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, guest lecturing hosting externs, 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
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.
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.”