Around Syracuse Law

3L Daniel Peraza Soles Named the Recipient of the Alexander Memorial Scholarship

The recipient of the Rhoda S. and Albert M. Alexander Memorial Scholarship for 2023-24 is 3L Daniel Peraza Soles. Peraza Soles was selected after a competitive application process by the Alexander Memorial Scholarship Committee to receive this significant scholarship in recognition of his commitment and dedication to public service.

He has focused his time at the College of Law by externing for the Office of the Public Defender for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida in Summer 2022 and interning for the Federal Public Defender of the Northern District of New York this past summer.  In part due to these experiences, Peraza Soles has accepted a post-graduate position with the Colorado State Public Defender.

“My summer positions have solidified my desire to work in public service, providing much-needed legal counsel to those who cannot afford a lawyer,” says Peraza Soles. “I want to thank the Alexander family for their dedication to supporting College of Law students in their pursuits, in particular those seeking a career in public service.”

The Rhoda S. and Albert M. Alexander Memorial Scholarship was established by College of Law Board of Advisors Member and Syracuse University Trustee Richard M. Alexander L’82, Chairman of Arnold & Porter, and his wife Emily.

3L John Hubert’s Case Summary appears in the Veterans Law Journal

Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC) student 3L John Hubert’s case summary of Mayfield v. McDonough, 36 Vet. App. 251 (2023), appeared in the Veterans Law Journal, 2023, Vol. III, pages 26-31, a quarterly publication of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association (CAVC).

His summary was of Mayfield v. McDonough, a case that involved a Board of Veterans’ Appeal decision that denied a request by a veteran’s surviving granddaughter to substitute herself in the veterans place to continue his benefits appeal after his death. The Veterans Law Journal provides recent case summaries of federal court cases impacting the field of veterans law, and are written by practicing veterans law attorneys. Hubert volunteered as a student contributor under the supervision of Professor Beth Kubala, Executive Director of the VLC.

“I mentioned to Professor Kubala that I wanted to get involved in academic-type writing regarding veterans law, and that’s when she told me that the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims’ Bar Association puts out the Veterans Law Journal, which provides articles and case summaries,” said Hubert. “The case I was assigned, Mayfield, was mostly decided by the CAVC on principles of federal jurisdiction, administrative law, and veterans law, and CAVC refused to grant itself the power to review the propriety of a Reviewing Office’s denial of a request for substitution. Overall it was a positive experience that I really enjoyed, and I hope to have similar opportunities such as this in the future, and it is only an example of the kinds of experiences the clinic has allowed me to have.”

“John voluntarily sought out this unique opportunity to contribute to the field of veterans law. He tackled a case involving a complex procedural issue and summarized it in a way that practicing attorneys can understand. John’s efforts directly impact the way veterans and their survivors navigate the benefits process. I’m very proud of his efforts and scholarly work,” says Kubala.

“The legal clinic at the College of Law is without a question what I am most proud, honored, and privileged to be a part of here at Syracuse,” said Hubert. “Working with Professor Kubala and the other students at the clinic has allowed me to grow professionally and personally in ways I never thought I would be able to, even strengthening my bond with one of my best friends who is an active-duty Marine.”

About The Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic

The Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic provides representation to veterans and their families who are seeking benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or upgrading an unfavorable discharge through the various military services. While representing real clients, student attorneys gain an understanding of military culture, interact with government agencies, develop case management skills, improve advocacy skills, and instill the value of pro bono service.

About The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association

The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association was created to improve and facilitate the administration of justice in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). The CAVC Bar Association provides information and services to the community of those interested in Veterans law, a diverse and rapidly growing area of administrative law.

College of Law Announces the Hon. James E. Graves, Jr G’80, L’80 as the Class of 2024 Commencement Speaker

The College of Law announces that the Hon. James E. Graves, Jr G’80, L’80 is the Class of 2024 Commencement Speaker. Judge Graves is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is the first Black jurist from Mississippi to serve on that court.

Judge Graves is a highly respected jurist who is known for his integrity and commitment to public service. Before being nominated to the Federal bench in 2011 by President Barack Obama, Judge Graves held legal positions in public interest settings, private practice, and state government before being appointed to county and state courts. His community involvement has earned him local, state, and federal recognition for his work to empower Mississippi’s youth.  In 2018, Judge Graves was a recipient of the College of Law’s Law Honors Award. Commencement for the Class of 2024 is Friday, May 3, 2024, in the JMA Wireless Dome.

Syracuse University College of Law Introduces the First Joint J.D./LL.M. Degree in Advocacy and Litigation

(Syracuse, NY | November 28, 2023) Syracuse University College of Law now offers the nation’s first joint J.D./LL.M. degree in Advocacy and Litigation. The joint degree allows College of Law students to earn their J.D. and LL.M. at the same time, graduating with both degrees in three years, and at no cost beyond that of the J.D.

Prospective students applying for entry into the J.D. program for the Fall of 2024 will have the opportunity to apply for conditional entry to the LL.M. during the admitted student process. Alternatively, any student who has completed their first year of law school can apply for the joint degree up to the first semester of their third year. Upon completion of their first year, students with a GPA of 2.9 or higher are eligible to pursue the joint degree.

The LL.M. consists of 25 advocacy-focused credits. 13 credits are mandatory and 12 are elective credits, six of which may also count towards the J.D., meaning students must take 19 unique LL.M. credits across four semesters. Students can focus their studies on one of the three areas of advocacy: Trial, Appellate, or Alternative Dispute Resolution. Students would take, on average, 17/18 credits per semester which is similar to most joint J.D./master’s degree programs.

“The J.D./LL.M. joint degree reflects our innovative approach to legal education, which focuses on empowering students to obtain the skills, knowledge, and experiences that contemporary law practice demands,” says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “Many law students enter law school because they want to be in the courtroom, and the practical orientation of this degree offers a distinct advantage when entering the field.”

Required courses are Evidence, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Appellate Advocacy Skills, and Trial Practice. Elective courses include Advanced Litigation Skills, Selecting Your Jury, and Writing for Trial and Appellate Judges as well as participation on an intercollegiate competition team.

“Being able to simultaneously earn your J.D. and a specialized law master’s degree is a game changer for students,” says Kathy Fox, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management. “Many students currently take advantage of our leading advocacy programming and with this joint degree they can maximize their investment with credentials that previously have been available only after completing the J.D.”

Click this link for more information on the joint degree and click this link for admissions information.

The College of Law’s Advocacy Program features a comprehensive advocacy curriculum concentration and the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society. The Advocacy Program hosts the Syracuse National Trial Competition and the National Disability Law Appellate Competition and co-hosts the Transatlantic Negotiation Competition and the Hall of Fame Sports and Entertainment Law Negotiation Competition. In addition, the College created the National Trial League, a unique online competition recognized by Bloomberg Law’s Law School Innovation Program for Student Development.

Bernard Kossar ’53, L’55: Distinguished in Life, Business, and Love of His Alma Mater

“It takes conviction, confidence, and a willingness to take a risk.”

The Dean’s Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes both “extraordinary achievements and contributions” made by alumni. This year’s recipient believes the two are inseparable.

Bernard Kossar ’53, L’55 Video
Click the image to watch Bernie Kossar’s honoree video for the Dean’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

“I’ve had an extraordinary career,” says Bernard ‘Bernie’ Kossar ’53, L’55, and he credits Syracuse University and the College of Law. “The combination of a strong business undergraduate degree, especially focused on accounting and finance, together with a solid legal education, equipped me for almost anything and everything. It may sound silly, but I have a sense of a proprietary interest in the institution. I owe it. And that’s one of the reasons for my continued engagement.”

Kossar’s engagement with his alma mater over decades has significantly impacted countless students (in ways of which they are not even aware), and that’s because he has built trusting relationships with university leaders and looked out for opportunities to fill unmet needs. “These needs are opportunities and the more opportunities we can seize, the better the school will be,” he reasons.

Kossar serves on the University Board of Trustees Advancement and External Affairs and Finance Committees as a Life Trustee participant. He was a Voting Trustee from 2000-12 and chair of the Budget Committee from 2003-06. In 2013, he received the Dritz Life Trustee of the Year Award. Kossar was also a member of the Whitman Advisory Council, serving as its Chair for 13 years. He is a member of the College of Law Board of Advisors and a member of the Society of Fellows. Kossar was a 1996 recipient of the University’s Outstanding Alumni Award.

“Bernie has a keen business intellect,” says College of Law Dean Craig Boise. “He’s very much a cut-to-the-chase, candid person.” Boise points out that Kossar brings a track record of building successful businesses—taking an idea and creating companies that are household names with international reach—to any advisory role. “One of the things Bernie stresses is that higher education should not be viewed as something apart from the business world. In the end, law schools have customers and products. He would ask me questions like, how can we generate revenue through new programs? What’s the scope of the potential market? How can we make law school a place that would be more of a launchpad to the business side of law and legal practice?”

Kossar did not foresee a corporate career when he first went to law school. After graduating and passing the bar, he went to the Marine Corps with a two-year active commitment and six-year reserve commitment. Returning to civilian life after two years was difficult. “There was no career placement office at Syracuse. I had no connections,” recalls Kossar. “I would chase the want-ads in the New York Law Journal, make calls, write letters, modify my resume to accommodate each solicitation, and once in a while, I received a call to come to an interview. In one case, after being rejected I offered to work for free for six months. He didn’t take me up on it. I couldn’t even get hired for nothing!”

Bernie Kossar in his Marines uniform
Kossar enlisted in the Marine Corps after passing the bar, serving two years on active duty and a six year reserve commitment.

Through a family friend, Kossar was introduced to Morris Friedman, one of the leading tax attorneys in the country, a prominent tax law professor at New York University, and contributor to textbooks used in most tax law classes. Kossar worked for Friedman for 18 months and, with his encouragement, went on to earn his LL.M. from NYU in tax law. Equipped with an almost complete LL.M. curriculum, Kossar interviewed with three firms and received three job offers.

Kossar accepted the offer made by the law firm of Van Buren, Schreiber, and Kaplan. “We didn’t have specialists at the firm. We did everything. I got deeply involved with representing the national chain Franklin Stores Corporation (NYSE), handling real estate, registration filings, SEC work, labor problems, and contract negotiations,” Kossar said. Ultimately, the CEO of Franklin Stores asked Kossar to come on board full-time. “I didn’t sleep that night. With a wife and two babies to consider, I was facing unchartered waters. It takes conviction and confidence and a willingness to take a risk. With my wife Carol’s encouragement and support, I made the decision. I crossed over and one of the conditions was that my firm was to continue under their normal retainer.” Clearly, relationships and loyalty remained most important to Kossar—a running theme in his business career and continued engagement with Syracuse University.

“My grandfather instilled in me that it’s all about the people that surround you. He cared about everyone, every employee, accountant, and lawyer,” says Michael Kossar ’13, who was a finance major at the Whitman School and now serves with his grandfather as co-managers of Kossar Family LLLP and Millennium Partners LLLP, two private investment partnerships. “He may have started as a caboose on the train, but he ended up at the head of the train and everyone followed him. He taught me about long-lasting relationships, forging friendships through business. His story still incentivizes me every day.”

Michael Kossar talks about his grandfather Bernie on camera
Michael Kossar ’13

My grandfather instilled in me that it’s all about the people that surround you. He cared about everyone, every employee, accountant, and lawyer. He may have started as a caboose on the train, but he ended up at the head of the train and everyone followed him. He taught me about long-lasting relationships, forging friendships through business. His story still incentivizes me every day.

Michael Kossar ’13

It’s that sort of enthusiasm, along with a sense of confidence and comfort with risk, that Kossar hopes to instill in other Syracuse graduates, especially those who choose a legal career. In the countless hours that law students spend studying in the Kossar Reading Room in the Dineen Hall Law Library, they are acquiring some of the skills they will need to be successful.

“You can memorize the laws, but a good legal education, especially one grounded in the case study method, gets you to think,” says Kossar. “It’s so important to understand both sides of the argument, that both sides have merit. There is no pointless view; there are different viewpoints and you have to understand the rationale of multiple positions. In law school, you learn how to think, how to evaluate, and come to an informed judgement. The greatest thing you get out of law school is learning how to take an analytical approach to a problem, to tax your brain to get to the depth of the issue, and understand it.”

Bernie accepts the Dean's Distinguished Alumni Award from Dean Craig Boise at Law Alumni Weekend
Bernie Kossar accepts the Dean’s Distinguished Alumni Award from Dean Craig Boise at Law Alumni Weekend

Kossar’s analytical thinking is what Dean Boise appreciated most as they discussed ways to improve the College of Law’s financial outlook shortly after Boise arrived in Syracuse. “Bernie would often ask me about revenue and expense cycles, challenges to enrollment and new programs,” says Boise. At the time, the College relied heavily on subsidies from the University. “The College had to find ways to cut the deficit; to get the University to be patient with us and supportive; to have the law school be fiscally responsible and attract extraordinary students and prepare them responsibly to pass the bar exam,” says Kossar.

Kossar described his approach as a three-legged stool looking at facilities, faculty/curricula, and student body.

  1. “We had to find ways to provide the school with the absolute state-of-the-art facilities, including up-to-the-minute technologies, all the tools necessary for students to achieve,” says Kossar, who likes to contrast today’s facilities with his own experience in Hackett Hall, a “dilapidated” building in downtown Syracuse. During his last year in law school, Ernest I. White Hall opened on campus (“It was such a step up, we all thought we had died and gone to heaven!”). His was the first law school class to graduate from White Hall.
  2. The College needed to continually refresh its curriculum course offerings and bring in new faculty to support a broadened curriculum that would address current issues in technology breakthroughs, government regulation, first amendment rights, and constitutional law. “I am a product and advocate of the 3+3 accelerated dual degree with the Whitman School, and also support the joint J.D./masters in finance. The College has done an outstanding job in online education which is an excellent source of additional revenue. The law school had serious fiscal problems that have been overcome and I can say today are manageable, and I give a great deal of that credit to the Dean. He’s done very well on fiscal responsibility.”
  3. “There’s an imperative to keep improving the quality of the students,” says Kossar. “It’s very important that we elevate the standards for each newly admitted class. Importantly, each class should have a few very special lead students that I call the pacemakers. I believe that other students will try to keep pace as best they can with the pacemakers and that will elevate the whole class.”

During his own experience in law school, Kossar credits his small four-person study group with keeping him focused through graduation and beyond. Kossar, Albert Makay L’55, Herb Mendelson L’55, and William Maloy L’55 pushed each other through countless study sessions, most of which took place in Kossar’s apartment. He was the only one of the group who was married. His wife, Carol Karetzky Kossar ’53, earned her degree at the College of Arts & Sciences. They married while he was in law school and she became the “den mother” for the study group, providing food and sustenance to allow them to keep “grinding and grinding.” All four continued their studies together beyond graduation to prepare for the bar exam, living together and studying for an entire month. They remained friends throughout their careers. Kossar, who passed the bar on the first go-round, was the only one who went into corporate law and the business world. And he credits Carol for being a true partner, supportive through it all, and critical to his success. They’ve been married for more than 70 years.

Bernie Kossar poses for a his law school  application photo in a suit and tie
Bernie Kossar’s photo that accompanied his application to the College of Law.
Men sitting around a table in a Syracuse Law classroom in the 1950's.
Kossar’s business success has given him the opportunity to direct his philanthropy to meaningful projects at the University and College of Law, updating important learning facilities. “We were in a dilapidated old building across from the courthouse. Back then, we had Saturday morning classes to accommodate the limited facilities. And that wasn’t a happy Saturday when we had a home football game.”

Kossar believes that preparation for a career in law, including the cost of law school, should be viewed from an investment perspective. “It’s a major investment and I would like them to think of law school as their first entrepreneurial venture. You want that venture to succeed. You’ve got to put everything your body and mind are capable of into those three years, to make the most out of it. You need to trust in yourself and have confidence in your abilities. And perhaps most important: you need inspiration and perspiration. You should be inspired and work hard.”

Kossar noted one Syracuse faculty member in particular who inspired him with his knowledge, teaching style, and generosity. Joseph Hawley Murphy was Kossar’s tax, wills and estate law professor when the first comprehensive revision of the federal income tax system was introduced. When Murphy was asked to write a major article about The Internal Revenue Act of 1954; he asked two students—Lewis Glazier L’54, a 3L, and Kossar, a 2L—to assist him. Instead of simply noting those students in a footnote, Murphy included their names as co-authors of the article. Kossar says Murphy “had significant influence on my determination to pursue tax and estate work.”

Bernie and his wife Carol dancing
Bernie and his wife, Carol Karetzky Kossar ’53

Kossar’s own work ethic laid the foundation for his success in business. His legal acumen and business sense eventually earned him the title and responsibilities of President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Franklin Stores, a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listed company which operated 278 retail apparel and discount department stores throughout the United States. After his tenure there, he strengthened other corporations, becoming the President and COO of Vornado, a NYSE listed company engaged in retail and real estate holdings. He was Special Advisor to the Chairman and CEO of Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company before joining W.R. Grace & Company as Senior Vice President.

At W.R. Grace & Co., Kossar served as senior vice president of seven retail companies. During this time, Kossar created HQ Home Quarters Warehouse, which he eventually purchased from W.R. Grace with Grace continuing as a minority partner. As president and chief executive officer, Kossar negotiated a highly profitable sale of HQ in 1988. That same year, he founded OW Office Warehouse Inc., an office supply superstore chain, with W. R. Grace participating as a minority partner. J. Peter Grace himself served on the boards of both HQ and OW. Six years later, OW was sold to OfficeMax at a substantial profit. Thereafter, Kossar founded Millennium Partners, LLLP, a private investment partnership focused on public and private investment opportunities.

Now, Kossar works alongside his grandson Michael, managing the family investment funds and passing on the secrets of business success. “Every retail business has bricks and mortar, merchandise and people. But everybody doesn’t have the same quality of people,” says Kossar. “That’s the one ingredient that differentiates every company, and the one ingredient that can ensure success. It’s all about leadership—how you treat your managers and associates, how they feel about the company culture and the work environment. I knew that executives had to truly be part of the company, and have some ownership. Further, they needed a clearly defined strategy and authority to implement that plan. That’s what differentiated my companies.”

Bernie Kossar and family pose for a photo at the 2023 Law Alumni Awards
Bernie Kossar ’53, L’55 and his family at the 2023 Law Awards Celebration.

Kossar’s business successes gave him the opportunity to focus on philanthropy, directing funds to meaningful projects at Syracuse University (building funds, the reading room, the career center and executive floor at the Whitman School, and scholarships for talented and deserving students). Over the decades, he has contributed to the dean’s discretionary funds at the College of Law, Whitman, Arts & Sciences, and Newhouse. In Tel Aviv, Israel, he and Carol saw a need to support aging Israelis and seized the opportunity to build what is now the Kossar-Karetzky Senior Center. “Our multiple visits to the seniors, most recently in 2019, have been most gratifying,” says Kossar. “If you do it right, your charity will give you much satisfaction. It gets into your heart and the marrow of your bones. You get back more than you can ever give.”

For Bernie, Carol and the Kossar family, generosity and gratification are two sides of the same coin: “I think philanthropy is a selfish endeavor. I have derived more pleasure and more satisfaction and more good feelings from some of the good things that we’ve done. I’ve had payback beyond belief.”

Now, recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award, Kossar says he feels exceedingly grateful: “There’s no greater honor than to be recognized by your alma mater…and be fortunate enough to live long enough to get the award!”

The Ways You Give Back

Alumni help the College of Law in many ways: you speak at orientation, host classes in your offices, sit on advisory boards, and so much more. Your generosity contributes to the success of our students and the College of Law.

Here are just a few examples:

Job Placements

judge stewart aaron in a black and white photo in front of stacks of books at the library, wearing his judge's robe

The Honorable Stewart D. Aaron L’83

The Hon. Stewart D. Aaron L’83, United States magistrate judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, has been mentoring and hiring students from the College of Law throughout his career. It’s not only a means of giving back but also a way to help budding attorneys progress in their careers. “I was the first lawyer in my family, so I didn’t have a sense of what the law was or how to practice it,” he says. “The College of Law gave me a legal community that impacted the trajectory of my life.” The clerks, interns and externs Aaron hires get real exposure to what it’s like to work in a judge’s chamber, and he enjoys being a resource as they prepare for job interviews. Aaron recalls the transformational power of College of Law alumni, including Richard Alexander L’82, who urged him to join Arnold & Porter LLP, where he became a partner before joining the bench. His commitment to the College of Law can also be seen in Aaron’s planned estate gift. “I’ve been fortunate in my career, so sharing some of that after I’m gone seems like a sensible thing to do in recognition for what the College of Law means to me,” he says.

“The College of Law gave me a legal community that impacted the trajectory of my life.”

The Hon. Stewart D. Aaron L’83

Distinguished Lecturers

richard furey smiling at the camera in front of a white background and wearing a black suit and blue tie

Richard Furey L’94

Richard Furey L’94 enjoys sharing his legal expertise. To that end, he recently coordinated a residency for students in the JDinteractive (JDi) program on asset finance in the aviation sector through Holland & Knight LLP, where he is a partner. The idea came out of a conversation he had a few years ago with Dean Craig M. Boise, which eventually morphed into an in-person residency for College of Law students earning degrees online through JDi. Not only did Furey host the session at his New York City firm, but he was also invaluable in pulling together contacts from the aviation industry to participate. Students saw the full scope of this niche legal space from inside the offices of Holland & Knight, where they focused on subjects like secured transactions, then went onsite at JetBlue, interacting with the airline’s legal and fleet management teams on practical aspects of aircraft financing. Says Furey, “We had a remarkable group of students, who really impressed us with their work experience and the level of commitment and engagement they gave to their studies.” Thanks to Furey’s enthusiasm, Holland & Knight also recently created an externship with the College of Law, which is particularly impactful as the firm has not traditionally recruited on the Syracuse campus.

“We had a remarkable group of students, who really impressed us with their work experience and the level of commitment and engagement they gave to their studies.”

Richard Furey L’94


cheryl kimball smiling at the camera in front of a wooden mantle with flowers, wearing a black shirt

Cheryl Kimball G’95, L’95

Cheryl Kimball G’95, L’95, decided to pursue law school when she had two small children. Syracuse University College of Law offered her a fellowship, which covered Kimball’s tuition and provided her a stipend, making it possible for her to achieve a law career. When she later had the financial means to give back to the College of Law, Kimball decided to honor a colleague and mentor who, while not connected with Syracuse, had “accepted me as a complete equal” when she began working in the utilities field where there were few women at the table. To that end, she established the Joseph R. Nolan Jr. Power Forward Scholarship in honor of her mentor, currently the CEO of Eversource, an energy provider. “He didn’t see me as an outsider because I was female. He brought me in, gave me every opportunity and opened up a lot of doors for me,” says Kimball, who today is a managing partner/owner at Keegan Werlin LLP in Massachusetts. As a way of paying it forward, Kimball also directed that the scholarship help those who might not otherwise have the financial resources to attend law school.

Mentorship and Networking

mark obrien in front of a mountain background with black glasses on and smiling at the camera

Mark O’Brien L’14

Mark O’Brien L’14, chief deputy clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, served as the president of the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association (SULAA) from 2022-2023 and was instrumental in establishing an Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Advisory Committee. Urged by others at the College of Law, including Teaching Professor Mary Szto, O’Brien worked towards a greater degree of engagement for Asian American students by helping to create a group of alumni to specifically interact with students involved with the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. “I didn’t really have that kind of experience as a student, as the organization wasn’t formalized in that way back then. So, accomplishing this has been exciting,” he explains. His commitment to serve as president of the College of Law’s alumni association was also a way to give back. “The alumni family was one element that drew me in when deciding to attend the College of Law in the first place,” he says, “and many were integral in helping me decide which opportunities to pursue in my career. That’s something I want to do for today’s students of all backgrounds.”

“The alumni family was one element that drew me in when deciding to attend the College of Law in the first place.”

Mark O’Brien L’14

Alumni Leadership

Colleen Gibbons L’17

Senior program manager, national training and technical assistance at the Center for Justice Innovation, Colleen Gibbons L’17 is giving back as the current president of SULAA. Past president of the Student Bar Association, Gibbons was contacted after graduating and asked to join the alumni association’s board. Active on committees at first, she eventually joined the executive board, working her way up to president. “There is a lot of passion in our alumni network, and everyone is proud of the education we’ve received and eager to support other Orange alums and current students,” she explains. “Our board members want to engage alumni and students. We recognize the path students are on because we’ve been there, too.” According to Gibbons, the alumni association is currently making an effort to reengage with those who have not been involved with the College of Law in some time. The goal is not about a monetary ask but is a way to get alumni talking to each other and current students through support, training or creating career opportunities. “All alumni have something valuable to give in one way or another,” says Gibbons. “We want to tap into those talents for the benefit of everyone at the College of Law.”

“There is a lot of passion in our alumni network, and everyone is proud of the education we’ve received.”

Colleen Gibbons L’17

Serving on a Committee

tiffany love smiling at the camera in front of a city landscape background, wearing a black suit jacket and black rimmed glasses

Tiffany Love L’22

Tiffany Love L’22 credits her ability to attend law school to the College of Law’s JDinteractive (JDi) online program, as, at the time, she was a military spouse living in Japan and then Germany, while also a mom holding down a full-time job. Due to the time difference, she often did her law school work in the middle of the night. Still, she found the JDi program rewarding, praising the professors for their availability and acknowledging that the experience prepared her for a career as an attorney. Recently, she was asked to join the SULAA board as the first JDi alumnus. Love always admired Tiffany Love L’22 credits her ability to attend law school to the College of Law’s JDinteractive (JDi) online program, as, at the time, she was a military spouse living in Japan and then Germany, while also a mom holding downthe strength of the College of Law’s alumni, particularly during residencies where alumni were present, so she was eager to be a part of the board. “My goal is to make sure that JDi students are well represented as part of the alumni association,” says Love, who is now a litigation association at Phelps Dunbar LLP in Tampa, Florida. “Many in JDi come to the program as very accomplished people, and I want to assure they are both supported and have a means to support others at the College of Law.”

“My goal is to make sure that JDi students are well represented as part of the alumni association.”

Tiffany Love L’22

Staying Connected

Lotta lampela smiling at the camera in front of a gray background, wearing a blue scarf around her neck

Lotta Lampela LL.M.’23

When Lotta Lampela LL.M.’23 came to the College of Law with several years’ experience in international law and security policy from across Europe, she didn’t believe she could take on a role in American law. But as she launched into a second career in the States, her professors made a lasting impact on her career trajectory. “The law school is the best thing that has happened to me since I arrived in the U.S. Professors Gary Kelder and James Baker ignited my passion for Constitutional law. Professor Richard Risman gave me the confidence that I could do legal research to the standards that are required of a law clerk. They believed in me so I started to envision myself practicing law in the U.S.,” says Lampela. While pursuing her degree, Lampela worked in the College’s Institute for Security Policy and Law (ISPL) with its director, the Hon. James E. Baker. She was instrumental in helping to establish the Ring Around Russia: Partnership for Law and Policy initiative, an interdisciplinary network of scholars from the U.S., Ukraine, and Russia’s frontline states. “I was able to tap into the network I had created, and I also had the cultural background in how to communicate our message in a way that was digestible to various European audiences,” says Lampela. After graduation, Lampela continued to support ISPL’s Ring Around Russia project before starting her clerkship at the Trial Court of the Vermont Judiciary in September. She remains active in the ISPL by providing pro bono guidance and input to Judge Baker on Ring around Russia. “Thanks to the professors and the tools they gave me, I love what I do and plan on remaining active with the College and ISPL,” concluded Lampela.

“The law school is the best thing that has happened to me since I arrived in the U.S.”

Lotta Lampela LL.M.’23

Guiding the Next Generation of Orange Lawyers: 45+ Alumni Return as Mentors for Orientation and Fall 2023 Residencies

two women standing outside in front of the ESF building and talking, with two green trees in the background
Joanie Mahoney ’87, L’90, President of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry welcomed the incoming Class of 2026

When students graduate from Syracuse Law, they become a part of something bigger than themselves. They join a global alumni network of over 11,000 alumni, representing every industry across the world. Some are C-suite executives at companies like Starbucks and JetBlue, others lead colleges, and many more are judges and attorneys in the court system. One of them is the President of the United States.

The College of Law played a role in shaping each of them as lawyers and as leaders. The impact of their law school education has lasted long after leaving the Syracuse campus as students for the last time.

This fall, many of these celebrated alumni returned to the College of Law in the new role of teachers and mentors. They took time out of their busy schedules to impart wisdom and knowledge to our J.D. residential and JDinteractive students based on their decades of career experience.

male instructor standing in front of a classroom of students, speaking to a PowerPoint presentation displayed on a screen
Richard Furey L’94 was a Distinguished Guest Lecturer at the JDinteractive Asset Finance residency, hosted by Furey at the offices of Holland & Knight.

“At Syracuse Law, we believe in the transformative power of alumni support and interaction with our students,” says the College of Law’s Director of Alumni Engagement Adrienne Lutz. “These connections not only help students define their career goals, but also serve as a constant source of encouragement for academic success. Our dedicated alumni network is a crucial support system that guides students towards their brightest future in the legal profession.”

Learn about how and why these alumni choose to offer their time back to the Orange lawyers of tomorrow.

Zabrina Jenkins G’97, L’00

Executive Advisor and Former Acting General Counsel, Starbucks

Opening Convocation Speaker and Leader of the Fireside Chat “General Counsel’s Impact on Company Culture and Other Critical Functions”

“Knowing that I can be a role model and an inspiration to others is something that is very important to me. I truly appreciate having such a welcoming invitation to interact with the current students at Syracuse Law and am thankful to Dean Boise for engaging with alumni like me to bridge the relationship between the alums and the current law students. I also have such fond memories of my time spent at Syracuse Law. It was a time in my life that was very personally transformative. People tend to go into the law thinking they have to be on a specific path, but the journey is not always linear. You can learn a lot from the experiences you have along the way.”

joanie mahoney speaks at a podium in front of an ESF banner, holding her hands out to the sides

Joanie Mahoney ’87, L’90

President, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)

Welcoming incoming College of Law Students at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

“I have very fond memories of my time at the law school. Syracuse Law prepares you to do so many different things, and I would not be the president of SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry College if not for the education that the law school provided for me. I owe my whole career to the foundation that the law school gave me. I am also so proud of the great work that the people who come through Syracuse have done in this world, knowing that it’s a priority for students to be involved in the community and to recognize that with that opportunity comes responsibility. It makes me proud to see the students in action in our community, showing that Syracuse cares. The College of Law attracts wonderful people, and it turns out fantastic citizens.”

scott boylan talking and pointing his finger with his other arm crossed over his chest, wearing a suit jacket

Scott Boylan L’85 Partner, StoneTurn

Guest Speaker on “Leading the Legal Function in Government and Private Industry”

“I have a real connection with this place—I met my wife here, and I think Syracuse set me up very well for my career. Whether it is helping the students learn weird areas of the law, where I practice, or simply playing a role in helping them find jobs—I like to be helpful to the extent that I can through a place that means a lot to me.”

chris audet in front of a white background, smiling at the camera

Chris Audet L’11

Vice President and Chief of Research, Gartner

Guest Speaker on “Global Trade Compliance as a Competitive Business Advantage” Panel

“I derived so much value from conversations with alumni when I was at Syracuse Law, that I’m eager to share the same with current law students. I was always excited to learn about the non-linear pathways that so many alumni had taken to get to their current positions and the flexibility and openness to change that it seemed the most successful among them had fully embraced. I want to role model the same for other law students, particularly those that don’t think their long-term career will be with a law firm.”

Judge Dancks speaking on a panel, with her hand over her chest and wearing a black shirt

The Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91

Federal Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court Northern District

Guest Speaker on Career and Networking Panel for Incoming JDinteractive Students

“I love students. I love working with them and I love to learn from them. I get energy from the younger students who aren’t jaded yet in the law and it reminds me of why I got into the practice of law. I also feel like if I can help them do better in their career and they can see what I’ve done in my career, the better we all do. It enhances our law degree and it improves its value in how well Syracuse Law grads are respected in the legal community. I grew up in Syracuse and have spent my whole life here. I love this University and it makes me proud to go to school in a place where I grew up and that the school is doing so well.”

john boyd in front of dineen hall, smiling and wearing ablack suit with an orange and blue striped tye

John Boyd II L’16

Court Attorney for the Fifth Judicial District in Syracuse’s City Court

Guest Speaker on Career and Networking Panel for Incoming JDinteractive Students

“I am forever Orange. The law school gave so much to me, and I want to make sure that I can help in any way possible. I coach trial teams and assist with different trial and appellate competitions as much as I can. I am actually going to be teaching a trial practice class here in the fall as well. I am proud of the tremendous advocacy experience the law school gave me as it is one of my main passions. I know that we have one of the best trial practice and appellate advocacy programs in the nation. I hold that very near and dear to my heart as my entire career has been in the courtroom through litigation or advocacy.”

colleen gibbons smiling at the camera with a purple suit jacket and gold earrings

Colleen Gibbons L’17

Deputy Director, Upstate Office, Center for Court Innovation

Guest Speaker on Career and Networking Panel for Incoming JDinteractive Students

“Syracuse gave me a lot. I came here on a scholarship and was involved in so many different organizations. One of the things that really stood out to me was the way that alumni gave back. The jobs that I’ve gotten post-graduation have all been through connecting with previous law alums. So I think it’s really important to give those opportunities to students and to be a connection for them. I give back because so much was given to me from not just the college itself, but from other alumni. I just try to continue that pattern and model my actions after those who came before me.”

tom taylor smiling at the camera in front of a brown background

Tom Taylor ’79, L’87

Partner, Bousquet Holstein PLLC

Attendee at Syracuse Networking Event for JDinteractive Students

“I am proud to be an SU alumnus. The faculty I studied under were top shelf. Having the opportunity to keep in touch and help future lawyers is a small way for me to give back.”

three students sit on couches and converse with each other in a conference room with a wood wall in the background
JDi NYC residency students work in small groups at Holland and Knight LLP, hosted by Richard Furey L’94

Expanding the Syracuse Law Network

In addition to serving as guest speakers and lecturers, Syracuse Law alumni are instrumental in expanding the powerful Orange network by inviting their connections to serve as speakers and lecturers.

At the referral of alum Ellen Zimiles L’83, Alma Angotti, Partner in Guidehouse’s Financial Services Segment and Global Legislative and Regulatory Risk Lead, came to Dineen Hall to teach JDi students about “Partnering with General Counsels and Advising Companies on Global Risks.”

Frank Ryan IV ’90 L’94, Americas Chair, Global Co-Chair, and Global Co-CEO DLA Piper, arranged for the virtual attendance of Bennett Borden, Chief Data Scientist of the newly created Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics Practice at DLA Piper, who led a discussion on “Artificial Intelligence and the Law: Benefits, Risks, and Regulations.”

“The world is headed into a time of almost unimaginable transformation because of artificial intelligence,” Borden explains. “Now, more than ever, leaders will need wise counselors to guide them. Today’s students will be those future counselors. That is why I give my time to help them on their way.”

a room full of alumni networking and chatting with each other, with wooden walls and dim lighting
Many New York City-area College of Law alumni joined JDinteractive students during their residency for a networking event.

Setting Students Up for Future Success

The involvement and contributions of alumni to the various tracks comprising Orientation week play a crucial role in showcasing to incoming and current students the potential career paths their Syracuse law degree can lead them to after graduation.

“We talked with the panelists about the attorneys they have looked up to. We asked about their career paths and what they are aspiring to achieve,” said 1L Nick Hein. “Right now, the whole legal profession is still very vague to me. Talking to them about not just what they have done, but where they are headed, gives me a little more perspective to say, okay, that’s a path that I could take.”

JD students also had an opportunity to get out of the classroom to tour the courthouse in downtown Syracuse.

After the courthouse visit, 1L George Boehme remarked, “Hearing from Syracuse Law alums provided invaluable, real-world context to my legal education, deepening my understanding of law’s practical applications.”

Orange Counsel: Career Advice for Future Orange Lawyers

Through the exchange of professional knowledge, experiences, and insights, these alumni have played a part in influencing the next generation of Syracuse Law graduates. Their efforts help guide students in making informed career choices and navigating the complexities of the legal field.

Check out some of their parting career advice for Syracuse Law students.

“Think about it as early as possible. If you are starting your first week of law school, start thinking about it now.”

— Scott Boylan L’85

“Speak to as many people as you can in law school to learn about the different paths others have taken and the experiences that brought them meaning and taught them something significant. Listen carefully and then, most importantly, listen to yourself. Embrace law school fully, but don’t forget the experiences and opportunities that you sought out before you were a law student. Those experiences may be more informative for your next step.”

— Chris Audet L’11

“My best advice is to experience as much as you can while you’re here. I’m one of those people whose career did not take a path that was at all foreseeable to me when I was in law school. And I think that’s a common story for people. So don’t pigeonhole yourself. Experience as much as you can and prepare yourself for wherever the opportunities come.”

— Joanie Mahoney ’87, L’90

“Be open to different experiences and opportunities. I think people tend to go into the law thinking that they have to be on specific path. It helps to recognize that it’s about the journey, that it’s not always linear and that you can learn a lot from the experiences and recognize that things are not always going to be easy. Learn from each experience and move outside of your comfort zone to open yourself up to different opportunities.”

— Zabrina Jenkins G’97, L’00

“Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make connections. Use the Syracuse Law Alumni network. And remember to give back to the law school in the future!”

— The Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91

“Be open. In the job interview for my first job I got right after law school, they asked me what I wanted to do. What do you want to practice? And I said, I’ll do anything but criminal law because that’s just not my interest. Well now I work exclusively in criminal law, and I love it! So just be open and be aware of the opportunities and don’t close any doors without exploring.”

— Colleen Gibbons L’17

“Don’t be afraid to try different things. When I first graduated, I never thought that I would want to do anything with wills and trusts. But one of the first things I started doing when I got my job was wills and trust litigation and I absolutely loved it. It was very fun saying that look, the law hasn’t changed in over 300 years—here’s a case from 1783. So don’t be afraid to try different things that you think you might not like because you might actually wind up falling in love with them.”

— John Boyd II L’16

megan thomas smiling at the camera in front of a graffiti wall with the words I like You, wearing a red blazer

“Work hard towards your goals, but trust your instincts along the way. No job or success is worth sacrificing yourself and your values. Find good mentors who emulate both the professional success and the lifestyle you want to achieve.”

— Megan Thomas L’17

anthony mangovski smiling at the camera in front of a white column, wearing a blue suit and a purple tie

“Focus on networking—go to as many events as you possibly can. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and exhausting, especially while juggling all the schoolwork and life obligations, but so incredibly useful when it comes to securing your first internship and/or job. Only a handful of students at the very top of the rankings will be outright recruited by law firms, so it really is important for the other 90% of the class to make their own connections. In what can be a competitive job market, I think it goes without saying that an employer would absolutely prefer to hire and invest in someone they know over someone else with a similar resume.”

— Anthony Mangovski L’14

sarah reckess talking to a student, wearing a red blazer and black rimmed glasses in front of a white background

“Find opportunities to network with attorneys in the community where you want to practice. Join the local or state bar association, which is often free or discounted for law students. Make sure people know you. It’s amazing how many people in the legal community will reach out to tell you about a job opening at their place of employment or a new opportunity they heard about.”

— Sarah Reckess L’09

leah witmer sitting on a panel in a wodden chair talking to students and holding a coffee cup

“Engage with your local legal community. Join the local bar associations. Volunteer with local legal clinics. Attend mentoring and networking events. Attend local in-person CLE’s…and much more.”

— Leah Witmer L’10

zoom image of bennet borden, in front of a blue wall and a science is real poster, smiling at the camera with earbuds in his ears

“Understand that ultimately what you provide to clients is confidence. Clients come to us with questions and uncertainty; what we give back is answers and surety. Regardless of the area of law in which you practice, what you provide is a calm and guiding hand. Embody that, and you will do well.”

— Bennett Borden, Guest Speaker JDinteractive 2023 Residency

College of Law Students Attend American Branch of the International Law Association’s International Law Week 2023

Twenty College of Law J.D., LL.M., and exchange students along with International Law Society faculty advisor Professor Cora True-Frost G’01, L’01 attended International Law Week 2023 in New York City. International Law Week is held by the American Branch of the International Law Society (ABILA).

In addition, Ludmilla Evelin LL.M.’23 participated as a Student Ambassador. She was selected to be an Ambassador by ABILA through a nomination process and serves for one academic year assisting with the work of the ABILA and at International Law Week.

The College of Law students took advantage of the extensive programming at International Law Week along with opportunities to network with other law students, professors, lawyers, foreign officials, and more.

“By following the ILW leaders’ goals, the conference allowed me to think about how global leaders, lawyers, and legal experts can use their creativity to tackle today’s complex issues. This includes exploring how international law connects with other areas like social movements, trade, domestic law, diplomacy, and global initiatives for peace and equality. It is about looking beyond international law,” says Evelin.