Success Stories

Faculty Focus

Visiting Professor Debra Moss Vollweiler

Debra Moss Vollweiler is a Visiting Professor at Haub Law for the spring semester of 2022, and the 2022-2023 Academic Year. While at Haub Law, Professor Vollweiler is teaching Secured Transactions, Corporations and Partnerships, and Contracts. She is a tenured Professor of Law at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and is the former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean of the College of Law. A frequently published scholar, her research and works have focused on professionalism, teaching, learning, and attorney discipline. An expert on the law school curriculum and teaching, learn more about Professor Vollweiler, her background, career, and advice for law students in this student-led Q&A.

You are teaching Secure Transactions and also Corporations and Partnerships at Haub Law this semester, what brought you to Pace?

I am currently a Visiting Professor here at Haub Law - from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law in sunny, warm Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I recently finished five years of intense administrative work at NSU. I was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and I was the interim dean for a period of that time as well. I was Interim Dean during 2020, which meant I was in the seat when the pandemic hit. I was actually serving in both roles simultaneously at that time. We did get a new dean, and I assisted with that transition, but I ultimately decided that I was not spending as much time on teaching, which I truly love, because of that intense administrative role I had. So, I was looking for a way to return to teaching and that can be hard to fully immerse yourself in when you've been an administrator on a faculty. Nobody ever kind of really wants to let you go. And so my thought was if I could visit at another institution, it would give me the space and time to really dedicate myself fully into what I love to do and teaching and sort of be a hard break from what I was doing I loved my time as an administrator, but I am just so thrilled to be back in teaching.

I am from New York and I actually have a ton of family up here, my children are in New York, Boston, and Maryland, and we already had an apartment in New York.  Being in this area was a big draw and when I thought about making the change, and when I saw that Pace was looking for someone whose teaching aligned exactly with what I wanted to do, I was immediately interested.  I met some of the faculty and talking to them, I thought it was a great place to relaunch my full-time teaching journey so I'm thrilled to be here.

Now that you have been here, what do you think about Haub Law?

Actually, I have loved everything about it. I'm so impressed with everybody at Pace, everybody has really been very welcoming and helpful. Everyone is so dedicated to what they do-- students, faculty, staff alike. I'm really impressed with that. 

You have mentioned a few times that your true passion is teaching – can you tell me about that?

When you look at some people's scholarship, they really connect their scholarship to the substantive law of what they do. People who teach environmental law often write about environmental law. My scholarship from the very beginning, and I'm going back 20 something years, has been about teaching, so I have spent the bulk of my career, not just being a teacher, but reading about good teaching, trying to think about teaching, and writing about teaching.

Since people who teach in law school don't necessarily come through the same path as other teachers-- if you wanted to be a K through 12 teacher you need certain degrees and student teaching and training, I've spent a lot of time reading about the formal training and reading into those resources that other kinds of teachers get and trying to import them and translate that to law school teaching.

Most faculty talk about their scholarship and their teaching dovetailing, but mine is a little different, as it is about the idea of teaching, not about contracts or corporations or secure lending. So I have literally spent my entire career thinking and learning how to be a teacher. I will say also when I was waiting for my bar results when I took the bar exam (I'm licensed in Florida) and it was a long wait for the bar results, I actually paid the bills by being a substitute middle school math teacher. So, that was actually where I got the idea that you know there's a lot more to teaching than we think about, and I went into practice after that. I didn't go right into teaching, but that was the first seeds of my personal understanding that teaching was a discipline to itself. In addition to the law, you could pair it with whatever subject you want, but it's a discipline that was sort of the root of that idea.

So, if anybody needs help with their algebra homework, you can let me know!

Cupcake NY
Professor Vollweiler is pictured here in front of a cupcake ATM in New York City, which she uses as a case study in her Secured Transactions class.

What are you currently working on right now?

I am currently working on an article that takes a concept that I saw once in passing, that's being used in other parts of education. I'm trying to think about how to use this in law education, which is something called a “skill”abus--replacing a traditional syllabus with a “skill”abus . I am reading and investigating everything I can find about how to do this and how this idea hasn't really formally reached law schools. Traditional syllabi are focused so much on doctrine--you know, 'in this class we're going to cover this case' and in this case gross negligence and corporate formation and whatever the doctrine is of the course.

However, there are skills that you're teaching underlying that doctrine in every course, not just how we think in law school of skills courses like interviewing and counseling or trial advocacy, but that in every single course your teaching skills are built in. These could be anything from oral advocacy to critical thinking to whatever it is, so a “skill”abus signals the building of the skills into the benchmark of the syllabus so that this becomes more transparent and apparent to students. The whole goal of the course, and my idea, is to explain the concept of skills in every course, why they should be up front for students, not hidden underneath the doctrine of the syllabus, and to model some ways that we can reimagine syllabi to be “skill”abus.

What advice do you have for students who one day would like to go into contracts or secured lending?

I think for students who want to go into contracts or secure lending. I think there's two things I want to get across. Number one – I think it's important to not dismiss the importance of foundational courses.

I think sometimes students get frustrated in a course like contracts or corporations because you're not drafting contracts, and you're not actually learning exactly the steps to take in whatever state you're in to form a corporation and to incorporate something--you're learning the underlying foundational theories and principles. So I would say my first advice to students is don't diminish the importance of those foundational courses. Understanding all of those underlying concepts and how they relate to one another is a really important step. 

My next advice would be, then if you're still interested in the subject after the foundational courses, or if you become interested after the foundational courses, take as many levels in the subject as you can. If you can, take what the ABA would call a simulation course workshop, such as in a contract drafting that gives you the opportunity to apply your foundational knowledge to fictional clients. But then, close the loop and take that learning into a live client experience, whether it's through some type of a clinical experience or an externship or any type of position to appreciate each step of that path and what you learn at each point. Don't try to jump to the end right away. Don't try to say, well, I'm just going to get a job and learn there, I don't need all of this training.

I think that you will be a better lawyer by having taken your time and really practicing the skills at every step. I also want to say that even if you think you don't want to do contracts, or secured lending or deal with sales of goods, it's so ubiquitous in the world, that it's kind of hard to find an area of law where you're never going to touch any of those subjects. So I would encourage all students to take these kinds of foundational courses.

I can tell you I once had a student a long time ago, sat in the very back of my contracts class, who very clearly did not like the contracts class and one day before class I was just chatting with people get to know them. And I said, so what are you thinking of contracts and he says, I hate this class, I don’t want to learn it. I just want to be a sports lawyer. Of course, sports lawyers do contracts constantly. But in first year contracts, there are no sports law cases --you're talking about an opera house that burned down and you're talking about somebody not showing up for work on a sailing ship in the 1800s. But you still need to learn these foundations.

So that would be my other piece of advice, keep your mind open to all of the things that you want to do.

Thank you for doing this, I have friends in your classes and they absolutely love the class and have mentioned how great of a teacher you are.

I'm glad to hear they're enjoying the class. I really love these classes, so it's always nice when someone else shares my enthusiasm. It is always nice to hear that feedback regarding my teaching since I have spent a good deal of my scholarship and focus on thinking about teaching; really, it is actually wonderful to hear.  I am looking forward to returning next year!

Fencing DMV
Outside of the law, Professor Vollweiler enjoys many hobbies, one of them being fencing. You can see her on the right, scoring a touch against a colleague. She rediscovered her collegiate sport during the pandemic.

Learn more about Debra Moss Vollweiler.

Pamela Guerrero '22

Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow

A first-generation US Citizen, Pamela Guerrero entered law school with a passion for immigration law. Throughout law school, she followed that passion by participating in the Immigration Justice Clinic. Now, a 3L, after the bar exam, Pamela is set to follow her dreams as she was awarded a prestigious Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship.  Learn more about Pamela, her background, her experience with Haub Law’s Immigration Justice Clinic, and more in this Q&A.

Let’s start off with you telling us a bit about your background and how you chose Haub Law.

I am a first-gen US citizen from Dominican parents who originally moved to Washington Heights, Bronx, New York, but then settled in Westchester. My parents are both professionals (administrators in education), but neither of them ever served as lawyers in this country so I am also a first-gen law student. As a child, I had the rare opportunity of attending the first public Montessori School in Yonkers, NY and then went on to double major in Political Science/International Studies and minor in Spanish at Manhattanville College. I graduated from my undergraduate program a semester early and immediately started at Haub Law as a January admit. I came to law school, because I learned of many socioeconomic inequities in the US while attending undergraduate school and wanted to be in an advocacy position to be able to address these issues. I was especially concerned with the immigration system in this country and wanted to become an immigration lawyer to provide newly arrived children and adolescents with the protection they need to thrive in the US. Geographically, Pace was the perfect place for me and I saw it as a place with diverse learning opportunities.

You mentioned, immigration law as an interest of yours, are there any other areas you have developed an interest in?

Yes, International Law and Health Law.

You are now a 3L, thinking back, which experiences at Haub Law have stuck with you?

Participating in the Immigration Justice Clinic. The Clinic has challenged me by making me learn how to do all the practical tasks of lawyering (such as maintaining client files and setting appointments) on top of the usual lawyer tasks related to client representation. It has also made me intellectually engage with other immigration lawyers within NYS and actively question the purpose of many immigration laws. The pandemic may have limited the contact I could have had with clients, but I have still been able to prep clients for hearings and learn how to establish rapport with potential clients. Finally, the clinic has provided me with a community of students that are interested in doing the best pro bono work possible and this has encouraged me to improve myself as a person and as a legal advocate. 

Along the same lines, which professors have had an impact on you?

Professor Smita Narula and Professor Vanessa Merton have made an impact on me. Seeing their passion in their work firsthand is inspiring and serves as a continuous reminder that there are lawyers who strive to work toward better for the clients that they serve. Both professors are also very research-oriented, which has taught me that being a lawyer can also mean being a student for life and that is a good thing. 

Which student organizations are you involved in on campus?

I am an E-Board member for the NLG – Pace Chapter. I am also president of the International Law Society. My participation in campus activities has allowed me to engage with many members of the Haub Law community and contribute to the excellent camaraderie that was already there. Just because we are in law school, studying and working hard a lot, doesn't mean we can't have exciting events that create great memories.

What does justice mean to you?

To me justice means that everyone is provided with the resources they need to thrive in their country and that no one person or group of people is left behind. We normally touch on equality when discussing justice, but what is really needed is equity because not everyone has the same socioeconomic needs. Instead of striving to make everyone equal we must simply do better and allow every difference to be accounted for in any conversation related to societal improvement. Thus to me justice is essentially equity and encouraging support for people/groups that have been traditionally disenfranchised and marginalized. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of law school?

I enjoy hiking on local trails and doing some urban exploring in NYC. The harder the trail is the better it tends to be (Bear Mountain is one of my favorites for hiking due to distance and challenge). As for urban exploration, I keep all the places in NYC that I hear about saved on my google maps and then take a day to visit all the doable places. I tend to find a lot of rare food places like an ice cream place that does ice cream towers in a jar or unique hobby places. I also tend to frequent The Strand, a very large bookstore in lower NYC. I also enjoy traveling outside of New York and have been to Chile, Switzerland, France, Canada, and other far-flung places.

What are your plans after law school?

I was awarded an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship and received a post-graduation immigration law placement with The Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before I leave, I plan to study for and take the NY Bar exam and perhaps hike the Catskills one last time.

Bryan '19 and Brendan '23

Meet the Conway Brothers

Bryan Conway, a prosecutor in Orange County, NY, and Brendan Conway, a 2L at Haub Law, grew up with several family influences in the field of law. Despite this, law school was not always at the forefront of Bryan or Brendan’s mind. After spending some time interning with a family court judge Bryan’s mind was made up and he decided to pursue a career in law. For Brendan, it was during his junior year of undergraduate school that he began to think about law as a potential career. Bryan made the decision to attend Pace, in part, based on its excellent academic reputation and location. A few years later, his brother, Brendan, also keen on Haub Law’s location saw his brother’s positive experience at the school and decided to pursue his legal education there. Read more about Bryan and Brendan and their law school journey in this Q&A.

Was your path to law school similar – was law school always on your radar?

Bryan: Initially, I wanted nothing to do with becoming a lawyer. My dad is an attorney, and, from what I could tell, it was long hours (and lots of writing). However, all it took was a few days interning with a family court judge in college to realize the impact that lawyers have on an everyday basis. I decided then and there that I’d like to pursue a career in law.

Brendan:  I went to James Madison University and graduated with a business degree in Finance. I originally wanted to start working right after college, but during my junior year I started to think about going to law school. I did not always want to be a lawyer, but the idea of going to law school was not as intimidating to me as it ordinarily might have been because my dad, brother, and aunt all went to law school and currently practice law. Once I decided for sure that this was something I wanted to pursue, it was nice to be able to lean on them for support during the application process. I graduated college in May of 2020 and started at Pace the following fall.

Why did you both choose Pace?

Bryan: I knew I wanted to be close to my family in Rockland and that, ideally, I’d like to practice law in New York. Pace has an excellent academic reputation, is affordable and allowed me to commute from home - it made the decision an easy one. 

Brendan: After living in Virginia for four years, I knew I wanted to come back to the tri-state area to attend school. I wasn’t completely sold on going to school in New York City, so I wanted to expand my search. I liked how Pace was located in Westchester, but also has ties to the city for postgraduate employment. Additionally, seeing how Pace helped my brother successfully secure a job only made the decision easier.

Which classes or professors left a positive impact on each of you?

Bryan: Trial Advocacy, Evidence, and Criminal Procedure, to name a few. Professors Hatcliffe and Mushlin left a major impact on me as a student. It was evident that both loved teaching and practicing law-, those two factors coupled with their personalities made it easy to look forward to their classes. 

Brendan: I took Wills, Trusts, and Estates with Professor Crawford this past fall. I really liked everything about the class and loved having her as a professor. I also enjoyed taking Contracts with Dean Anderson during my first year.

Bryan, you are currently a prosecutor in Orange County. Brendan, are you also interested in criminal law?

Brendan: I am interested in both estate planning and real estate law, and I hope to practice as an estate planner after graduation. Seeing my dad and brother both practice criminal law has definitely been interesting, but I have never had a strong desire to work in that field.

Bryan – was there any advice you gave Brendan upon entering law school?

Bryan: I really tried to convince him that medical school was a better option (kidding!). Generally speaking, I told him to take advantage of all of the internships/externships/clinics that Pace has to offer- doing so exposes you to practical legal work and allows you to see what fields you like or dislike.  

Faculty Focus

Professor Jason J. Czarnezki

Jason J. Czarnezki is the Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law and the Associate Dean of Environmental Law Programs and Strategic Initiatives. Professor Czarnezki joined Haub Law in 2013, and teaches Natural Resources Law, Sustainable Business and the Environment, Property, and the Environmental Law Seminar: Current Challenges. Since he joined Haub Law, the environmental law program has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as number one in environmental law for the last two years in a row and for three times in the last four years. A generational environmentalist, learn about Professor Czarnezki’s recent research interests, his family full of outdoor enthusiasts, and more in this Q&A.

Let’s start with discussing your recent work – both in and out of academia.

Recently, I’ve been working on researching eco-labeling, sustainable procurement, and the evolution of sustainable business law. I’m looking at challenges that individual consumers face when buying products. There are many issues in this category: consumers are overwhelmed by labels, there is a lot of greenwashing, consumers do not understand what product labels mean, whether or not the burden should be on consumers, and how to make labels more accessible.

I have also been looking at retailers, wholesalers, and public institutions (schools, government agencies, etc.) in the context of sustainable procurement. How do we measure non-price characteristics such as environmental footprints (for example, carbon, land use, and water), social welfare and economic welfare? For example, EU law allows public purchasers to employ life cycle costing – they don’t have to buy the good with cheapest price. 

Outside of academia, I work with cleanteach and sustaintech startups that are harnessing sustainability data to improve and green the supply chain and their products. 

Additionally, we have over 300 students involved in our environmental law program in some way. Part of my role in administration is to organize and create intellectual projects for the program (Garrison and Kerlin Lecture, NELMCC). We always ask what can we improve and how can we innovate? Through this culture, we have created the Food Law Initiative, the Environmental Law & Policy Hack, and the new Sustainable Business Law Hub. 

Can you tell me a bit about the new Sustainable Business Law Hub?

More and more law firms are adding ESG groups to work with clients on disclosures, climate risks, and drafting environmental policy statements for their companies. The Hub will serve as an incubator space, student-training program, research endeavor, and think tank devoted to addressing global sustainability challenges through policy and research projects, relationships with the business community, and capacity building in private environmental governance. Students will be able to work closely with faculty experts and receive practical training and experience. We hope that more students will pursue the JD/MBA and participate in ESG corporate externships. Students involved in the Hub will jump into their first job after graduating understanding how they can help their employers foster sustainable business practices.

How did you become interested in environmental law? And what keeps you interested in environmental law? 

It’s the family business! My grandfather graduated from the first graduating class of what is now the College of Natural Resources in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. My relatives are park rangers, foresters, and lumberjacks. I grew up in a family that went camping, hunting, and fishing. My grandfather worked as a supervisor in the Milwaukee County Parks System, pioneering at-the-time novel ideas like mulching grass back into the lawn rather than bagging it in plastic.  My father served in the Wisconsin State Legislature, sponsoring significant environmental legislation. I decided to go to law school to work in environmental law. 

Two things keep me interested in environmental law. First, I enjoy my administrative role as vehicle to create opportunities for students that lead to careers of impact and meaning in the field of environmental law. For example, we have increased funding for the DC externship, created the Haub Scholar program, created more student scholarships—all things that can be transformational student experiences. We have also diversified our curriculum, which now includes environmental justice, climate law, and food law, as well as add significant diversity to our environmental law faculty and staff.

Second, I enjoy nature and value conservation, and exploring how law shapes our environmental values. What brings me the most joy, though, is teaching my students and facilitating their exploration of nature. I love taking my students on “natural resources tours” of NYC and can’t wait for my natural resources law field course in Grand Teton National Park to return. 

Do you have any advice for students interested in environmental law? 

My advice to an environmental student isn’t different than to a non-environmental student. Work hard. Look a few years past graduation. You’re not going to graduate from law school and be EPA Administrator. Many graduate have to do other things first. They might do real estate law or big law for a few years before switching to environmental law. Two alumni come to mind. One does legal sustainability for a major company. The other is General Counsel for a large environmental non-profit. Both were in non-enviro jobs initially. While you’re in school, think about what skills you need to have to do that job down the line. Look at the resumes of people with your dream jobs and see what they did. Finally, do not rob from your future self, as my spouse likes to say. There’s so much you don’t know. You might be interested in a job you didn’t think you would like. Be open-minded. All law contains environmental issues. 

As we reflect on Earth Day, what advice can you give students to make a difference in saving our planet and promoting conservation and sustainability?

I wrote a whole book about this called "Everyday Environmentalism.” There are so many actions, big and small, that each of us can take. “The low-hanging fruit include, to name a few: try to eat organic and local, eat less meat and shift away from red meat, live close to where you work and play, see if your household can get along with only one car (and try to make it a fuel efficient one), walk and take public transit, compost as much as possible, stop engine idling, buy compact fluorescent light bulbs, adjust down the thermostat, decrease household water temperature, keep proper tire pressure, and work to educate yourself about the ecological and economic costs of your actions in the long term. Engine idling, for example, accounts for a substantial portion of carbon emissions and fuel consumption, measured at 1.6% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and 10.6 billion gallons of fuel per year. Attempts to address idling through public education campaigns have proven successful in Canada, and similar success in the United States would prevent 7 to 26 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year and reduce fuel consumption by 660 million to 2.3 billion gallons each year. Recall that generating public awareness is a tool always to consider when seeking change in individual decision-making. “

Jumping to your non-academic interests – what are some of them?

I like playing music, but haven’t played at all during the pandemic because I want to be outside. I enjoy swimming in lakes, kayaking, cooking, exploring the NFT market, and splitting wood.

Learn more about Professor Czarnezki.

Fabiola Robles '22

A Woman in the Law

Born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, Fabiola Robles is a first generation college graduate and will be the first in her family to obtain a law degree. Fabiola grew up with four older sisters who have had a significant impact on her outlook and drive. “To be a woman in the law, for me, signifies advancement and accomplishment. We have come so far, but we have a long battle ahead as we continue to fight for equality, not just for women, but for other marginalized groups. As I continue throughout my career, they are the women who I keep in mind, as they are some of the strongest, hardworking, dedicated, and focused individuals I have ever met in my life. They are my inspiration. I have witnessed them face several obstacles and overcome them. There are not enough words to do justice how great and inspiring they are to me, all I will say is if I can be half the woman they are, I would be happy.”

Studying at John Jay College, the more exposure Fabiola gained to the legal field the more fascinated she was with it. Fabiola notes that, “After graduating from John Jay, I worked at a law firm and met many attorneys who served as my mentors and helped me gain more exposure to different areas of law, which solidified my decision to pursue a law degree.”

Since starting her law studies at Haub Law, Fabiola has taken a variety of courses with different professors, but it is Professors Bridget Crawford, Bennett Gershman, and Noa Ben-Asher who have had the biggest impact on her. “I am taking the Feminist Legal Theory Seminar right now with Professor Crawford and the most interesting thing to me is the definition of feminism and what it means to be a feminist. Throughout the course, we have read about different perspectives of pioneers of feminism, and it is fascinating to see their different approaches and views on feminism. The course has opened my eyes to think differently about my approach to certain topics, it has made be more mindful and aware about my own feelings and beliefs, and how each feminist theorist may analyze my opinions. Overall, it has been a very rewarding class.”

With graduation impending in May, Fabiola’s immediate goal is to study and pass the bar exam. As far as advice for future law students, Fabiola states, “You have to want it. In my opinion, saying law school is hard is an understatement. While the work may be doable, there will be times you want to give up, those are the moments that will really test your dedication, and the only thing that will get you through is your desire to accomplish your goals, your drive to get that degree. So, my advice is you have to want it. If you want it, that drive, that motivation, that desire, your dreams and your goals, will get you through every single time.”

Haub Alumni of the Month: Fred Mauhs (LLM '21)

Never Too Late to Make a Change: From Wall Street to the Adirondacks

Fred Mauhs spent 32 years in the banking industry before deciding to shift his focus to environmental law and completing his LLM at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Fred’s concern about climate change coupled with his love for the outdoors ultimately helped him come to the realization that he desired to use his legal skills to help avert the climate crisis. A day after quitting his banking law position, Fred applied to Haub Law’s LLM program. Learn more about Fred’s career before becoming an environmental lawyer and since becoming one, how many mountain peaks he has climbed, and what he feels is the most pressing concern of environmental law for the next few years, and also for the foreseeable future in this Q&A.

What was your background prior to enrolling at Haub Law School?

Well, I spent 32 years in the banking industry. I served as General Counsel for the US branches of two foreign banks and their affiliated broker-dealers—24 years with a German bank and then 8 years with the Spanish Bank BBVA.   

Interesting. Why did you get into banking law?

After graduating law school, I got a job out in Oregon. I was a young associate at a large law firm and it was grueling work. I had to work most weekends. I spent what free weekends I had mountain climbing, particularly Mount Hood, near Portland. I discovered that virtually every time I climbed Mt. Hood I would run into a lawyer who seemed to never have to work on weekends.  I learned he was inhouse counsel for a bank in Portland.  I later left Oregon to study law in Germany on a scholarship program, the last segment of which was an internship.  While all the other scholarship recipients applied to law firms for their internship, I decided instead to apply to the legal department of an international bank headquartered in Düsseldorf—mainly because of that in-house bank lawyer in Portland who spent all of his weekends mountain climbing. 

After finishing the internship it happened that the bank was looking to hire its first lawyer for its New York branch.  They chose me for the position, which worked out  swimmingly well for me, in that it was fun and challenging work--and I was able to spend most weekends rock climbing in the Shawangunks near New Paltz.

So how did you end up doing an LLM?

In 2019, I decided to quit banking law partly because, after 32 years, it wasn’t intellectually challenging anymore, but mainly out of my concern about climate change. I realized that I should be using my law license and my legal skills to help avert the looming crisis. So I gave notice, and on the return home that evening on the commuter train along the Hudson River, I was thinking okay, now what am I going to do? How do I fight climate change when I'm not even an environmental lawyer. And I suppose looking out at the river helped me recollect that Pace has had a famous role advising the organization Riverkeeper. And so I figured they must have good environmental law classes there.  I googled the law school and discovered that they offered an LLM in environmental law, with a specialty and energy and climate law. I thought, wow, this is precisely what I need to do right now to kick start an environmental law career, so the next day I applied.

And what was your experience like once you got to Haub Law? Any particularly memorable moments there?

Well, I arrived at Haub with high hopes and high expectations, and I have to say that all of my expectations were exceeded many times over. I also ended up having far more fun than I thought you were supposed to have at law school.

The most memorable moment for me was actually before classes started, at the LLM orientation. I went there with more than a little trepidation at the thought of probably studying with people that were half my age.  But when I arrived I discovered that nearly all my future classmates were accomplished lawyers and committed environmentalists from every continent of the world. And just hanging out with these classmates was like a course in environmental law unto itself. It was a great group, and we developed some very deep and lasting friendships.

Talk to me about some of the professors you had while you were here?

Haub Law attracts very high caliber professors, and I had the good fortune of taking classes from a bunch of them.  

Professor Kuh, for example, brought to her Environmental Survey and Climate Law classes not just a wealth of knowledge but also her experience from private practice at a large law firm. Similarly, Prof. Brown brought his terrific transactional law experience to bear in the Food and Beverage Law Clinic.  Professor Robinson, who taught me Environmental Impact Assessments, and Professor Nolon who taught me Land Use law—there are simply no other professors with their breadth and depth of knowledge in their respective fields.  Professor Narula is perhaps the most inspiring professor I’ve ever had. Professor Valova and the team at the Pace Energy and Climate Center under Craig Hart’s leadership gave me a terrific grounding in one area I now practice in, which is energy law.   And Haub Law’s externship at UN missions, then under the leadership of Prof. Tafur, is an experience that is simply unmatched elsewhere.

Do you have any advice for lawyers who may want to switch their area of practice?

Yes!  For other Wall Street lawyers out there and experienced lawyers in any practice, who are interested in or concerned about the environment – my message to them would be:  quitting a comfortable business law position on Wall Street to become an environmental lawyer should not be viewed as a strange or quirky thing to do--although I admit I myself initially had doubts about making the jump. But, in retrospect, it was the most natural and important decision I could have made in my entire legal career. For any lawyer who is concerned about the looming environmental catastrophe, which is climate change, switching your practice to environmental law should be the easiest career decision you could make. And I'm not the only Wall Street lawyer out there to have made that change. But there should be more. And you can do what I did, which is wait until you're 60 to make the move, but you can also do it in your 40s and your 50s, which is in retrospect what I should have done myself.

Did anything else about your experience at Haub help shape, or influence what you're doing now?

With the exception of my work on conservation easements for land trusts and land owners, which began before I enrolled at Haub, everything I do now has been shaped by Haub and by its professors. I use what I learned there in both my practice and my advocacy.  More broadly, though, Haub has sharpened my understanding of our environmental threats and the ability—and oftentimes the failure—of our current laws and international institutions to address them.

So what are some of your passions besides environmental law? You mentioned mountain climbing.

I got into mountain climbing in a big way both during and after my JD program at GWU, and climbing was the primary reason I moved to Oregon after graduation. Now I'm an “Aspiring Adirondack 46er”—thus far I’ve climbed 28 of the 46 peaks there since I turned 60.

But I have enjoyed just about any activity that's outdoors:--bicycling, hiking, backpacking, climbing—whether rock, ice or snow--and water sports like swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.  During migration season I’m nuts about birdwatching, and in winter I love cross-country and backcountry telemark skiing. I love it all, like so many others students and professors at Pace.

What do you feel is the most pressing concern of environmental law for the next few years, and also for the foreseeable future?

Well, I think that is an easy one. Climate change is the most pressing environmental problem. It defines our Anthropocene Era in which we now live and in which we could perish relatively soon in geologic time.  And the most pressing environmental law issue is the astounding total absence of effective climate change law in the United States in light of that existential problem.

Melissa Eydenberg '22

From a different point of view

After graduating from Lehigh in 1991, studying for a Master’s Degree in English Literature, and raising a family, Melissa Eydenberg decided to attend law school, which had been in the back of her mind for nearly 30 years. Now a 3L at Haub, Melissa’s advice for someone thinking about pursuing a degree in law is to “Do it in your own time- but do it!” Learn more about Melissa, why it is the people at Haub Law who make Haub Law stand out, and more in this Q&A.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I grew up in suburban New Jersey, my parents ran a small publishing company that specialized in supplements for gifted education i.e., “film strips” back in the day then videos and digital videos, critical and creative-thinking workbooks, literature guides and social studies materials. I graduated from Lehigh in PA in 1991 with a double major in English and Government – even then I couldn’t make up my mind about what I wanted to do! I went to UMD for studies in English Literature and left with a Master’s Degree, got married, worked very briefly as a recruiter in the European Equity Market, had kids and all of a sudden it’s 2022.

What inspired you to attend law school? 

I needed to learn about the world, my place in it, and “why is this happening?” I always wanted to go to law school. After having kids, I was basically a stay-at-home mom. When I divorced in 2006, I still had it on my mind and even advocated for some school funding in the settlement agreement!  It took 12 more years before I felt like I had the time to spend on myself, but here I am! Also, my fiancé runs a law firm out of my house, and I am surrounded by lawyers and I eventually got tired of telling everyone “I’m not a lawyer.”

Well, now that you are here, what have you found you like most about Haub Law?

The people. All of them: students, professors, staff. I can’t tell you how many times Michelle, JoAnn, Josie, or Tony have helped me out – especially with my technological challenges! Because I’ve been part-time, I’ve gotten to know more students than most people, and from all backgrounds, ages, races, religions, from literally all over the world, but all with a lot in common. I have loved learning with and from the lawyers of tomorrow and seeing where they are going and have gone. The “millenial” and “gen z” students have very different perspectives and life experiences and sharing with them has been invaluable. Because I am not THEIR mom they explain to me as a colleague, not as they would to a parent - but I have been known to hand out tissues, Band-Aids, masks, and snacks.

You are taking the Feminist Legal Theory seminar with Professor Crawford – can you talk about that class a bit?

What has been very interesting and helpful is listening to the younger students because they literally live in a world different from the one in which I grew up. It is impossible to understand what is going on in the law, in politics, in society without expanding my viewpoint and trying to see through their lenses. This is also my fourth class with Professor Crawford - Wills, Trust, and Estates; Corporations; Federal Taxation, and now Feminist Legal Theory.

Who are some of the most inspiring women in your life?

Looking back, a significant majority of classes I have taken at Haub Law were taught by female professors. As I am in the midst of my fourth class with Professor Crawford, you might have deduced I'm a fan. I'm kind of like that front-row seat that a rock star sees on tour at every show- is it a little creepy? She doesn't seem to mind.  Prof. Crawford is the most enthusiastic, engaged, invested, and organized teacher I have encountered at any level of education. Besides providing all her classes with every possible tool to learn, including a self-produced manual for success, she is a prolific writer and contributor in multiple fields and if you follow her on Twitter (yes, I admit it, super-fan), you might ask yourself, as I have, "how is she doing all of this?" It is inspiring and a bit daunting.  She's who I would have wanted to be when I grew up if I still had the time.  On an even more personal level, I think both my daughters are "inspirational women." My elder daughter came out, fairly recently, as trans and her quest to be her best self inspires others, who she reaches with her music (and can be found under "A Small Bird" on all the things!). My younger daughter has taken on the challenge of graduating college in a pandemic and going out into this crazy world with bravery and humor! They have both grown into compassionate, kind women and they inspire me every day! 

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about pursuing a degree in law?

Do it in your own time- but do it!

Faculty Focus

Professor Shelby Green

Professor Shelby Green is the Susan Taxin Baer ’85 Faculty Scholar at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She joined Haub Law in 1991 and teaches Property, Real Estate Transactions and Finance, Advanced Real Property, Historic Preservation, and Housing Development and Discrimination. In this edition of Faculty Focus, she talks about the many facets of property law and gives advice on staying positive in a polarized world.

Can you tell me about your recent work?

I’m preparing for a few symposia. I’m preparing for the 2022 Arkansas Law Review Symposium – Construction Law In The Legal Academy on March 12th. I’ll be on the Design Liability: Professional Responsibility, Safety, and Social Justice panel. On that panel, I will talk about the effect of new construction inventions on the cost and supply of housing construction.

I’m also preparing for the Seton Hall Law Review Symposium – American Cities Struggling with Economic Justice Reform on February 25th. I’ll be on the Reinventing Cities to Create Opportunities for Affordable Housing panel. I plan to talk about rethinking zoning, adaptive rezoning to promote greater affordability and availability of housing. Adaptive rezoning means moving away from Euclidean zoning. Euclidean zoning makes sense on the fringe, keeping factories away from where people live, but it doesn't make sense to keep a school out of a place where people live. Adaptive rezoning means allowing for infill, all kinds of housing – like tiny houses, adaptive reuse, and changing height, space, and parking requirements. And it means being adaptive towards creative design with issues like climate change. For example, how we orientate houses. 

I am also the Editor of Keeping Current Property column in Probate & Property Magazine. It’s a bi-monthly magazine and the column summarizes cases of note from all across the country, new legislation, and what academics in the field are writing about.    I am also working on an article with Bailey Andree, a 2L and research assistant to Professor Emeritus John Nolon and a Land Use Law Center Scholar, on state control of land use policy, which we hope will be published by the magazine.

I am the Chair for the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the American Bar Association’s Legal Education Group, which among other things offers the  “Professors’ Corner”, a monthly webinar on current topics. The hour long discussions recently covered a book called “Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives” that talks about how we may think we own something, but there are all kinds of limitations. For example, you see people lined up for the Supreme Court and they look like regular people, who want to see the actions, be there for the discussions, but they’re just paid to stand there and are replaced by people in business suits who had them hold the spots. Do those people own the line space? Next month we’ll talk about purpose trusts, which are just trusts set up for a particular purpose, and how to draft them so they’re properly carried out. We’ll be discussing monuments in April. The statue of Teddy Roosevelt was just removed from the Museum of Natural History; next to the image of Roosevelt, stood one of an Indigenous person and a shirtless black man, implying subservience from both. What do these silent monuments say in these public spaces? 

​​I’m also co-counsel at the Land Use Law Center with Professor John Nolon. We’re working on a project to help small commercial tenants navigate the effects of the pandemic. The eviction moratorium applied to them as well, but many had to close. We’ve been working on a recovery lease for small businesses that keeps tenants in and helps the landlords avoid vacancy. 

How do you find teaching in today’s climate? 

Teaching is always challenging, all the issues happening that you have to think through. The polarized nature of society is disturbing. People are too mean and not reticent to express that meanness. I have hope in your generation, though - I hope you will be calm, gentle, and caring because my generation certainly hasn’t always been. I try to engage in discussion in class that isn’t too political, but it’s hard because everything is polarized. I see a lot of students that care about society and the world, despite the media being so overwhelming with negativity. 

How did you become interested in law?

I’m not sure, in undergrad I studied sociology. There are a lot of political and social issues raised and pondered. Research is fundamental, but law allows you to be out there making direct and immediate impact. I think back to the Brown v. Board of Education strategy, where they had sociologists talking about the impact of segregation on the intellectual development of young minds. It was really interesting. I don’t discount sociology at all, but lawyers make so much impact. They get the courts to say those things are wrong. 

What keeps you interested in property law? 

Property is the world. It involves everything – where we can go, housing, assets, including intangible assets, access to water. What happens when the Colorado river drops another 10ft? Even criminal law has origins in property; trespass was a crime. . All about jockeying for control, it interests me. 

A current issue that interests me is allocating the burden of tenants that can’t be evicted because they can’t pay their rent. Mega landlords can’t evict a handful temporarily, and although the landlords probably can't ever collect the rent, it's a risk they may have to take to enter the business. However, most landlords are small and need food for their families. I think the government should provide financial assistance to tenants to pay, which has happened. 

With the 2019 tenant landlord law, they were worried about small landlords going into bankruptcy and the big ones waiting to take those buildings. Buildings were already under rent control, so the law just added more procedural protections, rights to more notice prior to eviction proceedings and limited the use of self-help – which I think is wise. Tenants can also seek stay against eviction in case of hardship. 

What advice do you have for students interested in real estate and property law?

Just to keep being curious, keep reading and thinking about the larger issues and what it means for society – like ensuring housing is available and accessible, rethinking what homeowners and property owners can do, how we further limit rights, as we have done from the beginning of time, how governments need to think about what communities should look like. 

Pay attention to stories. I heard one about a tenant that toured an apartment and the broker asked him if he noticed anything in the bathroom missing. He said no, but there was no toilet, you had to use a shared one down the hall. Does that meet the building code? Who alerts the inspectors? Someone rented it eventually. Pay attention to stories like this. 

At Haub Law, we have a path to practice in Real Estate and Land Use. There’s an externship as well. Students are placed in firms, title companies, etc. where they get guidance and experience. The Land Use Law Center is also a great resource and place to gain experience. 

Can you tell me about a non-academic interest or hobby you have? 

I love hiking. My husband and I go to Colorado often in the summer. Connecticut has nice places as well. Recently, we braved the frigid temperatures and set out on an icy trail. My husband wore cleats, I only had normal hiking shoes on, so at a certain point we had to turn around. We want to go to Glastonbury State Forest next. Sometimes I play the piano. I keep buying leisure books, but don’t have time to read them, so they keep piling up!

Learn more about Professor Green.

Gabriella Mickel, a 2023 JD Candidate at Haub Law, authored this faculty Q&A. Gabriella is a Land Use & Haub Scholar, the President of the Environmental Law Society, a Junior Associate on Pace Environmental Law Review, and on the E-Board for NLG, Lambda, and ACS. Outside of school, she owns three sports supplement stores and is the co-editor of the Law Student Corner section of the NYSBA EELS Journal.

Faculty Focus

Visiting Professor Bernard Freamon

Bernard K. Freamon joins the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University faculty as a visiting professor for spring 2022, teaching Criminal Law and an Advanced Criminal Law Seminar on Slavery and Human Trafficking. A professor at Seton Hall Law School for 37 years, he achieved emeritus status when he retired in 2016. Professor Freamon's research and teaching interests focus on Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Legal History. Learn more about Professor Freamon, his current work, and his advice for law students interested in these particular areas of law in this student-led interview.

What will you be teaching this semester at Haub Law?
Criminal Law and Advanced Criminal Law Seminar on Slavery and Human Trafficking.

Where are you coming from? What brought you here?
I taught at Seton Hall Law for 37 years and retired in 2016. I taught post-conviction remedies, which deals with a defendant’s claims  after conviction and habeas corpus. I also taught evidence, PR, and Islamic Jurisprudence. While there, I ran several study abroad programs, including programs in Egypt, Zanzibar, and Jordan. The program in Zanzibar focused on slavery and human trafficking. The program in Egypt focused on Islamic Jurisprudence.

I taught a summer writing course at the Judicial Institute at Pace. I saw Pace was looking for visiting professors, it interested me, so I applied and was offered the position. Pace has a good criminal law reputation. I’m happy to be at Pace, I’m really enjoying it. I’ve got great students.

Can you tell me about your work? What are you working on now? 
My main work is on slavery in the Islamic world. I just finished a book on slavery in the Islamic world and in Muslim cultures. There’s a movement among scholars to abolish slavery under Islamic Law. However, there’s an argument to the contrary and this argument enables human trafficking, forced labor, and slavery in some places in the world. 40% of the world’s enslaved people are enslaved in the Muslim world. Abolishing slavery under Islamic Law would enable the Islamic govts to prohibit slavery and related activities – forced labor, forced adoption, servile marriage, child marriage. I have a website called “Ijmāʿ on slavery” — it means “consensus on slavery” and it seeks to develop a Muslim scholarly consensus on slavery.

I recently took a job at Roger Williams Law School, which is one of the only two law schools in the U.S. that have a mandatory Critical Race Theory course. I was hired as the director of that course, and it’s related to my scholarship. I'll be moving to Rhode Island in June.

I also have a small post-conviction relief practice in NY and NJ representing prisoners.

What brought you to slavery in islamic world?
I’ve been interested in slavery because I’m African American. I traveled to Zanzibar while I was teaching abroad. I learned Zanzibar was effectively the capital of the Indian Ocean slave trade, which was largely run by Muslims. Most Muslims are taught to revere the equality of all humans, and that there was and is no slavery in Islam. This is factually wrong. Although Islam teaches the equality of all human beings, the practice of Islam has not lived up to that ideal.  It’s like Thomas Jefferson who said all men are created equal, yet owned slaves.

What advice do you have for law students interested in your field of law?
Try to get relevant experience.

For Slavery - there are opportunities at the UN office on Drugs and Crime, there are also anti-slavery NGOs. There is one in Washington called Free the Slaves. The oldest human rights organization in the world is Anti-Slavery International and it’s based in the UK. There are also some in France, Ireland, etc. So a law student should try to get an internship in one of these NGOs or the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Also, working in a  Justice Dept. or US Attorney’s Human Trafficking Office is good experience and any local prosecutor’s office that has an anti-trafficking department.

For post-conviction relief experience, I would suggest the state or federal public defender’s offices, or perhaps conviction integrity units in a prosecutor’s office; not quite post-conviction relief though, it’s from the prosecutor’s side. It is also important work.

It is worth noting that, for both slavery and post-conviction relief, habeas corpus remains the primary judicial remedy. Being a slave is very much like being in prison.

Learn more about Bernard K. Freamon.

Gabriella Mickel, a 2023 JD Candidate at Haub Law, authored this faculty Q&A. Gabriella is a Land Use & Haub Scholar, the President of the Environmental Law Society, a Junior Associate on Pace Environmental Law Review, and on the E-Board for NLG, Lambda, and ACS. Outside of school, she owns three sports supplement stores and is the co-editor of the Law Student Corner section of the NYSBA EELS Journal.

Haub Alumni of the Month: Eric Paulk ‘16

Fighting for Equality

Alumnus Eric Paulk is making strides in the fight for equality in his own home state of Georgia and making headlines, too, as one of the state’s Top 40 Leaders Under 40. In 2020, Eric was awarded a prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship, with the goal of building a nationwide network of Black HIV movement lawyers to protect, defend, and support people living with HIV. A true agent of change, Eric points to his law school experience at Pace for playing a critical role in his journey towards equality and advancing change.

Eric Paulk graduated from Morehouse College in 2003. From there, though he was pretty sure he ultimately wanted to attend law school, he spent time in the private sector to gain experience in the business world and build upon his undergraduate training. “I knew that law school was a big commitment in every sense of the word. I wanted to make sure that I was ready to commit so I spent some time working in a variety of positions. Then in my last role before I went to law school, I was Managing Director of a performing arts center and in that position I oversaw every aspect of the center – which included contract negotiations and the legal department. It reignited my desire to attend law school.”

Eric started at Pace in 2013. “I really immersed myself in law school. I joined student groups. I participated in clinics. I spoke with professors outside of class. I took advantage of a wonderful learning experience.” While at Pace, Eric was involved in the Black Law Students Association, LAMBDA Law Student Association, and participated with moot court.  “One of the most practical learning experiences that I had was as a civil rights extern working through the law firm Newman Ferrara with Professors Cohen and McLaughlin. This provided me with experience in research, writing, discovery, trial preparation, and client contact. I also learned how to prepare legal documents and petitions. It was an invaluable experience.”

After graduating from law school, Eric was the Tyron Garner Fellow at Lambda Legal in Atlanta. “In the fellowship role, I worked on policy issues, I worked to move along local and regional legislative efforts, I was an advocate, I spoke at forums, panels, meetings, and events, and I also did legal research. I became an expert on LGBTQ issues and HIV criminal justice reform which allowed me the opportunity to engage in real grassroots efforts for equality. Additionally, this role allowed me to really be a leader both regionally and nationally around HIV-related legal issues. It was an amazing experience.” From there, Eric moved on to the Equality Foundation of Georgia as an HIV Policy Organizer and then was promoted in April 2019 to Deputy Executive Director of the Organization. “In the role as Deputy Executive Director, I oversee all day-to-day operations and develop and manage our advocacy activities. I also work with the executive director and the board to develop and implement the organization’s strategic plan. I help to drive up support and also build relationships in the community.”

In recent years, Eric was selected as one of Georgia's Top 40 Leaders Under 40. In the article about Eric’s selection it was noted that Eric has dedicated his career to fighting for equality for all Georgians. Eric himself notes that “It is an important time in our state and our country to protect LGBTQ people, immigrants, and people of color. I am part of a movement creating equality for these communities. My law school experience and Pace in particular has played such a critical role in my leadership development and also in helping to carve out the work that I'm doing. I am definitely a proud alumnus.”

In late 2020, Eric was awarded a prestigious 2020 Soros Justice Fellowship. His goal through the Fellowship was to build a nationwide network of Black HIV movement lawyers to protect, defend, and support people living with HIV. As a part of this work, Eric is co-authoring a first-of-its-kind report with the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, on the impact of HIV criminal laws on Black communities. When Eric was awarded the Fellowship, he noted that “[m]ost of us go to law school with the desire to be agents of change. However, over time, that goal gets diminished. This fellowship lets me fulfill the promise for which I decided to attend law school - to use my legal training to empower, protect and defend marginalized Black communities. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve others, and excited to stand with my fellowship cohort and previous cohorts to advance change.”

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