Success Stories

Faculty Focus

Professor Barbara Atwell

Professor Barbara Atwell joined the faculty at Haub Law in 1986. A health law teacher and scholar, she was also appointed as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2009. Prior to joining Haub Law, she clerked in the sixth circuit and worked as an associate with Arnold and Porter. Now, in her 38th year of teaching at Haub Law, Professor Atwell enjoys all of the courses she teaches, with Bioethics and Medical Malpractice having a slight edge as her favorite. Learn more about Professor Atwell's journey to law, her scholarship, and things you may not know about her such as her passion for Feng Shui, in this Q&A.

Q: What was your journey to ultimately becoming a professor at Haub Law?

A: After receiving my undergraduate degree from Smith College, I worked at IBM for three years.  From there, I went to Columbia Law School.  After graduating, I clerked for a year on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, Ohio.   Still unsure about my career path, I decided to move to Washington D.C. and joined Arnold and Porter as an associate.  While I was in law school, I thought about pursuing a career in academia, but it wasn’t until I was working at the firm that I began to seriously consider it again. I had a friend who started teaching a few years before I did, and he encouraged me to pursue a career in teaching. I ended up at Pace in part because of the location, and in part because of the people I met when I interviewed here.

Q: What was your experience working at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit?

A: Working on the Sixth Circuit was amazing.  I had the opportunity to watch many oral arguments – in some ways, it’s like watching a lot of Moot Court arguments because the Sixth Circuit is, of course, an appellate court, so you are watching lawyers come in and make oral arguments every few weeks or so. My responsibilities as a judicial clerk included drafting opinions and writing bench memos.  In other words, I did a lot of legal writing, which was quite beneficial for my subsequent positions.

Another invaluable part of my clerkship experience were the people I worked with.  Judge Nathaniel Jones had three clerks, and we became close friends, so in addition to being a great learning experience, my time as a clerk was like working with family.

Q: Would you recommend clerking as an entry point before getting out into the legal workforce?

A: Absolutely! Every judge and every clerkship is different, but often times it gives the clerk an opportunity to refine his or her research and writing skills. If you have a chance to clerk for a judge, you should definitely take it because I don’t believe there is anything else quite like it. For me, it truly was a wonderful experience.  It also enhances your resume.

Q: What made you want to practice health law?

A: There wasn’t one single precipitating factor that pushed me toward health law. I clerked in the midst of the Reagan Administration when people were losing social security disability benefits.  I remember seeing cases where people who, for example, complained of pain that prevented them from working were suddenly losing their benefits.  My recollection is that some of these people lost their disability benefits without any documented change in their medical conditions.  Later, at Pace, I began teaching health law when the school was building up the health law program. I volunteered to teach health law, and I’ve been doing so ever since.

Q: What is your favorite course to teach?

A: Well, I really enjoy teaching Bioethics and Medical Malpractice -- that is probably my favorite class. To be honest, I really enjoy all the health law classes.  I’ve also begun to teach Poverty Law, which I also find quite rewarding.

Another course that was special to me was a course I created a few years ago called Great Migrations.  I think it was just a 1 credit course, and it was a lot of work because there was no casebook, but I taught things like the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Internment, Operation Wetback, etc.

Q: How did you get involved with diversity and inclusion at Haub Law?

A: I was appointed as director of diversity in 2009.  I was appointed to help ensure that the Law School is a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all genders, races, cultures, ages and abilities.  As Director of DEI, I serve as a resource for students, faculty, and staff and regularly meet with heads of student organizations, assist in planning events, and advocate for certain institutional changes on campus. My role runs the gamut and I truly enjoy it.

Q: You have a number of publications, which were your favorite to work on?

A: The last one I wrote was very interesting to me, From Public Health to Public Wealth: A Case for Economic Justice. This article was in the process of being edited when the pandemic hit.  And since the article has a section on public health, I was happy to be able to edit it before the final publication and add in the current information we had at the time. Things changed so rapidly, though, that even as I added new information, it was quickly becoming dated!

In some ways my article Mainstreaming Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Face of Uncertainty was my favorite to work on because I am a big believer in complementary and alternative medicine. Teaching health law gave me insights into how traditional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine can fit nicely together.

Q: What advice do you have for students?

A: My biggest piece of advice would be to really take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to you as a law student. This includes getting to know professors, participating in student organizations, and getting involved in work outside of the classroom (while not slacking off on class work).

Q: Can you tell me about your certification in Feng Shui?

A: I think it was 2004 when I went to feng shui school. There is a bit of background that goes into this – in 2000, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I attended a yoga class. My yoga instructor had books about Feng Shui. At the time I didn’t know anything about it.  My journey of healing led me to acupuncture and to feng shui. In some ways, they are similar in that they are both focused on energy.  Acupuncture balances the body’s energy, and feng shui is about balancing the energy of our physical spaces. Feng Shui is really about balance and de-cluttering. I haven’t had time to do much Feng Shui in recent years. When I retire, I will probably dedicate some of my time to Feng Shui.

Q: What is something that your students or fellow faculty do not know about you?

A: I’ll give you a couple of personal tidbits that not everyone knows. First, my children are adopted and so I am a strong advocate for adoption as a way to form a family.  Both of my children have met their birth mothers, and my daughter also recently met her birth father.

Second, my partner is a man I started dating in 2014, but we met back in 1976 at the beginning of our senior year in college. I was at Smith College, and he attended Williams College.  We met at a party and remained friends. Although we lost touch for a few years in the middle as we each got married, had kids, etc., we never lost touch for very long.  You never know when a longstanding friendship may evolve into a life-long partnership.

Natalie Lara '25

Bridging Science, Policy, and People

Natalie Lara ’25 is a first generation Mexican American whose parents both came to the United States as young adults. Natalie was the first in her entire extended family to attend undergraduate school and now is the first to attend law school.

Originally, Natalie wanted to become a climate researcher, but after taking her first environmental policy course she learned more about environmental law and was intrigued. “Environmental law really stood out to me, because my professor had explained it as a way to bridge science, policy, and people,” said Natalie. “I knew I liked working with people, but I also wanted to advocate for better environmental conditions. Furthermore, growing up in South Florida, hurricanes were a common occurrence. I saw how climate change was affecting my community and other communities like mine, and I realized that I wanted to use the law to advocate for a sustainable future for all.”

So far, Natalie has had a very well rounded and positive experience at Haub Law. She finds the professors engaging and enthusiastic and all are willing to go beyond the classroom and act as mentors to help their students navigate their legal careers. “Professor Narula in particular always inspires me,” said Natalie. “In addition to her impressive legal career and despite any injustices that she's confronted throughout her life, she is still kind to everyone, and she reminds us to do the same. She reminds her students that it's important to process emotions as we feel them, whether we have great wins or great losses. This has been invaluable to remember.”

During her time at Haub Law, Natalie has participated in the Land Use Law Center legal externship and helped to develop the Climate Resilient Development workshop series. She is also president of the Environmental Law Society here at Haub Law, secretary of the Latin American Law Students Association, and Hospitality Vice-Chair for the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition.

Natalie is pursuing an Advanced Certificate in Environmental Law and when she graduates in 2025, she hopes to find herself working in environmental law. “I would love to end up at a firm full of people who are inspired by the law and continue to challenge themselves.”

School-life balance is important to Natalie and even as a 1L last year she was able to read 100 books for leisure! “It is important to dedicate time to focus on yourself outside of your studies,” said Natalie.

Ellie Taranto '24

Inspired by a Life of Advocating for Others

It was 4L Ellie Taranto’s own personal journey that inspired her to pursue a career in law. “My older (twin) brother, Dennis, is an expert when it comes to all things YouTube, Raffi, Thomas the Train, and Disney World. Dennis has autism and has limited communication,” said Ellie. “He requires constant supervision for his safety and attends a day program with other adults with different abilities. My mother has been an amazing support system for my siblings as we navigate our lives. When a member of your family has special needs, your entire family's life depends on putting their needs first.” Witnessing her mother first-hand navigate the legal system to ensure that her brother Dennis had proper guardianship, care, and benefits inspired Ellie to want to pursue a career that similarly helped others.

“My first legal job out of undergrad was as a legal assistant at a workers' compensation and Social Security law firm,” said Ellie. “I loved being able to help people in this capacity during difficult periods of their life, but more importantly I learned so much about the legal system.” This job was a turning point for Ellie as she realized that it was through the law that she desired to help others. She has continued to solidify this decision through then working full time as a paralegal in personal injury and insurance recovery prior to and during her time at law school. 

When she applied to law school, of primary importance to her was her ability to not just continue to work while she attended school, but to have the ability to participate in important law school experiences even as a “non-traditional” student. “With the help of Adjunct Professor Lisa Denig, I was able to complete a Guided Externship (or, a "flex"-ternship as Professor Denig and I refer it to) during my 3L year.” Since she was working full-time, Ellie could not participate in a traditional externship or clinic, however, the guided externship allowed her the opportunity to receive class credit while being placed at a company outside of the school, during non-traditional working hours. “This opportunity allowed me to gain invaluable experience in a new and unfamiliar field to me on a schedule that worked best for me. I am forever grateful for that flexibility.”

Ellie is also on Pace Law Review, where she is serving as the Executive Promotions Editor for this school year as they’re hosting the Symposium later this Spring. Ellie notes that “Pace Law Review (and our other two law reviews as well) went above and beyond to make sure that Flex students were offered the same opportunities that were traditionally for full-time students.”

For Ellie, knowing she wanted a career helping others led her to explore law as an option, but it was her work experience that solidified that choice. “By gaining work experience in the legal field, I not only solidified my interest in law, but I also gained other skills that have benefited me in my studies and will ultimately help in my career. I would encourage others thinking about law school to consider volunteering or gaining work experience in law as well before applying to law school to ensure their interest in the field.”

In her spare time, Ellie loves utilizing her Peloton, spending time with her husband and stepson, and taking long walks with her (rescue) dogs, Tucker and Cooper.

Donna Lanzetta ’86

A Sustainable Climate Future
CEO/Founder, Manna Fish Farms, Inc.

Donna Lanzetta ’86 grew up on Eastern Long Island surrounded by water, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that the ocean took on more than a recreational meaning in her life. “After thirty years of civil litigation culminating in stress related health issues, I decided to make a concerted effort to destress and eat healthier – that included major changes to my diet, including eating more seafood,” said Donna. “As I looked closer, I was shocked to see our shellfish and eelgrasses have virtually disappeared, with 99% gone. At the same time, our wild capture fisheries are at maximum sustainable capacity. Then I learned that the United States is importing over 90% of our seafood.  I studied the matter further to learn about ocean farming, and its potential to feed the world with responsibly raised protein, protein grown in balance with the environment. Considering sustainability, responsibility, and protein production in the face of climate change, I realized that, done right, ocean farming is part of the solution.”

Donna started a self-proclaimed independent study program, learning as much as she could about seafood and sustainable production. “I began to travel within and outside of the United States to attend conferences and learn more – at the time there was a lack of formal education programs on this topic.” Donna was fortunate enough to have had the invaluable benefit of touring working farms around the world. “I learned about organic production in Canada, about seafood certifications, and more. I also learned about the negative – the illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood, about seafood fraud and mislabeling. The United Nations SDGs brought it all together for me, and I was compelled to take action.”

Today, Donna is CEO & Founder of Manna Fish Farms, Inc., along with a number of related companies. Her mission: feed the world with sustainably grown seafood. “It’s time to build science-based support for ocean mariculture proving that protein production is possible in the ocean in balance with the environment.” To do this, The Manna Companies will use the latest technology to support responsible behavior and ensure balanced operations. “We must work with one another to site farms in the least impactful locations. The time is now. Seafood protein is the fastest growing protein sector, and the most environmentally sustainable protein to feed our growing world population. Consider it: Seafood is the last protein that we commercially hunt for, and the farming of seafood is a natural progression, on land and at sea. Let’s develop an ocean farming industry that operates in balance with the environment, without chemicals and overcrowding.”

Donna Lanzetta '86
Donna Lanzetta, Manna CEO, "intervening" at the United Nations in support of responsible ocean farming

Recently, Donna became an advisory board member on Haub Law’s Sustainable Business Law Hub. To serve and give back to her alma mater was important to her. “It has been uplifting to watch Haub Law’s Environmental Law Program grow over the years to national acclaim. The Sustainable Business Law Hub is a potential platform to teach about the importance of a sustainable future, including sustainable aquaculture and permitting, as well as the legal issues surrounding those practices. Most importantly, I feel it is a forum where I might contribute, with a hope to influence positive change and responsible aquaculture industry development.”

As a business owner, Donna works seven days a week, taking time off when she can for church, friends, travel, and her new grandchildren. Donna acknowledges that time management is a challenge, “I am so excited about what I am doing, building the Manna Companies and brands, that I forget to schedule time for my family and myself.” When asked about advice for future law students, Donna notes that it is important to learn the foundations, and then build upon them, which has propelled her towards her goal of a sustainable and climate smart future.

Manna Fish
Manna Ocean Engineer Zachary Davonski with Angelos Apeitos, Hatchery Manager at The University of Southern Mississippi

Dan Ruben ‘91

Executive Director, Equal Justice America

When Dan Ruben was a 2L he read a small article in the NY Times about a program at another law school where students were raising money to fund summer public interest jobs. A self-starter, committed to public interest, he thought this program was a great idea and decided to start a similar one at Haub Law, which today, we know as PILSO.

“To get the program off the ground, I went knocking on the office doors of every faculty member. I was surprised and very pleased that nearly all of them took out their checkbooks and made a contribution,” said Dan. “I realized that this idea could grow beyond fundraising at the level of a single school.” Dan describes starting PILSO as the highlight of his law school career. “The issue driving it—the lack of adequate legal representation for so many Americans—is so compelling, the need is so great, that I imagined such an organization could be successful on a national scale. I realized almost right away what I’d be doing when I graduated.”

In 1993, Dan launched Equal Justice America.  His goal upon founding EJA was “to put as many law students and graduates as possible to work on behalf of people in need.” Dan wanted to help law students committed to public interest get hands-on experience that would help them achieve their career goals and thereby the greater good.

“I wanted to see our EJA Fellows become inspired by the work and turn their Fellowship experience into careers devoted to helping others in need. The organization started off modestly but has grown exponentially. In the summer of 1994, EJA awarded five law student fellowships. Since then, more than 6,000 law students have served as Equal Justice America Fellows working with more than 700 legal aid programs across the country. “So many of our EJA Fellows have done exactly what I had hoped.  They’ve devoted their careers to public interest and provide shining examples of how the benefits of our program long outlive the duration of each individual fellowship.”

In more recent years, EJA has started funding post-graduate fellowships. “We currently have post-grad EJA Fellows advocating for domestic violence victims, veterans, young people trying to avoid the school to prison pipeline and human trafficking survivors,” said Dan.  “Another post-grad EJA Fellow’s work is focused on civil rights, racial justice and ending the criminalization of poverty.”

In 2000, Equal Justice America partnered with the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University to establish its Disability Rights Clinic. “I was grateful to the Law School and wanted to give back.”  One of EJA’s Board Members, David Santacroce, was the very first student at Pace to respond to Dan’s call to his fellow students for help launching PILSO. “David and I had conversations with Professor Vanessa Merton way back then and the EJA Disability Rights Clinic was the result of those conversations.”  The Clinic was launched with a major grant and an ongoing commitment from EJA.

Over the years, the EJA Disability Rights Clinic led by Professor Gretchen Flint and more recently Professor Patricia Angley, has helped develop so many students into public interest attorneys and as a result helped so many low-income individuals with disabilities.

When Dan started law school, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. “I was looking for a way to try to do some good. When I had that great success in getting Pace faculty to support PILSO I knew that I was on to something and that I had found a way to use my law degree in a constructive way that would help lots of people who really needed it.”

Over the years, PILSO has remained steadfast in their commitment to helping students launch careers in public service. The student run organization runs public service networking events, career panels, and also collaborates closely with the thriving Public Interest Law Center (“PILC”). PILC was formed at Haub Law in 2009 to unite and expand the public interest programs and career opportunities at the Law School and has continued to grow and expand their initiatives.

In the early 2000’s, Haub Law and PILSO recognized Dan and his trailblazing efforts of founding PILSO and Equal Justice America with a Lifetime Achievement Award. “Dan has done more for the practice of public interest law in this country than any other Pace Law graduate,” Haub Law Professor Vanessa Morton wrote in an e-mail to her faculty colleagues, which was read at the dinner that honored Dan.

Dan Ruben '91

Today, Dan is confident he made the right career path for himself in founding PILSO and ultimately, EJA. “The U.S. Constitution rightly guarantees that criminal defendants will be provided with legal counsel.  There is no such right to counsel for people who are unable to afford lawyers in legal matters involving basic human needs - such as shelter, sustenance, safety, health, and child custody.

The Legal Services Corporation estimates that 80% of the legal needs of low-income people are not being met. “That justice gap needs to be closed,” said Dan.   “Unfortunately, what EJA is able to do is really just a drop in the bucket. Legal aid programs need to be better funded to meet the need. However, in our own small way, I believe EJA has contributed to a better and more just legal system by encouraging students to make careers serving others and giving them the opportunity to get the experience necessary to have successful public interest careers. Countless thousands of individuals struggling to keep it together in difficult and often desperate situations have received help from our EJA Fellows during their Fellowships and during their careers as public interest attorneys.”

Equal Justice America is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year.  Please consider a donation at http://www.equaljusticeamerica.org.

Faculty Focus

Professor Louis Fasulo
Director of Advocacy Programs and Professor of Practice in Advocacy

Alumnus. Attorney. Professor. Director of Advocacy Programs. Entrepreneur. Mentor. These are some of the words that can be used to describe Lou Fasulo’s professional life. After graduating from what was then called Pace Law in 1983, Professor Fasulo worked as a Public Defender for the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan for 11 years. He quickly rose in the supervisory ranks to the Position of Director of Staff Development and Training. From there, he founded his own firm while also starting his journey as Director of Advocacy Programs at Haub Law as well as Professor of Practice in Trial Advocacy. Professor Fasulo has tried over 100 cases in state and federal court in both civil and criminal matters ranging from White Collar crimes to Terrorism. He is a true trial attorney, and the courtroom and classroom are where he thrives. For the last 30 years, Professor Fasulo has made an impact on a countless number of Haub Law students and developed a top ranked advocacy program at the Law School.

What drew you to the practice of law?
I always wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember. My dad was a lawyer, and he was my inspiration. I learned what the law practice meant to him and how much he enjoyed helping clients. There was no other career I could imagine myself doing from a very young age.

What was it about Pace that appealed to you when you were applying to law school?
I had friends going to Seton Hall, my dad went to Brooklyn Law, and I felt that I needed a new challenge and my own identity, so I decided to visit Pace. I was impressed with the community and the opportunities. Right away I liked the faculty community, I liked the size, and I just felt it would be a perfect fit. I wanted to begin a more serious academic journey and it worked out perfectly for me.

How did you start teaching and directing the advocacy program at Haub Law?
When I graduated from Haub Law, I went to work at the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan, I served there in a variety of capacities. Along the way, I ran into the then current teacher of trial advocacy at Pace. She was going on trial and needed help in the classroom, so I helped and I loved it. That in turn led to me getting my first class and then Dean Emeritus Richard Ottinger appointed me as the first ever Director of Trial Advocacy at Pace and I have been here since, furthering my involvement along the way. Teaching has always been my greatest passion. I love the courtroom, but I am truly passionate about teaching. It has been a true blessing to be at Pace in the capacity I am. Nothing makes me happier than watching the journey of my students in practice. I am excited when a student invites me to their first trial and shares their professional and personal successes. It is very rewarding to see the positive journey and path so many former students are on.

Lou Fasulo in classroom

What differentiates Haub Law’s advocacy program from other advocacy programs?
We have a deep-rooted commitment in developing the individuality of each advocate and focusing on what personal attributes that advocate brings to the table. We work on developing each individual advocate’s skillset. We are not in the business of creating robotic lawyers. We want to find which skills will best serve that particular law student in their legal career. We expose our students to various techniques and styles so that they can find in themselves what is best for them. We provide great mentorship and opportunities for our students to get experience before graduation. It’s an all-hands-on approach by one of the most dedicated and talented faculty in the country.

What have you learned from your students over the years?
I learn how important the continual path of learning is to being the best lawyer I can be. Every single thing that happens in the classroom I reflect upon, and it helps me to adjust, modify, and sometimes change the things I do in my practice on behalf of my clients. I am also reminded about the pure excitement and energy that I had when I graduated. Being in the classroom and teaching reinvigorates me as to why I chose to continue to be on the path to serving clients and being in the courtroom.

What advice do you have for law students who are interested in pursuing a career in litigation?
My number one advice is good lawyers are good listeners, but great lawyers are great listeners. I encourage the students to be prepared but to listen to what is needed to succeed. That listening may be auditory or might just be picking up on the vibe of a judge or jury.

After 11 years at the Legal Aid Society, you founded your own firm, over 30 years ago. What are the biggest rewards and challenges of having your own firm?
Simply stated it is defining your work world. Who you wish to work with, the cases you choose to work on and creating the atmosphere which encourages collaboration and teamwork all in the effort to serve our clients. The greatest reward is the ability to decide exactly what your practice is going to look like, how you are going to spend your days, and what legal issues you want to invest in. The second greatest reward is the mentorship you are able to provide to so many associates and new attorneys. The ability to have that positive and direct impact on new lawyers is profound. The challenge is the business end of the practice of law. You must be a good businessperson to be able to be successful as a law firm partner.

What makes Haub Law such a special place for you?
The support of the community. As much as I feel like I contribute to Haub Law, the Law School has been extremely supportive of me and the Advocacy Program. When I started, we did not have an advocacy program, but with the support of the deans, the faculty and staff I was able to develop a tremendous, top ranked program that we should all be proud of. Our deans, our faculty, our staff – they are all very supportive of one another. However, the most important element is our students. Our students work hard, respect each other and care as much about our program as I do. They are truly invested. They prove this by giving back to future classes. Haub Law to me means community and from that community come great opportunities and connections. Some of the proudest moments of my professional life have been as a result of my connection to the Law School – having the first-year moot court competition named after me and being honored at the annual law leadership dinner. It is truly a little bit different than every other law school.

You graduated from law school in 1983, 40 years ago, what sort of alumni network do you maintain today?
I stay in touch with my core group of friends who I graduated with and who remain very influential in my life and career, but I have also expanded my network in so many ways. I have met a tremendous number of Pace alumni along the way – students who are now alumni, alumni that graduated in different years than me. I have a large and extensive Pace alumni network, which I value.

Aside from the law, how do you spend your spare time?
My family just bought a house in Italy, so I look forward to spending time there together. I am a huge New York Rangers fan. I truly enjoy traveling and meeting new people. I love going to the theater. I have many entrepreneurial interests. My terrific wife along with my two daughters are my favorite people to spend time with. I am immensely proud of my daughters and all they have accomplished and continue to accomplish. To me, family time is the most important. To be a successful lawyer you must balance professional life with a strong and active personal life

Bryn Goodman '11

Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP

Since 2013, Bryn Goodman has served as co-coach of Haub Law’s team for the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. “Coaching has been an incredibly enriching experience for me because of the valuable lessons I've learned from the students,” said Bryn. “I've found that I've gained just as much, if not more, from coaching as I did when I was a student myself. It's a true pleasure to witness the growth of students over the course of the six-month competition.”

Founded by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, the Willem C. Vis Moot is the world’s premier international commercial law moot court. Held each spring in Vienna, Austria, the moot involves an arbitration of a dispute arising out of a contract of sale between two parties in countries that are parties to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. This moot provides experience in commercial arbitration skills and provides an opportunity for students to develop international commercial law expertise. “Participating students in the Vis moot undergo an academically challenging experience where they gain insights into procedural issues associated with drafting and enforcing arbitration agreements,” said Bryn. “They also acquire knowledge about what to anticipate during an arbitration proceeding and how to navigate the rules of an arbitral institute. The competition offers students not only a chance to enhance their advocacy skills but also an opportunity to understand the intricacies of arbitration and its relationship with domestic enforcement procedures.”

While Bryn was a student at Haub Law, she was very involved in the School’s Trial Advocacy Program and in particular, found her participation on the Vis Team to be transformational. “In the program, I spent two years on the Vis Team, which turned out to be the most rewarding experience during my time in law school. We competed against more than 300 teams from around the world, addressing issues related to the validity of arbitration agreements and breach of contract. While it might sound straightforward, it demanded extensive research and rigorous practice to refine our arguments. This experience was the most effective in preparing me for a legal career, and I believe many others in Pace's Trial Advocacy program share this sentiment.”

Today, Bryn is a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP, a leading national law firm. Her specialized area of practice focuses on employment law, where she offers guidance to companies on potential disputes and various HR-related matters. She represents clients in both federal and state court cases and administrative proceedings. She also notes that ADR is an essential tool for lawyers and in her day-to-day practice. “In my practice, I regularly negotiate and mediate cases. In the labor and employment context, arbitration is also frequently used,” said Bryn. “Many federal courts even mandate mediation as a means to reduce the case load of judges. Whether handling commercial contracts, corporate agreements, or employment contracts, lawyers should be able to assess whether ADR is available and appropriate and the enforceability of a dispute resolution clause. Creative ADR strategies can greatly benefit clients, making it necessary for lawyers to understand how to use it to their advantage to be the best possible advocates.”

Prior to applying to law school, Bryn spent a year in France teaching English and then moved to New York City where she worked as a paralegal. It was Haub Law’s international law certificate program that intrigued her to apply. She continued to work as a paralegal in New York City throughout her first and second years of law school, which she notes made balancing work and classes a constant juggling act.

“During my second year, I also took on the added challenge of joining the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Team. This presented new challenges of learning different writing and oral advocacy skills and working with a team,” said Bryn. “By my third year, I had stopped working outside of school, but I intensified my academic commitments. I became involved in the Investor Rights Clinic, held the position of Managing Editor for the Pace Law Review, served as co-captain of the Vis Moot team, and was a Dean's Scholar. Managing these responsibilities allowed me to develop strong skills in time management and prioritization, ultimately enhancing my legal skills and preparing me for the demands of professional practice.”

Today, as coach of the Vis Moot team, Bryn feels fortunate to have a part in students’ personal and professional development through the competition. “Learning and change are not always easy, but by the end of the program, everyone has made significant progress in their writing and oral advocacy skills. Each year brings new challenges as the competition introduces novel legal issues, and each team exhibits unique dynamics. It is also amazing to keep in touch with many former students and track their success. I feel so lucky to have had an opportunity to coach all these years.”

Bryn’s advice for students or graduates with a particular interest: “Do not be discouraged if you don’t land your dream job right after law school. Any job you take after law school equips you with valuable skills that will likely benefit you throughout your career. Gain experience, but also take steps toward your goal by getting involved, volunteering, networking, joining relevant committees. Focus on building a resume that reflects your ongoing commitment to your desired area of practice, and you'll eventually achieve your goal.”

On the weekends, you can catch Bryn in Central Park running, on a bike ride, or the Peloton if it’s raining, and spending time with her family.

Angelica Cancel '17

A Passion for Advocacy

Passionate about social justice issues from a young age, Angelica Cancel ‘17 knew she wanted to be an advocate, but wasn’t sure what that looked like for her. “I was a Philosophy and Political Science major in college and the pieces just kind of fell into place. I took a few constitutional law classes and found myself really excited about the material,” said Angelica. “From there, I developed mentoring relationships with some attorneys. The idea of going to law school became more of a real possibility and when I thought about it, it felt right.”

Once she enrolled at Haub Law, Angelica knew she was in the right place. “The student-faculty ratio, location in Westchester and proximity to NYC, and the public service and advocacy programs all appealed to me. From the very beginning, Haub Law felt like a community.”  At Haub Law, Angelica was heavily involved in both the Latin American Law Student Association and the Advocacy Program, both of which she describes as crucial to her development as a student and attorney.

Today, Angelica is a staff attorney with the Civil Action Practice at The Bronx Defenders. Her practice focuses on housing, employment, and civil rights. Working with The Bronx Defenders is exactly what Angelica hoped to do – engage with her community and more meaningfully pursue social justice initiatives. “As a Latina from the Bronx, I had been following and admiring the work of the organization for a long time and feel fortunate to be part of it now.” 

Angelica notes that her day-to-day responsibilities vary as a staff attorney, but the tools she learned through her participation with the Advocacy Program at Haub Law have proved invaluable. “One day, I can be in Bronx Housing Court presenting oral argument or negotiating settlement agreements. The next day, I can be predominantly on the phone following up with clients, opposing counsel, and various agencies. The following day, I am drafting dispositive motions, advocacy letters, and responsive papers. Our office also heavily emphasizes a holistic defense model which means collaborating with other practice groups to address all a client’s needs. Being a public defender illuminates just how much various systems affect one another, which has been essential to becoming a better advocate and community member.”

It was through her participation in the Advocacy Program at Haub Law that Angelica began to build her confidence. “I am the first in my family to attend law school and sometimes I had many moments of self-doubt and insecurity. The Advocacy Program instilled confidence in me from the very beginning. I started with the 1L competition. Somehow, I got through it, advanced, and received positive feedback. I competed in a national competition with my now husband, Jordan Montoya ‘17, and a close friend, Richard Roman ‘17, and we won! I had the opportunity to travel to Florida, Puerto Rico and Vienna, Austria (twice). Of course, those were transformative and beautiful experiences that I will never forget, but more importantly than any travel or accolade, were the relationships I formed with mentors, teachers, and colleagues,” recalls Angelica. “I learned so much from my teammates and coaches, constantly. You develop such a comradery as you go from late nights practicing answering questions in the fishbowl to rooting for each other silently during a stressful round. I knew I wanted to eventually teach as an adjunct professor and coaching advocacy teams upon graduation. After a few years practicing, I was granted that opportunity and have since coached 10 teams.”

Recently, Angelica started teaching Advanced Appellate Advocacy at Haub Law as an Adjunct Professor. “I feel so incredibly grateful to not only teach, but in many ways, learn again. In Advanced Appellate Advocacy, students are so vulnerable in presenting and organizing a complex legal argument. I feel proud to hear their questions, watch them grow as speakers, and perform with confidence and persuasiveness. The students in the class are so talented and it’s been such a gift to be a witness to their passion. It has been a truly full circle experience being able to give back to the Haub Law community that taught me so much.”

Eric Brown '25

An Officer and a (Future) Lawyer

Eric Brown has become accustomed to balancing work, school, and responsibilities throughout his life. Eric grew up in a single parent household where his mother instilled in him the importance of an education. “My mother and grandmother’s backgrounds trace back to Puerto Rico,” said Eric. “They both worked from a very young age but were never pushed to pursue any sort of education beyond high school. After my mother finished high school and had my brother and me, she did start her college degree, but it was difficult as a single parent to continue while also working and raising two children alone. From a young age, she encouraged me to place a priority on my education.”

After Eric finished high school, he moved away from home and attended Manhattanville College while also working part-time. “I am the first to attend and graduate college in my family. After college, I also obtained my master’s degree from Seton Hall. Receiving my JD will be my third higher education degree.” Eric originally aspired to be a dentist, but quickly learned that he did not enjoy the coursework as much as he anticipated. “I was bored, but then one day I attended a job fair and met a professor who invited me to take a political science course. I fell in love
with the curriculum and decided to pursue a degree in it.”

Shortly after graduating from college, Eric took the police department exam and began a career in law enforcement. Once he decided to attend law school, Eric sought out the perfect setting for him to do that – one where he could continue his job as a police officer and further his education. Haub Law was the perfect fit with its flexible part-time program. “I have worked part-time throughout all my educational pursuits. It has allowed me to honor my upbringing, provide for myself, and my family.”

Eric acknowledges that the busy schedule of being a part-time law student along with a police officer is not without its struggles at times, but also very rewarding. “Having the experience as a police officer has been very beneficial, it allows me to see both sides of the law and view things more objectively. While I am constantly on the go, my outlook has always been positive and that anything is possible if you stay focused and humble. This is especially true if you stay confident in yourself while never being afraid to ask for help.”

For Eric, help when he needs it, has been readily available at Haub Law. “I personally love the extra support that is always given by the staff and professors here. And, my classmates are amazing, they are always willing to help one another out. The level of comradery is extraordinary.” In particular, Eric is thankful for the support he has received from the Honorable Daniel D. Angiolillo, who is the Jurist-in-Residence at Haub Law and also, Dean for Students Angie D’Agostino. “Both of these individuals have instilled so much wisdom in me and so much support. In my life, I have learned that the right people will always show up when you need it and that has proven very true here for me.”

As a part-time student, Eric is set to graduate in 2025 from Haub Law. He spent his spring 2023 semester as a judicial extern for the Honorable Adam Silvera, an Administrative Judge in the Civil Division of the New York State Supreme Court. As far as future goals, Eric is taking it one day at a time. “I really enjoy my career in law enforcement, but I can also see myself in the private sector. I try to have an open mind about the future.”

Faculty Focus: Professor Camila Bustos

Joining the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2023 as an Assistant Professor of Law, Professor Camila Bustos is one of Haub Law’s newest faculty additions. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Professor Bustos shares a passion for human rights law and climate change law. Prior to joining Haub Law, Professor Bustos was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Human Rights at Trinity College and a Clinical Supervisor in human rights practice at the University Network for Human Rights. She also served as a term law clerk to Justice Steven D. Ecker of the Connecticut Supreme Court and as a consultant with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). At Haub Law, she will be teaching an International Human Rights Seminar, an Environmental Law Survey course, and the Environmental Law Seminar: Climate Change & Migration. Learn more about Professor Bustos and the fresh, innovative perspective she brings to her research, scholarship, and the classroom in this Q&A. 

Let’s jump right in, can you tell us a bit about your background?

I am originally from Bogota, Colombia and I moved to Miami when I was thirteen. This period in my life was deeply formative and continues to inform how I navigate and approach my personal and professional life. My time in Miami exposed me to different languages, cultures, and ways of thinking, which has always made me intellectually curious about meeting new people and traveling to new places. In addition to having Spanish as my native language, I have been learning Portuguese. I also try to stay connected to Latin American issues as much as I can (news, culture, music, etc.).

My time growing up in Miami also showed me the arbitrariness of borders and the way in which having legal status can transform someone’s life. Growing up in a city of immigrants and being an immigrant sparked my interest in immigration law – its development, limitations, and opportunities for change.

During college, I spent a lot of my time between research and advocacy spaces. I researched international climate politics, while engaging in fossil fuel divestment campaigns. I became interested in how law and policy can be leveraged to tackle problems like climate change. Afterwards, I spent two years working for a Colombian human rights organization before returning to the States for law school.

Your research interests and areas of expertise include human rights law, environmental law, international environmental law, and climate change law – what is it about those areas that hold your interest?

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that humanity faces, if not the greatest. As with other environmental problems, climate change is inherently a global problem that requires international cooperation in addition to strong domestic action. These areas seek to understand how global politics and policies may hinder or facilitate progress.

I see environmental issues, including climate, as intrinsically human rights issues. They entail a range of impacts with severe consequences for the fulfillment of human rights, necessitating decisive State action to protect people and ecosystems.

Further development of human rights and environmental law is essential to hold accountable the most powerful actors behind the crisis, namely fossil fuel companies, carbon-intensive industries, ultrarich individuals, and top-emitter States. Despite its limitations, I am interested in how law can be leveraged by affected communities and individuals alike to seek justice in a deeply unequal world.

What are some of your current research interests and projects?

I am interested in continuing to think and write on the legal protection gap for climate displaced people at the international and domestic levels. I am also interested in further exploring the duties of States— as rooted in human rights law or ethics more broadly—to climate displaced people. My forthcoming article Climate Change and Internal Displacement in Colombia: A Tragedy Foretold? looks at the development of separate protection regimes for internally displaced people.

While there is a legal framework for those displaced in the context of armed conflict (e.g., think about abuela in the Disney movie Encanto), individuals displaced by environmental and climate events fall under the disaster policy framework. Through the case study of Gramalote, Colombia—the first municipality in Colombia displaced by climate-related events—I argue States must protect the right of populations to stay in place and return when possible.

I have also been researching the implications of climate change for the legal profession writ large, looking at the ways in which the climate crisis requires a transformation in how lawyers practice law and conceive of their professional responsibility. I am keen to explore legal ethics through a comparative perspective, focusing on the UK and the US for now. I am currently working on a book chapter for the forthcoming publication Educating lawyers for climate and environmental justice: theory and practice (2024).

You have recently published articles on climate migration and displacement – can you speak a bit more about that research area and the overall big picture impact you see that having on different people/groups and society as a whole? 

Although exact figures on climate displacement projections vary, climate change will continue to force people to move internally and across borders. This is a tremendously complex issue, with implications for administrative, immigration, and international law, among others. I am keen to contribute to this debate for a few reasons.

First, climate change disproportionately impacts groups that have been historically marginalized or discriminated against. Displacement often impacts individuals with more limited resources to adapt and whose high exposure to climate risk might push them over the edge.

Second, the scale of the challenge requires scholars and practitioners to collaborate on policy gaps and potential solutions.

The last few articles I published focused on climate migration and displacement from different angles: (1) how do climate displaced people experience climate catastrophes, relocate, and establish new lives after displacement; (2) how does human rights law apply in the context of environmental and climate displacement in Central America and Colombia; and (3) what legal avenues, domestic and international, are available to protect climate displaced people whether internally or across borders?

Why did you want to become a professor?

It’s a bit of a funny story. For years, my partner had encouraged me to think about becoming a professor. I’ve always been intellectually curious and most of my professional experience before joining Pace involved significant research and writing. Before seriously considering academia, I was already writing articles “for fun” with colleagues. Even then, I thought I would practice law for several years before considering an academic position.

However, the opportunity to teach an undergraduate class and work closely with undergraduate and law students was transformative. I realized how amazing it was to be surrounded by students and how much more deeply I was able to think about issues when teaching and facilitating enriching discussions. Having a profession where you can teach, think, write, and collaborate is such an exciting and privileged career. Although becoming a professor was unexpected in some ways, I feel incredibly lucky to have joined the Pace community.

As a professor you are tasked with teaching students, but what have you also learned from them in return?

I love this question. I am going to cheat and quote Claudia Goldin, who recently won the Nobel economics prize for her groundbreaking work on wage inequality. During an interview, Goldin emphasized the role of students in her research:

“I am a professor; I am a teacher. I am standing here because I have my students. And my students are my muses; my students are the individuals I depend upon to listen to my ideas and react to them. Everyone should realize that teaching is the handmaiden of research. Research is knowledge creation; teaching is knowledge diffusion. And we do both.”

I learn from my students in every single class. They bring unique and fresh perspectives to new and old problems; they challenge me to crystallize my thinking and ideas. They make me a better thinker and scholar. Most importantly, they make me a better person by helping me question my own assumptions, biases, and paradigms.

What advice do you have for law students – generally and more specifically to those who want to gain experience in human rights law?

First, I would encourage students to try learning a second or third language if they can. While English remains the lingua franca in many international spaces, understanding other languages will open doors to different regions of the world and areas of practice. It also demonstrates humility and intellectual curiosity, which any future employer would value.

Second, I would advise students to engage with all the critical scholarship on human rights law. There are significant foundational and theoretical questions underpinning human rights practice. To name a few, are human rights universal? If so, what do we mean by that? Can human rights be a transformative project despite some of its practical limitations and historical origins? Reading critical approaches to international law (i.e., TWAIL or feminist critiques) makes us better human rights scholars and practitioners.

Third, find what you are passionate about. Human rights law is a broad area, encompassing a range of issues from racial discrimination, armed conflict, gender equity, environmental protection, etc. There are also different points of intervention: local, national, and international. I encourage students to think creatively about “human rights”, their own set of skills, and in what capacity they would like to contribute their talents.

You also co-founded Law Students for Climate Accountability (LSCA), a national law student-led movement pushing the legal industry to phase out fossil fuel representation and support a just, livable future – can you talk about what led you to found this movement and the importance of it? And, your best advice for how students can effect this type of very impactful push towards change like you did/have.

Like many others in my generation, I decided to go to law school to use the law to work on climate change issues. While I found the 1L doctrinal courses interesting, I found myself frustrated at both the failure of most 1L curriculums to address climate issues and the collective pressure to go work at a corporate law firm after law school.

While law firms are not monoliths, many of the largest and most prestigious firms conduct extensive lobbying, litigation, and transactional work on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. In response, a group of us decided to explore the ways in which “Big Law” upholds the fossil fuel economy and often hinders climate action by producing the first-ever Climate Change Scorecard.

Since 2020, LSCA has grown into a national and international movement, with colleagues in the UK, Canada, and Australia working on similar initiatives to hold the legal industry accountable. We have produced four iterations of the Climate Change Scorecard and have organized students across dozens of campuses in the United States.

My advice to students is to remember their own power to effect change. The legal profession and legal institutions are by default small “c” -conservative and resistant to change. It takes persistent and organized efforts to change social institutions, but it is possible.

As an undergraduate student, I remember several administrators and professors told us that fossil fuel divestment was simply “impossible” and would never happen. Today, more than twenty universities have partially or completely divested their endowment from fossil fuels and the movement has only continued to build momentum.

While I understand the pressure students face in securing a job after graduation, students shouldn’t forget that they hold the power of their talent.

Aside from law, how do you spend your spare time?

I love spending time with my dog Spice and must admit a lot of time goes into walking, brushing, and cuddling him. I also enjoy running and spinning —I am a huge Peloton fan (sorry not sorry). Aside from that, you can find me singing and dancing to Bad Bunny or Taylor Swift on repeat, going on walks and hikes across Connecticut, and attending concerts and music festivals with my partner.

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