Success Stories

Faculty Focus

University Distinguished Professor Bridget Crawford

Professor Bridget Crawford has been a professor at Haub Law since 2003 and was named a University Distinguished Professor in 2021, which is the highest honor the University can bestow upon a faculty member. Prior to joining the Haub Law faculty, she was a practicing attorney at Milbank LLP, where she specialized in taxation and estate planning. At Haub Law, Professor Crawford teaches Federal Income Taxation; Estate and Gift Taxation; Wills, Trusts and Estates; Tax Policy; Corporations & Partnerships; and Feminist Legal Theory. Professor Crawford is a leading authority on taxation, as well as feminist legal theory, and menstrual equity. A favorite in the classroom, she has also been honored multiple times by graduating students at Haub Law as Outstanding Professor of the Year, as well as recognized by her colleagues with Haub Law’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Learn more about Professor Crawford in this Q&A.

How did you become interested in tax?

My grandmother was the first tax professional I ever met. Although she never went to college or law school, Gram taught herself the tax law and went to work for H&R Block. She lived in a rural community in southeastern Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Gram took great pride in helping her neighbors comply with their obligations under the complicated self-reporting system that we have in the U.S.

What is your favorite tax concept or case?

If I ever got a tattoo, it definitely would be a quote from Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. 111 (1933). That is the case that established the test for when a business expense is “ordinary and necessary.” Justice Cardozo said that when no ready test or statute is available, “[l]ife in all its fullness must supply an answer to the riddle” that is the tax law.

What do you find most enjoyable about being a professor?

I love helping students understand the complexities of the law, develop critical thinking skills, and become more confident in their abilities. In Federal Income Tax class, students may start out intimidated by the statute and regulations, but by the end of the semester, they know exactly how to work with the most complex rules. The tax code yields its secrets with careful study and time spent! As a law professor, I have the opportunity every day to help guide students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives as they develop into the professionals they want to become. I have great confidence in the future of the legal profession and our students are going to be leading the way.

Every year, you host a “Tax Alumni Come Back to the Classroom” event – where you invite former students to come speak to your current tax class. What benefit do you feel experiences like this have for both the students and alumni? 

The purpose of this program is to connect current law students with alumni and inspire students to think about their future careers. In law school, we hear all the time about the value of “networking,” but sometimes it is hard to know how to go about it. This program aims to make it easier by providing a day dedicated to networking. Students also do readings to encourage self-reflection on how they are using their time in law school and what various career paths are available. The alumni are willing to offer guidance and support to students as they navigate law school and the legal profession. They are also happy to share their contacts and help in any way they can.

You recently published a book with Professor Emily Waldman called Menstruation Matters: Challenging the Law’s Silence on Periods. What inspires a tax professor to write a book about menstruation? 

It all started as a tax story. I had been living in New York for more than twenty years before I realized that the sales of menstrual products like tampons were subject to tax. That made absolutely no sense to me. I started doing some research and I wrote an article explaining why I thought the “tampon tax” was a human rights issue. When I was presenting my work in one of our regular faculty colloquia, I mentioned that there was a class action brought in New York challenging the tampon tax, and Professor Waldman asked me about that. One conversation led to another and we decided to write an article explaining the argument that the sales tax on menstrual products violates the Equal Protection Clause. New York repealed its sales tax in 2016, but our article is now the basis for a state-by-state challenge to the sales tax on menstrual products. The more we spoke about the tampon tax, the more we realized that menstruation touches on everything – schools, employment, prisons, environmental law, poverty law, corporate law. We teamed up to write the book to show that menstruation is a baseline justice and equity issue.

What are some of the tax rules that disproportionately impact women and families?

The tax code does not recognize the value of unpaid caregiving work that is often performed by women, such as caring for children or elderly relatives. This can leave women with fewer retirement savings and lower Social Security benefits. What would the law look like if society truly valued caregiving? 

Your writing is frequently published in prestigious journals – what advice do you have for law students who may want to start trying to publish papers?

Write about what you want to understand, what makes you mad, what makes you happy, what you want to fix. Just write. There is no better way to teach yourself an area of law then to try to explain it in writing to someone else. Your professors are here as resources, too. There are lots of publication outlets that need and want to hear from students and lawyers of all levels of seniority.

Do you have any techniques to propel your own writing?

At least once a semester, Professor Leslie Tenzer and I have a writing challenge. There are only two rules: set your own goals and bring positive vibes only. We then report our progress on a shared spreadsheet. The mutual accountability and encouragement is really helpful. There have been so many times where I haven’t wanted to write, I feel like I’m not getting anywhere, and I have wanted to quit the writing challenge. What I’ve learned from these experiences, though, is that the key is to be consistent and show up. We write even when we don’t feel like it and we encourage each other through the inevitable rough patches. My goals are usually relatively small—20 minutes of writing each day— but I end up with an outline, a first draft, or progress that I otherwise would not have made. The best thing about writing is having written. Anyone who wants to join our writing challenge is totally welcome. It works!

What is something that your students may not know about you?

Dean Horace Anderson and I were first-year study partners in law school. He has always been brilliant, and without him, I would have never made it through Constitutional Law!

If you were not a law professor, or an attorney, what other profession could you see yourself pursuing?

As long as I am being useful, then I can be happy doing anything. I’m interested these days in all things technological. What if there was a program that accurately calculated our taxes for us? What if it was as easy to make a will online as it is to order a pizza? What if depositions were conducted via artificial intelligence? Could decentralized digital currency be the key to a universal basic income? How can we harness machine learning to eliminate bias in hiring and lending? I am so interested in all of these questions.

Learn more about Professor Crawford.

Chris Rizzo '01

Precision Focus on Environmental Law
Partner, Carter Ledyard and Milburn LLP, Director of the Environmental Practice

Chris Rizzo is a Partner with Carter Ledyard and Milburn LLP and Director of the Environmental Practice at the firm. From the moment he decided he wanted to attend law school, Chris knew that he was specifically going to focus on environmental law. From participating in the environmental litigation clinic, to environmental law review, and ultimately graduating with an environmental law certificate, Pace provided the environmental legal education he sought out.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a lawyer?

That was probably in my sophomore year of college. I was studying political science and biology. I had a biology professor, and I expressed to him my deep interest in biology, particularly environmental biology. And he said to me something like “no, no, no, no, Chris, do not become a scientist or biologist. You should become a lawyer, an environmental lawyer. Lawyers get everything done.” He didn't say this with kindness. He said it with resentment. But he was very clear with me that he thought I should go towards law school. I took it to heart, and I never looked back.

And from there, how did you choose Haub Law?

Well, I knew that I specifically was going to law school to focus on environmental law. So I sought out a law school where I could specifically focus on that area with the intention of practicing in that area.

I received a full academic scholarship to come to Haub Law, which was a huge motivation for me. I was very leery about taking on any student debt, and worried about what that would do to my professional flexibility in the future. I was admitted to a number of other law schools and while the full scholarship was a motivating factor, it was not the only one. At the time, a few other schools I looked at did not have the robust environmental law program that I was seeking and I thought they were not of any use to me. I wanted to be an environmental lawyer. Why would I go to a law school with two course offerings and an underdeveloped environmental law program? Haub Law had the environmental law program that I was looking for and combined with the scholarship it was an easy choice.

What were some of the more impactful experiences you had while at Haub Law?

The environmental litigation clinic is a very transfor­mative program. Part of that was the oversight of Karl Coplan. When I had him, Professor Coplan was a very demanding and very good professor. The envi­ronmental litigation clinic really, really helped refine my legal skills. I also made a number of connections outside of Pace as well working on those matters, and I still find them valuable today.

You were an articles editor on the Pace Environmental Law review, and you graduated with the environmental law certificate. Would you recommend those experiences?

Yes. I had to write a note for the law review and that was a very useful process. It wasn’t so much what I wrote, but the process of writing such a complex law journal is incredibly helpful. I think anybody that participates in a law review winds up being a better lawyer because you're forced to learn how to write, research and edit.

I also think the certificate program is useful. I think exposing law students to topics, concepts, and legal acronyms is helpful and gives you a running start in your career as an environmental lawyer. I think it's really invaluable and that's one of the reasons I came to Haub Law. All of the robust environmental course offerings really gave me a foundation in various areas of law, which was helpful later.

You are a partner with Carter Ledyard and Milburn LLP and director of the Environmental Practice—how did your career start out and how has it evolved?

My career definitely morphed over time. When I first started practicing law, I did a lot more traditional environmental work than I'm doing these days. I worked with RCRA and CERCLA, which are two federal hazardous waste laws. I worked heavily with NEPA and SEQRA. I worked on a lot of historic pres­ervation matters involving federal, state, and city preservation laws. I also worked on some brownfield matters, the Clean Water Act, and more. The past few years I've started doing a lot more real estate related work. That’s because my practice is very fo­cused on New York City and this is a real estate town. Helping clients resolve their land use, construction, and real estate problems has become a big driver of my work.

What advice do you have for law students who want to work in the field of environmental law at a law firm upon graduating?

I find that Haub Law students are pretty good about aggressively seeking out internships and experiences and opportunities in the areas that are meaningful to them. Whenever I see a Haub Law resume I'm always impressed, there are intern­ships at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Litigation Clinic, and all sorts of things. It is important to fill your resume with meaningful experiences in the area you want to practice in, but also networking in those areas. And this is true, not just for environmental law, it's true for any subject matter you want to practice. It is really about networking, meeting as many people as you possibly can who might become future employers. To that end, you should become a student member of the New York State Bar Association or the New York City Bar Association. You can sit on committees as students, and I would do that aggressively and participate. You must prioritize making connections outside the law school even more than making con­nections inside the law school.

That is very good advice. Outside of the law, tell us a bit about yourself and your hobbies.

Well, I have 3 young kids, so that takes up a lot of time. So aside from my family, I also love exploring New York City and New York State. My family and I love national, state and city parks—we travel all over the place to visit them. I am also a big fitness enthusiast—I run 5ks and bike to work and do whatever I can to stay fit. I think prioritizing your personal life, physical fitness and mental health is very important. There is no ques­tion that I am a better lawyer because I dedicate time to these things. You need to have a healthy balance and if you don’t have that balance you wind up being less of a professional.

Danielle and Michael Tallman '24

A Sibling Story

Siblings Danielle and Michael Tallman grew up in a tight-knit multigenerational Hispanic household in Sacramento, California, along with their siblings where they were homeschooled until college. After their oldest sibling was accepted to college in Texas, their entire family moved with her to support her dreams. Both Danielle and Michael decided to study at the University of St. Thomas together setting the precedence and foundation for their “united educational front” as Danielle describes it. When Danielle and Michael began thinking about law school it only made sense to them that they would jointly apply to the same institutions.

For Danielle, her desire to attend law school grew out of the belief that everyone deserves to have a voice. “Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to positively use their voices in order to enact change,” said Danielle. “I want to help give a voice to those who are unheard; to help those who either can’t or won’t stand up for themselves, and to guide them to fight for what they deserve. I believe that there are certain flaws in our justice system today. I want to be able to help change the laws that are unjust, enact change that benefits others, and give power to the voiceless because everyone deserves someone to stand up for them. I want to be that person; a career in law perfectly fits the bill.”

For Michael, a strategist at heart, he discovered in college how much strategy there is in the field of law. “I was a criminology major during my undergraduate studies, and a large amount of my instructors were retired and even practicing lawyers,” said Michael. “This proved very exciting for me. I finally found a sense of clarity and passion. It was then that I decided to pursue law as a profession.”

Both Danielle and Michael describe their Haub Law experience as a rollercoaster of emotions – challenging and stimulating at the same time. They both note the impressive caliber of both students and faculty and that while the expectations are high, so is the rewarding feeling of personal accomplishment. For Danielle, she has most enjoyed sharing this experience with her brother and most looks forward to graduating together.

After graduation, both Danielle and Michael have a strong interest in becoming university professors at the same school, teaching corporation and business focus topics, along with contract law. Danielle credits professors Robert Ellison, Debra Vollweiler, and Elyse Diamond for her decision to pursue a field in education. “After two years studying law, I have learned that the most influential change begins with a good teacher,” she said. “Their eagerness to help their students, their openness, and their love of teaching and their subject, allowed me to realize that the most rewarding legal experiences come from your professors.” For Michael, he thanks Professor Elyse Diamond for helping to jump start his positive law school experience. “She taught Legal Skills and from an academic perspective, she helped to teach me to shape my writing in a more analytical and legal way; proving to me that persuading someone with my words alone is the essence of being a good lawyer,” said Michael. “Professor Diamond answered patiently any questions that I may have had and provided feedback on every writing assignment that I turned into her. I felt very blessed to have had her as one of my first professors in law school.”

In their free time, both Danielle and Michael enjoy spending time with their family. “I love to come home after a long day of school or work to my family,” said Michael. “In a time of my life where everything is so busy and hectic, the small fact that family is always there when I walk through the door, no matter how great or disappointing my day has been, is my favorite hobby. Both Danielle and Michael also enjoy singing. For Danielle, she is passionate about opera and for Michael, it is singing kids songs to his nieces and nephews.

As far as advice for prospective law students, both Danielle and Michael agree that students should be prepared for the challenge because law school is nothing like undergraduate school. “You will have to study harder and feel stronger disappointments,” said Danielle. “You'll do your best and will probably fall short. But when times are tough and you feel like quitting, just remember why you enrolled in law school in the first place. Even if you don’t initially thrive, it doesn't mean that you will not succeed in the end.” While each have learned tough lessons, they have pushed through and as Michael notes, just when you try, fail, and want to quit – you will be inspired. Now, in the last part of his Haub Law education, as he enters the next part of his legal journey, Michael hopes he can carry the teachings that he has learned from Haub Law into the legal field with him.

Remila Jasharllari '25

NYC Bar Diversity Fellowship Recipient

Haub Law student Remila Jasharllari was recently awarded the prestigious NYC Bar Diversity Fellowship. The Diversity Fellowship Program offers students from underrepresented backgrounds to gain experience at major companies and firms in New York and the opportunity to learn more about corporate law. This summer, she will be interning with New York Life, within their Office of the General Counsel.

“As a first-generation student, born and raised overseas, I have learned early on the values of diversity and how important it is to be accepted for who you are,” said Remila. “My research in my undergraduate years focused on analyzing how an individual’s socio-economic background affects their academic performance, and their chances of social mobility in life. There are wonderful individuals out there that do not fit our predetermined notion of what success is supposed to look like, but that have the potential to succeed.” At Haub Law, Remila is motivated not only to succeed, but to help others along the way – she serves as both a peer mentor and a Dean Scholar, as a way of giving back. 

Remila credits Haub Law’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) with her being awarded this competitive Fellowship, which has stringent selection criteria. “CCPD assisted in polishing my resume and reviewing my personal statement. I participated in several mock interviews in order to better understand and master the interview process. Dean Kapila Juthani and Assistant Director Hailey Harvis were always willing to help guide me along the way and push me to bring out the best of myself during this whole process. Their advice is always practical and genuine, and I continue to be extremely grateful for their support, along with all of the guidance I have received from others at Haub Law.”

Currently, Remila was selected to participate in a State Judicial Externship, where she was placed with the Hon. Gretchen Walsh in the New York Supreme Court, Commercial Division. This summer, Remila looks forward to gaining experience in corporate law, an interest she has held since her undergraduate studies. “I took various classes on business law and securities during college. In law school, I continue to be interested in detailed work and strategic thinking. Now, I will have the opportunity to sharpen these skills while understanding the day-to-day operations of a big corporation.” 

Harold E. Kaplan ’72, ‘83

Giving Back to the Pace Community

Harold E. Kaplan is a dual degree graduate of Pace University, having received his BBA in 1972 from Pace University, and his JD in 1983 from what was then known as Pace Law. After spending years in hospital administration, Harold reached out to former Pace University President Edward Mortola and began seriously considering law school. Three years later, in 1980, Harold began his law school journey and then in 1983, he graduated and was admitted to the NY Bar, prepared well by the Law School to start his career as a health law attorney. Over the years, Harold has been a generous supporter of both Pace University and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Most recently, he endowed a scholarship, the Harold E. Kaplan Health Law and Policy Scholarship, to support students who are passionate about Health Law and Policy. Learn more about Harold, his time spent at Pace, his career, and more in this Q&A.

Can you tell me a bit about your background and undergraduate experience at Pace?

I grew up in Brooklyn and decided I wanted an undergraduate business degree.  Although accepted to several colleges, I liked that Pace was then a small private school, so I attended what was then Pace College, from the fall 1968 to June 1972 and graduated with a BBA with concentrations in Law, Taxation and Economics.

Being a small school, among other things, I became acquainted with Pace President, Edward Mortola.  He was always accessible to students and became a friend.  It was the kind of student experience which endears the student to the school.

Albert Kalter, who taught all the undergraduate taxation courses, was the best professor I had, (and there were many excellent ones).  Federal and state taxation are not the easiest subjects, and he was a great educator who took the time to explain what he was teaching.  He taught his students how to read, interpret and understand the tax code which is not a simple task.  He insisted that students come to class prepared, and you always knew where you stood with him.  If you were unprepared, he asked that the student leave; this only happened once.  He and I became good friends.

Importantly, most of the undergraduate courses I took required a term paper.  After graduating, I attended the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa, Ontario, earning my Master of Health Administration degree.  Given the many required research or term papers I wrote, I was well prepared for graduate school, which required numerous term papers, and to graduate, a research thesis.

Did you always want to be a lawyer?

I had considered it as an undergraduate student, but I also wanted to be a hospital administrator.  When I received a traffic ticket in 1971, I asked for an administrative hearing in Manhattan traffic court and with a little persuading and careful reading of the New York State traffic code, and photographs of the street where the alleged offense occurred, I was found “not guilty”.  The police officer who testified against me wasn’t happy.  At home, my parents encouraged me to go to law school, but I still was more interested in hospital administration.

What was your path to law school and then ultimately to pursuing a law degree? 

In 1974, I began my hospital administration career at a major NYC teaching hospital.  I was negotiating contracts for expensive high tech medical equipment, and when reading purchase contracts, which I often did, I became interested in the law.  When one of my departments had an ongoing dispute over an expensive piece of equipment, I was able to extend the warranty, arguing that the hospital hadn’t accepted the equipment because it didn’t meet the terms of the purchase agreement.  At that point, I began to understand the value of having a law degree.

What made you choose Pace for your law degree?

Pace University was an excellent choice for my college degree and I always thought very highly of the school which had a growing reputation.  In 1977, I spoke with President Edward Mortola about Pace Law , who urged me to apply to its new law school.  Instead, I detoured to Florida to be the Assistant Administrator at a large community hospital.  Shortly thereafter, I decided to go to law school and being in Florida, considered schools in Florida and NY. Applying to Pace Law made sense since I felt that it would provide an excellent legal education.  Once accepted, my wife and I relocated from South Florida to Westchester County.  Of course, three years earlier, Dr. Mortola strongly recommend that I attend Pace Law, and he and Professor Kalter were helpful references.

Who were some of the most memorable professors you had during your time as a law student? 

There were many. Professor Philip Blank who taught legal methods and wills and estates.  Professor Crockett who taught tax law. Professors Doernberg and Zeigler, who had very organized teaching methods and were both excellent educators. Professors John Humbach and Hervey Johnson were both excellent educators and Professor Joseph, who taught several commercial law courses and was always very accessible to students. Professors Ralph Stein and Bartlett as well.   All of these professors were accessible, cared about their students, and left a very positive impression on me. They each had different teaching styles but as a group made being a law student more interesting, a little easier and sometimes fun.

What did you enjoy most about law school?

Considering it my occupation, I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of reading, understanding and briefing cases.  I usually was at the law library when the door was unlocked in the AM which in some ways still felt like going to work.  I long hand briefed every case and doing so, enjoyed sitting in class and putting check marks in my notebook, next to my notes about the key points being made by the professor about the holding, and the facts.  It was a game and being a law student was actually fun.

What lessons from law school stayed with you?

Take your job seriously and do it well.  Don’t automatically rely on others to get the job done if you are supposed to do it yourself. Delegate carefully.

You were a health law attorney for over thirty years, practicing mainly in Florida, what drew you to that area of law? 

Being a former hospital executive, for me, it was natural to become a health lawyer, although I briefly considered taxation law which I was also interested in and was, to my understanding, equally difficult.  At the first firm I worked at in New York City, we represented hospitals.  When I opened my own practice in South Florida, I became an attorney for physicians, physician practices and other licensed health care professionals, since virtually all the hospitals already had representation.

During your time as a health law attorney, what did you find most rewarding and/or challenging about that practice area?

It was very rewarding to represent medical practices which had a wide range of legal issues making the day-to-day practice much more interesting and rewarding.  Whether by good fortune or good lawyering, most of the matters I handled were resolved in my clients’ favor.  I was also very active in the Florida Bar’s Health Law Section which was rewarding.  I was often program chair and spoke at many Florida Bar CLE programs and volunteered for most of the Section’s positions, including ascending to Chair of the Section.

Currently, you provide arbitration services – how does that compare to your law practice?

I took the required Florida one week course to become a Certified Mediator and began mediating disputes.  Shortly thereafter, the American Health Law Association began its ADR service, and recruited attorneys to be mediators and arbitrator.  I started taking arbitration courses and stopped mediating.

Traditionally, arbitration was sought out by commercial disputants to serve as an efficient and final mechanism to resolve disputes, which today still remain key factors for choosing arbitration over traditional litigation.  Arbitration is very different from practicing law, but at its core, you need to be an experienced attorney, sensitive to due process, hearing practice, etc. and most of all assume a leadership role in the arbitration case to avoid delays and make the process as effective and efficient as reasonably possible.  Party’s attorneys usually prefer arbitrators with subject matter knowledge and experience to serve as arbitrators.  Being an arbitrator teaches you to be very quiet about what you are hearing and reading and make carefully considered statements.  With the right arbitrator, arbitration is beneficial to resolving commercial disputes.

You have always been a generous supporter of your alma mater, thank you.  Recently, you endowed a scholarship, the Harold Kaplan Health Law and Policy Scholarship, to support students who are passionate about Health Law and Policy - as an alumnus, why do you feel it is important to give back?

As an undergraduate student, Pace University prepared me well for graduate school, and it didn’t take long to discover that Pace Law equally prepared me well for practicing law.  Overall, the Pace community is very special to me, and I wanted to support its continuing mission, now and in the future.  I also wanted to support law students who have an interest in health law and also take the opportunity to simply show my support for the Law School.

Do you have any advice for current or future law students?

I have lots of advice for current and future law students most of which can only be imparted one on one.  However, future law students should have an understanding of the hard work required to excel in law school and also as a practicing attorney.  Being an attorney and doing it well is not easy.  Law students should enjoy learning about the law and should take sufficient time to read and understand the cases.  It is stimulating to learn about how the law has evolved, and understand that once they are attorneys, they are joining a sacred profession which provides important services to their selected portion of society.  Finally, become active in your bar association, and especially in your area of practice and always network.

What are some of your passions aside from the law?

I have many interests, but I still enjoy giving back. I am a volunteer attorney at Pisgah Legal Services in Asheville, NC, and helping those less fortunate and unable to afford and hire an attorney is very important to me.  There is also a large group of retired volunteer attorneys in Asheville and being part of this group is very rewarding.  I also frequently bike ride and play the piano.  And, most importantly, my wife, my children, and grandchildren, are important to me so I dedicate time to family. 

Faculty Focus

Dean Emerita and Professor Michelle Simon

After taking the LSAT’s on a whim during her senior year in college, Professor Michelle Simon found her passion in the law immediately after starting law school at Syracuse University College of Law. Having spent time clerking and in private practice after law school, she was hired as a professor in 1985 by Pace Law’s first female dean, Janet Johnson. Twenty-two years later, Professor Simon would also serve as dean of the Law School, making her the third female dean in the school’s history. During this women’s history month, learn more about one of Haub Law’s female trailblazers, Dean Emerita and Professor of Law, Michelle Simon, in this candid Q&A.

You joined what was then known as Pace Law School in 1985 and became interim dean of the school in 2007, followed by dean of the school from 2008-2014. What was your experience like as the third female Dean of the Law School?

Dean Janet Johnson was the first female Dean and the Dean when I started at Pace in 1985.  She served from 1983-1989 and was a true mentor to me. She hired me and gave me opportunities to teach different courses. In addition, Barbara Black served as an interim dean in 1993-1994 and also served as a mentor. I was very lucky as dean. At Pace, we always had many women faculty and staff, and it was a very supportive place for a woman. In addition to the support of the previous female deans at Pace, I also had the support of other female law deans. I was fortunate to have these outlets to turn to for support and advice.

Who are some of your female role models – both in and outside of the legal and academic field?

Judith Kaye, Eleanor Roosevelt, Professor Barbara Salken, and my grandmother – to name a few. Judith Kaye was the first woman named to serve on the NY Court of Appeals, and the first to serve as the Chief Judge. She focused on creating alternatives to sending defendants to jail especially for crimes involving drugs and domestic violence.  She was a forward thinker and trailblazer.  Eleanor Roosevelt, who was an advocate of the rights of the poor, minorities and disadvantaged, and exercised her own political and social influence.  Professor Salken, a beloved professor at Pace, who died of cancer way too soon (there is a tree named after her in the courtyard).  She always supported me and pushed me to become a scholar and teacher.  And my grandmother, who left her life in Hungary in 1938 to escape the Nazis with her husband and my father, worked in a factory in the United States, and was one of the strongest women I ever knew. She believed in me and instilled in me that I could accomplish anything.

Although things have improved in terms of equality for men and women in the workplace, do you still feel there are roadblocks or double standards that women face?

While things are better, there are still many roadblocks.  It is very difficult to juggle having a family and a legal career.  While many women are entering the legal field, most managing partners and leadership positions still belong to men.  I think the pandemic has helped society understand the need for more flexible working conditions, but that doesn’t impact the need to satisfy a certain number of billable hours.

How can women help empower other women in their careers and otherwise?

Be kind and supportive to each other.

Let’s step back for a moment, when did you know you wanted to be a lawyer?

I never thought about being a lawyer.  My father was a professional violinist, and my mother was an art historian, so I grew up in the arts and majored in studio art and anthropology in college.  I actually started a master’s degree in art therapy at Pratt Institute.  When I was a senior in college, many of my friends were taking the LSAT and I decided I would too.  I ended up scoring very well, and that’s when I started thinking about law school especially because I always loved both writing and researching.  When I started law school, I fell in love with it and knew I had found my passion.

How did you come to join Pace as a professor?

I was always interested in law teaching, and I tried to shape my career that way by clerking, then working in private practice, and writing.  I also taught as an adjunct in a paralegal program.  I applied to several law schools to be a professor and had several offers, but I loved the people at Pace. It always felt like a family. I feel very fortunate to have chosen both academia and Pace, I truly think I have the best job in the world.

What is your favorite course to teach?

I love teaching civil procedure.  I remember how challenging I found it to be when I was in law school, and I know that students find it difficult. I like to *try* to make it less frightening. I also love teaching torts, which is really all about analytical thinking.

You have held some prominent positions at Pace, which was the most challenging?

My time as Dean of the Law School was both my greatest challenge and my greatest achievement. It was challenging at times because you have so many constituencies—the University Trustees, the University President, the Provost, the law school faculty, law school staff, alumni, and of course the students. However, it was a very fascinating and rewarding experience as well. I had served as a trustee on a school board for 21 years and there were many similarities, but instead of thinking about what was best for all the children in my district, I was guided by what was best for all the law students at the law school.

What should students be thinking about as they enter the legal field?

I think it is important for students to think ahead about what they want their lives to look like. Your first job is not your last job, but it can be a stepping stone to the next opportunity.  There has to be work-life balance, and the practice of law can be very stressful.  If you are unhappy, there is nothing wrong with making a change and going in another direction. And, in whatever job you end up in, find a way to make yourself indispensable.

Aside from our mandatory first year courses, what classes would you recommend a law student should take before graduating?

It should be a mixture of courses that are tested on the bar exam (you don’t want to learn too many courses for the first time while you are studying for the bar) plus courses that look interesting to you, plus courses that are taught by a faculty member you enjoy, plus experiential courses so you get some idea about what practicing law is like. I was very surprised when I started to work about how different the practice of law was from law school.

Academically, what are you working on right now?

I am working on an article about the relationship between law students and University counseling offices and how we can better address the mental health issues in law school.

What are some of your passions and interests outside of the classroom?

I still love art. I am currently interested in honing my skills on the pottery wheel. I also have a house on Cape Cod and I love hiking, bicycling, fishing, and walking on the beach. And I have three children and so far, three grandchildren, so I love spending time with all of them.

Learn more about Professor Simon.

Chioma Deere '06

The Twists and Turns of Life on the Road to Success

Driven from a young age to be a lawyer, Chioma Deere had her son while she was applying to law school. Ultimately, Pace provided the flexibility to allow Chioma to accomplish her dream while balancing her family life. Now, Chioma Deere is the founding and managing partner of her own firm, Deere Law Firm, in West Palm Beach, Florida with a focus on wills, trusts, and estate planning.

Let’s jump right in, what was your path to law school?

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a lawyer. After college, I was accepted to three law schools in the tri-state area. It was right around that time that I had my son. While he was still a baby, I went to paralegal school to get my certificate in Paralegal Studies from Mercy College in New York. While working as a full-time paralegal, I went to what was then called Pace Law School, at night for four years. I chose Pace because of the proximity to home and my then 24-month-old son, as well as the collegial and welcoming way that the students and teachers who were going to “night school” came together. It was certainly a trial by fire going to law school for four years at night; I made some lifelong friends there. Somehow, when I got there, I knew Pace was the one for me.

What experiences from Pace stick with you?

There were many memorable moments: studying in the library in my little spot on the third floor, going for drinks with my classmates after class on Friday, crunching through the snow to the parking lots to drive home, and meeting incredible individuals who were embarking on the journey of law at various ages and stages of their careers. And, of course, Professor Bridget Crawford. My most memorable times were in classes I had with Professor Bridget Crawford. I am originally from Jamaica, and moved to the Bronx as a teenager. My thesis in undergrad focused on socioeconomic belonging of immigrant women from the Caribbean, so I gravitated to Professor Crawford’s topics as well as her style of teaching. I truly felt seen and welcomed when I was in her classes.

You are the founding and managing partner of your firm, Deere Law Firm, in West Palm Beach—how did that evolve and what brought you to West Palm Beach?

Most of my family had moved to West Palm Beach at the time I was graduating from Pace. It made sense for me to move there to be with my family. I was also dating the person who was later to become my husband.

Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2008, I’ve practiced in the area of complex hurricane claims litigation, insurance defense litigation, personal injury, arbitration, and employment litigation in state and federal courts. In 2017, while still in litigation, I expanded my practice areas to estate planning and probate law. Then, in 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, I opened Deere Law Firm to help clients with estate planning, asset protection, probate, and trust administration.

When I first launched my firm, during the pan- demic, it was much easier for me to start a virtual law practice. With increased social distancing, many people were operating remotely. It was easy for me to connect with clients virtually while being safe. I joined an estate planning association, the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA), and the Florida Bar’s Real Property Probate and Trust Law (RPPTL pronounced “reptile”) Section, which provided guidance, resources, and a support network.

What I also believe benefited me during this time was that I am a certified technology lawyer. Providing legal services in a digital age is an important niche of mine. Ensuring that we attorneys use technology to make life easier for our clients as well as for ourselves is one thing that I stress, especially now as the chair for the Technology Committee of the Palm Beach County Bar Association. I love all things tech. I’ve been teaching attorneys and judges about electronic discovery and litigation and how to use technology to be better attorneys for about 10 years now. With technology, there are so many avenues and ways that attorneys can practice law while taking care of their clients and their communities.

What is it about the areas of wills, trusts, and estates law that interest you?

A mentor of mine here in West Palm Beach, who went on to become a judge, encouraged me to explore other areas of life and the law. Estate planning and probate allowed me to help families while making a living here in West Palm Beach. I also find that there are few black women estate planning attorneys helping black families and people of color to maintain and preserve their wealth. The wealth gap has been a big issue lately, and I feel that I am in a good position to not only educate communities, but also help people to save and preserve the wealth they have built and pass it onto the next generation.

I will always be a litigator at heart. My litigation experience helps me to look at situations from many perspectives. I find that my years of litigation practice lend well to many situations in estate planning and probate law because they both require flexible and creative thinking.

The other day during the sessions to put together their trust, a client of mine remarked that al- though this process could be daunting for those who may feel fear and trepidation when thinking about death, they felt comfortable speaking to me about these things. In those moments, I feel as though I found my calling in the law.

How did Pace shape your career path?

Pace allowed me to continue to work while pursuing my childhood goal of being an attorney. Very few law schools were offering in person law school at night. I felt blessed to have had Pace in my backyard so that I could still work and take care of my family while earning my law degree. I don’t think anything would have stopped me from getting my law degree. However, Pace changed my life by making it so accessible for someone like me, with a baby in tow, to go to law school.

What are some of your passions aside from the law?

I love many different types of music and love to dance. I love orchids and I am slowly expanding my orchid collection.

Do you have any advice for current or future law students?

I’ve been blessed to have had many mentoring opportunities with high school students as well as law school students. I would tell them to cultivate relationships that they have in law school, learn the art of networking, and give of themselves to causes and areas in the law that matter to them. The possibilities are endless as to the type of legal work that someone could end up doing over the course of their careers.

What is the some of the best advice you have received?

When I was in college, one of my mentors told me that the road of life is not a straight line, that it had many twists and turns to success. You see, at that time I believed that I had to do certain things a certain way in order to achieve the goals that I had in my mind, fuzzy and distant though they were. How her words have echoed and have rung true at every major crossroads in my life. I’m grateful that the main reason I've been able to take all of the roads, sidewalks, and pathways, including creating my own pathways, has been because of the love and support of my family, as well as those individuals who have poured into my life their love and support as though they were my family.

Love @HaubLaw

2023 Alumni Love Stories

In a 1L class, outside of the library, in the halls of Dannat, in student organizations, or through mutual law school friends – these alumni hit it off during their time at Haub Law and the rest is history. We asked them to briefly tell us their Haub Law love stories here. If you want to share how you found Love at Haub Law please email Jessica Dubuss, Executive Director of Communications, at

Shamik Trivedi ’08 and Adrienne Fortin Trivedi ’08Shamik Trivedi ’08 and Adrienne Fortin Trivedi ’08 met at Earth Day in 2006 – Adrienne was selling t-shirts for ELS. Shamik bought a shirt from her, and, as Shamik puts it “the rest, they say, is history.” Shamik and Adrienne were married in 2014 and have two amazing children together.


Jeff Norton ’97 and Stephanie Krigman Norton ’98Jeff Norton ’97 and Stephanie Krigman Norton ’98 met in the library while Jeff was a 2L and Stephanie a 1L. Stephanie and Jeff married in 1998 with Haub Law’s Professor Randolph McLaughlin in attendance at their wedding! Jeff and Stephanie celebrate 25 years of marriage this year.


Michael J. Konicoff ‘13 and Taylor A. Piscionere ’13Michael J. Konicoff ‘13 and Taylor A. Piscionere ’13 met during their first year of law school where they were in the same section. A few years later they were engaged on the Haub Law campus, right outside the library where they first met. They have been married seven years and have two children.


David Shofi ‘94 and Leanne (Murray) Shofi ’94David Shofi ‘94 and Leanne (Murray) Shofi ’94 met at Haub Law in their Legal Research and Writing Class and were engaged by their 3L year! Today, they practice law in Ridgefield, CT and have two adult children (one a 2020 graduate of Pace's Musical Theater program – Pace pride runs deep in the Shofi household!).


Brendan Alt ’12 and Brittany Gold Alt ’12During law school, Brendan Alt ’12 and Brittany Gold Alt ’12 began working/interning at a local law firm located in White Plains together. Their friendship grew and upon graduation and taking the bar exam they went away for what was supposed to be a long weekend and ended up staying together all summer. Brendan and Brittany were married a couple of years later!


Brent Keith ‘09 and Erin Flannery Keith ‘09Brent Keith ‘09 and Erin Flannery Keith ‘09 were environmental law friends at Haub Law, but didn’t become a couple until reconnecting through work travel two years after graduation. They live in the Boston area where Erin is an Assistant Regional Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 and Brent is the Federal Lands Policy Team Lead at The Nature Conservancy. They have been married for ten years and their 4.5 year old has a penchant for letting people know if they are wasting water.

Ben Lowenthal ’13 and Michelle Simard ’13Ben Lowenthal ’13 and Michelle Simard ’13 met through mutual law school friends during their 1L year. A few short years later, Ben proposed and Michelle said yes! They were married in June 2017 in Maryland. Ben and Michelle have a son, Lyle, and currently live in Atlanta.


Joseph Mack (Lubin School of Business ‘98/Haub Law ’01) and Karyllan Dodson Mack ‘03Joseph Mack (Lubin School of Business ‘98/Haub Law ’01) and Karyllan Dodson Mack ‘03 first met in the fall of 2000 when Joe was the Dean’s Scholar for Professor Nolon’s Property Law class.  The two were married in April of 2003 and will celebrate 20 years of marriage this year. They live in New Jersey with their two children.


Suzanne Squarcia Haynes 97’  and Nathan Haynes 98’ Circa 1995, Suzanne Squarcia Haynes '97 worked the front desk as a Dannat Hall Resident Assistant, and Nathan Haynes '98 would swing by after classes with coffee.  Seeing past his ‘high and tight’ USMC haircut, love bloomed at Haub Law. Today, Nathan and Suzanne reside in lower Manhattan and their daughter, Maddie, is in her freshman year at GW in Washington, DC.


Saad Siddiqui ’07 and Samantha Schwartz Siddiqui ’08When Saad Siddiqui ’07 started his term as president of Haub Law’s Honor Board during his 3L year, he had no idea that one of the incoming Board members, Samantha Schwartz Siddiqui ’08, would be his future wife!  Over the course of working together the two learned they had many mutual friends and began spending a lot of time together socially. Fast-forward to an engagement in Paris, a marriage in New Rochelle, and three children and a home right in White Plains!

Alex Temple ’08 and Lauren Hughes Temple ’08Alex Temple ’08 and Lauren Hughes Temple ’08 met in their 2L year, through their friends, and fellow alumni, Shamik Trivedi ’08 and Adrienne Fortin Trivedi ‘08. The four have remained close friends ever since. Alex and Lauren are the proud parents of two children, Susannah and Cameron.


Derek Segars '23

An Inspired Public Servant

Derek Segars ’23 comes from a family of Detroit public servants and has always placed a strong value on it as a result. “My great-grandfather was a bus driver for the City of Detroit, my grandfather was a police officer, my father was a fire safety inspector and arson investigator, and my mother was a social worker for 25 years,” said Derek. “I grew up surrounded by public servants and understanding the importance of dedicating your career to helping others.” 

Derek spent much of his childhood in Detroit, only having moved to the suburbs once he reached 9th grade. “Detroit is over 70% African American and the suburb my family moved to was predominantly white. This was a culture shock for me and adapting to my new environment was challenging. Until 9th grade, I had spent my entire life being surrounded by black people. For the first time, I experienced outward racism and discrimination. That stark juxtaposition from Detroit to the suburbs motivated me and continues to motivate me as I pursue my law degree.”

Derek chose Pace because he is confident it is the right school to get him one step closer to his goal of helping others as an attorney one day. “Pace is a very special place. Both the professors and student body make the law school experience positive and unforgettable. Professor Betty Lawrence Lewis has been instrumental in developing my advocacy skills and continues to support me and mentor me as I apply to jobs and internships. Professor Josh Galperin and Professor Elyse Diamond have also been extremely supportive and continue to provide me with advice and mentorship as I finish my last year of law school. And, I have felt such a sense of camaraderie from my classmates – we are all here to uplift each other and celebrate each other.”

During his time at Haub Law, Derek has had many opportunities to be an active participant in his law school experience. “I was able to participate in the DC externship. It was an amazing experience and the professors were very supportive and continue to serve as mentors to the participants.” Derek also serves as President of the 2022-2023 Black Law Students Association (BLSA), as a board member and Director of Gender Diversity and LBGTQIA+ Services for the North East Chapter of BLSA, as a student member of the Faculty Hiring Committee, and he is also a member of the BLSA mock trial team at Haub Law.

As for the future, Derek’s biggest goal is to be a decision-maker one day and serve the public. He notes that this could mean “running for office, working in a government agency, starting my own advocacy organization, or becoming a professor.” As far as an immediate goal, Derek hopes to practice environmental law after graduation and pursue a fellowship or clerkship with the federal government.

Derek has an important piece of advice for future law students. “Relationship building is essential to your future career. Start now. And, advocate for yourself. Be confident in your intellect. Be confident in your capabilities. Be confident in your moral compass that led you to law school and always be vocal about your goals and what you need from others to get there.”

Outside of law school, Derek is an avid swimmer. He loves the outdoors and frequently spends days at local parks with a blanket and picnic basket in the summer. He is skilled in ceramics and wheel-throwing. Derek also enjoys spending time with his sister, Taylor, who is a quadriplegic and as he describes her, “the happiest person I know.” He also enjoys being with his big and close-knit family in Detroit, who he credits with motivating him on his law school journey and celebrating his accomplishments.

Faculty Focus

Professor Michael B. Mushlin

Professor Michael B. Mushlin has been a professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University (then known as “Pace Law School”) since 1984. He teaches Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure Adjudication, Evidence, Federal Courts, and Prisoners’ Rights. After growing up in the south, and witnessing firsthand racism in America, Professor Mushlin decided to go to law school. Today, Professor Mushlin is a preeminent authority on prisoners’ rights, the author of the treatise, Rights of Prisoners, and a beloved professor. Learn more about him in this candid Q&A.

You are always involved in interesting and timely matters - what has some of your more recent work involved?

I appeared as an expert witness in an extradition case in Scotland involving an American woman who is wanted for murder in the United States. I testified about the lack of oversight of the penal institutions to which the defendant would be sent in the United States were she to be extradited. I also testified about the risk of solitary confinement and the threat of COVID-19. I also serve of the New York State Advisory Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure where I chair the subcommittee on judicial visits to prisons. I recently wrote an op-ed for the NY Daily News on the maltreatment of prisoners, and a letter to the Editor of the NY Times on Rikers Island as well as op eds in the Westchester County Bar Association Magazine and the New York Law Journal. I plan to give a lecture soon to the Pace University community on originalism and prisoners’ rights and will be speaking at a national conference on prisoners’ rights at the University of Texas.

How did you become interested in Prisoners’ Rights?

After growing up in the deep south and seeing firsthand, from the perspective of a white person, racism in America, I went to law school to become a civil rights attorney. After I graduated law school, I began my legal career as a staff attorney at a neighborhood legal services office in Harlem. Afterwards, I went to work for the Legal Aid Society as staff attorney and then Project Director of the Prisoners’ Rights Project where I served for seven years. My passion and interest in the area grew from there. I used the lessons learned doing prisoners’ rights litigation in my work as Associate Director of the ACLU’s Children’s Rights Project.

What advice do you have for students interested in the law and in particular, Prisoners’ Rights?

The first step is to make sure that you understand what being a lawyer is like and that this is what you enjoy and want to be good at. As far as prisoners’ rights, I would highly recommend taking the prisoners’ rights course.

What do you think is today’s greatest issue facing prisoners’ rights?

Americans are fundamentally humane and decent. However, because of fear and the failure to confront the full implications of all aspects of our past we have a prison system that does not reflect these basic values. The biggest issue facing prisoners’ rights is finding a way to establish a connection between the prisons of this country and these American values. When that happens, our prisons will be transformed.

You have written about the damage that solitary confinement in prison causes, and last year, you gave testimony in support of a bill reforming solitary confinement in Connecticut - briefly, can you talk about that topic?

Plain and simple, solitary confinement is torture. It runs against human nature, is painful beyond measure to anyone who experiences it, and violates international law when it is used for 15 days or more. Reforming solitary confinement will not be easy, but it must be done.

How has COVID-19 affected prisoners’ rights?

Here is what I said about Covid-19 when I added a chapter to my book Rights of Prisoners (5th ed) after the pandemic hit:

“COVID-19 poses a greater threat to inmates than it does to people in the general civilian population. Prisons are closed, often crowded institutions. Social distancing in such places is difficult, if not impossible. Normal measures used to stem the spread of the virus, such as cleaning supplies and masks, are not readily available in prisons and jails. In fact, these items are often considered contraband, which inmates are punished for possessing. In addition, inmates are generally not a healthy group of people. Within prison walls, there are many people who have conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, asthma, and obesity, which makes them especially vulnerable to serious injury or death if they contract COVID-19. As is well-known, increasing age is also associated with mortality from COVID-19. In recent years, prisons have become places in which large numbers of older persons are held. For these reasons, it is clear that “[p]risons are powder kegs for infection and have allowed the COVID-19 virus to spread with uncommon and frightening speed (citing United States v. Salvagno)”

What is the most rewarding part of being a professor for you?

I love teaching. The classroom is a sacred space. It is where ideas are engaged, skills that last a lifetime are developed and people grow.

What are some of your non-academic interests?

I love to spend time with my wife, my two sons, and my granddaughter. I also have fun with Skip, my 17 year old cockapoo dog who is an adored member of our family.

Learn more about Professor Mushlin.