THE Docket

News of note from Fordham Law alumni
By Erin DeGregorio and Sejla Rizvic
A black and white close-up portrait photograph perspective of Shaoul Sussman speaking while holding a microphone
“Fordham Law has unique and exciting ties to the FTC and the work it is doing at the moment.”

Promoting Fair and Competitive Markets

Serving as attorney advisor to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan has been a great honor, “especially at this moment of renewed interest in antitrust and an ever-growing interest in privacy and consumer protection in digital markets,” according to Shaoul Sussman ’19. Since he joined Khan’s office last year, the FTC has brought some notable enforcement actions, including successfully moving ahead its monopolization complaint against Facebook and challenging a number of large vertical mergers, including those of Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne as well as chipmakers NVIDIA and Arm.

“This is a particularly exciting time to be involved in the [FTC]’s work,” said Sussman, citing President Biden’s executive order to promote competition and refocus antitrust enforcement as well as the significant antitrust and consumer protection legislation under consideration by Congress.

Though he may be three years out of law school, Sussman says Fordham Law is not a distant memory. “Fordham Law has unique and exciting ties to the FTC and the work it is doing at the moment,” he said. He collaborates with fellow alumna Anu Sawkar ’09, the agency’s special counsel for intellectual property. Additionally, Professor Olivier Sylvain is a senior advisor to Khan, and several students are currently interning as clerks.

Trials and Tribulations

A portrait headshot photograph of Risa Berkower smiling
In her career as a federal prosecutor, Risa Berkower ’06 has played a crucial role in two of the most significant cases of the past few years: the federal hate crimes prosecution of James Fields for the murder of Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and more recently, the first trial related to the January 6th riots at the U.S. Capitol.

As a student at Fordham Law, Berkower developed her legal skills in the school’s mediation clinic, working in the Bronx housing court (a “fascinating” experience, she said, and a “great way to build skills that you actually would use as a lawyer”) as well as serving on the Fordham Law Review.

Fordham Law is also where she got her first experiences working for the federal government. In her first year, she worked in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. She also interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and for Judge Shira Scheindlin, the U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. Later, she clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Droney in Connecticut.

After a brief stint at boutique Manhattan white-collar firm Morvillo Abramowitz, Berkower found her way to government work. “I have always had an interest in government,” she said, citing her upbringing in Washington, D.C. Berkower started at the voting section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice before moving to the criminal section, where she worked on federal criminal civil rights prosecutions (including the Fields case).

Now, as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C., Berkower continues to work on cases that combine her interests in civil rights and criminal prosecution. “There are often days where I feel it’s hard to believe I get paid for this work,” Berkower said. “It’s such an honor to get to serve the public in this way.”

A “Priceless” Career

A portrait headshot photograph of Tiffany Hall smiling
Tiffany Hall ’08 worked in marketing and advertising with Ogilvy & Mather, Atlantic Records, and Sotheby’s auction house before studying at Fordham Law. She continued to work at Sotheby’s during her 1L year. She recalled “phenomenal” experiences and opportunities through each, which led her to become a marketing advertising attorney at Pernod Ricard, one of the largest wine and spirits companies in the world, after graduation. Ironically, the company was located on the fourth floor of the building housing her current office at Mastercard today, where she serves as executive vice president and general counsel for North America.

“I attended many CLEs at Mastercard’s headquarters, which was then across the street from Pernod Ricard,” Hall said. “When I began to meet people there, Mastercard symbolized to me this place of possibility. Employees were there for five, 10, even 20 years, in multiple kinds of careers. It was somewhere I wanted to be.”

In her nine years at Mastercard, Hall has held four different roles, each providing her with invaluable opportunities to meet employees around the world and interact with customers. She called her promotion to general counsel for North America last winter “a real moment of gratitude … and a validation of the unconventional choices that I made [in my career].”

“There’s no straight line sometimes to your goals and where you end up,” added Hall, reflecting upon a career trajectory that also currently includes owning the ready-to-pour cocktail brand Empower Cocktails, serving on two boards, and being a mom to a 2-year-old. “It all stems from being open to a wide variety of experiences and building a strong network, both personally and professionally, who can provide diverse perspectives. Surround yourself with people who both challenge and support you.”

Bringing a Legal Mind to the Business World

A portrait headshot photograph of John Ciulla smiling
After completing his undergraduate degree and working for four years as a banker, John Ciulla ’94 was at a crossroads. He knew he wanted to go back to school to complete a graduate degree but couldn’t decide between law school and business school.

In the end, Ciulla would complete both an M.B.A. and a J.D. degree, but it was his time at Fordham Law that stands out most to him, he said. “The experience in law school was the most impactful and informative education that I had,” said Ciulla. “It teaches you how to apply logic to problem sets and how to figure out solutions.”

After graduating, Ciulla worked in private practice for three years before returning to banking in 1997 as a senior lender at the Bank of New York. In 2004, he joined Webster Bank, where he’s stayed ever since, eventually becoming CEO in 2018. The bank recently completed a merger with Sterling National Bank, effectively doubling its size and—with total assets of nearly $70 billion—making it one of the largest commercial banks in the Northeast.

Now, when asked by young people whether they should consider law school or business school, Ciulla urges them to think more “holistically” about their education and the value that a law degree can bring to those looking to pursue a career in business. “I look back on my time in law school as this educational experience that taught me, more broadly, how to think,” he said.

Entering the Deep End

A close-up portrait photograph perspective of Steven Constantiner posing for a picture in his scuba diving outfit
In 2021, Steven Constantiner ’09 swapped his suit and tie for a wet suit after purchasing a Florida-based scuba diving company called Force-E Scuba Centers. His passion for scuba diving goes back to becoming a certified open water diver at 12 and receiving his advanced open water certification at 13. Since then, Constantiner has dived all over the world, from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea to the Galápagos Islands.

After previously working as an assistant district attorney at the New York County DA’s office as well as in his family’s apparel manufacturing business, Constantiner pivoted back to his childhood passion during the pandemic. He dove headfirst into the scuba diving scene of South Florida to develop a business model for retail.

Constantiner oversees four retail stores (soon to be five)—including a new location in Boynton Beach that opened earlier this year—with a team of approximately 45 people, and he is expanding upon the e-commerce side of the business. He said he often falls back on his Fordham Law education and previous legal experiences. “I’m not intimidated when I need to review liability waivers or do legal research on an issue that pertains to the business,” he said. “I utilize that knowledge I’ve attained almost every day.”

Climate Change and Social Change

A portrait headshot photograph of Lauren McKenna smiling
Lauren McKenna ’90 has practiced law at Fox Rothschild in Philadelphia for the past 32 years. Now, she’s become the firm’s second-ever female managing partner of the Philadelphia office. Much has changed during her time at the firm—including an expansion from two offices to 29. The nature of her work as a commercial litigator in health care, insurance, and real estate has changed as well, as industries have begun to feel the effects of climate change.

In more recent years, the insurance industry has been heavily impacted by increased flooding due to climate change, McKenna said. In response, she has cultivated a niche as a “flood lawyer.” She routinely works with flood determination companies and FEMA and has even spoken at industry-related conferences, like the National Flood Conference in Washington, D.C. “It’s a pretty robust area of work,” said McKenna. “Climate change is front and center for a lot of what I do in providing legal assistance to clients.”

Other changes she’s seen during her career have been just as momentous. McKenna served as chancellor of the 12,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association in 2021, where she navigated COVID-19 policies and championed diversity and inclusion issues, an area she is passionate about.

“When I started practicing in 1990, women were coming out of law school in equal numbers, but they weren’t staying in the profession,” said McKenna. “To see the changes that have come about for women and other diverse lawyers in the last 30 years has been really gratifying.”

From the Big Apple to Albany

Last December, after learning he had been named a Carey Gabay Fellow in the New York State Executive Chamber, Shaquan Huntt ’20 could not wait to help solve problems that would improve New Yorkers’ lives. The Gabay Fellowship, named in honor of a former assistant counsel in the governor’s office and first deputy counsel to Empire State Development who was killed in 2015 by an act of gun violence, will give Huntt the opportunity to work directly with the counsel to the governor’s office and their staff. Huntt, a former Brendan Moore Trial Advocate, intends to honor the legacy of Gabay by doing meaningful work in policy areas that Gabay championed throughout his career, including violence prevention, economic equality, and community development.
A photograph of Shaquan Huntt smiling
Huntt says the experience in Albany has already allowed him to work closely on the governor’s public safety portfolio, including the response to the mass shooting in Buffalo and preparing for the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down the state’s concealed-carry law. “I don’t know what’s in store for the rest of the [two-year] fellowship,” said Huntt, “but I’ve already worked with the Executive Chamber, state agencies, and advocates on many interesting issues and have found the first six months greatly rewarding.”

From Courtroom to Cucina

From Courtroom to Cucina cookbook cover photograph of Danielle Caminiti smiling
With courtrooms closed during the pandemic, Danielle Caminiti ’00, the owner of Have U Covered, a per diem attorney service in New York, found herself with some unexpected free time. While stuck at home, she decided to dedicate herself to one of her lifelong passions: cooking.

“I’ve always loved to cook, but as a working single parent, I just never had time for it,” said Caminiti. She previously worked for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and then at a Manhattan medical malpractice firm. She started Have U Covered in 2013 to provide in-person legal support and coverage to law firms for depositions, court appearances, or conferences. Pandemic shutdowns and the switch to virtual courtrooms were a huge blow to her business model, said Caminiti, but they also kick-started her creativity in the kitchen.

“When COVID hit, I had a lot more free time,” said Caminiti. “I experimented with different recipes as a cathartic way to deal with everything going on.” She started sharing recipes and videos on social media under the handle “Have U Covered In The Kitchen.” The account quickly took off, amassing over 10,000 followers on Instagram and paid partnerships with brands like Mutti tomato sauce and Stella Artois.

In late 2021, Caminiti published her first cookbook, From Courtroom to Cucina: 70 Authentic Recipes that Took Me From Litigation to Salivation. One of her favorites? Her 72-hour fermented pizza dough recipe. “That one is universal,” she said. “Everybody loves pizza.”