Success Stories

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.”

Epiphanie Reddick ‘22

Meet BLSA's Vice President

Certified paralegal. Vice President of the Black Law Students Association. Third year law student. Learn more about Epiphanie Reddick '22 in this Q&A.

Why did you choose Haub Law?

I chose Haub Law because of how welcoming the faculty was when I went to first visit. I also can still vividly remember talking to Assistant Dean for Admissions, Cathy Alexander, and how warm and instantly welcomed she made me feel. 

What have you focused on during your time at Haub Law and do you have any post-graduation plans?

Yes, I mostly focused on and took classes related to real estate and commercial litigation. After graduated, I was fortunate enough to receive a job offer with Houser LLP as an associate attorney and I have accepted. 

What has stuck with you from your time at the Law School?

I have countless memorable experiences at Haub but the best part was meeting so many wonderful and incredible people. I have made some great friends and have had some extremely enjoyable and important classes – some of my favorites have been Federal Income Tax, Civil Rights, Lawyering, and Trial Advocacy.

You are VP of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) – talk to me about that?

To me, being VP of BLSA means fostering a positive, healthy, and welcoming environment to all members of our organization as well as all students. BLSA is so important to me because in a field where there is a clear lack of diversity, it is important to have a safe space for Black students to know they are not alone and that they have the BLSA family to support them. 

February is Black History Month, what does that mean to you?

Black History Month is a time of year where we focus on celebrating and acknowledging Black culture. It is a time of year that brings me great joy and hopefulness of how far my people have come and will go. Black history is a major part of American history and should never be looked past, having a month dedicated to it, ensures that.

Isabella D'Alesio '24

Italian Classical Ballerina Pursues a Career on the Legal Stage

Fluent in three languages and trained as a classical ballerina, Isabella D'Alesio moved from Italy to New York to complete her bachelor's degree. After spending some time as a paralegal at a large international law firm, her decision to pursue a career in law was solidified. Now a 1L at Haub Law, Isabella hopes to begin a legal career in the international/environmental law field. Learn more about Isabella, her path to law school, and her experience at Haub Law in this student spotlight.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I was born and raised in Livorno, a city by the coast of Tuscany. I moved to New York for my Bachelor's degree at Fordham five years ago, where I pursued a degree in International Political Economy and a minor degree in Business Administration and French. All my family still lives in Italy, except for my brother and me – my brother also lives in New York. I am the first person in my family to go to Law School and the first woman to pursue a higher education. Both my father, Antonio, and my mother, Stefania, live in Livorno. We are all extremely close and always work together as a team. My family is extremely supportive of my choice to go to Law School – even though it is tough for us to be apart, they support my goals and believe in my aspirations. I would not be where I am today without them.

What inspired you to attend law school?

Since I can remember I have always had a passion for the practice of law, my main inspiration has been the work of international organizations. I have always had a burning interest in the work of the United Nations and its diplomatic relations between different countries, political systems, laws and cultures.

How did you make sure that you wanted to pursue a career in law?

To understand if law was something I was passionate about, after my bachelor ’s degree, I worked for a year at an International Law Firm in New York as a paralegal. I quickly understood that law was the path I wanted to take, and here I am! Due to Student Visa regulations, I am not allowed to work for the first two semesters of Law School, but I am eager and excited to start applying the material I am learning in the legal field.

What about Haub Law stands out to you?

There is such a high level of inclusion and camaraderie at the school that all students and faculty have with each other. Since the first days, I felt extremely comfortable and at ease, something that is rare for a law student, especially in their first year.

Talk to me about your professors so far at Haub Law.

I have had a wonderful experience with my first semester professors. They expect a lot from us as law students, and although it can be demanding and stressful, it is extremely rewarding. The professor that has been the most inspiring figure for me in this first semester is my Civil Procedure professor, Michael Mushlin. His passion for the course and his dedication to his students has been remarkable. Civil Procedure is not by any means an easy class, but his enthusiasm has inspired me to dedicate myself to the law even further.

Have you thought about your goals after law school?

I hope to pursue a legal career in the International/Environmental field. I am fortunate enough to be able to speak Italian, English, and French. My dream is to work for an international organization or law firm and be able to use my legal experience together with my fluency in languages.

What are some of your hobbies outside of law school?

Growing up I spent all of my free time in the dance world, I was a classical ballerina for 17 years and continued classical and modern dance through College. Dancing, playing the piano and my love for music is still one of my favorite things to dedicate my free time to. When we don’t have too much law reading for class, which is very rare, I enjoy reading books from Isabel Allende. I also adore cooking and baking.

What would your advice be for current or future law students?

Believe in yourself. It is not going to be easy, but never doubt that you have the ability to make your dreams come true. It is not a bad thing to set high goals and standards for yourself, but remember to celebrate and be proud of every accomplishment, even if small.

Faculty Focus

Professor Josh Galperin

Professor Josh Galperin joined the faculty of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 2021. He teaches Contracts, Environmental Skills, and Administrative Law. Professor Galperin also was in a band, likes to bake, and has great advice for law students -- learn more in this candid student-led interview.

Can you tell me about your recent work?

I like my work to have two aspects: scholarship and practical projects. In my scholarship, I like to develop baseline arguments for why governments or policies should work in certain ways. My work on harmonic or administrative democracy falls mostly into the scholarship bucket. With this work, I’m exploring the idea that democracy is about more than just voting and elections. Democracy has a bunch of moving parts. My practical projects are typically government oriented. One example is with the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). I’m looking into regulatory notice and the ways agencies give notice of what they’re doing. This relates to my scholarship because it can affect how people participate in democracy, whether that participation be through voting or engaging with rulemaking, for example. Another example of my practical work is the Farm Bill Law Enterprise,, of which Professor Margot Pollans and I are founding members and Professor Jon Brown is also a member. Started in 2017, FBLE offers insights and proposals from legal scholars for the farm bill well in advance of the legislative debate. We try to put out reports to help congress ahead of time. This also relates to my administrative democracy work, as I am incorporating just, equitable, and inclusive governance in the farm bill context.

How did you become interested in the law? 

My dad was a lawyer and he loved his job, but he was a litigator. The schools I went to instilled the importance of the governance process. My dad was non-stop work, so I knew I didn’t want that aspect of law and early on I was interested in policy. I either wanted to run for office or become a professor. 

I see your scholarship covers many types of law. What led you to research in all these areas?

I don’t think it’s that diverse. My theme is the core issue of how we structure law so people can participate in the governance process. 

Food and ag, Conservation, Human health and the Environment,

Land Use and the Environment – the theme can run through anything!

How has your Master’s degree from the Yale School of the Environment helped with your career in environmental law? Would you recommend the joint program to students? 

Yes! It has helped me enormously.

The first reason I recommend it is totally superficial – a degree from Yale looks good on a resume. Although superficial, it’s real and it’s valuable, especially for students who want to leave the normal orbit of their school. For example, I went to Vermont Law School. It helped me get attention outside of Vermont. I moved to Tennessee after school. 

The second reason is that law school is very individualistic; it is a good way to think like a lawyer. But that’s not how the world works in any field. It’s not how you will use the tools you learn in law school. The Yale MEM teaches students how to practice in any environmental discipline because everything there is both collaborative and interdisciplinary - that represents the real world more than law school alone.

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

Don’t feel like you have to overcommit to environmental classes or know everything there is to know about environmental law in law school. Focus on building the infrastructure for working while you're in law school. Find opportunities to do interdisciplinary work. Get involved in clubs. Do some non-legal work. Be curious. Ask why do people you disagree with have different opinions? Curiosity is about having lots of questions all the time. Also, don’t be afraid to be excited about things. The goal should be energy and excitement, not getting the grade or the job.

Can you tell me about a non-academic interest or hobby you have that you’d be willing to share? 

Two things – baking and drumming.

I love cooking and baking. I am both enthusiastic about them and good at them. However, I’m patient, so I’m better at baking. It also allows me to have some space from my kids. I donated a baking lesson at Pitt, the last school I taught at, for a fundraiser. The winner and I made babka.

I was in a band, I was a drummer. I even played drums at my wedding for a song. I had a cameo for La Bomba. My groomsmen were in my band. I am hoping to be the Recess Appointments drummer. 

Josh-drummer2 Josh-drummer1

Learn more about Professor Galperin.

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: Imran H. Ansari


Imran H. Ansari '08 is the lead partner in charge of the civil practice in his firm, Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins PC, and has an active litigation and trial practice. He is also a weekly host on the Law & Crime Network and a weekly guest legal analyst on Court TV. Imran also appears on other networks such as CNN/HLN, Fox, CBS, and others, to provide legal commentary, along with various radio shows and podcasts to discuss legal news.

Let’s start from the beginning, how did your background influence your career and educational choices?

I grew up in suburban New Jersey, however, I spent a lot of time in New York City throughout my formative years. It exposed me to diversity, the arts, life experiences, and I truly fell in love with New York City from a young age. Before starting my law career, I played and toured as a musician with an acclaimed band, and I have had experiences living, studying, and working in Iceland, India, and Italy, giving me a more worldly perspective. With its proximity to New York City, its excellent program and reputation, Pace was the perfect fit for me.  

Can you talk about your journey to law school and thereafter?

Law is a second career for me. I was a television producer at Court TV and worked in film prior to becoming a lawyer. Getting my law degree was something I had set for myself as a goal. When I applied to law school, I was living in Iceland and working on major film and television shoots, such as Batman Begins and others. It seemed like the right time, so I sent in my application, and started at Pace in 2004. Once I was at Pace, I participated in an internship at the Brooklyn D.A.’s Office, which was transformative. I realized the skills I learned writing and producing for TV and film, translated exceptionally into the court room. The cadence of delivering an argument, the presence and body language the jurors expect and like to see, the concise delivery of a point. With these skills, coupled with an understanding of the law, I realized becoming a trial attorney was my calling. After many years as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, I jumped to the private sector and expanded my practice expertise beyond criminal law, to also encompass civil litigation. I am now the lead partner in charge of the civil practice in my firm, Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins PC, and have an active litigation and trial practice, including handling high-profile cases for high-profile clients. Some of my high-profile clients are not popular in the court of public opinion, which makes it more difficult to defend them in the court of law. It is important to remember that a fundamental aspect of our justice system is the right to a defense.

Do you remember your first day of law school?

I will always remember my first day of law school! As with any new venture in life, it was filled with excitement and a dose of nerves. I remember meeting so many great people that day, all sharing similar feelings. We would all form a bond over the next few years through our time at Pace, and I am proud to say that our education at the Law School has allowed many of us to fulfill our career dreams.

How was the rest of your law school experience?

There are so many memorable experiences! For me, moot court competitions and the camaraderie with my moot court teammates will always stick out, especially the competitive edge when we went up against other law schools. I also had a wonderful experience with the externships I did while at Pace.  And, as far as professors – I can safely say that all my professors were my favorites! The faculty at Pace are exceptional, they equipped me with the skills and knowledge to propel me through my career, and for that I am forever grateful. Funny enough, one of my former professors was an adversary in a case, it was an interesting experience!  

Were there any struggles during law school that you want to share?

In 2005, I participated in the Pace Law Internship Abroad program and spent the summer in India working with one of its top law firms. It was a great experience, but then a stroke of bad luck. During my last week in India, I was hit with a horrible stomach virus that knocked me out of commission for weeks, including well into the start of the fall semester. I made the strategic, yet very difficult, decision to take that fall semester off, hence my January 2008 graduation, rather than 2007.  It all worked out for the best though!

In addition to being a partner at a busy law firm, you are also a host & legal analyst on the Law & Crime Network – how did that evolve?

As I mentioned, prior to law, I was a television producer, including at Court TV, so that passion for broadcast media is inherent. Now I have come full circle, but this time instead of behind the camera, I am on-air. I am a weekly host on the Law & Crime Network, where we cover live trials and legal news and break it down for our viewers. I am also a weekly guest legal analyst on Court TV, where I provide commentary as we discuss the latest trials and legal news. I also appear on other networks such as CNN/HLN, Fox, CBS, and others, to provide legal commentary. Additionally, I often appear as a guest on radio shows and podcasts to discuss legal news.
Imran Ansari

How has the pandemic shaped what you do and how you do it – both on a day-to-day basis and for the foreseeable future?

I think we have seen an evolution in the way we practice law due to the pandemic. It will be interesting to see how courts implement the use of virtual appearances even post-pandemic, as I believe that many see this as a more efficient manner of conducting business. I personally love being physically in court. It’s my comfort zone and I love the social interaction, whether I am picking a jury or simply bantering with a fellow member of the bar while we wait for our cases to be called. Back in March 2021, I picked one of the first in-person juries in Supreme Court in Manhattan. The case settled after jury selection, but it was a surreal experience to pick a jury with masks, plastic dividers, and everyone spaced out. A few months later, I picked another jury in Supreme Court in Brooklyn, and tried a case to jury verdict in favor of my client in Supreme Court in the Bronx. All while wearing a mask and spaced out in a specially equipped courtroom. I also tried a bench trial in federal court over the span of a few weeks in the summer of 2021 which was done entirely remotely. It is indicative of how we adapt to change and get used to the “new normal.”

Do you have any advice for current students?

Make connections now! Studying and academics are of course a priority, but the real practical experience you will receive during internships, externships, and working, will provide you the advantage for when you start practicing and when you are looking for a job. It’s important to make those connections while in law school, and I recommend preemptively getting active in bar associations and networking in the profession. It will pay off later!  

 How did Pace shape or help your career path?

Pace provided me with a stellar education, and the experiences I had through externships and internships, changed my career direction, without which, I would not be where I am today.

What are some of your passions aside from the law?

I love traveling, music, and I am avidly into sport fishing! Also, spending as much time as possible with my family, who have supported me through the years. Without that support, my accomplishments would not have been possible.

Faculty Focus

Professor David Cassuto

Professor David Cassuto has been a faculty member with the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University since 2003. He teaches Animal Law, Environmental Survey, Constitutional Law, Property Law, Water Law, Comparative Environmental Law and Professional Responsibility, and is Director of the Brazil-American Institute for Law and Environment (BAILE). But what you might not know about Professor Cassuto may surprise you -- learn more in this candid student-led interview.

Can you tell me about your recent work?
My current article focuses on the impact and plight of animals as victims of zoonotic disease. Zoonotic disease is caused in part by the close confinement of animals. The vaccines used for the spread of these diseases are then tested on animals. I’m arguing for changes in the regulatory structure, enforcement of treaties, and the inclusion of more effective treaty provisions. I’m also working with Professor Mushlin on a paper relating to the effects of solitary confinement on animals as well humans. 

What inspired your interest and work in animal rights?
I came to animal law via environmental law. In undergrad, I biked across the amazon to raise money for an environmental cause. I saw deforestation and became a vegetarian to live by the rules I preached. 

When I came to Haub Law, there was no animal law course being taught. Doing the research in order to teach animal law led me to realize this was more than environmental law. It’s ethics. It’s what legal rights, protections, etc. that animals have or should have. It’s a pressing civil rights issue. Billions of animals a year are tortured to death. I eventually gave up all animal products. Once one becomes interested in animal issues it’s hard to keep it just professional. I also started working with ALDF around that time. I was on the board and now do consulting. 

I believe the purpose of the law is to protect the powerless. The powerful don’t need protection. If we look at who is genuinely powerless, animals have no voice. They have no legal voice. It’s difficult to know what happens to these innocent creatures and not want to help protect them as best I can. It is the support of the environmental program that has given me the ability to do this type of work. I feel very lucky to have the support of the institution. 

What is your advice for students interested in animal rights?
It’s never been more urgent, wherever one's passion lies in trying to protect lives and living space, we need the help. Bring your passion to the job search and the job, and the jobs will be there. 

I heard you’re an Elected Town Justice for a New York township?
Yes, I’ve been a Town Justice in my town since 2008. NYS town justices don’t need to be lawyers and that creates horrible situations, as justices can do things like send people to jail for up to a year and make decisions about what happens to people's property. People who have no business being judges are judges. They asked me to run for justice and I didn’t want to, I’m extremely introverted. However, I tell my kids to give back to their community and I didn’t want to be hypocritical. My mother was my campaign manager and I won on absentee ballots, so this was thanks to her work. 

Is it true that you were behind the naming of Strawberry Fields in Central Park?
I was a high school intern at the NY City Council when John Lennon was shot and was completely grief stricken, like many others at the time. The city council person I worked for, Henry Stern, who became the parks commissioner, was open to doing something, and I advocated for the idea. An act of the city council was required. I wrote the bill and part of Sheep Meadow is now named Strawberry Fields. 

How do you spend your free time?
I was a professional ski instructor for many years. I grew up skiing and love skiing. My son is moving to Idaho, so I’m optimistic that will mean great things for me. I also love being outside and live on 16 acres. My neighbors are bears and turkeys and that’s how I like it. 

Learn more about Professor Cassuto.

Gabriella Mickel authored this Q&A with Professor David Cassuto. Gabriella is a 2023 JD Candidate at Haub Law. She 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, Gabriella owns three sports supplement stores and is the co-editor of the Law Student Corner section of the NYSBA EELS Journal.