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Boot Camp Brings the Business of Law to Students

01/13/2022
Brooklyn Law School’s eighth annual Business Boot Camp, held Jan. 4-7, tapped the expertise of alumni and faculty for a four-day intensive training program designed to take students beyond the traditional law school courses to offer a deeper understanding of business operations, decision-making, and financial considerations and practices.

The program is led by Professor Michael Gerber, a noted authority on bankruptcy law, and presented in collaboration with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and John P. Oswald '84, president and chief executive officer Capital Trust Group and member of the Board of Trustees. Professor Neil B. Cohen also took part in the boot camp, leading a discussion of Debt Financing. Dean Michael Cahill welcomed students to the program on the first day and attended several sessions.

In his opening remarks for the virtual program, Gerber told students: “Lawyers need to know how business clients think, how they develop strategy, know the words they use, and know business metrics and concepts, whether the client is a large or small firm, a nonprofit, a public service, or even when starting your own business…because a law firm is a business.”

Alumni business leaders and entrepreneurs participated in panels and breakout sessions throughout the four days. Topics included Developing a Business Plan; Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Crypto; Advising New Ventures & Small Business; Accounting Basics and Interpreting Financial Statements, Financing the Business, Introduction to Mergers and Acquisitions, and Valuation.

The program culminated with a lively and informative conversation with Gerber and Gloria Greco ’98, Chief Compliance Officer, Bank of America Corporation Professor. Greco detailed her work in compliance and operational risk, the evolution of tech and AI in the field, and her role as advocate for her clients. “My advice should be sound, and clients should know the risks. I help them find their way to ‘yes’, to see the “what if” scenarios, and to understand the why. I’m always looking at how we get there.”

Greco is a strong believer in programs like Business Boot Camp. “It gives students invaluable real-world experiences, which make you more effective as a lawyer,” she said in closing. “Brooklyn Law School is very forward looking in areas like inclusion and becoming sustainable into the future. There’s a lot of heart and soul here, and a faculty that takes their role and commitment seriously in pedagogy and mentorship, along with the clinic work. You should be proud to part of the community. I know I am.”

Bootcamp 2022 Program Highlights

Advising New Ventures & Small Business—moderated by John Rudikoff ’06, director of Graduate Programs at Brooklyn Law School and a founder of LeapStep Design, and featuring Leo Kittay ‘08, partner in the international intellectual property firm Fross Zelnick; Mark Sorensen ’15, vice president and corporate counsel at the private aviation company Wheels Up; Phil Weiss ’12, outside general counsel to small businesses and startup ventures; and M.J. Williams ’09, partner at boutique intellectual property firm Wissing Miller. They discussed the rewards, potential issues and disputes, and the nuts and bolts of working with new ventures, whose founders are creative and passionate about their projects and in need of solid, experienced, knowledgeable legal guidance.

Buying and Selling Businesses—moderated by Mitchell Littman ’83, founding partner of Littman Krooks LLP and Brooklyn Law Adjunct Professor, featured Jennifer Horowitz ’96, partner at Cole Schotz and Co-Chair of the firm’s Corporate Department; Chantelle McClamb ’10, associate at Ballard Spahr, with a focus on bankruptcy law; and Asim Grabowski-Shaikh ’92, partner in BakerHostetler and Sarah Young ’11, partner in Ropes & Gray mergers and acquisitions group. They elaborated on what spoke to them as transaction attorneys, the factors behind the sale of a business, drivers of business decisions, ethical considerations. how to find a buyer, and forms of transactions, including IPOs, SPACs, and PIPE.