Haub Alumni of the Month: Dorothy Finger and Carl Finger

A mother-son Haub Law legacy

Dorothy and Carl Finger are both attorneys at The Law Offices of Finger & Finger, A Professional Corporation. In 1980, Dorothy graduated cum laude from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. In 1993, Carl Finger graduated from Boston University School of Law and then, in 1997, Carl followed in his mother’s footsteps and attended Haub Law, receiving his LLM in Environmental Law.

What were your favorite classes while attending Haub Law?

DF: Contracts, Federal Civil Procedure, and Constitutional Law

CF: I really enjoyed an environmental law class that I took with Professor Nick Robinson. It was extremely influential and eye opening.

Which classes in particular do you find most useful to your career?

DF: Contracts, real property, and civil procedure have proved to be the most useful and are applied regularly in the cases that I handle.

CF: As counsel to the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region, Inc., the land use classes have proven to be the most applicable from a day to day aspect. With that background I have worked with groups on SEQRA analysis and policy recommendation and related issues. The lessons from these classes have been applied to appearances before land use boards in local municipalities, lobbying efforts in Albany, and litigation.

What was one of your best memories from your time at Pace?

DF: Civil Procedure, when the professor posited the question: “You come home from work open the garage and see spouse’s car smashed, what do you do first?” Several answers were call the police, call your insurance company, etc. The professor responded by saying that the most important question was “Honey are you all right?” He said we will all be lawyers, but we must remember that we are first and foremost human beings. This is still the most important advice in practice.

CF: There was a Saturday all day seminar the first year in the environmental law program that I really enjoyed. It was a relaxed learning environment with great student and professor interaction.

Did you always desire to go to law school and become a lawyer? 

DF: I probably thought about it during high school, but there were few women in law at that time and when I was graduating from college I was also getting married. I got a masters in economics while I was working part-time. I thought about it after I had children, but until Pace opened in my back yard it was too difficult.

CF: I didn’t really plan on it. However, I did like the idea of working for myself and the family business has really been an important part of being an attorney for me.

Dorothy - how did you feel once your son decided to pursue law?

DF: I was happy with Carl’s decision because it was his decision – he was not sure what he wanted to do and a law degree would always be useful and productive. He turned out to be a great lawyer.

Carl – did your mothers attendance at Pace influence your decision to go to law school and eventually to attend Pace to receive your LLM?

CF: Definitely. I knew she had an amazing experience at Pace and when I was considering the masters of laws program the field was of interest, but I knew the professors, students, and community at Pace were top notch. I had many times met her fellow students and Professor Hervey Johnson so I knew that Pace was a place to build relationships that last a lifetime. 

What are the benefits of being involved in a family law practice?

DF: It has been a great way to grow the practice, but still keep it a mom and pop business. Also, during this particular time we could not have survived without Carl and Daniel and leaning and relying on one another not only as colleagues, but as family. 

CF: The unimpeded communication, cooperation, and sharing of knowledge and experience cannot be duplicated. Additionally, the ability to rely upon each other in an unusual way allows us to dedicate time to important other endeavors such as my service on the Village of Scarsdale Board of Trustees and the Village of Scarsdale Board of Education. 

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

DF: Simply put: graduate, pass the bar, and get a job that will give you good experience, and don’t forget that you are a human being.

CF:  You will be challenged by attorneys, clients, and judges throughout your career, and not always in the nicest of ways or with the kindest of words.  Maintaining your own calm perspective and integrity will provide you with the foundation necessary to respond with confidence when confronted.