbie Robertson. But it seems that if you can overcome stage fright, public speaking comes more naturally. 

“I find public speaking to be a lot easier since 

I have been a professional musician,” observes Driesen. Similarly, Tyszko notes that, “As attorneys we must persuade and influence a court or third party to be favorable to our client. A lawyer’s work product can be thought of as a performance.”

Vocalist Gabriela Wolfe L’16, an Assistant Public Defender in the Monroe County (NY) Public Defender’s Office, knows the trials of public performance only too well. In fact, pushing through a bad turn and eventually triumphing is at the heart of one of her enduring law school anecdotes. 

“It's tradition for a 3L to sing the national anthem at Commencement,” Wolfe recalls when asked about singing the National Anthem at the 2016 ceremony. That year, Wolfe—who has no formal training in music but grew up singing in church—decided she would audition, not knowing that the speaker would be now President Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68. 

“I was very nervous and remember warming up my voice in my car before the audition,” Wolfe recalls. She hadn’t sung in a while, and initially the audition did not go well. “When I reached a high note, my voice cracked,” she says. “So I yelled an expletive, touched my toes, took a few breaths, and was determined to try again.” The judges looked as though they had seen enough, she says, “but I insisted.” Suggesting they turn their chairs around, the judges let Wolfe have another go. “I sang again, and I got the part.”

Asked whether Biden’s presence made her nervous on the day all over again, Wolfe explains, “By the time I heard he was speaker, I was so nervous in general, it didn't make much difference!”

In the end, Biden helped Wolfe relax, and her performance was flawless. “I didn't realize I’d have so much interaction with him. As soon as he shook my hand, it calmed me down.”

The take-away? “For me, performing is about proving to yourself that you are capable,” Wolfe says. “I’m the first in my family to go to college, so I always want to throw my hat in the ring. When showtime comes, I give it all I’ve got. I’m so grateful I didn’t let my first attempt to sing the anthem be the end of it.”

Lesson 5: There’s a reason they call it “practice”.

Susan K. Reardon L’76 continues to play piano at home “almost daily.”
Susan K. Reardon L’76 continues to play
piano at home “almost daily.”

For pianist and Board of Advisors Member Susan K. Reardon L’76, two threads that bind music and law have intertwined throughout her successful career—which culminated in her serving as Director of International Policy, Worldwide Government Affairs, and Policy at Johnson & Johnson—and into her retirement, which came in 2014.

First is the ability of music to balance stress.

“Playing piano requires total concentration, so you are immediately removed from daily and global sources of stress,” says Reardon, who took lessons in childhood at Baltimore’s Peabody Institute of Music and who would sneak into the University’s Crouse College piano practice rooms to play as a student. “When I was working, I still managed to set aside most Sunday evenings to play two or three hours with my duet buddy before I delved into what I had to do in the week ahead. That planning was made less stressful with the lingering joy of music making.”

Second is performance. Although these days Reardon mostly plays solo or with her duet partner, there was a time when she gigged. “That was many years ago at a Gay 90s bar in Ocean City, MD, as part of a trio with banjo and trumpet. That is the only time I was paid to play. We weren’t very good though!”

“Both music and law require, to a degree, showmanship,” Reardon continues. “As a lawyer, I brought those skills together to perform for judges, juries, clients, and employers. As a pianist, I perform almost daily, albeit mostly for myself. Music and the law have contributed enormously to my quality of life.” Ultimately, Reardon says, both music and law “are characterized by order, discipline, and beautifully crafted language. Learning to read music and learning how to think like a lawyer require training your brain through hard work and concentration.”

To an outsider, it might seem odd that lawyers “practice” their profession. Don’t you already have a law degree?! But Reardon gets at the heart of why the two disciplines share that word in common, for both require the constant application and exercise of skills and craft built over a lifetime. 

Or, as Mike Tsyzko puts it with a drummer’s final crescendo: “Law is called a ‘practice’ because you are improving all the time and working on the fundamentals, working toward more refinement.” 

A Chili Festival That Warmed Hearts—Three Ways

Mark Kompa L'80
Mark Kompa L'80

It's said that good things come in threes. That's certainly true of a College of Law tradition remembered fondly by one of its founders, Mark Kompa L'80: the Groundhog Day Chili Festival. A staple of the College's social scene in the late 1970s, Kompa recalls the three elements—music, friends, and food—that served as the festival's inspiration.

First was Kompa's love of music, and in particular the Outlaw Country music made famous by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson in the Seventies. "I've always been a music lover," says Kompa, whose Law Offices of Mark A. Kompa are in Laguna Hills, CA. 

A native of "Music City" Nashville, TN, Kompa recalls his first concert was a triple bill featuring Steppenwolf, The Grassroots, and Chairmen of the Board, a combination that could inspire anyone to try their hand at guitar. By the time he was in law school, his taste had turned to country. In particular, it was Willie Nelson's famous Fourth of July Picnic, which began in 1972, that gave him the idea for the College of Law's own music-and-food fest.

The second source of inspiration was Kompa's colleagues. Fellow first-year classmates—Brigid Carroll Anderson L'80, Marguerette Hosbach L'80, Lon Levin L'80, and Eric Smith L'80—helped him run with the idea, with Hosbach providing the venue. "Marg was living in an apartment building at the time that had a large party room," remembers Kompa. 

The date of the festival seemed particularly fitting for a gathering of friends. "Around Groundhog Day seemed a good time to hold the festival because everybody was settled in for the spring semester. That was a good time to get together and catch up." 

The third element—the food—also came from Nashville. Founded in 1907, Varallo's Chili Parlor and Restaurant is a well-known gastronomic destination that is famous for serving "Chili Three Ways," described as by The Tennessean as "layered combination of spaghetti, tamales, and chili."

"The first year we charged $5 to cover our costs and about 85 people showed up," says Kompa, who served as a “Chili Three Ways” chef. Music was also provided by Kompa, joined by Levin and Bruce Wood L’80, whom he remembers as “excellent guitarists.” They covered songs by The Beatles, Neil Young, and others before inviting classmates up to the front to play. 

"The second and third year, even more people showed up," recalls Kompa. “It was a lot of work cooking for that many, but several of my classmates pitched in with the cooking, and it was a lot of fun.”

No wonder Kompa has such good memories of his law school days, although the social scene he helped create was by no means the whole story. "Syracuse was a good place to attend law school. I went when a lot of professors—such as Daan Bravemen and Peter Bell—were just starting. There was a lot of enthusiasm. Syracuse really prepared me for my career."

Although the Groundhog Day Chili Festival may be gone, it is far from forgotten. It was a topic of conversation when the classmates got back together via Zoom for their 40th anniversary at Law Alumni Weekend 2020. And the stirring of those memories—plus thoughts of retirement after 32 years at his own law firm and attending a concert by another music legend, Sir Paul McCartney—have inspired Kompa to pick up his ax again.

"My Christmas present to myself last year was a Fender Telecaster, and I have also bought myself a Martin D28 acoustic guitar," he says. Because they say good things come in threes, perhaps Kompa might be adding something else to his guitar collection soon: a country-style resonator guitar, perhaps, or a McCartney violin bass?!  

In Memoriam

H. Douglas Barclay L’61


H. Douglas Barclay L’61
H. Douglas Barclay L’61

H. Douglas Barclay L’61, of Pulaski, New York, a Syracuse University Life Trustee and former Board Chair whose renowned career in public service included 20 years in the New York State Senate and positions under two U.S. presidents, died March 14 at age 88.

Barclay was elected to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees in 1979 and served as a Voting Trustee until 2007. He held several leadership roles during his time with the Board, including chair of the Board from 1992 to 1998; chair of the Board Investment and Endowment Committee from 1985 to 1992; chair of the $160 Million “Campaign for Syracuse University”; and chair of the search committee for the Chancellor in 1991.

Barclay was also a member of the College of Law Board of Advisors. In 1984, he received the George Arents Award, the University’s highest alumni honor.

“Doug was such a force in his professional life of public service, yet he found time to remain connected to his alma mater and serve Syracuse University in many valuable ways,” says Board Chair Kathleen Walters ’73. “On behalf of the Board, we extend our deepest sympathies and support to Doug’s wife, Dee Dee, the entire Barclay family and everyone who knew and loved Doug.”

Barclay earned a J.D. from Syracuse University’s College of Law in 1961 and a B.A. from Yale University in 1955. He served in the United States Army from 1955 until 1957. He was recognized with honorary degrees from Syracuse University, Clarkson University, the State University of New York at Oswego, Le Moyne College and St. Lawrence University.

Barclay and his wife, Sara “Dee Dee” Seiter Barclay, provided the lead gift for the establishment of the H. Douglas Barclay Law Library in the College of Law. They generously supported other initiatives in the College of Law, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University Athletics, Syracuse University Libraries and international enrollment.

“A towering figure in local, state and national government, Doug never forgot his Central New York roots,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “Doug remained a strong advocate of Syracuse University, and we all benefitted from the knowledge and experience he brought to the Board and the generosity he showed to our students.”

Barclay was elected to 11 consecutive terms in the New York State Senate from 1965-84. During his tenure, he chaired the Senate Codes Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Select Task Force on Court Reorganization and the Senate Republican (Majority) Conference.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush appointed Barclay a public board member of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. He served there until 1993, when his successor was named. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Barclay to represent the United States at the inauguration of the president of the Republic of Costa Rica and to serve as a member of the panel of conciliators at the International Center of the Settlement of Investments Disputes. He also served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador from 2003-07.

“Ambassador Barclay was a larger-than-life figure whose distinguished career in public service spanned many years,’’ says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “He made many significant contributions to the University, the College of Law, New York state and the nation. The College of Law community extends our deepest condolences to the Barclay family.”

Barclay was counsel to, and former partner of, Barclay Damon LLP, Central New York’s oldest law firm, with offices throughout New York, Boston, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and Toronto. He specialized in banking and administration law.

Barclay was chair of the Board of Directors of Douglaston Manor Inc., and owner and operator of Douglaston Salmon Run fishing reserve and Quality Machined Products (QMP), a family-owned and operated machined products company. He was past chair of the Board of Directors of Panthos Corp., QMP Enterprises, Eagle Media and CenterState CEO (formerly the Metropolitan Development Association).

Barclay also chaired the Compensation Committee of KeyCorp, which operates through Key Community Bank and Key Corporate Bank. His previous board service included KeyBank of Central York, Key Trust Company of Florida, Key Financial Services, Key Pacific Bancorp, Empire Airlines, Syracuse China Corp., Giant Portland and Masonry Cement Co., Coradian Corp., Mohawk Airlines, and Excelsior Insurance Co.

A former overseer of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Barclay was a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and chair of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Central New York. He was also the former president (1991-2003), chairman emeritus (2003-present) and member of the Board of Directors of the Syracuse Metropolitan Development Association. Barclay also served on the New York State Economic Development Power Allocation Board, the Board of Directors of Modern Courts, and the Board of the New York Racing Association.

Barclay was a recipient of the Private Sector Initiative Commendation from the President of the United States; the John Jay Education Award from The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York; and multiple El Salvadorian honors, including the “Noble Amigo de El Salvador” (“Noble Friend of El Salvador”) award from that country’s legislative assembly in 2006, and the Republic of El Salvador’s Award of the Orden Nacional Jose Matias Delgado en el Grado de Gran Cruz de Plata in 2007.

Doug is survived by his wife Dee Dee and their children Kathryn, David, Dorothy Chynoweth G’88 (School of Education), Susan G’91 (School of Education) and William L’95 (College of Law) and 10 grandchildren, including granddaughter Sara Chynoweth ’15 (Martin J. Whitman School of Management) and grandson William Chynoweth ’18 (College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs), G’19 (School of Education).

Lawyers in Love

Jay Brown L’95 & Consuela Pinto L’95

Jay Brown L’95 & Consuela Pinto L’95
Jay Brown L’95 & Consuela Pinto L’95

Jay Brown, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and studied finance and economics at Santa Clara University, combined two desires when he came to Syracuse in 1992: the study of law and the experience of going East. He didn’t expect to meet his future wife, Consuela Pinto.

Growing up in North Jersey, Consuela was thrilled to go out of state to Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. She always knew her aim was college, as her first-generation Italian parents desperately wanted their children to become either doctors or lawyers.

She was settled and established in Boston, working in human resources for a bank that wanted her to stay after graduation. However, with law school in the back of her mind, Consuela knew if she didn’t go right after graduation, she may never go.

In their words, Jay and Consuela’s relationship started as a solid, comfortable friendship. Cast together in Professor Richard Ellison’s 1L Law Firm section, they ended up in a small study group.

In the second semester, Jay asked Consuela to have dinner at Pastabilities in Armory Square. There, they started a pastime that still holds after 23 years of marriage—debate, or what Consuela calls “ridiculous discussions.” That night they deliberated over the existence of New Hampshire’s coastline (for the record, the state does have a 13-mile stretch of Atlantic shoreline called the Seacoast Region).

Consuela, who had also graduated with an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School, says, “Jay is very calm and I’m the polar opposite, and if there was a point in my life when I needed an infusion of calmness, it was my time in Syracuse.”

After graduation, the couple headed to Washington, DC, where Consuela went to work for the Department of Labor. This was the perfect location for Jay as well, because his focus was antitrust law.

Making their home in Silver Spring, MD, the couple have raised two children. Isabel is in Boston attending Northeastern University, while Matthew is a high school junior studying from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Upon leaving the labor department, Consuela, who had been the President of the DC Women’s Bar Association, became a shareholder at FortneyScott, a leading management employment law firm. Her focus is Equal Employment Opportunity compliance, with a specialty in government investigations.

Today, Jay is still steeped in business law as Deputy General Counsel at the US Chamber of Commerce. He says 2020 was a busy year for the Chamber with the discovery that going virtual added the benefit of reaching a larger audience. Before the pandemic, he says, they would draw hundreds to an onsite event, now they virtually reach thousands at a time.

Both have been working from home for the past year, which they say has turned out to be great, adding tremendously to family time. Cutting out the commute, they can even have breakfast together; with the bonus of being available for Matthew if he has study questions.

Referring to his career spent in the nation’s capital, Jay compliments the College of Law’s impact, noting its great alumni network. “Our class had a particularly large group of graduates relocate to DC. Among them are alums who have reached high levels in government agencies, prominent firms, and well-known companies with offices in the capital.”

David Katz L’17 & Danielle Katz L’18

David Katz L’17 & Danielle Katz L’18
David Katz L’17 & Danielle Katz L’18

Although David Katz and Danielle (Wilner) Katz took two very different paths to get to the College of Law—where they met in 2016 before getting married in 2018—their journey shared one thing in common: each decided to attend Syracuse Law because of the quality education and collaborative environment it offered.

David, a Cornell University grad, knew since fifth grade he wanted to study law. Danielle, a Toronto native, had landed a job in guest service management after her undergraduate study in Canada but she needed more of a challenge.

So Danielle began researching law schools. She decided on Syracuse, which was the perfect distance from home, and is surprised even today at how much she enjoys living and working in Central New York as a change from her big city roots in Toronto.

“Syracuse is great. I love the person I’m with and the work that I do,” she says.

When David and Danielle met in the fall semester, neither of them thought much of each other. Danielle was just starting law school, and David was entering his last year. 

But in the spring semester, David came across Danielle stressing over an assignment. He offered to take her to get something to eat. She agreed, but wanted to make it quick, thinking they would swing by McDonalds. But David—a local from Liverpool, NY—was a regular at Phoebe’s, down Irving Avenue from campus, so that’s where he took her.

“I was so stressed, I couldn’t enjoy myself,” Danielle admits.

But after Danielle turned in her assignment, she realized what a great time she had had with David. They became fast friends, so much so that when she couldn’t get home for Passover, David invited her to his family’s home for Easter instead.

“We weren’t dating, but his whole family thought we were,” Danielle recalls. Adds David, “My uncle pulled me aside and said, ‘You think she is just your friend, but there’s more to this!’”

Shortly after Easter 2016, the couple made it official and began dating. In November 2018, they took a weekend off from Danielle’s final semester and were married in Toronto. They held off on a honeymoon until after graduating and settling into their work lives.

Last winter, the Katzes were finally able to honeymoon in St. Lucia. Having had a great time on the Caribbean island, they arrived home just as the whole world was shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic. After almost a year on lock-down as newlyweds, they have not only survived but thrived during an unprecedented time.

The couple has the alumni community as a support structure and work they share in common and which they love. David is a civil litigation associate at Smith Sovik Kendrick & Sugnet PC while Danielle practices corporate transactions and trusts and estates at Barclay Damon LLP. They couldn’t be happier, they say.

“Because we don’t work in the same area, it’s really cool to get different perspectives on working in the same profession,” David explains. 

“Essentially he goes to court and I don’t,” Danielle notes.

Our Back Pages

Do You Remember? Help Us Caption Our Mystery Photos!

The College of Law’s photo archive is a fascinating visual history of your alma mater, full of nostalgia, anecdotes—and a few mysteries. That is, some of our prints and slides lack information or captions.

That’s where you come in. In this feature, we challenge you to help us recall the people and scenes in our mystery photos.

For our new mystery, we’ve chosen a casual-yet-active scene, probably taking place in White Hall. However, there is no information accompanying this print, so if you know any of the students pictured (in the foreground or background) and/or when the photo was taken, please email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@syr.edu, and we’ll publish what we discover in a future issue.

Our Back Pages Photo 2021

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

The College of Law Mourns the Passing of Professor Emeritus Peter E. Herzog L’55

Professor Peter Herzog L'55 and Brigitte Herzog L'75
Professor Peter Herzog L'55 and Brigitte
Herzog L'75

Crandall Melvin Professor of Law Emeritus Peter E. Herzog L’55 passed away on Nov. 4, 2020.

Professor Herzog had a distinguished career as a scholar and academic at the College of Law, where he spent 37 years teaching torts, international law, comparative law, and other subjects.

He was widely published in these areas, at times with his wife Brigitte Herzog L’75 as a coauthor. He was also a visiting professor at the universities of Paris (Pantheon-Sorbonne), Dijon, and Fribourg. In addition to the Melvin Professorship, Professor Herzog was awarded the Chancellor’s Citation of Academic Excellence.

Born in Vienna, Austria in 1925, Professor Herzog studied at the University of Vienna before coming to the United States, where he earned his undergraduate degree from Hobart College, his LL.B. from the College of Law, and his masters of law from Columbia University. He began his legal career as a New York State deputy assistant attorney general. He then became an assistant attorney general before joining the College of Law as an assistant professor in 1958.

Professor Herzog was a mentor and inspiration to many law students with whom he stayed in touch long after their graduation. He was an avid supporter of the College of Law and our mission, and one permanent reminder of his generosity is the Law Library’s Peter Herzog L’55 and Brigitte Herzog L’75 Special Collections Room and the Reference Materials collection.

As the College of Law community mourns Professor Herzog, please share your memories and thoughts about him as a friend, colleague, scholar, and mentor by sending them to SU-Law@law.syr.edu.

“A Gentle Soul With a Brilliant Mind:” Remembering Professor Herzog

I have very fond memories of Peter as a teacher, scholar, and friend. He exuded warmth and kindness. Peter had a brilliant mind. He was able to distill complex ideas and make them easily understood. He was a very gracious man and a delight to be around.

—Professor Christian Day

Peter was a gentle soul with a brilliant mind.

—Professor Arlene Kanter

Like others, Peter was my mentor to whom I will be eternally grateful. A man of giant intellect possessed of unsurpassed concern for his students and a charming sense of humor, he conspicuously displayed a sincere humility often lacking in men of such tremendous accomplishment. He will be long remembered and sorely missed.

—Professor Gary Kelder

I grieve Peter’s passing. He had the finest mind of anyone I know. But even better than his mind was his gentle, kind, and loving personality. As a friend and colleague, I miss him.

—Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin

Peter is probably number one on my all-time list of smartest

people. He was Lexis before there was Lexis. You could ask him about a legal point, and he would say in his humble manner, “I believe there was a case on that in New South Wales in 1937. I believe the citation is …” And he would be correct. Peter taught me a lot as my teacher and long-time colleague. My condolences to Brigitte and family.

—Professor Emeritus Thomas Maroney L’63

I had the pleasure and privilege to learn European Union law from Professor Peter Herzog, and I am proud to have followed his footsteps by teaching EU and International Law today. He will be missed, and he contributed tremendously to our community and many students’ careers and futures.

—Professor Cora True-Frost L’01

I can only echo what others have said: Peter was learned, kind, and gentle, a model of what a law school teacher ought to be. We have lost a great and dear colleague. May he rest in peace

—Professor Emeritus William Wiecek

I first met Professor Herzog in the Fall of 1952 at the law school then situated in an edifice directly southwesterly from the Onondaga County Court House. Our entering class included a cohort of Hobart College alumni (including Bill Burrows, Walt Ferris, and Peter and Ty Parr). What little I knew about Peter as an emigre to the US must have originated from them.

Fast forward to the Spring semester of 1955. We were the only two students in a Labor Law Seminar led by Dean Ralph Kharas. We sat side-by-side in front of his desk. Unlikea more rewarding class with Professor Robert Koretz, I can only say that both were most attentive to one another; I must have been a patient listener. As Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, he certainly passed judgment upon the trio of recent decisions I authored. We had a classmate named Lauren Colby (Aka “Citations Colby” or just “Cites” for short). The meter maids policing prized parking spaces on the Montgomery Street side of the law school did a land-office business issuing overtime parking citations. During our first year, “Cites” owned an old fin-tailed goliath of a car.

The next year, he was able to park his newer Crosley between otherwise “legally” positioned parking spaces. Between classes, all of us would act as cheering witnesses to the tussles between the ticket issuers and law students. Peter’s sotto voice comment to me about “Cites” ingenuity was, “Detroit should know better!”

—Lawrence M. Ginsburg L’55

My condolences to the Herzog family for the loss of Peter. He was a wonderful teacher who opened up my eyes to areas of the law I thought I’d never enjoy. Conflicts immediately come to mind. And, for those of us fortunate alums who had Peter as our teacher, who could ever forget that memorable voice? Thank you, Peter for influencing my life. Thank you for what you did for the College of Law.

—Shelly Kurtz L’67

I graduated from the College of Law in 1969. Professor Herzog taught us Conflicts of Law. To say that he was brilliant is an understatement. Even though my classmates and I were mostly young and wet behind the ears, Professor Herzog’s cultured character and mind were very evident, even to us. May God rest his soul.

—Kevin O’Shea L’69

I had Professor Herzog for Torts and Conflicts and enjoyed both courses. He was an excellent professor and a nice person. My condolences to his wife and family.

—David B. Weisfuse L’73

I had Professor Herzog for first-year torts in 1979. Had a great experience in his class learning about torts and the famous railroad case.

—Jay A. Press L’81

A real loss. He had a wicked and dry sense of humor. A great teacher.

—Bob Genis L’83

Condolences to his family, I took his class back in 1982.

—Clifford Feldman L’85

Professor Herzog was a mentor for all of the students in the International Law Concentration and International Legal Studies Certificate Program. His kindness, support, and availability to assist students were unsurpassed. His keen knowledge of Comparative Law and International Organizations made class more of enlightenment than scholarly endeavor.

—Andrew G. Weiss L’87

My condolences to the family. I remember Professor Herzog as my Comparative Law Professor in 1987-1988. It was a very good class. He was an expert on the European Union, and I learned a lot about the law of various states. I also learned through the legal publishing academic world and law writing. The law school community suffered a big loss.

—Ronald Nair L’88

It was an honor to have been taught by Peter. Thank you for

your dedication to the law and teaching.

—Elizabeth Morrow L’92

Professor Herzog was sterling intellect, an exceptional talent, and a fine human being—gracious, generous, and congenial. He was more than my teacher. He was my shining north star. I missed him when I graduated and left Syracuse in 1993, and I miss him even more now. Our lives have been made better for having known him. He now belongs to the ages.

—Gerald T. Edwards L’93

Heard the sad news about the passing of Professor Herzog. He was my favorite professor at the College of Law and the central character in my favorite law school story.

It was in Professor Herzog’s Conflicts of Law class, a field in which he was one of America’s leading scholars. Born in Austria, he never lost his accent, and so he had a very distinctive way of speaking, like a German scholar out of central casting. The class before our conflicts class was a legal history class taught by Dean Michael Hoeflich.

As Professor Herzog is discussing a point of comparison between EU and US law, one of the secretaries from the Dean’s office appears in the back of the lecture hall, trying to get Professor Herzog’s attention.

Professor: “Can I help you?”

Secretary: “Dean Hoeflich left his coat here and he has to be in Rochester in two hours for an alumni lunch."

Professor Herzog sees the coat, picks it up and walks it over to the secretary.

Professor: (in his Austrian accent) “Vell, ve vouldn’t vant the Dean to be coatless ven he goes and begs the alumni for money.”

The secretary gasps while we all start laughing.

Professor: “Vell, that is vaht a Dean does, he goes and begs the alumni for money”.

Rest in peace professor, you touched a lot of our lives.

—Anthony Calabrese L’93

I was sad to hear of the death of Professor Herzog. Back in the fall of 1990, I sat in the front row of Professor Herzog’s Torts class as a 1L. About midway through the semester, after reviewing a series of cases about slips and falls on railroad platforms (you know the cases!!) Professor Herzog was met with two very different banana peels on his podium! One was old and brown, and the other quite fresh. It was in his moment of recognition about our engagement with what we were reading about, and his obvious pleasure at the gesture, that the wall of separation between professor and 1L students in their first semester began to crumble.

His obvious delight at this attempt at humor helped us see Professor Herzog in a new and very human dimension. This was so wonderfully helpful, and I will always remember it, as well as his warmth and humanity. We were probably in no position to see that earlier in the semester. It informed my law practice and my teaching!

In gratitude for all my professors who informed my practice.

—Bruce Lee-Clark L’93

Professor Herzog was a true intellectual. I still have fond memories of taking his Comparative Law course in my final year at Syracuse. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wit. Rest in peace.

—Helen Moore L’94

I lived with Peter during my three years at Syracuse. He was a wonderful person and also my Torts professor.

Accordingly, my first year Torts class includes some the fondest memories of my time at Syracuse with many funny stories from Peter at the top of the list. I specifically remember the story of recalcitrant donkey that illustrated the doctrine of last clear chance, while the donkey didn’t survive the story, Peter had the entire class in hysterics while learning a lesson I still remember to this day.

I was lucky to have had him as a professor and also to have known him as a friend. My deepest sympathies to his


—David Moffitt L’96

Professor Herzog was my professor for The Law of the European Community at the College of Law. I could tell as soon as he entered the classroom on the first day that I would like him.

As the semester went on, I was impressed with the breadth and depth of his knowledge and the kindness of his nature. Through his stories and his teaching, he inspired me to want to study at The Hague Academy of International Law, where he once taught. Eventually, I was able to attend the academy and live in The Hague with my wife and our newly born son. 

Professor Herzog was definitely one of those few people that I hoped I could stay close to following studies. I wrote to him asking for mentorship, and he and Brigitte were so kind to me and my family. We went from teacher/student to Professor Herzog being a mentor and friend to me. During visits, we would discuss law, travel, children, their children and grandchildren, and The Hague Academy that was so special to all of us.

Professor Herzog was one of the few favorite professors of mine in my entire life. I am grateful for the time I was with him in class and outside of the classroom, and, for the wisdom that he shared. He was truly a special man and scholar. 

—Dominic DePersis L’98

Our Back Pages

Do You Remember? Help Us Caption Our Mystery Photos!

Mystery Photo!
Mystery Photo!

The College of Law’s photo archive is a fascinating visual history of your alma mater, full of nostalgia, anecdotes—and a few mysteries. That is, some of our prints and slides lack information or captions.

That’s where you come in. In this feature, we challenge you to help us recall the people and scenes in our mystery photos.

This time around, the scene is a snowy one that will be sure to bring back happy memories of Syracuse winters! There are no notes on this print at all, but as it is in our archives, we assume the three people battling the elements are law students.

If you know anyone in this photo and/or where it was taken (Marshall Street?), please email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@law.syr.edu, and we’ll publish what we discover in a future issue.

Here’s to “The Roommates”

Mystery Photo: Yearbook 2020
Mystery Photo: Yearbook 2020

Thank you to Andrew M. Wong L’94 for helping to identifying some of the people in the 2020 Yearbook mystery photo: "I know a couple of the people in the mystery photo. Seated in the front row on the left is Dena Narbaitz, next to her is Jan Folena, and I would guess next to them is Amy Collini, all Class of 1994. They were good friends and used to sit together in classes. In the back row seated is, I think, Anthony Calabreze L’93."

Alumna Jan Folena L’94, correctly spotted by Andrew Wong, helps to complete the picture. The photo, she says, was taken in Professor Marty Fried’s fall 1993 tax law class:

"The three women in the front row (L to R) are Dena Narbaitz, me, and Amy Collini. Many referred to us as ’The Roommates’ as we shared an apartment and were rarely seen apart,” explains Folena. “Dena, originally from California, now practices law and resides in San Francisco, CA. Amy, originally from New Jersey, now practices law and resides outside of Cleveland, OH. Also from New Jersey, I now practice law in Washington, DC, and live in Vienna, VA. 'The Roommates’ remain friends and are in regular contact.” 

Folena adds, “I’m not positive, but I believe the gentleman in the Syracuse Law sweatshirt is Ken Koh. Behind Amy Collini, reaching down for a backpack, might be Tony Collazzo. The Class of 1994 was a raucous bunch, highly opinionated, and always striving to improve the standing of the law school. In those years the school soared above the rest in trial and appellate practice under the guidance of Professor Travis H.D. Lewin. Thanks for pulling this photo out of the files. It brought back good memories and fun times at the ’Cuse."

Mary Roberts Bailey L’82 has a different take on the identity of the student standing over the open textbook: “He looks like Takahiro Miyata, an international student from Japan. If it is him, that was how he would look when he was deep in thought. I was Assistant Dean for Students during Takahiro’s time, and I knew him and the other international students fairly well. But I could be wrong. Takahiro would have graduated in either 1995 or 1996."

Thank you for helping us to enrich our College of Law archives!

Giving Through the Years

Our alumni's generosity underwrites the College of Law’s success.

For many alumni, a tradition of lifelong giving is often tied to personal stories and fond memories of their alma mater. And what better time to reflect on their College of Law days than on the occasion of a class anniversary! Below, alums celebrating years ending in zero share their philanthropic journeys. Tell us yours by emailing us at su-law@law.syr.edu.

Stephen Davis L'60

Stephen Davis L’60

After many years of experience in Real Property Litigation, Steve Davis concentrates his practice in Hudson Valley tax certioraris. He leads the Tax Certiorari and Condemnation group at McCarthy Fingar LLP, a leading White Plains law firm which inter alia represents owners of income producing and development property at redressing their valuation grievances and other abuses by municipalities. 

Davis still plays baseball, primarily in the Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL), offering local league play over the summer and weekend tournaments across the country over the fall and winter, including in Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas. He has supported the College’s Annual Fund for more than 50 years!

What brought you to the College of Law?

After graduating from Queens College and living at home for those four years, I wanted to try living away for a few years. Since Harvard didn’t seem the right spot for me, I chose Syracuse. After my time at Syracuse, I concluded that Harvard would not have been any more difficult. I noticed that ease or difficulty at school seems directly related to inclination. I find competition and its rewards fascinating.

Any law school memories that stand out?

I enjoyed everything about the law school. In particular, I remember a Real Property test Dean Ralph Kharas sprung on us in the middle of the semester. It was the only Law School test on which I attained the highest grade in the class. By happenstance, I read about the topic the night before: equitable adjustment. Most of the class had no idea of the subject, and consequently failed!

My most cherished memory though, is meeting Sandra Rosenberg, the girl who ultimately became my wife for 50 years until she passed.

When and why did you start to give back to the College of Law?

For the same reason I love America—the pride of a first generation American in a leading American institution. The College of Law makes us better. I began giving back financially about four years out of school.

In what ways have you given back?

I make an annual gift to the Annual Fund. I also sponsored a seat in the Melanie Gray L’81 Ceremonial Courtroom in memory of Sandra. I also give back to Queens College in the same manner.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

At the time I attended law school, compared to today, it was a bargain. Consequently, I felt the need to give back to ensure it remained attainable.  Although the cost of graduate school today spirals higher, the need remains for keeping legal education costs within reach. The College of Law prepared me well for the rest of my life in general, and the ability to give back, in particular.

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?

For law school graduates, I would say that law school is the vehicle that provides you with the tools you need to have a successful future.  The law school requires funds to survive and to attract the best professors and student.

Joe L'70 and Lee Vumbacco

Giuseppe Vincenzo "Joe" Vumbacco L'70

Joe Vumbacco stood down as CEO, President, Vice Chairman of Health Management Associates Inc.—a $4 billion revenue organization managing more than 60 hospitals in the southeast and southwest—in 2008. "But I don't consider myself retired." 

Since 2008, Vumbacco has learned to speak and write Italian; gained a Certificate of Finance from Harvard Business School to manage his own investment portfolio; and has turned his hand to writing novels. The Ghost of Bowdoin College was published to acclaim in 2018, and Vumbacco has completed the manuscript for his follow story of "money, murder, and the mob:” The Return of the Ghost of Bowdoin College.

What was your favorite class and professor at the College of Law?

More than one person gave me a break over the years, but I'll never forget what Dean Robert Miller did for me. I was married in my senior year at Bowdoin and my wife, Lee (pictured), and I had our first child in 1966. I wanted to go to law school, but coming from a factory background in Meriden, CT, I had little money, just enough to get through the first year and pay rent on married student housing.

But I felt responsible for my family, so I walked into Dean Miller's office in the summer of 1968 and asked him to save my place, so I could work to raise more funds. I thought he wouldn't know who I was, but he said he had reviewed class grades, saw I was near the top, and offered me a full scholarship. Not only that, he called his friend Gary Axenfeld in Syracuse and I went to work as a clerk at Axenfeld, Webb, Marshall, Bersani and Scolaro. From there I became Research Editor at Syracuse Law Review and was elected to Honor Court and the Order of the Coif.

My first year at Syracuse was also Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin's first year. He went on to have a brilliant career, and he is an outstanding teacher.

How did your SU College of Law degree help you reach your career goals?

I wanted to be one of those people who broke the ceiling of non-Ivy League law graduates getting a job with a Wall Street corporation. After graduating, I practiced law in Manhattan with Mudge Rose Guthrie & Alexander before joining the "tough and tumble" world of beer and bread as a senior vice president of the F. & M. Schaefer Corporation. I then became the Executive Vice President of the Turner Corporation—the largest general contractor in the US—before leading Health Management Associates.

When and why did you start to give back to the College of Law?

When Lee and I got to the point when we weren't poor, we started to give to certain causes, and top of the list was Syracuse. Later, I was asked to serve on the Board of Advisors during the period when Dean Hannah Arterian was raising money for Dineen Hall.

In what other ways do you practice philanthropy?

After leaving Health Management Associates, I became a Master Mason, and I helped to revive a scholarship program here in Maine. Plus, my wife and I helped to found a non-denominational "church without walls" in southwest Florida, the Jubilee Fellowship of Naples. I also try to do a lot of counseling with high school and college students. I have a cardinal rule for them: don't strive to be the smartest person, be the most organized. Work first, then play.

What advice can you share with recent graduates just starting their law careers?

I learned the following from Gary Axenfeld. If you want to be a successful lawyer or businessperson, there are four things you have to do—answer mail, return calls, have big ears, and a small mouth. I've practiced that for 50 years. I worked very hard on listening, for instance, not just listening to important things, but everything. An example of having a "small mouth" is from my Turner days when we managed top secret government contracts. I had a reputation for never breaching confidence, which goes back to growing up in a rough place.

The Class of 1980 Challenge

Jeri D'Lugin L'80

Jeri D'Lugin L'80

Jeri D’Lugin operates her own retirement planning practice in Greensboro, NC as the owner of a wealth management company. After beginning her law career at a large law firm in Miami, FL, she returned to North Carolina where she headed the tax division of a bank’s trust department and eventually became a regional trust officer …

D’Lugin counts herself as one of the many College of Law graduates whose law degree helped propel her career in different and unexpected ways. “A law degree is great for anything you do in life, as it provides you with a broad background of knowledge and skills. You understand liabilities, where you can make mistakes, and it provides you with the intellect to avoid making those mistakes. Being an attorney has helped me with every career move I’ve made.”

It was her first position out of law school, at a large Miami law firm, that set in motion D’Lugin’s continued engagement with the College of Law in many ways. “I felt fortunate to have the position at the firm, and the blend of my College of Law, Syracuse Law Review, and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Policy experiences played a big role in getting that position. As soon as I could, I started giving back to the law school,” explains D’Lugin.

D’Lugin is a consistent supporter of the Law Annual Fund, a fund that gives the law school maximum flexibility in addressing its most pressing needs. She’s also made a gift to dedicate a room in honor of her parents in MacNaughton and White halls.

Giving back to the law school encompasses more than monetary donations for D’Lugin. She welcomes any prospective or current College of Law student in her offices for discussions about law school and legal careers. She also served on the College’s Board of Visitors (now the Board of Advisors) during Dean Daan Braveman’s tenure.

To D’Lugin, giving back is an obligation to make the world a better place, if you are fortunate enough to be in a place to give back to your community and beyond. “I’ve heard a local gentleman put it best: ‘You need to put more wood on the pile than you have taken off the pile.’”

D’Lugin believes that recent graduates should begin to give back to the College as soon as they are able. “Recent graduates have benefitted from the alumni who preceded them and have given to the College, so they could get a good education at Syracuse with the best in technology and classrooms. Continuing that cycle is critical for those who will come after you,” she says. “And all alumni have a stake in the College of Law remaining a top law school because the reputation of the school reflects on all of us.”

When thinking about the challenges recent graduates face as they begin to make career decisions, D’Lugin looks to her career and the careers of her classmates for direction. “If you start in an area of law and feel that you haven’t found your niche, don’t give up,” she observes. “There are so many opportunities in front of you because of your law degree. A law degree is a door opener, whether it’s to leadership positions in non-profits, or financial services, or whatever.”

Her classmates and their diverse career paths continue to be an inspiration and point of pride for D’Lugin. “We have alumni who have gone on to be successful in real estate and financial services, a leading adoption law expert [that is, her dear friend Golda Zimmerman L’80] to a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. There is no one-size-fits-all career path.”

To celebrate everything the Class of 1980 has accomplished and to help the next generation of Orange law students make their mark, D’Lugin and Zimmerman announced a Class of 1980 Challenge shortly after their 40th anniversary reunion over Law Alumni Weekend.

Adds D’Lugin, “After issuing the challenge in October, we quickly heard from classmates that our message encouraged them to give back to the College. I really believe we’ll have a great showing by the end of the campaign, and I thank all who give to the College.”

The Class of 1980 Challenge

Golda Zimmerman L’80

Golda Zimmerman L’80

Golda Zimmerman is an internationally recognized expert and frequent speaker and lecturer on adoption law and family formation. She is currently retired from the active practice of law, but she continues to serve as an expert witness and consults on difficult cases nationally and internationally …

My story starts at the end of the 19th century. It begins with two left shoes. A young man is so poor that he could only afford two left shoes. He journeyed alone in steerage on a boat from his homeland. He came in search of freedoms, to worship as he desired, to have economic opportunity, and to be safe from the ongoing threat of attack and death.

He was a butcher and worked in New York City. He visited Syracuse to see some friends from his village. While in Syracuse he saw a beautiful young woman hanging clothes in her yard. So taken, he immediately asked her father if he could marry her. Her father said “no” as she was only 14 years old. He told the young butcher to come back in two years when she was 16. He did come back, and he married her. That young butcher and the beautiful young woman were my grandparents.

Perhaps this family story has been embellished over the years, but every new year for as long as I can remember we all were bought a new pair of shoes: one right and one left. The purpose of those shoes was to remind us of the wonderful opportunity and life we were blessed to have; to not forget where we came from; and most importantly to remember others and help them if we were able.

My family’s values and lifestyle have always encouraged philanthropy at whatever level is appropriate. My husband and I started to give back to the College of Law once we were somewhat established and knew that our family was secure. We began our efforts in the 1980s. (As an aside, one of my grandparent’s children and three of their grandchildren are graduates of the College of Law.)

I have always felt that my professional success started with the foundation I received at the College. Law school taught me how to ask the right questions and gave me the skills to seek out the answers. I have used these skills in my international and domestic practice.

My entire professional life has centered on children, especially international and domestic family formation. It was natural for us to support law students who were interested in pursuing the area of law most important to me.

Many of my closest friends are classmates from law school. Jeri D’Lugin L’80 and I have kept a close and important friendship these past 40 years. As we were not able to convene the celebration of our 40th reunion in person, we felt that a giving challenge might encourage our fellow classmates to remember that during these difficult times, the law school is especially in need of our financial support.

My advice to recent graduates starting their law career is simple. When the door of opportunity presents itself, have the courage to walk through it. The College of Law has well prepared you to be successful. Use what you have learned, remember your moral compass and life experiences, and be secure that you have the skills to succeed.

James Domagalski L'90

James Domagalski L'90

A partner in the Buffalo, NY, office of Barclay Damon LLP, Jim Domagalski is Chair of the firm's Construction and Surety Practice Area. He also practices in the Commercial Litigation and Labor and Employment practices, and he serves as the firm's co-marketing partner.

What brought you to the College of Law as a student?

Two things. First, after spending four years at the University of Notre Dame in northern Indiana, I wanted to return to New York State. Second, the College's Advocacy Program attracted me, and eventually I became a member of the College's National Trial team.

What law school memories stand out for you?

The Class of 1990 was a collection of terrific people. We socialized together and created great memories outside of the classroom. I made lifelong friendships at the College of Law.

When and why did you start to give back to the College of Law?

I started giving back soon after graduation because of my very positive experiences and my desire to help make the College stronger.

In what ways have you given back?

Over the years I have supported the Law Annual Fund, and more recently, I have supported the College through the University's Hill Society. I also serve as Chair of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Giving Committee.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

I strongly believe in the responsibility of citizens to give back to the cultural, civic, religious, and educational institutions that comprise the core of American life.

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back to their alma mater?

Some people might think that donating is only for more senior alumni, but a recent graduate should know that a donation of any size can make a difference as we pursue our fundraising goals.

Stephen L'00 and Margaret L'01 Jones

Stephen J. Jones L’00

Stephen J. Jones is a Partner at Peabody Nixon’s Rochester, NY, office. Jones leads the firm’s Labor and Employment Class Action Team and is regularly called upon to defend “bet the company,” high-stakes litigation. His experience includes defense of approximately 100 class actions and collective actions under the FLSA, ERISA, FCRA, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

What brought you to the College of Law?

I was drawn to the College for several reasons, including its strong reputation in oral advocacy, beautiful campus, an academic scholarship, and a big-time Division 1 college sports atmosphere.

What law school memories stand out for you?

My fondest memories are of the highly competitive moot court competitions (and even more competitive flag football league!); going to Cosmo’s Pizza with my good friend Roy Gutterman L’00; Professor William Wiecek’s intense lectures; nights out in Armory Square; and some great games in the Dome.  

When and why did you start to give back to the College of Law?

I believe it’s critical for the future of the College that alums stay connected and invested. I also met my wife, Margaret (Lyons) Jones L’01 (pictured), at the College 21 years ago during a moot court competition, and we now have three children together (ages 14, 12, and 10). So the College has deep personal significance for me as well.

In what ways have you given back?

My wife and I donate to the College annually, attend all of the Rochester alumni events, and return to the campus as much as possible for College of Law events and big games at the Dome.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

At the end of the day, all that matters in life is making the world a little better place than how we found it.

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?

While it’s often difficult to give back soon after graduation, particularly when facing steep student debt, every little bit helps. Donations directly fund scholarships, facility improvements, and innovative programs. All of these factor strongly into the College’s reputation and standing in the legal community which, in turn, will be as asset on their career paths.  

Ted L'10 and Jennifer L'11 Townsend

Edward (Ted) Townsend L'10

As a Partner in the Health Care and Human Services practice group at Rochester, NY-based Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, Ted Townsend advises hospitals, physician practices, and other health care providers, facilities, and organizations with a variety of operational, compliance, and governance matters.

What brought you to the College of Law as a student?

I was living in Boston at the time and made the decision to return to school after working for five years. My search focused on schools that offered broad opportunities and strong programs across the board. In addition, I did not want to be pigeon-holed into a particular geographic market, or area of law, after graduation. 

After visiting Syracuse, there was really no other logical choice. I felt immediately comfortable. The students and staff were genuine. The programming was strong and diverse. Also, the collaborative nature of the student body was readily apparent, which was a distinction from other schools. In addition, although I did not end up pursuing it, the joint degree options with the Maxwell School were very appealing.

What law school memories stand out for you?

Without question, the day in February 2009 when I met my wife, Jennifer (Haralambides) Townsend L'11 (pictured, with children Henry (6) and Georgia (5)). We use our law degrees very differently today, which is a testament to the range of legal education the College of Law offers.

When it comes down to it, what I miss about law school is my classmates and the relationships we developed. I found a community that was invested in working hard and supporting each other, but also not taking itself too seriously. Coming back after five years, I was not anticipating making lifelong friends at Syracuse, but that’s exactly what happened.

I was also Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review—as was Jenn, which she insists I add!—and, while I look back on that as quite a challenge, I also have great memories of working with our Executive Board and the other members of Law Review.

When and why did you start to give back to the College of Law?

If it wasn't the first year after graduating, it was certainly the second. We gave only what we were able to, but believe that participation, even at a low level, is important. Syracuse was an incredible experience for both of us.  Through our continued support, we have been able to stay connected and involved to ensure that others can have a similar experience.

In what ways have you given back?

We have given back financially, served on panels, and have helped out at Orientation. We both remember what it was like to be there, we remember the support we had, and we try and contribute wherever possible.

Another way I help is through the hiring process, by doing on campus interviews on behalf of my firm and connecting with students informally to talk through their career options. Even if they don't choose Harter Secrest, I try to make myself available as a resource for students who have questions about the next phase of their career.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

I think Jenn and I consider ourselves lucky to have had our opportunities, so our goal is to provide the same for others in any way we can.

Do you have a message for recent graduates about giving back to their alma mater?

It's important to remember that even if you are not top of the ladder in terms of dollars, you can add value nonetheless. Any financial contribution goes a long way, and to the extent you can, that’s a great avenue for support. However, it’s not the only avenue. For instance, you can reach out to prospective students or offer advice to current students. If you stay involved, you can find great opportunities to contribute.

Betania Allo LL.M.’20

Betania Allo LL.M.’20

After graduation, Argentinian Betania Allo was selected for a Syracuse University Robert B. Menschel Public Service Fellows Fund award. She is using her Menschel Fellowship to complete service at the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, specifically in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) coordination, conducting technical assessments of member states and helping to mitigate terrorist use of technology.

What brought you to the College of Law?

I was looking for a master of laws program that would allow me to specialize in cybersecurity and tech law. Unfortunately, few law schools acknowledge the importance of educating tech-savvy lawyers. Syracuse was my top choice because I loved the course offerings, the outstanding faculty, and the opportunity to work at the Institute for Security Policy and Law to dig deeper into the convergence of law and emerging technologies.

What law school memories stand out for you?

Representing my L.LM. cohort before the Student Bar Association and performing senator duties gave wonderful memories. In addition, being the commencement speaker and sharing the Class of 2020 tribute video with professors and remarkable alumni—such as President-Elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68—were true honors. Also, the Boost the 'Cuse related events were so much fun! As Class Act! ambassador, I got the opportunity to get to know J.D. students and alumni better as we worked together toward a fulfilling cause.

When and why did you start to give back to the College of Law?

Ever since my first day at the College of Law, I started getting involved in projects, affinity groups, and student government to give back to the school and enhance my fellow students' experience.

In what ways have you given back?

Giving back does not only mean donating money. Giving back also means putting time and talent to the service of the school. During the Boost the 'Cuse events, I led the Class Act! fundraising efforts from LL.M. students, achieving an all-time record with 96.5% of my cohort donating to the College. In addition, I proudly represent the College of Law everywhere I go because I am grateful for the education I received. Here, I completed the competitive profile that today is awarding me so much professional success.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

Philanthropy is important because it opens opportunities. As an international student from Argentina, I wouldn't have been able to attend Syracuse and pursue my LL.M. if it wasn't for the generous donations to the College of Law Scholarship fund. Funds go to help students like myself pursue legal degrees to contribute toward a more equitable and just society.

Do you have a message to recent graduates about giving back?

Yes. Stay in touch and contribute with your time, leadership, talent, or donations to create opportunities for current and future students.

Message from SULAA Board President Mark O’Brien L’14

Mark O'Brien L'14
Mark O'Brien L'14

Dear Alumni and Friends of the College of Law:

“What a time to be alive!” No, I’m not talking about Drake and Future’s mixtape, nor am I using the phrase sarcastically. I lately find myself repeating these words often, and when thinking about the year 2020 (so far), it’s hard not to do so.

From social and racial justice protests to a global pandemic to a presidential election and everything else in between, we—collectively and individually—have confronted difficult questions, reexamined our values, and changed how we go about our daily lives. Amid the changes and the turbulence are unique opportunities for growth and engagement, and the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association is no exception. Here are but a few examples of how SULAA is responding to this year’s events:

  • In April, SULAA partnered with the College of Law to host virtual town halls for students about “How to Plan for the Future During a Time of Uncertainty.” We also gathered alumni from around the country and a variety of practice areas to record a special virtual roundtable discussion on “perspectives from the field” about adjusting our professional lives and mandates to the coronavirus crisis. 

My question to the alumni family is: What advice or perspective can you share with students and fellow alumni about navigating the law in the age of COVID?

  • In May, SULAA welcomed the Class of 2020 to our alumni family. The graduates faced remarkable circumstances—remote learning, delayed and virtually administered bar exams, and career launches in an uncertain job market. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to their impacts on the legal profession, their communities, and our law school. We also recognize the challenge of launching a career is far from over. 

How can you help young alumni land that first job?

  • In June, outraged by the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other victims of police brutality and racially motivated violence, SULAA issued a statement in support of Black Lives Matter and called on all alumni to fulfill the promise of Juneteenth by taking meaningful action in bringing an end to systemic racism and injustice. 

How can you use your influence and rise up to help bring justice and healing to people of color?

  • Also in June, SULAA welcomed six accomplished alumni to the SULAA Board of Directors: John F. Boyd II L’16, Lt. Thomas M. Caruso L’14, Joshua M. Goldstein L’16, Pamela C. Lundborg L’13, Brian J. Pulito L’06, and Chiora Taktakishvili LL.M.’19. Additionally, throughout the year, we have welcomed alumni participation across our many committees and initiatives. 

There are many ways to get involved in our alumni network—how will you participate?

  • In September, SULAA, the SULAA Inclusion Network, and the College of Law honored eight distinguished alumni and faculty during the annual Law Honors and Alumni of Color awards ceremonies during the first-ever virtual Law Alumni Weekend. The reunion saw record-breaking turnout and featured kickoff celebrations of two new alumni affinity groups: the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society and Advocacy Program Alumni Group and the Disability Law and Policy Program Alumni Group

How will you reconnect and reengage with the College of Law and your former classmates?

  • In October, SULAA partnered with the Board of Advisors to launch a first-of-its-kind initiative—a massive dollar-for-dollar match on the first $10,000 donated by law alumni during Boost the ’Cuse. In addition to the synergy of alumni commitment, beneficiaries of the campaign included a new endowed scholarship fund spearheaded by Felicia Collins Ocumarez L’98 in support of black law students in honor of William Herbert Johnson L’1903.

Which College of Law programs or initiatives will you support through your financial generosity?

  • In November, SULAA will launch a new outreach initiative to engage and empower our newest alumni through communication, knowledge, and resources. 

How would you like to see SULAA advance its mission of linking the past, present, and future of our College of Law family?

I don’t ask these questions rhetorically. On the contrary, I welcome your input and participation. SULAA is your law alumni association (remember, all alumni become members upon graduation).  We would love to hear from you; please contact Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@law.syr.edu. Help us make the most of the opportunities that 2020’s challenges have presented us.


Mark O'Brien L'14

Mark O’Brien L’14
President, Syracuse University Law Alumni Association

Message from College of Law Board of Advisors Chair

Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83
Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Dear Alumni and Friends of the College of Law:

This year, 2020, marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the College of Law. Today, as in a number of those prior years, the College faces global, societal, demographic, and technological challenges, which the coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharper focus and accelerated.

Yet, in the face of these challenges, the College has not only persevered but has grown in stature and relevance because of its pioneering efforts and a culture of innovation. The 2020 Yearbook highlights a number of innovations that have occurred over the rich history of the College, as well as the remarkable contributions alumni, faculty, and students have made to the legal profession and beyond. I would like to underscore two. 

Syracuse University, through the work of disability rights pioneer Dr. Burton Blatt, has been a leader in humanizing services for people with disabilities. Today, the College of Law, thanks to work of the Burton Blatt Institute and Director and University Professor Peter Blanck—as well as the scholarship of professors Arlene Kanter and Robin Paul Malloy, among others—continues to pioneer research and scholarship regarding not only how persons with disabilities are viewed and treated by society but also how laws, such as the American with Disabilities Act, can function as a force for change. 

Research by BBI has been instrumental in helping to shape policy for the promotion of inclusion opportunities. Similarly, Professor Kanter’s Disability Law and Policy Program and the Disability Law Clinic provide hands-on experience for students, here and abroad, while Professor Malloy has written extensively on the intersection of disability law and land use, as a way to ensure greater accessibility within our communities. The importance of these efforts to provide a more inclusive and accessible society cannot be understated.

Among the communities that are facing dramatic challenges due to the pandemic are institutes of higher education in general, and legal education in particular. In fact, their challenges began well before the pandemic. Traditional job opportunities for law school graduates have been reduced as firms downsize, leading in part to a reduction in the number of applicants to law schools. The landscape is ever changing.

“JDi has enabled our faculty to develop a deeper understanding of the multiple dimensions for effective online learning, far in advance of other institutions.”

The shifting landscaping creates pressure on all law schools to find innovative ways to compete. Our JDinteractive program—developed before the pandemic—has placed us at the forefront of online legal education now that it is experiencing a paradigm shift. JDi has enabled our faculty to develop a deeper understanding of the multiple dimensions for effective online learning, far in advance of other institutions. That effort, along with the immediate success of the program, has made the College a much sought-after resource for other institutions across the country as they try to grapple with the pivot toward remote learning.

These and our other extraordinary achievements over the past 125 years could not have come about without the dedication and persistence of the College community of alumni, faculty, students, and friends over these years.

Your unwavering commitment to the College, especially in these challenging and difficult times, is a testament to the role the College has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill in preparing generations of thoughtful, articulate, passionate, and compassionate leaders both within and outside our profession.

On behalf of the Board of Advisors and the faculty and students at the College today—and all those who will follow—I want to thank you for your generosity and support.

With gratitude,

Robert M. Hallenbeck L’83

Law Alumni Weekend Promotes New Scholarship

Part of College of Law’s Focus on Diversity

Felicia Collins Ocumarez L’98, G’98
Felicia Collins
Ocumarez L’98, G’98

Felicia Collins Ocumarez L’98 G’98—who received the 2020 Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Legacy Award at the Alumni of Color Award Ceremony during Law Alumni Weekend (LAW)—has generously spearheaded an effort to establish a new scholarship to expand diversity at the College of Law.

This scholarship initiative honors William Herbert Johnson L'1903. Johnson was the first African American to graduate from the College of Law.  With a steady call for action during LAW, College of Law alumni and friends have reached their first fundraising target of $150,000.“I thank Felicia Collins Ocumarez for her extraordinary leadership and generosity in spearheading this scholarship at the College of Law. This is a transformative investment in diversity and equity whose benefits will ripple out into the legal profession and society at large,” says Dean Boise.

Syracuse University Trustee and College of Law Board of Advisors Member Vincent Cohen Jr. L’95 says, “I am proud of the role my father, Vincent Cohen L’60, played in the diversification of ‘Big Law’ back in the early 1970s and I continue to build on his belief that the legal profession needs to reflect the people it serves,” says Cohen Jr. “With this new scholarship, the College of Law is set to further expand the diversity in the profession by attracting the best and brightest aspiring Black attorneys. I am proud to be a part of this urgent equal access to justice movement.”

“Felicia Collins Ocumarez is the epitome of a trailblazer who advocates for the Black community and does so with tenacity and excellence. I am grateful for her support of the Black Law Student Association,” says 2L Mazaher Kaila, president of the Black Law Student Association.

To support this scholarship, contact Assistant Dean for Advancement and External Affairs Sophie Dagenais at 315.560.2530 or sdagenai@law.syr.edu.

William Herbert Johnson L’1903
William Herbert Johnson L’1903

“So Extraordinarily Rewarding”

Martin Feinman L’83 Deploys Fellowships to Help Recruit Social Justice Lawyers

Marty Feinman L'83

“The idea has always been to do what I can to steer students in this direction,” says Martin R. Feinman L’83, Director of Delinquency Training in the Juvenile Rights Practice at The Legal Aid Society of New York, the largest social justice law firm in the United States.

Over the years, Feinman has steered students toward a career in social justice law by funding stipends for students working in the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic, by encouraging The Legal Aid Society to host Syracuse interns and externs and to hire graduates, and by offering students advice and guidance, as he did at an Oct. 28, 2020, panel discussion on careers in social justice, hosted by the Office of Career Services.

Now Feinman is leveraging his generous financial contributions to promote careers in public interest with a focus on juvenile justice. Fellowships are awarded to students who secure externships or postgraduate positions providing criminal defense on behalf of indigent persons and/or legal advocacy on behalf of youth and young adults in the juvenile justice or welfare system.

Life-Saving, Difference-Making

With more than 30 years’ experience in the field—during which he has advocated for children and families, defended indigent adults, trained young attorneys, and advised policymakers—Feinman knows what he’s talking about when he says the need for social justice lawyers is enormous. “But needless to say this work isn’t for everyone and doesn’t always pay as well,” he adds.

“Students have loans to repay and might wonder whether a public interest career can meet their aspirations,” Feinman continues. “I say it can, and through this fellowship program, I want to motivate students to at least try this area of practice.”

Feinman admits that there can be barriers other than financial to a career in his field.

“I have had the thrill of making arguments that have changed people’s lives.
The potential for job satisfaction is tremendous.”

Martin R. Feinman L’83

“This work can be intimidating and emotionally overwhelming, especially when you are the difference between an adolescent or adult client’s freedom or incarceration, or when you are representing a young child who has been neglected or abused,” says Feinman. “Then, there are the overwhelmed court calendars and stressed-out judges pressuring you.”

“But on the flip side, it’s just so extraordinarily rewarding,” Feinman asserts. “You are engaged in work that can be life-saving and difference-making.”

Tremendous Need

When he trains young attorneys, Feinman emphasizes that The Legal Aid Society lawyers often support clients unconditionally in ways that nobody else has ever done, sometimes not even family members. “We are there to do everything we can to help the client,” Feinman explains, “and to be that kind of advocate is inspiring, motivating, and rewarding, but sometimes heartbreaking.”

Feinman admits he has been “crushed” sometimes when adults he has represented have been jailed or youths sent away from home, but that he’s also had “the thrill of making arguments that have changed people’s lives. The potential for job satisfaction is tremendous.”

The need for attorneys at The Legal Aid Society is tremendous too. Feinman explains that the Juvenile Rights Practice group represents children charged as delinquents in family court as well as children whose parents are being charged with abuse and neglect.

“We represent tens of thousands of kids a year, with a team of about 200 attorneys,” he says. “An attorney might be working with 150 clients at a time. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. On the Criminal Defense side, the numbers are even greater. Then there’s The Legal Aid Society’s civil practice, the mental health side, the criminal defense side ... the list goes on and on.”

Exploring Paths to Success

How can a student discover if a social justice career is a good fit? Feinman says that the law school years are the perfect time to try different areas of practice “because once employed the more you establish yourself as one type of attorney, the greater the chance that that is what you’ll continue to do.”

“But in law school,” he observes, “there’s a great opportunity to experiment, to see what you are passionate about, and to see if something can work for you in a way you hadn’t anticipated.”

The foundation for that advice is Feinman’s own career. At one point, being a lawyer was the last thing on his mind. He started his career as a social worker, taking an M.S.W. from Syracuse University before working as a therapist and then becoming Program Director of the Adolescent Unit at Hutchings Psychiatric Center in Syracuse.

Feinman recalls interviewing with the social work director at Hutchings, who said he might want to consider law school. “At the time, that was furthest from my mind,” he says.

But a couple of years later, Feinman was enrolled at the College of Law. His advisor in the early 1980s, Professor Richard Goldsmith, soon set him on another career trajectory. “He said, you might think about being a litigator, to which I said, ‘You’re out of your mind!’”

But again Feinman kept his mind open and got involved with the College’s legendary Advocacy Program, then coordinated by Professor Emeritus Travis H.D. Lewin. He fell in love with trial work and criminal law, and his successful three-decade career combining social work, juvenile advocacy, criminal defense, and litigation ensued.

But not before he explored another route. “After a one-year federal court clerkship, I tried the private sector for one and a half years,” Feinman recalls. “I represented banks in foreclosure proceedings and building designers whose designs were flawed. They were entitled to representation, of course, but at the end of the day, I didn’t care for that work.”

Ultimately, Feinman’s advice to students is to expose themselves to the many kinds of law practice during law school. “You never know what will grab you and shake you. And like me, you might find there are unanticipated events that alter the career path you are on.”

Feinman says he hopes his new fellowships will be an incentive for students to explore his practice area, one whose rewards—in terms of changing lives, advocating for the vulnerable, and providing hope and justice—are priceless.

The Schuppenhauers: Making Their Legacy Count

John L'76, Betsy, and Erika Schuppenhauer
John L'76, Betsy, and Erika Schuppenhauer

Given his deep ties to his community, John A. “Jack” Schuppenhauer’s L’76 advice to law students should come as no surprise: “I’d say to students that the law is an honorable profession. It provides an opportunity for an attorney to help others and serve their community."

Jack has served his community as principal of the Canandaigua, NY-based Schuppenhauer Law Firm for 43 years. He was born a few miles from the picturesque Finger Lakes town, located on the northern end of Canandaigua Lake (pictured), attending Canandaigua Academy before taking a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and an M.P.A. from Northeastern University.

Jack returned to Central New York to study law at Syracuse. He entered the legal profession in 1977 and started his eponymous law firm in 1981. Six years ago, looking to the future, Jack took on a partner—his daughter Erika, a 2009 Syracuse University graduate with a double bachelor’s degree in political science and policy studies and a J.D. from University at Buffalo School of Law.

Now, to honor their family’s ties to Central New York, Syracuse University, and the College of Law, Jack, Betsy (his wife of 34 years), and Erika have created the Schuppenhauer Family Scholarship for College of Law students, through a bequest in their wills. “It’s our way of giving back to the University and College and to acknowledge the future it provided to us,” says Jack. 

“It’s easy as can be”

As a general practice law firm, estate planning, trusts, and wills are among the services the Schuppenhauer Law Firm offer their clients. To set up their own family bequest, Erika and her parents sat down to look over their wills and decide what legacy this community-minded family wished to leave. "I wanted my will to coincide with my parents’,” says Erika. “Syracuse University was on the top of our list of organizations to bequeath to, and dad especially wanted to donate to the law school.”

The next step was for the family to contact the College of Law Advancement and External Affairs team. "They walked us through the process," Erika continues. “It’s as easy as can be, and now our wills contain specific bequests to the University and College."

“Take every opportunity to learn something new every day.”

Erika Schuppenhauer ’09

Located along Canandaigua’s historical, picturesque Main Street—surrounded by nineteenth century brick buildings with mansard roofs and decorative cornices—Jack says his law firm “has given me a great opportunity to get to know people in my community and become involved in local organizations.” Both Jack and Erika volunteer for local charitable organizations, and Jack has served as a part time Canandaigua City Court Judge since 1996.

“Having a small practice provides you with a real identity in the community, as opposed to a large firm to which you might commute from another community,” Jack says, adding that both he and his daughter live only about a mile from their office.

“Take that challenge”

A family law firm in a pretty Upstate lakeside town might conjure up images of times past, but Jack and Erika acknowledge that technology is evolving the way they practice. “People Google everything now,” observes Erika. “Clients are internet educated, and they shop around. They are more likely to want ’drive by’ legal advice these days.”

“The nature of the law consumer has changed, and people are more astute, and more demanding,” agrees Jack, adding that since his career started in the 1970s, government and statutory regulations also have dramatically changed the legal profession.

Although a relatively new law graduate, Erika says these technological changes appear to have accelerated since she passed the bar. Students, she says, need to pay attention to them.

“I graduated six years ago, yet even I did research in books. Everything is online now, and you have thousands of cases at your fingertips to comb through. Students definitely need to be computer savvy,” she explains, adding that she’s also had to learn how to be a businesswoman as well as how to provide general law services. “Students need to gain customer service skills and business acumen, especially for a small practice.”

Erika admits that when she started out at the Schuppenhauer Law Firm, she had much to learn about how to practice law and help run a business. Then again, her relationship with her mentor is a pretty solid one. “I’ve been so lucky to learn under my dad and to have someone who has taken me under his wing, while being very patient!”

Given her learning curve since graduating law school, Erika’s own advice to law students shouldn’t come as a surprise either. “Take every opportunity to learn something new every day,” she says. “General practice challenges you every single day. So take that challenge and go at it. There will be bumps in the road, but you should keep going!”

An Impact Felt Around the Globe

The College of Law Continues Its Partnership with the J&K Wonderland Foundation and the JAF Foundation

Globe Icon

In 2019, the College of Law announced two new scholarship programs to enable and encourage talented law students from around the globe to pursue the advanced study of disability rights, policy, and law at Syracuse University.

As a measure of their programs’ success in their first year of deployment, both the JAF Foundation and the J&K Wonderland Foundation renewed their scholarship programs for the 2021-2021 academic year.

Meet the 2020-2021 J&K Wonderland Foundation Scholars

Kwabena Mensah
Kwabena Mensah

Two students have been named this year’s J&K Wonderland Foundation Scholars: LL.M. student Kwabena Mensah, from Ghana, and J.D. student Matthew Yanez, from California.

Mensah’s multi-disciplinary background combines his legal education and passion for human rights with his experience as a broadcast journalist, to tell the stories of marginalized people and persons with disabilities in Ghana.

“By the kind courtesy of the J&K Wonderland Foundation scholarship, it is possible for me to pursue my master of laws degree. I am profoundly grateful for this timely and generous gesture amidst the global pandemic,” says Mensah.

“I have benefitted from the scholarship award immensely given my desire to pursue a specialization in disability law, yet it wasn’t until I began that I fully realized how urgent the need is for me to further my studies so as to combat rampant violations of human rights and discrimination against the disabled worldwide.”

In 2016, motivated by his observations of the injustices against persons with disabilities, Mensah founded Spread Love Home & Abroad, an NGO that provides mentoring and skills-training to visually impaired persons who desire to enter the workforce. A master’s degree in law will not only open new professional opportunities for Mensah to advocate for the marginalized and vulnerable as a barrister, it will also qualify him to enter academia and teach future generations of disability and civil rights lawyers in his home country.

Mensah reports that after beginning his LL.M. studies at the College of Law, the National Council on Persons with Disabilities in Ghana invited him for a consultation on amending the Disability Law of Ghana (Act 715). He also has been made one of six steering committee members to direct a broad consultation on the preparation of a global report to the United Nations about the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons withDisabilities (CRPD).

In other words, Mensah’s College of Law studies are already paying off, and they are yielding exactly the results the J&K Foundation hoped to achieve through its scholarship program—a deep impact in his field, in service of persons with disabilities.

Matthew Yanez
Matthew Yanez

Matthew Yanez, a Class of 2023 J.D. candidate, is a young disability advocate who is determined to create an inclusive and equitable world for all. Before law school, Yanez worked with several non-profit groups in the field, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the National Association of the Deaf, and Arc of the United States.

Yanez also completed a Disability Law Fellowship with the Coelho Center at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. The Coelho Center’s mission is to cultivate leadership and advance the lives of people with disabilities by, among other things, working to create a pipeline of lawyers and leaders among people with disabilities.

“My journey to law school has been a bumpy road, but my passion for disability rights has never been stronger,” says Yanez. “Thanks to the generosity of the J&K Wonderland Foundation, I’m able to focus on securing summer internships and preparing for my career in law instead of worrying about how I will pay for next semester’s tuition. For people who have never been able to see themselves as legal professionals, this scholarship gives us validation on our own self-worth.”

In addition to his J.D., Yanez will pursue a joint master of public affairs degree at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Policy. He hopes his degrees will give him the tools he needs to help dismantle and eradicate injustices that people of color, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations face.

Yanez continues, “I intend to use the benefits of this scholarship toward a career in public service focused on the issues I care the most about. By not having to worry about student loans, I can invest my full attention towards a future of advocacy for equitable and inclusive public policies. My goal is to one day work with the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice. With the help of this scholarship, I am one step closer to realizing that goal.”

Meet the 2020-201 JAF Foundation Scholar

Isaac Onyango
Isaac Onyango

The JAF Foundation supports social welfare, conservation, and human rights programs, including academic scholarships. In the College of Law’s case, the Foundation provides scholarship support for scholars from Africa. Isaac Onyango, an LL.M. student from Kenya, received the JAF Foundation Scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Dedicating his career to advocating for persons with intellectual disabilities, Onyango works as a consultant and strategist for the Downs Syndrome Society of Kenya. There, he leads the investigation of cases involving abuse and exploitation of persons with intellectual disabilities, often traveling to rural areas to interview and collect information for reports to the local police and governing authorities.

Onyango also conducts training for members of the judiciary, prosecutors, and police officers on the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities, and he writes on domestic and international legal frameworks designed to provide and protect these rights and proposed changes and improvements to the laws.

Not surprisingly, as an LL.M. candidate at the College of Law, Onyango is focusing his studies on disability law and international human rights. Explains Onyango, “The JAF Foundation scholarship is a beacon of hope to international students like myself, and it has enabled me to expand my field of vision and deepen my knowledge in international human rights and disability law, in order to defend the disabled.”

Deepening and translating knowledge into practice —that’s exactly what the Wonderland Foundation aims to promote.

Thank You for the “Boost!”

We are deeply appreciative of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends who participated in the University’s fourth-annual day of giving—Boost the ’Cuse—on Oct. 1, 2020. From midnight to 11:59 p.m. we asked you to consider making a gift in any size to show support for the College of Law, and once again, you responded with generosity and enthusiasm!

When the dust cleared and the gifts were tallied, the College of Law received gifts from more than 360 unique donors totaling $74,841.53!

When comparing the unique donor counts among schools and colleges, the College of Law came in third place behind the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences, and ahead of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Given the significantly larger alumni, student, faculty, and staff population of those schools, there is much to celebrate!  Yet again, the College of Law punches well above our weight!”

Many thanks to everyone who made a gift toward the effort—and it’s never too late! Gifts of any size at any time will help to “boost” the programs and offerings that will help prepare the next generation of College of Law students for the legal profession.

Make your gift at law.syr.edu/giving

Last but not least, special thanks to our Board of Advisors and the Board of our Syracuse University Law Alumni Association for joining forces in a generous $10,000 matching challenge. Thanks to your generosity, these challenge funds were unlocked!




S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications46428,000
College of Arts and Sciences36270,000
COLLEGE OF LAW360+11,000
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs27031,000

The Law Firm Giving Challenge Is On!

And … they’re off!

Law Firm Giving Challenge Award
Law Firm Giving Challenge Award

The fiscal year 2021 Law Firm Giving Challenge kicked off on Oct. 1, 2020, coinciding with Boost the ’Cuse, the University’s annual Day of Giving. The Challenge is a friendly competition between Syracuse-area law firms, during which alumni working at each firm are asked to make a gift in support of their alma mater.

The idea behind the challenge is to continue to foster a culture of philanthropy among local Orange lawyers, help strengthen ties to the College of Law and, in turn, help meet the needs of local law firms and our legal community.

The rules are simple. Any size gift, to any College of Law fund, made during Syracuse University’s fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021) counts toward participation. Participation rates among Syracuse alumni at each firm are then tallied, with firms competing in three categories: large firm, medium firm, and small firm. Bragging rights are at stake!

Congratulations to last year’s winners: 

    • Harris Beach (large firm category)
    • Bousquet Holstein (medium firm)
    • Bottar Law (small firm)

Will they take the prize again this year? Time will tell …

It’s easy to get involved. To learn more, contact Assistant Director of Development Fritz Diddle at fjdiddle@law.syr.edu. If you have not yet made your gift, there’s no time like the present!

Many thanks to all participating firms and firm challenge leaders, and to everyone who has already made a gift. Above all, many thanks to all our alumni who give so much of themselves in support of our mission.

As the pages of this Giving Book make clear, the impact of the time and effort our alumni give to teach, mentor, connect with, and volunteer for our students is immeasurable.

LAW 2020 By the Numbers

Thank you, alumni, faculty, students, and friends for making the 2020 Law Alumni Weekend Conference a resounding success!

Visit alumniweekend.law.syr.edu to view videos and photos from the conference!

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 Law Honors Awards and Alumni of Color Awards—click on the links to access the respective nomination forms.

LAW 2020 By the Numbers

The Many Ways You Give Back

In addition to your financial gifts, loyal and engaged Orange alumni help their alma mater in many other ways—from hiring graduates and hosting externs, to guest lecturing and teaching, to coaching and judging advocacy teams.

Every way you contribute makes a difference for our students, not least in the personal and professional bonds that are formed among generations of Orange lawyers. Here we offer a few vignettes about how alums have been offering their time and talent in the past year, and why they do it.

Brian Gerling L'99
Brian Gerling L'99


Navigating Intellectual Property Legal Issues—Kinetically

Every semester, College of Law students in the Innovation Law Center (ILC) benefit from the extensive expertise and broad experience of practitioners who supervise student research projects for real-world clients.

Often those practitioners are drawn from the ranks of alumni who have graduated from the College’s preeminent technology commercialization and intellectual property (IP) law program. One such adjunct professor is Brian Gerling L’99, Senior Counsel at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC (BSK).

“I found it fascinating”

At BSK, Gerling’s practice focuses on intellectual property, data privacy, cybersecurity, and economic development in the beverage, environmental, and plastics industries. He also is engaged with the autonomous systems industry, serving as legal advisor to local unmanned aerial vehicle businesses.

As an adjunct professor, Gerling oversees one of ILC’s experiential learning practicums, working with students, as well as ILC clients, to research the technical, legal, and business aspects involved in bringing new technologies to market.

[Students’] intelligence and eagerness to learn is kinetic. It is just a different vibe and energy from working with—or against—other attorneys.

When did he first become interested in technology? “Even as a kid, I was curious how or why things worked,” recalls Gerling. “Whether it was electricity or the human body, I found it fascinating, and that’s what led me down the path to a degree in biology.”

During that process, Gerling studied medical and laboratory processes and equipment, which are often the result of innovative technological advancements. While studying for his undergraduate degree, he “discovered that I could marry my passion for biotechnology and the law, and that’s what brought me to Syracuse to focus on IP law.”

Hagelin and Rudnick: “True gentlemen”

Gerling’s reason for giving back to his alma mater—and specifically the Innovation Law Center—primarily came from wanting to settle back in Central New York after living away from the area after graduation.

In addition to his local roots, Gerling’s experience learning technology law under the late Professor Ted Hagelin drove his decision to get involved. While at the College of Law, Gerling says that he got to know Professor Hagelin through classes and by editing the Syracuse Journal of Science and Technology Law, and he marveled at not only Hagelin’s brilliant mind but also his character (“a true gentleman,” says Gerling).

“Professor Hagelin started the Technology Law Commercialization Program, the precursor to ILC, and he just left an indelible impression on me,” says Gerling. “I learned from him about navigating through legal issues, and even more about life. I have used the principles I learned while at the College of Law throughout my career.”

After a year or so back in Central New York, Gerling says he met ILC Director M. Jack Rudnick L’73 through local business circles. “After meeting Jack a couple of times, I thought to myself he was very much like Ted, a sharp legal mind and just a true gentleman,” says Gerling. “I then learned that he was running Professor Hagelin’s program. I discussed the ILC with Jack and ways that I could get involved, and here we are.”

“Really neat technologies”

When asked about his favorite part of joining the ILC team, Gerling says that his colleagues at the ILC are all accomplished, and it is just a joy to work with them. But he says his favorite part hands-down is working with the students. “Their intelligence and eagerness to learn is kinetic. It is just a different vibe and energy from working with—or against—other attorneys,” observes Gerling. “I look forward to class each week, and I enjoy and appreciate their perspectives on life and society. That is inspirational because it challenges me to be a more rounded educator and person.”

Gerling says the companies that he and his students have worked on recently include technologies ranging from protecting energy grids, to biosensor masks, to unmanned aerial systems operations, “so the students have been exposed to a wide spectrum of really neat technologies.”

As far as adjustments due to COVID-19, Gerling’s team has had to navigate the challenges associated with a hybrid learning environment, but this format worked well in Gerling’s view. That success in this trying time, he attests, is a testament to not only to College and University leadership but also to the students.


Communication Is the Key to Success

Cisco Palao-Ricketts L'03
Cisco Palao-Ricketts L'03

For Cisco Palao-Ricketts L’03—a Partner in US Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation at DLA Piper and a member of the College of Law Board of Advisors— contributing to the College of Law’s success begins with staying in touch with your alma mater. In Palao-Rickett’s case, that engagement led to a new externship opportunity for students at DLA Piper, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms.

“This new externship came about because Dean Boise visited the West Coast to meet with alumni,” says Palao-Ricketts. “We met over lunch to discuss how the school is doing. By being communicative like this, you can find out many different ways you can help.”

Palao-Ricketts took the initiative to create an applied learning opportunity at DLA Piper for Syracuse students passionate about learning tax law at a multinational law firm that represents leading companies across many industries.

To Palao-Ricketts, Syracuse’s tax program—and dedicated teachers such as professors Robert Nassau and Greg Germain—consistently produces strong graduates. “I told Dean Boise it would be good to let tax students showcase their wares at DLA Piper.”

The first DLA Piper extern to take on this formidable challenge—in spring 2021—will be 3L Ki-Jana Crawford, an Illinois native with an undergraduate degree in finance and business administration from the University of Kentucky and an Assistant Notes Editor at Syracuse Law Review.

Ki-Jana Crawford
Ki-Jana Crawford

“Ki-Jana is a very bright student with a strong academic background and a strong interest in doing tax law,” says Palao-Ricketts. “This externship will be a great opportunity for him to earn credits and gain practical experience. It will be very useful to him.” Palao-Ricketts adds, “I cannot tell you how quickly I would have been in line if this externship had been available to me!”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, DLA Piper offices in Palo Alto—where Palao-Rickets is based—won’t return to in-person business until at least Jan. 1, 2021. “So we’ve adjusted the externship to be done remotely, but the projects we work on won’t change,” Palao-Ricketts explains.

Echoing his advice for alums looking to help the College, Palao-Ricketts says online communication between extern and supervisor will be the key to success.


This Is a New Era

Joanne Van Dyke L’87
Joanne Van Dyke L’87

By all reckoning, the second annual Syracuse National Trial Competition—held online Oct. 16 to 18, 2020—went extremely smoothly.

That’s down to the organizational skills of Director of Advocacy Programs Todd Berger, long-time coach Joanne Van Dyke L’87, and Advocacy Program students; technology that enabled online argument and scoring; and scores of volunteer alumni who help to fill an awe-inspiring 150 judge and evaluator spots.

To fill that many positions, Van Dyke turned to Advocacy Program veterans. “We had alum evaluators from California, Florida, Texas, and Georgia—from all over the country,” explains Van Dyke, acknowledging the silver lining that virtual competition affords. “The fact we were able to bring back former students as judges and evaluators was huge. It was great to see them and their enthusiasm.”

Van Dyke adds that she received many emails and thank you cards after the tournament. “Former students said judging SNTC made them feel as though they were back in law school!”

One of those enthusiastic alums was Kaylin Grey L’06. “The tournament was really well run, and I had a blast,” Grey says. “I judged three rounds, and I couldn’t get enough!"

Kaylin Grey L’06
Kaylin Grey L’06

Now a partner in the Miami office of MG+M, Grey coached Syracuse trial teams when she lived in Rochester after graduation, and she was hoping to return to Syracuse to help judge SNTC in-person. “I missed coaching trial teams, so I’m grateful I could get involved this way,” she says. “I was able to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in a long time.”

According to Van Dyke, engaging the Advocacy Program virtually has inspired some SNTC judges to get even more involved with the Advocacy Program, coaching teams and judging other competitions remotely.

“I will continue to help out,” says Grey. In fact, since SNTC she has coached Syracuse Tournament of Champions and National Civil Trial Competition teams. 

Collaboration software isn’t just revolutionizing advocacy tourneys, adds Grey. “I’ve told the young advocates that online is the new thing. Recently, I’ve been doing virtual depositions and evidentiary hearings—this is a new era.”


The Great Experience

Erin Lafayette L'13 and Carly Rolfe L'20
Erin Lafayette L'13 and Carly Rolph L'20

Erin Lafayette L’13 is a prime example of why it’s a great idea for students and graduates to keep in touch with the Office of Career Services. She happened to inquire about openings at just the right time in late 2013 when alumnus the Hon. Robert D. Mariani L’76, US District Judge of the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, was looking to hire new clerks.

“I was living in California when I contacted Career Services and learned that Judge Mariani had lost a clerk,” recalls Lafayette. “So I sent in my résumé and was called in for an interview. That was in January 2014. I started two weeks later.”

Lafayette says that Judge Mariani had been on the bench in Scranton, PA, for two years at that point and decided to turn to his alma mater for law clerk candidates. “He also hired Matt Clemente L’14. Matt was hired before me, but I was the first to start. After six months of being a term clerk, it became a permanent job.”

Since Clemente and Lafayette, Judge Mariani has hired Dana Nevins L’16, Carly Rolph L’20, and Kathrine Brisson L’20. “Judge Mariani likes to hire Syracuse graduates because of the great experience he had at the law school and because of what he got out of his education,” explains Lafayette. “Syracuse professors taught him what he needs to know, he tells me.”

Lafayette says that the variety of cases—civil rights, personal injury, constitutional matters, and first and fourth amendment issues—is part of what makes her work so satisfying. 

As any clerk knows, that broad docket means plenty of research, reading, and drafting so the court runs smoothly and the judge has the information needed to pass orders and opinions. “My advice to students looking for a clerkship is focus on your writing skills,” she observes. “You must be able to write clearly, processing information and cases so you can synthesize what you learn and get to the point.”


The Optimism and the Energy

Kristen Smith L’05
Kristen Smith L’05

There’s an energy about the students that I love,” says Kristen Smith L’05. “It reminds me of what was exciting about law school—the optimism and the energy. It’s good to be around.”

That’s just one of the reasons why Smith, Corporation Counsel for the City of Syracuse, likes to help out with College of Law Orientation. In fall 2020, she was asked to join the student/alumni roundtable and break-out sessions to introduce the incoming class of JDinteractive students to Orange Nation.

“This was my second time helping out at JDi Orientation,” says Smith. “In 2019 it was in Dineen Hall, but this time it was via Zoom. In addition to an open forum, I discussed law school and legal careers. I was very impressed with the technology.”

The students, recalls Smith, asked questions about study habits, how externships work for students with full time jobs, and whether or not an online program graduate will be able to find employment.

Addressing this last question, Smith reminded students that there isn’t much data on employment for online program graduates, “but as long as they have a strong academic record and do well, employers will look at their credentials. Besides, now that law schools are online due to the coronavirus pandemic, a fully online law degree will be less unusual.”

Not only does Smith enjoy the energy and optimism of the matriculating students, she also likes staying connected to her alma mater. “I think that graduates have to stay connected for the sake of the classes that come after us,” she observes. “It’s an important thing to do for an institution we care about.”


Welcome to the Future

Pearl Rimon L’14
Pearl Rimon L’14

Pearl Rimon L’14 says she has a “legal job of the future.”

That description might be a little tongue-in-cheek, but consider this: her employer—San Francisco-based Rocket Lawyer, a cloud legal service for which Rimon is a Senior Legal Researcher—actually has seen significant growth in business during the coronavirus pandemic. “When everything goes online, that’s when we shine,” says Rimon.

The pandemic also changed Rocket Lawyer’s hiring practices, and Rimon was in a position to look beyond the Bay Area for a summer intern, the best candidate who could assist Rimon remotely, from any location. She reached out to Interim Director of Career Services Sam Kasmarek and together they tapped 3L Dominique Kelly (left, bottom) for the job.

Dominique Kelly
Dominique Kelly

“Dominique has been great and is staying on through December,” says Rimon, adding that Kelly helps her with the task of ensuring that Rocket Lawyer’s more than 1,000 legal templates are both legally sound and optimized for their clients.

One project the pair is currently working on is a new campaign for small business owners, self-employed individuals, and others looking for tax advice. “I would have loved to have done this kind of internship when I was a 3L,” admits Rimon, “because it would have combined my passion for technology and the law.”

The Big Board: Participation Rates by Class Year

Gifts to the College of Law by Class Year

Each year, your philanthropic engagement fills us with pride

In response to inquiries about how alumni giving to the College of Law stacks up by class year, in the 2018 Giving Book, we began publishing “The Big Board.” Here, starting with the Class of 1960, you’ll find a class-by-class giving participation breakdown, with arrows indicating an increase in percentage from last fiscal year, calculated by alumni who made gifts during Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020). You will also find lifetime giving by class, through June 30, 2020.

Annual giving is the lifeblood of the College of Law, and each year there are new successes to celebrate. Early in FY20, the classes of 1959, 1979, 1994, and 1999 kicked off reunion year class challenges with enthusiasm, boosting class participation rates and raising more than $65,000 from 72 donors.

Syracuse University’s third-annual day of giving in November 2019 saw another record performance, with 581 donors making gifts to Boost the ’Cuse, nearly 100 additional gifts compared to the previous year.

In spring 2020, we were filled with gratitude by the outpouring of empathy from alumni who wanted to support College of Law students during the COVID-19 pandemic. ’Cuse Law Cares—part of the larger Syracuse Responds COVID-19 student aid and relief initiative—raised more than $50,000 to provide emergency grants to students facing financial hardships. Thanks to many gifts from alumni and available grant funding, more than 200 of these emergency grants were awarded, and this work continues as the pandemic evolves. We are grateful to our many alumni who reached out with support during such a difficult time.

We are also grateful to the Class of 2020, which elected to make a special gift to ’Cuse Law Cares, as the University’s Class Act! senior class giving campaign was suspended due to the pandemic. Undeterred by the extraordinary events of 2020, the Class of 2021’s giving campaign is well underway, and class leaders are forging ahead with their philanthropic goals.

As we strive to overcome the new and unprecedented financial challenges for higher education, alumni support is particularly important. Your philanthropy fuels our innovation and progress. It helps us to build on what distinguishes our law school from the more than 200 nationwide. It propels our students into extraordinary careers such as yours. And gifts to the Law Annual Fund and scholarships assist our recruitment efforts by increasing selectivity and lowering class sizes.

Be sure to make your gift in time for next year’s participation report by donating today, and make sure to read next year’s Giving Book to see how your class did in FY21.

To learn more about becoming a Class Agent and spearheading a giving challenge for your class, contact Director of Alumni Affairs Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@law.syr.edu.

The Big Board 2020

An Open Letter to the Class of 2020

November 2020

Open Letter 2020

Dear Class of 2020: Thank You!

When we consider your legacy at the College of Law, one word comes to mind: resilience. Completing your final semester of law school virtually due to a global pandemic was probably not at all what you had envisioned, but your accomplishments have set a powerful example in strength and determination for those who follow in your footsteps.

As the incoming students to the College of Law, we represent three class years: the J.D. classes of 2023 and 2024 and the LL.M. Class of 2021. Seventy-three of us are enrolled in JDinteractive, 60 are first-generation college students, 32 of us are veterans or active-duty members of the military, and 28% of us identify as students of color. 

We represent 40 states and four nations, we hold a combined 47 advanced degrees, four of us hold Ph.D.s, and two of us are medical doctors. We’re proud to join the College of Law’s highly credentialed student body.

In addition to your academic achievements as law students, your philanthropy sets an example for future students. Please know that your support of the Class Act! campaign is an important part of the legacy you leave behind and another example you set.

Your individual gifts and the historic J.D. class gift to ’Cuse Law Cares in support of students impacted by the pandemic have been recognized prominently on the Class Act Giving Wall in the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Commons in Dineen Hall. Rest assured: when our time comes, we will continue this proud tradition.

We hope to meet many of you in Dineen Hall or virtually next fall during Law Alumni Weekend 2021, or as interns and externs in your firms. All our best wishes to you as you launch your careers—and Go Orange!


The J.D. Classes of 2023 and 2024, and the LL.M. Class of 2021

CLASS ACT! A New Legacy Begins

Class Act Giving Wall
Class Act Giving Wall

In Fall 2015, then-J.D. Class President Dustin Osborne L’16 and the Class of 2016 launched the College of Law’s first-ever Class Act! campaign, buoyed by the support of College of Law Board of Advisors Member Alan Epstein L’74.

A University-wide senior class giving campaign, Class Act! encourages students to make their first-ever gift to the University a symbolic amount in honor of their class year—$20.21, for the Class of 2021. We hope these gifts will be the first of many more as our students graduate, join our alumni family, and build their careers.

Five years later, the tradition continues, and—as with other aspects of the student experience at the College of Law—it grows in innovative ways.

A Historic Class Gift, and a New Participation Record for LL.M. Students

In spring 2020, the University suspended the Class Act! Campaign, in deference to students and in recognition that they were facing unforeseen financial and personal challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By that point, led by then-3L Class President Aubre Dean L’20 and the Class Act! Giving Committee, J.D. students had achieved a 32% giving participation rate.

Monetary gifts by students to any law fund of their choosing qualify for their Class Act! participation. Usually, most students elect to designate their gifts to the Law Annual Fund or the Scholarship and Financial Aid Fund.

But this year—making the best of an unusual situation— students voted to pivot their focus from a campaign of individual gifts to a class gift using funds raised collectively by the class earlier that year.

This new gift was earmarked for ’Cuse Law Cares, an emergency fund for College of Law students adversely impacted by the pandemic. For their part, the LL.M. Class of 2020, led by Betania Allo LL.M.’20, had already achieved a record breaking individual Class Act! giving participation rate of 97%.

All these achievements have been recognized on the Class Act Giving Wall in the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Commons in Dineen Hall. We are grateful for the generosity and philanthropic leadership of both the J.D. and LL.M. classes.

Class of 2021: A Tradition Reimagined

As of November 2020, the Class of 2021’s campaign is already well underway. The class voted to expand the scope of its campaign by adding new options for giving: donations of basic needs items to Hendricks Chapel and/or donations of casebooks to the Law Library for use by future law students, along with the traditional monetary gift.

The class will recognize these new giving options along with the traditional philanthropic gifts in its Class Act! participation rates. This is new territory for Class Act!, driven by students’ desire to leave a unique and meaningful legacy.

Best wishes to the Class of 2021 for a successful campaign!

Dean’s Message

Forever Orange

Dean Craig M. Boise
Dean Craig M. Boise

The College of Law boasts an ever-expanding, powerful alumni network: more than 11,000 law alumni in all 50 states and in 66 nations, making up part of a more than 250,000-strong Syracuse University alumni community. There’s no doubt that the vast Orange Network has a truly global reach, but these numbers would mean little if our alumni weren’t as thoroughly engaged with their alma mater as you are.

This issue of the Giving Book arrives at the end of a year of many social, political, and economic disruptions and inflection points. From my interactions with you throughout the year, it is apparent College of Law alumni throughout the world are meeting head-on the challenges of COVID-19, racial injustice, rapidly changing working conditions, and financial uncertainty. 

Behind the scenes, the perspectives you have shared with me and our students have informed our agile and targeted responses. Your support has enabled us to provide our students the highest quality legal education despite the pandemic’s many roadblocks, to support them financially, to advocate for them in matters of the bar, and to double our efforts to create a diverse, inclusive, and rich law school experience.

“Your optimism and energy drive our mission and inspire our students.”

You have been willing and at the ready when it comes to fostering community across new virtual networks, too. In addition to celebrating your generous philanthropy, this magazine includes stories and profiles that illustrate the extent to which our alumni have gone above and beyond in visible support of our students who are experiencing an unusual and stressful year of law school.

In September, we kicked off the semester with a memorable virtual Law Alumni Weekend conference that connected more than 600 of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends from all over the world and showcased the expertise and leadership of our College of Law community.

Since the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, more than 300 students have met online with you, to discuss your career paths, explore emerging areas of law, and discover the extraordinary lives you have built on the foundation of a Syracuse law degree. In doing so, they are discovering the potential that is also theirs to achieve.

Then, to make the second annual Syracuse National Trial Competition in October run smoothly online for 22 nationally recognized advocacy teams, we recruited a staggering 150 judges and evaluators. As always, you stepped up, and in doing so you made the College of Law an exemplar for virtual advocacy competitions nationwide.

In this year’s “The Many Ways You Give Back” feature, Kaylin Grey L’06 recalls the “blast” she had judging the SNTC. “I missed coaching trial teams, so I’m grateful I could get involved this way,” she says.

Your optimism and energy drive our mission and inspire our students. Whether you serve on a board or committee, meet with a class or a student, mentor our students, judge or coach an advocacy competition, or supervise an extern across the country, you are making a difference in the lives and futures of our students. Thank you.

Wherever in the world you are reading this Giving Book, I want you to know that here in Syracuse we feel the powerful and positive force of our network of extraordinary alumni. In some ways, the coronavirus pandemic—and a significant strategic investment in technology—has brought us closer together than ever before. And together, we are stronger.

Very truly yours,

Craig M. Boise
Dean and Professor of Law

Our Back Pages

Do You Remember? Help Us Caption Our Mystery Photos!

The College of Law’s photo archive is a fascinating visual history of your alma mater, full of nostalgia, anecdotes—and a few mysteries.  That is, some of our prints and slides lack information or captions.

That’s where you come in. In this feature, we challenge you to help us recall the people and scenes in our mystery photos.

This time we return to what looks like one of the White/ MacNaughton lecture halls, with students seemingly getting to grips with a particularly tough problem. 

However, there is nothing written on the reverse side of this print—if you know any of the students pictured, what class this is, and what year the photo was taken, please email Director of Alumni Relations Kristen Duggleby at klduggle@law.syr.edu, and we’ll publish what we discover in a future issue.

Our Back Pages Yearbook 2020 Mystery Photo
Our Back Pages Yearbook 2020 Mystery Photo

A Transforming Experience

Thank you to Sharon O’Brien Allen L’73 for setting the record straight regarding the photo of five female students on the front cover of the 2020 Stories Book:

I am the student on the far right, not P.M. Orlikoff (Phyllis Orlikoff was a fellow student who graduated in 1963 and is now a prominent judge). My name then was Sharon O’Brien. I was originally a member of the class of ’65, but I took a leave of absence after that first year to marry a West Point graduate and become the mother of two daughters.

When our family returned to live in Syracuse, I finished my law studies, graduating in 1973. I have been a member of the New York bar ever since, and my name at that point was, and still is, Sharon O’Brien Allen. My father, William G. O’Brien, was also a graduate of the College of Law, earning his degree in the late 1930s. And my daughters are both lawyers now, too!

There were only seven women students in the law school back in 1963, and we five were photographed in connection with admittance to an honorary society. Louise Dembeck, standing next to me in the photo, was the only woman to graduate in 1965. She and I remain close friends to this day.

When I graduated in 1973, I first worked for the law firm of Bucci & Lockwood, formed by two of the women in the photo. I believe theirs was the first all-women law firm in the state. Soon, though, I accepted a position as law clerk to the Onondaga County Court judges, which was by far my most enjoyable career move.

I earned an M.L.S. from Syracuse in 1991 and worked as a librarian in law schools before retiring as librarian of the public law library in Leesburg, VA. Being a student at the College of Law was a transforming experience and was equally gratifying at two very different times in my life!

1965 female graduates
1965 female graduates

Faculty Publications

Discover faculty research at papers.ssrn.com.

Robert Ashford

Professor of  Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Universal Basic Income and Inclusive Capitalism: Consequences for Sustainability (with Ralph P. Hall, Nicholas A. Ashford & Johan Arango-Quiroga), 11 SUSTAINABILITY 4481 (2019).

Hon. James E. Baker

Professor of  Law
Director, Institute for Security Policy and Law
Professor of Public Administration, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (by courtesy appointment) 

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

National Security Law & Emerging Technologies: Toward a Decisional Framework – Key Takeaways from the ABA-OSU Symposium and Jirga, 15 I/S: J.L. & POL’Y FOR INFO. SOC’Y 65 (2019).

Reports, News, and Commentary:

Opinion, It’s High Time We Fought This Virus the American Way, N.Y. TIMES, April 3, 2020.

Use the Defense Production Act to Flatten the Curve,  JUST SECURITY, March 20, 2020. 

Peter D. Blanck

University Professor
Chairman, Burton Blatt Institute

Book Chapters:

“The Right to Make Choices”: Supported Decision-Making Activities in the United States (with J. Martinis), THE WILL OF THE PROTECTED PERSON: OPPORTUNITIES, RISKS AND SAFEGUARDS 27 (Montserrat Pereña Vicente ed., 2019). 

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Closing the Disability Gap: Reforming the Community Reinvestment Act Regulatory Framework, (with Michael Morris, Nanette Goodman, Angel Baker, and Kyle Palmore) 226 GEO. J. ON POVERTY L. & POL’Y 355 (2019).

Jennifer S. Breen

Associate Professor of  Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Labor, Law Enforcement, and “Normal Times”: The Origins of Immigration’s Home Within the Department of Justice and the Evolution of Attorney General Control Over Immigration Adjudications, 42 U. HAW. L. REV. 1 (2019). 

Keith J. Bybee

Vice Dean Paul E. and the Hon. Joanne F. Alper ’72  Judiciary Studies Professor
Professor of Law
Professor of Political Science 
Director, Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media
Senior Research Associate, Campbell Public Affairs Institute

Book Chapters: 

Free Speech, Free Press and Fake News: What if the Marketplace of Ideas Isn’t About Identifying the Truth? (with Laura Jenkins), FREE SPEECH THEORY: UNDERSTANDING THE CONTROVERSIES (Helen J. Knowles & Brandon T. Metroka eds., 2020). 

Book Reviews: 


Christian C. Day

Professor of  Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Hamilton’s Law and Finance: Borrowing from the Brits  (And the Dutch), 47 SYRACUSE J. INT’L  L. & COM. 68 (2019).

Doron Dorfman

Associate Professor of Law

Book Chapters: 

Disability, Law, and the Humanities: The Rise of Disability Legal Studies (with Rabia Belt), THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF LAW AND HUMANITIES (Simon Stern ed., 2019).

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Can the COVID-19 Interstate Travel Restrictions Help Lift the FDA’s Blood Ban? 9 J.L. & BIOSCIENCES (2020).

[Un]usual Suspects: Deservingness, Scarcity, and Disability Rights, 10 U.C. IRVINE L. REV. 557 (2020).

Fear of the Disability Con: Perceptions of Fraud and Special Rights Discourse, 53 L. & SOC’Y REV. 1051 (2019).

Book Reviews: 

Review of Politics of Empowerment: Disability Rights and the Cycle of American Policy Reform. By David Pettinicchio, 54 LAW & SOC’Y REV. 530 (forthcoming 2020).

Reports, News, and Commentary:

COVID-19 May Help Lift FDA Policy on Gay Blood Donors, LAW360 (April 3, 2020)

David M. Driesen

University Professor

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Toward a Populist Political Economy of Climate Disruption, 49 ENVT’L L. 379 (2019).

Reports, News, and Commentary:

Fund Absentee Voting to Ensure Democracy,  SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, May 10, 2020, at E1. 

Opinion, NY Law Requires Absentee Ballots in Response to COVID-19, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, April 5, 2020, at E1.

Opinion, Trump’s Abuse of Office Clears Bar for Impeachment (with Thomas M. Keck), SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, December 15, 2019, at E4.

Opinion, Congress Could Impeach Trump Without an Investigation, So Why Bother?, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, October 6, 2019, at E1.

Opinion, Representative Katko Contributing to Anti-Immigrant Atmosphere, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD (Aug. 8, 2019).

A Hungarian Autocrat is Trump’s Role Model, THE DAILY STAR, August 1, 2019, at 6. 

Trump’s Role Model, PROJECT SYNDICATE (July 30, 2019).

Trump’s Persecution of His Investigators Follows Authoritarian Playbook, TRUTHOUT (June 22, 2019).

The Risks of an Impeachment Inquiry, NEWSDAY (May 23, 2019).

Book Review:

Book Review, 12 CARBON & CLIMATE L. REV. 338 (2018) (reviewing THE EVOLUTION OF CARBON MARKETS: DESIGN AND DIFFUSION (Jorgen Wettestad & Lars H. Gulbrandsen eds., (2018)).

Ian Gallacher

Professor of Law
Director, Legal Communication and Research

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Swear Not at All: Time to Abandon the Testimonial Oath,  52 NEW ENG. L. REV. 247 (2018). 

Shubha Ghosh

Crandall Melvin Professor of Law
Director, Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute

Book Chapters:



Intellectual Property and Economic Development: A Guide for Scholarly and Policy Research, RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON THE ECONOMICS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW (Ben Depoorter & Peter S. Menel eds., 2019).

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

The Antitrust Logic of Biologics, 2018 U. ILL. L. REV. ONLINE 46 (2018).

Book Review:

Layering Property, Disseminating Knowledge, JOTWELL (July 19, 2019) (reviewing RUTH L. OKEDIJI, A TIERED APPROACH TO TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE, 58 WASHBURN L. J. 271 (2019)).

Antonio Gidi  

Teaching Professor

Book Chapters:

Effectividad, Celeridad y Seguridad Jurídica: Pequeñas Causas, Causas No Impugnadas y Otras Materias de Simplificación de las Decisiones Judiciales y de los Procedimientos (Effectiveness, Speed, and Legal Certainty: Small Claims, Uncontested Claims, and Simplification of Judicial Decisions and Proceedings) (with Hermes Zaneti, Jr.), TENDENCIAS ACTUALES DEL DERECHO PROCESAL (2019).

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Incorporation by Reference: Requiem for a Useless Tradition, 70 HASTINGS L.J. 989 (2019).

O Processo Civil Brasileiro na “Era da Austeridade”? Efetividade, Celeridade e Segurança Jurídica: PequenasCcausas, Causas Não Contestadas e Outras Matérias de Simplificação das Decisões Judiciais e dos Procedimentos (with Hermes Zaneti, Jr.), 44 REVISTA DE PROCESSO 41 (2019).

Reports, News, and Commentary:

GUIA PARA O LL.M. DE SYRACUSE (SYRACUSE LL.M. GUIDE) (April 2020), https://ssrn.com/abstract=3543930.

Bar Finally Admits SU’s First Black Law Graduate, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, October 17, 2019, at A23.

Lauryn P. Gouldin  

Associate Dean for Faculty Research
Associate Professor of Law

Reports, News, and Commentary:

Opinion, Don’t Let Fearmongering Sabotage Criminal Justice Reforms: Senate Proposal for Judicial Discretion Open Door To Racial Bias, TIMES UNION, February 20, 2020.    

Roy Gutterman  

Director, Tully Center for Free Speech
Associate Professor, Newhouse School
Professor of Law (by courtesy appointment)

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Feiner and the Heckler’s Veto, ASS’N FOR EDUC. JOURNALISM & MASS COMM.: JOURNALISM HISTORY FIRST AMENDMENT HISTORY SPECIAL, (August 2019). Media Law (2017-2018 Survey of New York Law), 69 SYRACUSE L. REV. 937 (2019).

Reports, News, and Commentary: 

The Public Needs Information during a Public Health Crisis, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, March 29, 2020, at E1. 

The Answer to Hate Speech is More Speech to Expose it, Fuel Change. Hate Speech: Social Media Gives Global Platform to Speakers, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, December 29, 2019,  at E1. 

You Have a First Amendment Right to Follow Trump on Twitter, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, September 8, 2019,  at E1.

Villainous Hacker or Journalistic Informer? Julian Assange It’s too Early to Tell which Assange is. But His Case Threatens All Newsgathering., SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, June 16, 2019, at E1.

Paula C. Johnson

Professor of Law
Director, Cold Case Justice Initiative

Reports, News, and Commentary:

Bar Finally Admits SU’s First Black Law Graduate, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, October 17, 2019, at A23.

Arlene S. Kanter

Laura J. & L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence
Professor of Law
Director, College of Law Disability Law and Policy Program
Faculty Director of International Programs
Professor of Disability Studies, School of Education (by courtesy appointment) 

Book Chapters:

The Right to Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities Under International Human Rights Law, THE RIGHT TO INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW (G. de Beco, S. Quinlivan & J. E. Lord eds., 2019).

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Do Human Rights Treaties Matter: The Case for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, 52 VAND. J. TRANSNAT’L L. 577 (2019).

Nina A. Kohn

David M. Levy L’48 Professor of Law
Faculty Director of Online Education

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Online Learning and the Future of Legal Education, 70 SYRACUSE L. REV. 1 (2020).

A Framework for Theoretical Inquiry Into law and Aging,  21 THEORETICAL INQUIRIES IN L. 187 (2020).

Reports, News, and Commentary: 

The Pandemic Exposed a Painful Truth: America Doesn’t Care About Old People, THE WASHINGTON POST, May 10, 2020, at B4 (reprinted as Not Enough Care About Old People, SYRACUSE  POST-STANDARD, May 10, 2020, at E5).

Addressing the Crisis in Long-Term Care Facilities, THE HILL, (April 23, 2020).

Book Review:

Old Age in an Era of Migrant Elder Care, 15 INT’L J. OF LAW IN CONTEXT 234 (2019) (reviewing DAPHNA HACKER, LEGALIZED FAMILIES IN THE ERA OF BORDERED GLOBALIZATION (2017)).

Kevin Noble Maillard

Professor of Law

Book Chapters:

Commentary: Reber v. Reiss, 42 A.3d 1131 (2012), FEMINIST JUDGMENTS: REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE REWRITTEN (Kimberly Mutcherson ed. 2020).

Reports, News, and Commentary:

Parenting by FaceTime in Coronavirus Quarantine, N.Y. TIMES, March 20, 2020.

Giving In to ‘Let It Go’, N.Y. TIMES, November 20, 2019,  at C1.

Beyond a Mother and Wife, N.Y. TIMES, July 15, 2019, at C1. 

Robin Paul Malloy

Ernest I. White Chair and Distinguished Professor of Law Kauffman Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Director, Center on Property, Citizenship, and Social  Entrepreneurism
Professor of Economics, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (by courtesy appointment)

Book Reviews:


Mark P. Nevitt

Associate Professor of Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

The Operational and Administrative Militaries, 53 GA. L. REV. 905 (2019). 

Reports, News, and Commentary: 

Military’s Response to the Coronavirus Crisis: To 10 Principles, JUST SECURITY, March 25, 2020.

The Coronavirus, Emergency Powers, and the Military: What You Need to Know, JUST SECURITY, March 16, 2020. 

Trump’s Threats to Target Iranian Cultural Sites: Illegal Under International, Domestic, and Military Law, JUST SECURITY, January 8, 2020. 

Climate Change Denialism Poses a National Security Threat, JUST SECURITY, September 20, 2019.

The Missing Piece in US-Iran Drone Dispute: Navigational Freedoms and the Straits of Hormuz, JUST SECURITY, June 28, 2019.

Mary Szto

Teaching Professor

Reports, News, and Commentary:

Businesses Must Act Enhance Security to Protect Customers and Launch Restorative Justice, SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD, April 19, 2020 at E4.

Monica Todd

Teaching Professor

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Let’s Be Honest about Law School Cheating: A Low-Tech Solution to a High-Tech Problem (with Lori Roberts), 52 AKRON L REV. 1155 (2019). 

Matchmaking in Law School: Practical Skills and Doctrine in Family Law Course Design, 46 W. ST. U. L. REV. 127 (2019).

C. Cora True-Frost

Associate Professor of Law

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

International Disability Law and the Experience of Marginality: Introductory Remarks, 113 AM. SOC’Y INT’L L. PROC. 287 (2019). 

Reports, News, and Commentary: 

Parenting in the Shadow of Scarce Ventilators, NEWSDAY (March 28, 2020).

A. Joseph Warburton

Professor of Law
Professor of Finance, Whitman School of Management

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles:

Mutual Funds that Borrow, (with Michael Simkovic) 16 J. EMPIRICAL LEGAL STUD. 767 (2019).  

Corrinne B. Zoli

Associate Teaching Professor
Director of Research, Institute for Security Policy and Law

Book Chapters:

Military Culture and Humanitarian Actions: Short-term Gains and Long-Term Losses (with Robert A. Rubinstein), CULTURE AND THE SOLDIER: IDENTITIES, VALUES, AND NORMS IN MILITARY ENGAGEMENTS (H. Christian Breede ed., 2019).

Civil-Military Relations from International Conflict Zones to the United States: Notes on Mutual Discontents and Disruptive Logics (with Robert A. Rubinstein), CIVIL-MILITARY ENTANGLEMENTS: ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES (Birgitte Refslund Sørensen & Eyal Ben-Ari eds., 2019).

Law Review and Other Scholarly Articles: 

ISIS Cohort Transnational Travels and EU Security Gaps: Reconstructing the 2015 Paris Attack Preplanning and Outsource Strategy (with Aliya Hallie Williams), TERRORISM AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE (2019), 

Reports to Governmental Bodies and Professional Associations:

Leviathan Revisited: Assessing National Security Institutions for Abuse of Power and Overreach, (Conference paper, International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, March 28, 2019).

Terrorist Critical Infrastructures, Organizational Capacity and Security Risk, (Conference paper, International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, March 27, 2019).

Terrorist Critical Infrastructures: A Public Service and Disaster Management Approach to Global Insecurity, (Conference paper, American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., March 10, 2019).

Reports, News, and Commentary: 

World War III Alarmism: It’s Time to Press for Sober, Rational, & Contextual Analysis of the Iran Situation, NEWS AND EVENTS (Syracuse U. C. of L., Syracuse, N.Y.), January 13, 2020. 

The Soleimani Airstrike: An End to His Signature Middle East Strategy?, NEWS AND EVENTS (Syracuse U. C. of L., Syracuse, N.Y.),  January 6, 2020.

The Burden of a Militarized US Foreign Policy, NEWS AND EVENTS, (Syracuse U. C. of L., Syracuse, N.Y.), November 1, 2019. 

Second Thoughts About Taliban Peace Talks, NEWSDAY (September 9, 2019). 

Faculty Books

The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution

Hon. James E. Baker

Brookings Institution Press, 2020

In The Centaur’s Dilemma, Baker addresses how national security law can and should be applied to the novel challenges, threats, and opportunities posed by the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence (AI). The book assesses how the law—even when not directly addressing artificial intelligence—can be used, or even misused, to regulate this emerging technology.

The book covers, among other topics, national security process, constitutional law, the law of armed conflict, arms control, and academic and corporate ethics. Using his own background as a judge, Baker examines potential points of contention and litigation in an area where the law is still evolving and does not yet provide clear and certain answers.

The Centaur’s Dilemma

Investigative Criminal Procedure in Focus

Professor Todd A. Berger

Wolters Kluwer, 2020

Investigative Criminal Procedure in Focus provides law students with a thorough understanding of investigative criminal procedure, combining complex legal concepts and providing hands-on exercises.

The book provides a general introduction to the world of criminal procedure; explains the differences between substantive criminal law and criminal procedure, as well as the differences between the investigative and adjudicative stages of the criminal justice process; and focuses on the sources of criminal procedure law, Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, interrogation law, and eyewitness identifications.

Investigative Criminal Procedure in Focus

LexisNexis Practice Guide: New Jersey Collateral Consequences

Professor Todd A. Berger, et. al.

LexisNexis, 2019

Written by experienced practitioners, the Practice Guide offers concise explanations of collateral consequences flowing from specific New Jersey criminal convictions, general classes of offenses, and types of offenses, as well as practice strategies, checklists, and appendices to help practitioners identify and address all the collateral consequences across the New Jersey crime topology.

Practice Guide

Supported Decision-Making: From Justice for Jenny to Justice for All

University Professor Peter D. Blanck (With Jonathan Martinis)

Something Else Solutions, 2019

In this book, Jonathan Martinis and Peter Blanck tell the story of Jenny Hatch, a young woman with Down syndrome who fought for the right to make decisions for herself in a case where her parents sought to place her in full guardianship. She eventually prevailed, in part by demonstrating how she uses supported decision-making (SDM) to make her own decisions with help from people she trusts.

Blanck and Martinis offer practical tips and model language to help request, receive, and use SDM in the programs and life areas people with disabilities use every day, including special education, vocational rehabilitation, person-centered planning, health care, money management, and more.

Supported Decision Making

Understanding Intellectual Property Law (4th Edition)

Professor Shubha Ghosh (With Tyler T. Ochoa & Mary LaFrance)

Carolina Academic Press, 2020

There have been a number of important developments in US intellectual property law since the third edition of Understanding Intellectual Property Law. Congress enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 to provide a federal civil cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets, and it enacted the Music Modernization Act of 2018, which creates a blanket license for digital music providers and extends federal protection to sound recordings fixed before Feb. 15, 1972.  

In addition, courts continue  to work through the implications of earlier statutory revisions, such as the landmark America Invents Act of 2011. The US Supreme Court has reviewed IP cases during the past four years, deciding 18 patent cases, four copyright cases, and five trademark cases. In addition, the federal Courts of Appeals decided more than 1,000 patent cases, 230 copyright cases, and nearly 300 trademark and false advertising cases. Updated to reflect this new material, the fourth edition covers all topics and issues likely to be addressed in an IP survey course.

Understanding Intellectual Property Law

Learning Contracts (2nd Edition)

Professor Jack M. Graves

West Academic Publishing, 2019

Learning Contracts provides 50 discrete lessons covering the full body of basic contract law, including a comparative approach to coverage of the common law, Uniform Commercial Code Article 2, and the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods. 

Each lesson includes expected learning outcomes followed by highly structured presentations, detailed explanations, illustrative examples, and helpful summaries, all designed to make the doctrine more readily accessible to students than the traditional case method. 

Learning Contracts includes carefully selected teaching cases, allowing class time to be used for the application of newly introduced doctrinal materials to the problems at the end of each lesson. While some well-known cases are presented in their original form, many other cases are presented in the form of examples or problems.

Learning Contracts

Elder Law: Practice, Policy, and Problems (2nd Edition)

Professor Nina A. Kohn

Wolters Kluwer, 2020

Elder Law: Practice, Policy, and Problems combines a client-focused approach with in-depth discussions of elder law-related policy issues. Designed to be simultaneously practical and theoretical, it provides students with specific legal knowledge and a conceptual framework for understanding key issues facing older adults and the attorneys who represent them.

New to the second edition are comprehensive updates that capture changes in law and policy, including major revisions to nursing home regulations, new developments in guardianship law, and an emerging line of cases on age discrimination in hiring. There is also new coverage of caregivers’ rights, “gray divorce,” supported decision-making, and social service interventions that address elder abuse.

Elder Law

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Professor Kevin Noble Maillard (With Juana Martinez-Neal)

Roaring Brook Press, 2019

Told in lively and powerful verse by Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal:

Fry bread is food. It is warm and delicious,  piled high on a plate.

Fry bread is time. It brings families together  for meals and new memories.

Among the book’s honors to date:

  • Winner, 2020 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
  • Winner, 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book
  • A 2020 ALA Notable Children’s Book
  • A 2019 Publishers Weekly Best Picture Book
  • A 2019 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
  • A 2019 National Public Radio Best Book
Fry Bread

Disability Law for Property, Land Use, and Zoning Lawyers

Professor Robin Paul Malloy

ABA State and Local Book Series, 2020

In Disability Law for Property, Land Use, and Zoning Lawyers, Professor Robin Paul Malloy explains how to navigate one of the fastest growing areas of concern for local governments: the intersection of disability law with land development, planning, and regulation. 

This is an area of law that is both complex and confusing. Malloy simplifies the task of learning disability law by sorting through and organizing numerous provisions of our federal disability laws and explaining how these provisions relate to everyday practice and decision-making.

Among its features, the book includes straightforward discussion of relevant provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Architectural Barriers Act.

Disability Law

How the Clinics Continue to Serve Clients and the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Deborah Kenn Associate Dean of Clinical and Experiential Education

Clinic Director’s Report

Deborah Kenn
Deborah Kenn

Student attorneys enroll in one of the  College’s eight law clinic courses to practice  law and represent clients for the first time in their legal careers. They look forward to face-to-face meetings with clients and advocating for them in court and with administrative agencies, doing so in a supportive environment supervised by faculty members while brainstorming on cases  with their law clinic colleagues.

In spring 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on our daily lives, the impact on the practice of law and with it clinical legal education was no exception. Teaching and learning throughout the law school pivoted to online after spring break. So too did our practice of law and the representation of clinic clients. Although the experience the student attorneys received was not at all what they thought it would be, it was powerful.

As disruptive as the virus was, it was also an incredibly teachable moment. Law clinic faculty rose to the challenge of teaching our students how to lawyer in a time of a grave crisis, how to exercise good judgment in the face of uncertainty, and how to utilize skills in the remote practice of law that some faculty were only just learning themselves. 

Teaching classes remotely was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for law clinic faculty. Supervising students on actual cases with real clients was the ultimate challenge. We were not alone: Lawyers throughout the country—if not the world—were learning how to work and represent clients remotely. Our student attorneys now continue in summer session, building on their experience in real time during a national crisis. 

Importantly, during this pandemic, students have had to overcome the obstacles faced by people who are historically disadvantaged in our society. Many of our clients do not have smartphones, let alone a computer, and cannot access Zoom or other remote communication applications. Some courts and administrative agencies were closed except for emergency legal matters. With the guidance of supervising faculty, our student attorneys rose to the occasion with creative problem-solving in every aspect of our legal representation.

It has been a scary, stressful, and challenging time for most people throughout our country. In the best of times, lawyers must put their own self-interest aside and get out of their own way to be effective advocates for their clients. In this time of a global pandemic—when civil and legal rights are of utmost importance—our ability to help others with our legal skills and effectively represent clients is paramount. In our clinics, student attorneys have continued without interruption to receive an unparalleled legal education while providing critical legal representation to clients. They will call upon the skills and experiences they have gained here and now throughout their legal careers. I am very proud of them.

Children’s Rights & Family Law Clinic

Each year, the work of the Children’s Rights & Family Law Clinic (CRC) is characterized by select themes. This past academic year, these themes included adoption issues, custody, and child support matters as well as providing comprehensive legal representation to clients also represented by the Veterans Legal Clinic. 

The year began with the continuing representation of a mother needing legal assistance obtaining health insurance for her children who had been continuously in her care and custody. The client had been covering her children through Medicaid but subsequently learned that two of her children having specialized medical needs had their health coverage terminated after their father, who had been abusive to the client, had enrolled them in an out-of-state plan that they would never be able to use. 

This resulted in the children not being able to obtain medically necessary services. After many months of discovery, research, communications with state agencies, and filing extensive pleadings with the court, the Clinic was able to obtain this necessary coverage. 

CRC also participated in its first adult adoption matter. Specifically, CRC retained a client for an adult adoption where the client wished to preserve his sense of family with the only family he has ever known. The client wished to have the same relationship reflected legally. We continue our work with the clients. 

Criminal Defense Clinic

Student attorneys in the Criminal Defense Clinic (CDC) represented more than two dozen people charged with misdemeanors or violations in Syracuse City Court during the 2019-2020 academic year. In the fall semester, Nathan Wagner L’20 and rising 3L Kayla Wheeler successfully defended their client by invoking a provision in the criminal code that allowed their client to avoid conviction by taking an alcohol training course. 

Furthermore, Taylor Carter-Disanto L’20 and rising 3Ls Michaela Mancini and Matt Cohan had charges against their client dismissed on the eve of trial by arguing that the trial would violate the speedy trial rule due to the prosecution failing to comply with the new criminal discovery rules. CDC students were some of the first attorneys in Onondaga County to successfully get a charge dismissed under the 2020 discovery amendments.

Disability Rights Clinic

Connor Haken L’20 and Philip M. Lee L’20
Connor Haken L’20 and Philip M. Lee L’20

Disability Rights Clinic (DRC) Director Michael Schwartz is the only culturally Deaf law professor in the United States. While there are a number of law professors with diminished hearing, none are fluent in American Sign Language nor identify as belonging to the Deaf community of the United States and overseas.

In collaboration with Schwartz , DRC students Connor Haken L’20 and Philip M. Lee L’20 successfully petitioned the New York State Division of Human Rights to allow student attorneys, practicing under the guidance of a licensed lawyer, to represent clients in a public hearing. 

In addition, the DRC successfully negotiated a settlement allowing a Deaf warehouse employee of a national retail chain to drive a forklift on the job; DRC students edited a Korean Disabled People’s Organization’s shadow report to the UN under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and students have been engaged in ongoing negotiation with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to install a videophone for Deaf and hard of hearing inmates in state custody. 

Transactional Law Clinic

Transactional Law Clinic student attorneys and Director Jessica Murray concluded the Clinic’s inaugural year by assisting clients affected in various ways by the COVID-19 crisis. In one matter, a not-for-profit client wondered if it could shift its organizational focus to COVID-19 relief, from its previous mission. This inquiry led to review by the Clinic of the organization’s governance documents, various state and federal laws, as well as practical considerations. 

Several clients approached the Clinic about the interpretation of agreements and how they would be affected by the pandemic. Not surprisingly, among other matters, the clinic examined the meaning and applicability of force majeure clauses.  “It was very rewarding for student attorneys to provide helpful legal advice related to these unprecedented times,” says Murray.

Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic

3L Madeline Cardona and VLC staff in Washington, DC.
3L Madeline Cardona and VLC staff in Washington, DC.

In November, Beth G. Kubala became Director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC). Kubala was most recently Senior Director for Strategy and Performance at Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). Before joining the University, Kubala retired from the US Army as Lieutenant Colonel following 22 years of active service.

Among VLC’s work in 2019-2020, rising 3L Madeline Cardona presented before a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, DC. Cardona offered opening and closing arguments, interviewed three witnesses, and provided testimony and evidence in support of a disability benefits issue. 

In April, Jonathan Pilat L’20 submitted public comment on a proposed legislative change by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, to amend the VA regulations that limit student attorney access to electronic records kept by the Veterans Benefits Administration.  

Pilat’s comment voiced dissent for this change and communicated VLC concerns. Pilat also advocated for continued access to veterans benefits records under the current regulation or under an amendment that would enable clinic students to qualify for read-only access.

ILC Powers Up an Innovation

Innovation Law Center Students & Faculty Help Hoplite Power Commercialize Its On-the-Go Smartphone Chargers


It’s a frustration many can relate to. You’re on the go with your smartphone, juggling business and personal calls and texts, when you suddenly realize you’re low on power. 

No worries. Just dip into a friendly café with your charger and power up while you are getting coffee’d up. So you reach into your bag for the charging cable … Of course, it’s not there. Enter Hoplite Power, a Long Island, NY-based startup company that has created a remarkable and convenient solution for those inevitable times when you leave home without your charger or when there are no power outlets nearby.

Assisted by students and faculty at the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC)—part of the Innovation Law Center (ILC)—Hoplite Power has developed a smartphone charge-sharing system. “Any customer who is low on battery can go to one of our kiosks in network and rent a portable battery pack to charge their phone on the go,” says Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Nikolas Schreiber, adding that the kiosks operate in a similar way to a RedBox DVD dispenser or CitiBike bike rental kiosk.

Each kiosk—called a Hoplite Hub—stores, dispenses, re-accepts, and automatically recharges Hoplites, which are small, ergonomically designed, universal battery packs for smartphones. These packs can be rented from and returned to any Hoplite Hub in the network.

“This means the customer can charge when and where they need it, not having to remember to bring a battery or be tied down to an outlet. This system is perfect for high-density and high-value areas such as sports stadiums, live venues, and convention centers,” notes Schreiber. Schreiber discussed how NYSSTLC—and specifically rising 3L Viviana Bro and Adjunct Professor Dominick Danna ’67, ’71—have helped Hoplite Power commercialize its novel technology:  

How did you discover the NYSSTLC/Innovation Law Center and the services it provides businesses and entrepreneurs?

We are working with NYDesigns Incubator, Futureworks, FuzeHub, the Industry Trade Advisory Committee, the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium, the Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium, and finally the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program (CEBIP). It was CEBIP that made the direct introduction to the Innovation Law Center and NYSSTLC.

What assistance has Hoplite Power received from NYSSTLC?

We were able to consult with NYSSTLC on a full intellectual property (IP) strategy, including prior art, freedom to operate,  and patentability.

How useful has the NYSSTLC research and proprietary report been for your commercialization process?

It was incredibly assuring to look through some patents and understand that we did have freedom to operate where before we had some concerns. Not just that, we learned that there might be specific aspects of our technology—especially given a number of unique mechanisms—that could be patented, where, again, we had had doubts.

Now that you have engaged NYSSTLC, what are the next steps for Hoplite Power?

Following the launch of our version two pilot, we plan to file additional IP protections, including both design and utility patents. A strong IP and a functioning pilot will allow us to raise more capital.

What advice do you have for an entrepreneur looking to commercialize a new technology, based on your experiences so far?

There are so many ways to go with this, but I think one thing that gets lost is proving the product market fit. Your new technology might be cool, but if it does not serve a market need, then it is not a company. n


NYSSTLC Projects 2019-2020

Every semester, law and graduate students assist the New York State Science and Technology Law Center (NYSSTLC) by writing proprietary reports on intellectual property, regulations, and markets for clients bringing emerging technologies to market.

Students work under supervision in the Innovation Law Center—which has housed NYSSTLC since 2004—gaining critical practical experience in a real-world context. Addressing novel technologies across the green tech, health care, and cloud computing industries, as well as unmanned aerial systems, the following inventions and  new products were among those that students engaged in 2019-2020:

  • AX Enterprise: A system to enable beyond-line-of-sight drone operations
  • Cath Buddy: An improved system for at-home catheterization and sterilization 
  • DVIN: Innovative amphibious all-terrain vehicles
  • Exotanium: Improved cloud resource management
  • Halomine: Hydrogels for improved health care
  • MABL: An additive manufacturing process to enable  free-form fabrications of cellular lattice structures
  • NUAIR: A wind tunnel simulation testing tool
  • Orion: Durable anion exchange membrane technology 
  • Prolivio: A heating and cooling headband for migraine sufferers 
  • Sentient Blue: Gas turbines for unmanned aerial systems 
  • SUNY-ESF (Dr. Brian Leydet): A method for testing chemical repellents to create effective tick bite prevention and disease transmission
  • Super Clean Glass: Self-cleaning technology removes dust from solar panels and retains up to 95% of lost energy
  • Syracuse University Tech Transfer Office: Assessment of University research
  • Vistrada: Student internship identification and matching software
  • WindowWare: Software for remote, accurate window measurement

Institute for Security Policy and Law Expands Its Mission

“Our new identity recognizes the essential interdisciplinary nature of contemporary security challenges,” said the Hon. James E. Baker in November 2019, announcing a new identity for the College of Law’s national security institute, which he directs. 

“As the Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law (SPL), we continue our mission to conduct leading-edge policy and law research and analysis across disciplines and to educate and inspire the next generation of security thought leaders and practitioners.”

Founded as the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism in 2003 by Professor Emeritus William C. Banks, the Institute has become a national leader in the teaching and analysis of a spectrum of security topics, including homeland security, the law of armed conflict, violent extremism, postconflict reconstruction, disaster response, the rule of law, veterans’ affairs, diversity in the intelligence community, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and emerging technologies.

The Institute’s new identity reflects the breadth of its activities, and it acknowledges the Institute’s longstanding flexibility in addressing novel security challenges—both within the United States and around the world—through multidisciplinary research, teaching, public service, and policy analysis.

“A prime mover in national security policy and law, the Institute for Security Policy and Law is poised for the future,” says Dean Boise. “I am particularly excited about SPL’s expansion into emerging technologies, the private practice of security, and diversity in the intelligence community. These changes are transforming the workplaces our students are entering. By staying abreast of these trends, the Institute will remain a premier training ground for future practitioners.”

SPL continues to offer three groundbreaking, interdisciplinary certificates of advanced study: Security Studies, National Security and Counterterrorism Law, and Postconflict Reconstruction. More than 700 students have earned SPL certificates since 2003. Alumni work across national and international security sectors, including for US and foreign governments, international humanitarian organizations, intelligence agencies, think tanks, NGOs, and they serve in all five branches of the US military.



SPL Deputy Director Robert B. Murrett presides over a kickoff meeting for the Syracuse University Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (ICCAE). SPL led an effort that resulted in the University being designated an ICCAE, a highly competitive, congressionally mandated program that is funded by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence and that partners with universities to diversify the US intelligence workforce.

ICCAE Kick Off Meeting July 2019.
ICCAE Kick Off Meeting July 2019.

SPL students pose on a tour of historical sites during their graduate study abroad program in Israel and Palestine. Through SPL’s long-running Program on Security in the Middle East, graduate and law students experience firsthand the dynamic and enduring security challenges facing the region. Study abroad fellowships are funded by Gerald B. Cramer ’52, H’10 and Carol Becker ’76. 

Israel Mitvim Group July 2019.
Israel Mitvim Group July 2019.

FALL 2019

In September 2019, Professor Emeritus William C. Banks spoke on the Institute for Counter-Terrorism World Summit panel “When Conflicts End and How: ISIS as a Case Study.” The panel—the inaugural meeting of “The End of War Project”—was offered in memory of longtime SPL supporter Gerald B. Cramer ’52, H’10. Banks offered a remembrance of Cramer’s life and career.

ICT Panel Sept 2019.
ICT Panel Sept 2019.

SPL Distinguished Fellow Avril Haines, former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and Deputy Director of the CIA, spoke at Dineen Hall on October 8. She discussed the structure of national security law and policy in federal government and her experience as both a recipient and provider of national security legal advice.

Avril Haines
Avril Haines

In October 2019, SPL Director the Hon. James E. Baker was named a National Academy of Public Administration Fellow. NAPA is a congressionally chartered academy providing expert advice to government leaders. Induction is considered one of the leading honors for public administration scholars. 

Hon. James E. Baker
Hon. James E. Baker

The inaugural Carol Becker Lecture was held at Syracuse University’s Lubin House in New York City on October 20. In front of a packed audience, award-winning journalist George Packer and Judge Baker discussed “American Leadership in the 21st Century.” Dean Boise, University Trustee Christine Larsen G’84, and Carol Becker ’76 were among the special guests. 

George Packer speaks in October 2019.
George Packer speaks in October 2019.

During an October 22 visit to Dineen Hall, SPL Distinguished Fellow Steve Bunnell, former General Counsel of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), discussed careers in national security and the US government’s approach to cybersecurity, which he helped to oversee at DHS.

Steve Bunnell visits Dineel Hall in October 2019.
Steve Bunnell visits Dineel Hall in October 2019.

University benefactor Andrew T. Berlin ’83 (center) joined an Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund Scholars Workshop in Dineen Hall on October 26. Subjects workshopped included nuclear deterrence, autocratization in Turkey, postconflict Sierra Leone, and the history of refugee crises.

Andrew T. Berlin with Berlin Scholars.
Andrew T. Berlin with Berlin Scholars.

In November, SPL announced a $500,000 research partnership with the Center for Security and Emerging Technology to assist CSET in investigating the legal, policy, and security impacts of emerging technology.


During SPL’s second annual Veterans Day Celebration, 100-year-old World War II veteran Stan Stanley thrilled the audience with his tale of being rescued from a crashed bomber by the Dutch Resistance. Afterward, Judge Baker presented Stanley with a US flag recently flown over the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Also honoring advocacy group Clear Path for Veterans, the celebration was organized by SPL, the National Security Student Association, and the Veterans Issues, Support Initiative, and Outreach Network (VISION).

Veterans Day Celebration in November 2019.
Veterans Day Celebration in November 2019.


The Hon. John E. Sparks, US Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, was a guest of honor in February 2020. Judge Sparks related his experiences as a marine, Deputy Legal Advisor in the National Security Council, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture, and military judge. The talk was co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association.

Judge Sparks visits in February 2020.
Judge Sparks visits in February 2020.

On March 2, ICCAE held a day-long symposium in the University’s Hall of Languages. The first panel of the day—“Teaching Intelligence: Policy, Law, and Ethics”—featured Judge Baker, Professor Robert  B. Murrett, and Professor Laurie Hobart.

ICCAE Symposium March 2020.
ICCAE Symposium March 2020.

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko was a guest in Professor Tom Odell’s Rule of Law in Postconflict Reconstruction class on March 10. Sopko, Odell, and Professor Cora True-Frost L’01 explored lessons learned in reconstruction, fighting corruption, and peacebuilding in Afghanistan since 2001. Sopko’s visit was part of the David F. Everett Postconflict Reconstruction Speaker Series.

John Sopko addresses students in March 2020.
John Sopko addresses students in March 2020.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in April 2020, Judge Baker appeared on CNBC’s Markets in Turmoil to discuss the Defense Production Act and the powers it gives to the president to ameliorate a public health crisis. 

Judge Baker appears on CNBC.
Judge Baker appears on CNBC.

In his new book—The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution, published by Brookings in June 2020—Judge Baker addresses how national security law should be applied to the emerging field of artificial intelligence. Learn more in the Faculty Books section on p54.

The Centaur's Dilemma
The Centaur's Dilemma

Andrew Bakaj L’06: On Protecting, Being, and Representing a Whistleblower

The Attorney Who Represented the Ukrainian Whistleblower Describes His Path from Syracuse to the Impeachment of a President

Andrew Bakaj L'06
Andrew Bakaj L'06

In August 2019 a government whistleblower made a formal complaint alleging that President Donald J. Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden L’68, Trump’s political opponent in the 2020 presidential election. That official complaint set off a series of events that led to Trump’s impeachment in the House of Representatives in January 2020 and to his Senate trial and eventual acquittal a month later.

Many Americans followed only the third impeachment trial of a president intently, but perhaps none more so than  Andrew Bakaj L’06, the Ukrainian whistleblower’s lead counsel. Bakaj was a student of Professor Emeritus William C. Banks in the early days of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT), now the Institute for Security Policy and Law. That’s where he learned the laws that would inform his subsequent work on whistleblower law and policy in the Intelligence Community.

As an intelligence officer and criminal investigator, Bakaj also represented state department officials impacted by “Havana Syndrome.” Today, as Founding and Managing Partner of Compass Rose Legal Group PLLC, he is a leading expert in security clearance matters and has advised and counseled numerous senior US government officials in a variety of legal and investigative areas. In this interview, Banks and Bakaj catch up to discuss Bakaj’s fascinating career, including his public service, the importance of strong whistleblower laws, what happened when Bakaj was himself the subject of retaliation, the founding of Compass Rose, and the impeachment of a president. 

Professor Emeritus William C. Banks: Tell us what brought you to Syracuse and how your legal education prepared you for your career.

Andrew Bakaj L’06: When researching law schools, what genuinely stood out about Syracuse was INSCT. The more I researched the program and looked at the school as a whole, the more I felt that Syracuse was the perfect fit for me. I knew that Syracuse was going to prepare me to be a lawyer, and I knew that the Institute’s professors would have an impact on me for years to come. However, what has surprised me is how my education had such a direct, positive impact on my career.

Obviously, law schools typically don’t have courses on “whistleblower law,” but the legal concepts we study prepare us to work as advocates and advisors. The Institute offered an opportunity to delve deeper into real-world issues impacting our nation’s security. 

WCB: What national security path did you take after graduation?

AB: My education and training resulted in me being hired as an investigator with the US Department of Defense (DOD) Office of the Inspector General (OIG). My OIG leadership was looking to create a program to protect DOD civilian whistleblowers, particularly those within the defense intelligence community.

After conducting a number of investigations, I was tasked with developing the legal and investigative framework to protect whistleblowers within and outside that community who hold security clearances. 

Additionally, I worked closely with the National Security Agency (NSA), overseeing its internal whistleblower protection program. Our program became the model for President Barack Obama to expand whistleblower protections to members of the larger Intelligence Community and those who hold security clearances.

WCB: Tell me more about your time at the CIA Office of Inspector General and the path toward founding your own firm …

AB: When I joined CIA OIG in 2012, I was directed by Inspector General David Buckley to lean forward and develop a program to comply with the presidential directive. What’s more, not only did he want me to lead at CIA, he wanted me to lead and coordinate within the greater Intelligence Community. This led me to work with the recently established Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General (OIC IG).

While successfully creating the program at CIA, my colleagues disclosed to me that senior CIA OIG officers were manipulating evidence in order to obtain a false prosecution, which resulted in someone pleading guilty.

After attempting to resolve the issue at the lowest level, CIA OIG leadership was not taking any action, and it was, in fact, targeting colleagues for raising concerns. Unable to merely sit on evidence that CIA leadership was violating the law, I coordinated with the OIC IG to have independent eyes look at the matter.

The matter was immediately referred to the FBI for investigation, and the case where the individual pleaded guilty was reversed. Moreover, the CIA IG and Deputy IG began targeting me and my colleagues. In 2014, David Buckley suspended my security clearance and placed me under investigation because of my communication with the OIC IG, which is protected whistleblower activity.  

Over a year later, I resigned from CIA and filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint against the CIA OIG, using the rules and regulations I developed.

Shortly thereafter I began working as Special Of Counsel for Mark Zaid—who happens to be my attorney—and I eventually went on to found Compass Rose Legal Group.

WCB: How did you become involved as counsel for the Ukrainian whistleblower in 2019?

AB: Quite simply, the client was a referral from a trusted friend. 

WCB: Were you surprised that the whistleblower’s claims would lead to impeachment?

AB: Candidly, I was surprised that the claims resulted in impeachment. When I first learned about the underlying issues back in early August 2019, I suspected that the matter would have legs because it involved the President. I certainly expected a congressional investigation. Impeachment isn’t something I considered would happen.

WCB: Based on your experience with the Ukraine case and others in recent years, what changes, if any, would you like to see in laws protecting whistleblowers?

AB: First, I would like to see it codified that the identity of whistleblowers are protected from public disclosure, and that this extends to members of Congress and other US government officials, including the President. 

Second, given the complexity of the issues involved, I think it would be wise to create an Intelligence Community administrative court to ensure consistency in the agency application of laws and regulations protecting whistleblowers.

WCB: What advice do you have for law students aspiring to a career in national security law?

AB: While it’s important to have overarching career goals, it’s important to be flexible and to keep options open. As you can see from my own story, there is no way I could have predicted the twists and turns my life took. Opportunities come around when you least expect them, and there are times when something relatively minor can have significant meaning down the road.

Externship Program: “Rarely a Dull Moment”

As a White House Intern, Sergio Rumayor Had a Front-Row Seat to History

Sergio Rumayor in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Sergio Rumayor in the Eisenhower 
Executive Office Building.

Impeachment. Flood. Pandemic. Rising 3L Sergio Rumayor’s spring 2020 externship in the Office of White House Counsel did not lack for excitement. 

Then again, as Rumayor explains, when it comes to the highly competitive White House Internship Program (WHIP), only students prepared for hard work and challenges will do. “I believe White House interns are students and professionals who are team players: outgoing, articulate, and capable,” he says. 

All that drama was still to come when Rumayor, a native of Staten Island, NY, was assessing his externship options as a 1L. “My interest in an externship at the White House happened on a whim,” he says. “Originally, I wanted to work in the private sector, but I thought it would be cool to get out of New York City.”

Rumayor learned that the White House was on Faculty Director of Externship Programs Terry Turnipseed’s list of DCEx choices, and specifically the Office of White House Counsel, where Rodney Dorilas L’19 worked the year before. “I later found out that Rod was well-liked in that office, and the image of a Syracuse intern he left behind set a high standard.”

Offering honest advice, Dorilas explained to Rumayor that WHIP and the Office of White House Council were difficult to get into. Rumayor was up for that challenge. After a rigorous application process, he learned he had been accepted around Thanksgiving 2019. In January 2020, he moved into a short-lease DC apartment along with rising 3L Anoop Kahlon—who was externing at DC firm Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP—and reported to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. 

Rumayor joined the Executive Branch team during the third ever impeachment of a US president in American history. 

“From a law student’s perspective that was amazing,” says Rumayor. “I was able to observe and appreciate the extensive hours of research on constitutional and American history necessary to perform everyday duties at the Office of White House Counsel, as well as the professionalism required to  succeed in such an environment.” 

Working under “some of the most brilliant legal minds and scholars in the country,” notes Rumayor, “made it an  unforgettable experience that I will carry with me forever. I feel extremely blessed to have served in the Executive Branch  during this time in history.” 

“There was rarely a dull moment,” Rumayor adds. “I woke up every morning eager to get to work and see what was in store.” 

Often what was in store were critical Executive Branch tasks, such as researching and writing memoranda on constitutional issues and federal statutory law, tracking Freedom of Information Act litigation, assisting with Presidential Records Act compliance and federal judiciary nominations, and helping with government oversight requests, questions of executive authority, and government ethics. “I applied skills I learned in the classroom—such as in constitutional law, legal communications and research, and professional responsibility—in a high-stakes and demanding, practical environment,” he notes.

Despite being an intern in such a high-level Executive Branch office, Rumayor says that he and his two fellow interns were treated exceptionally well. “The interns are treated like part of the team. It was an incredible experience that has made not only an impact on my career as a law student but also on my future career as a Syracuse lawyer.”

Unfortunately, Rumayor’s externship was cut short by the COVID-19 health crisis in March. And that wasn’t the only adjustment he had to make that month. “March 10 was my last week at the White House. That same week, my apartment was flooded, so I had to live in a hotel for a month!” Ever resourceful, Rumayor applied for another externship to fulfill his curriculum requirements. “This summer I am working remotely for HBW Resources, a DC energy lobbying firm, as well as for the Office of the Richmond County District Attorney in Staten Island in the Criminal Court Bureau.”

Thanks to his work at the White House and the Richmond County DA, Rumayor says he is now considering a public service career.

“I am very grateful for the time I spent at the Office of White House Counsel and the relationships and bonds I made there,” Rumayor says. “My experience gave me a clearer understanding of how the law operates in the three separate branches of government. There is simply no other place in the world that you can do work like that.”

Externships 2019-2020: DC, London, Philadelphia ... and Cyberspace

Ins & Outs of UK Law

The 42nd LondonEx summer externship program wrapped up in July 2019, with an all-female group of 15 externs returning Stateside after an intensive six-week immersion in the UK legal, judicial, and political systems. The 2020 LondonEx program was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LondonEx externs at the UK Supreme Court in 2019.
LondonEx externs at the UK Supreme Court in 2019.

Applied Learning

The seminar room was packed on Sept. 18, 2019, for an Externship Program Information Session. Hosted by Faculty Director of Externship Programs Terry Turnipseed, students learned about the College’s applied learning opportunities in a growing number of cities, including in Central New York, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and San Francisco. The Externship Program continues to be highly popular among students, as more than 100 students engaged in at least one externship in 2019-2020.

An Externship Meeting in September 2020.
An Externship Meeting in September 2020.

Learning About Prosecuting in DC

In January 2020, Principal Assistant US Attorney Alessio Evangelista L’95 hosted DCEx and PhillyEx students at the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Evangelista explained the role of the DC office and its mission to prosecute all adult federal crimes in the district and to represent the United States in civil proceedings filed in DC federal court. A central message to the students: pursuing work you are passionate about will lead to career success. In April, Evangelista received the Alumni Achievement Award at the 2020 Syracuse Law Review banquet.

DCEx and PhillyEx students together in January 2020.
DCEx and PhillyEx students together in January 2020.

Take It in Stride

The final guest lecture of the academic year was held online. Former Judge Advocate General’s Corp officer and ethics expert Scott de la Vega L’94 described his work as Director of the Departmental Ethics Office at the US Department of the Interior. De la Vega imparted to students the importance of keeping an open mind about practicing in different areas of law: an open mind can lead to unexpected opportunities.

Meeting with Scott de la Vega online in April 2020.
Meeting with Scott de la Vega online in April 2020.