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.”