THE Docket

News of note from Fordham Law alumni
By Erin DeGregorio and Sejla Rizvic

There’s an App for That

When Andy Hinton ’89 began his law career, he started out in litigation, first at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, then as a U.S. assistant attorney for nearly a decade. It’s not that he yearned to be in the courtroom, he says. Mostly, he wasn’t quite sure what else lawyers did. “There were no lawyers
in my family,” says Hinton. “My experience of lawyers was, you know, Matlock and Perry Mason.”

Hinton, who eventually found his way to the world of corporate compliance at GE and Google, couldn’t have fore­seen that he would one day be involved in a tech platform to report workplace misconduct in a brand-new way.

Andy Hinton ’89 headshot and #notme promotion
He now sits on the advisory board of #NotMe, a mobile app and platform that allows anyone to report workplace misconduct, putting the focus on the employee and their needs, rather than on the corporation. Traditional employee helplines, Hinton says, are set up simply to collect facts efficiently, without much regard for how employees feel. “From the employee’s perspective, it can seem like the point of the helpline is to gather enough information to help the company conclude that an allegation is unsupported. It can feel biased and unfair.”

Those who raise concerns through #NotMe, he says, have an opportunity to talk about how these incidents have affected them in a way that goes beyond who, what, where, and why.

“What we hear from our clients is that there is an increasing level of trust associated with #NotMe that just wasn’t in place with other efforts,” says Hinton. “The companies need information, but our aim is to be as supportive as possible to any employee who experiences misconduct.”

Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu headshot
“I’d like to think there’s only more we can do in terms of equity.”

From Bengaluru to the City Bar

Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu, LL.M., ’18 has never been one to shy away from speaking up or rising to a challenge. But when the Bengaluru, India, native was invited to become chair of the New York City Bar Association’s International Human Rights Committee in October 2021, she was a bit taken aback. “Typically, most chairs are quite older or have more experience,” says Kudekallu, 32, a visiting instructor of clinical law at Cardozo School of Law.

Indeed, Kudekallu is one of the youngest people to ever hold the position, and the first woman of color to do so.

Breaking those barriers, she says, is a good sign for the bar and for greater equity in the future. “I’d like to think there’s only more we can do in terms of equity,” she says.

During her three-year-long tenure, Kudekallu will focus on strengthening and promoting adherence to international human rights law, as well as raising awareness around different human rights challenges. She also hopes to bring attention to matters that she has focused on throughout her career, including the labor rights of sex workers and the rights of stateless individuals and those at risk of statelessness due to legislative changes or shifting political contexts. As she told The Times of India, this kind of work was ingrained in her by her family. “I was taught not to ignore problems of society and, more importantly, [that] I must reflect on my own role and privilege.”

Book Shelf

Magazine covers

Exit Strategy

Alejandro Cremades headshot
When Alejandro Cremades, LL.M., ’09 attended his first New York Tech Meetup a year after graduating from Fordham Law, he was the only person in the audience wearing a suit and tie. “It was super hot that night,” recalls Cremades, who quickly took off his jacket and began networking with entrepreneurs and founders around the room, developing the seeds of what would become the business model behind his company, RockThePost. He was immediately hooked on the idea of people pitching their ideas and getting feedback on the spot, while others chimed in with their own opinions.

RockThePost, eventually rebranded as OneVest, connects startups with investors, and now has a membership of more than 500,000 entrepreneurs in 234 countries. In 2018, it was acquired by a media corporation in a multimillion-dollar transaction that was surprisingly emotional, says Cremades. “It’s kind of a grieving process where you feel like you’ve lost someone you really loved and, to a certain degree, a sense of purpose,” he says. He detailed this process in a new book titled Selling Your Startup: Crafting the Perfect Exit, Selling Your Business, and Everything Else Entrepreneurs Need to Know (Wiley, July 2021), a follow-up to his best seller The Art of Startup Fundraising: Pitching Investors, Negotiating the Deal, and Everything Else Entrepreneurs Need to Know (Wiley, April 2016).

“The Law School placed a bet on me, accepting me when I was just 22 years old after graduating from law school in Spain,” Cremades says. “It’s always going to be in my heart.”

Beating Cancer a Second Time

Christine Shields Corrigan headshot
A new memoir from Christine Shields Corrigan ’91, Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists (Koehler Books, October 2020), weaves together her teen and adult experiences following her diagnoses of Hodgkin’s disease at age 14 and breast cancer 35 years later in 2016. “Again got its start in a monthly support group, when the nurse there asked me to write a list of helpful tips and tricks that she could share with her patients, from a patient’s perspective,” Corrigan, 49, explains. “When I walked out of that meeting, I thought, What am I going to tell somebody else who’s in the middle of this?—because I was trying to get through it too.”

Corrigan’s bullet points turned into 10 interwoven reflective essays offering guidance and advice for readers on finding the strength to forge a path beyond a cancer diagnosis. Those essays became the starting point for Again. She’d never written a book before, so Corrigan tapped into what she did know—how to write a compelling legal brief from her decade-long experiences as a labor and employment law attorney. “A journalist turned lawyer I worked with once told me that a brief should read like a well-written piece of journalism or, better yet, a story,” Corrigan recalls. “All of those workplace law and discrimination complaints I dealt with were ultimately somebody’s story—complete with a protagonist, antagonist, and narrative arc. That was the best piece of writing advice I ever got.”

Sleepless in Colorado

Tom McCaffrey Headshot
Tom McCaffrey ’84 always had an interest in writing, but after his first child was born, he realized he would need a more stable source of income. That’s when he enrolled at Fordham Law and began a long career in entertainment law, eventually partnering with Robert Meloni to form Meloni & McCaffrey APC in New York.

Except the itch to write never really went away. After moving from New York to Colorado, McCaffrey found himself waking up at 2 a.m. every night, unable to adjust to the time zone change.

“That’s when I started to write the novel,” he says. “Within three months, I had a draft done.”

Called The Wise Ass, the novel was published by Black Rose Writing in 2021, and centers on the strange and fantastical adventures of a mob lawyer who is forced into witness protection, with appearances by a magical mule named Claire, along with ghosts, witches, and extraterrestrials. (“This is Grisham on mushrooms,” says the cover blurb.)

The story is inspired by an offer McCaffrey received back in the 1990s. “I can’t talk more about it,” he says, “but I always wondered what my life would have been like if I had taken that job.”

The book quickly became an Amazon best seller in the “dark humor” and “legal thriller” categories, and McCaffrey has just published the second novel, An Alien Appeal, in what will be a series.

McCaffrey has no regrets about not starting his writing career sooner. “If I hadn’t been a lawyer, this book never would have been written,” he says. “I couldn’t have broken into novel writing if I didn’t have this life.”

Worthy Work

Mark Torres headshot
Mark Torres ’08 is interested in workers—both as general counsel of the Teamsters Local Union 810 in Queens and as a writer. He’s the author of two crime novels and a children’s book about labor unions, and his newest work is a history titled Long Island Migrant Labor Camps: Dust for Blood (Arcadia Publishing, March 2021).

“I don’t want to simply retell things,” Torres says. “I want to tell things from the workers’ perspective … those stories that cry for justice.”

Torres discovered that there were hundreds of migrant labor camps on Long Island from the 1940s through the end of the 20th century, supplying workers for potato farms in the region. His book is the first to cover this subject. Camp life, he explains, was violent and camp operators deducted expenses from workers’ paychecks—including the bus that brought them to the camps and the cost of their housing in Riverhead, where many lived in squalor or died in fires from kerosene heaters or stoves.

The project became even bigger than he imagined, says Torres, who dug into more than 300 newspaper articles and several documentaries, and interviewed close to 40 people, including migrant workers and their families, farmers, those in the agricultural industry, journalists, advocates, historians, government officials, and law enforcement and other first responders. “I felt the forces of history nudging me along to make sure I completed this work.”

“In retrospect, the migratory labor system practiced in Suffolk County during the 20th century is representative of an industry where profit was paramount and exploitation all too common,” Torres says. “That this system thrived for as long as it did in one of the most affluent counties in the country is a shameful legacy.”

Ice Cream Queen

Victoria Lai headshot
In 2010, after completing a clerkship for Judge Denny Chin ’78, Victoria Lai ’08 did something unusual for a newly minted attorney: She took a job as a pie shop apprentice at Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. Lai threw her heart into it, even purchasing a used ice cream maker and convincing the owners to sell their pies with scoops of her homemade flavors. The same day the owners agreed, she received a call from Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, offering her a position as a counselor at USCIS for the Obama administration.

“It was my dream job,” Lai says. “I knew I had to go to Washington, D.C.” Yet she was loath to give up on ice cream. “I made four flavors a week and blogged about them to get this crazy hobby out of my system,” she explains. “But I got even more excited about it.”

In 2014, Lai left her job to launch a shop of her own, Ice Cream Jubilee, with stores in Virginia and Washington, D.C., where Lai’s product has been voted “Best Ice Cream” seven years in a row. She also won a Battle of the Bites award on The Drew Barrymore Show in March 2021.

Perhaps surprisingly, Lai says that her legal education and experience come into play all the time. “Being able to read and understand documents like leases and business insurance requirements gives me greater confidence to take risks and grow my business.”

Ice Cream Jubilee’s flavors are available for nationwide shipping and can be purchased at all Whole Foods Markets in the mid-Atlantic region. Lai is hopeful that her products will debut in the New York area next year.

From Self-Advocate to CEO

DeNora Getachew Headshot
DeNora Getachew ’05 began her advocacy work early on—by advocating for herself. “I was a young, pregnant girl at a public high school in New York City,” she says. “But I was able to find my own voice and really advocate for the chance to continue my studies in an academically rigorous environment, rather than transfer to a high school for pregnant girls.”

She kept using her voice for advocacy after Fordham Law, as a campaign manager and legislative counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice. Later, she served as the New York City executive director of Generation Citizen, an organization that empowers young people to be politically engaged. Now, as CEO of, an online platform that helps young people organize around volunteer opportunities and social change initiatives, she’s helping others participate in causes they believe in.

“I came on board as CEO in April of 2021 to figure out what the future of could look like,” says Getachew. One hint: Gen Z and Gen Alpha members are using the platform to tackle issues like voter registration, mental health care access, educational changes, and racial justice.

“I’ve done the work to fight for equitable, representative democracy, and for young people,” says Getachew. “But it’s all grounded in my own story of being a young person and having to fight for myself.”

Doing Justice in Ghana

Diana Asonaba Dapaah Headshot
“My stay at Fordham really heightened my awareness of social justice and public service work,” says Diana Asonaba Dapaah ’11, deputy attorney-general and deputy minister of justice of the Republic of Ghana, who received an LL.M. in international law and justice at the Fordham Law School. “My eyes were opened on a different level to giving back to society and doing things that impact other people’s lives positively—particularly being an advocate for fundamental human rights,” she says.

After graduating from Fordham Law, Dapaah returned to Ghana and began working as a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School, both fulfilling a scholarship condition with the Leitner Center and cultivating her passion for teaching. Dapaah also clerked for Justice Georgina Wood, the first female chief justice of Ghana.

For the next 10 years, Dapaah continued to teach at GIMPA in the evenings while also gaining private practice experience at Sam Okudzeto & Associates, a leading private law firm in Ghana. In the course of her work as a private legal practitioner, she met her current boss, Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah Dame, while trying a case at the Supreme Court. “I believe I may have impressed him,” she says. Yet her ties to Fordham Law remained strong, says Dapaah, who has also worked on alternative dispute resolution projects in Ghana alongside Fordham Law Professors John Feerick and Jacqueline Nolan-Haley. Those connections helped lead her all the way to the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice in Ghana, where she assists her boss in fulfilling the constitutional mandate of the attorney-general as the principal legal adviser to the government of Ghana. “Fordham really is a great part of the success story,” she says.

“My eyes were opened on a different level to giving back to society and doing things that impact other people’s lives positively … ”
Ghana flag

She Works for the Artists

Jodie Shihadeh Headshot
After completing an undergraduate degree in music, Jodie Shihadeh ’11 soon realized that she preferred other aspects of the music industry to performing. But after graduating in 2006, with the music business still tanking from the effects of Napster, Shihadeh couldn’t find a permanent job in the A&R department where she had been working while still in school.

“That’s when I happened to find out that you could be a lawyer for artists, which was kind of my aha moment,” she says. “I realized that I wanted to work with musicians and get their music out there.”

She enrolled at Fordham Law with the goal of pursuing entertainment law, completing internships in the business affairs department of RCA Records and the boutique entertainment firm The Davis Firm, where she was hired after graduation.

In the summer of 2021, Shihadeh decided to strike out on her own, launching Shihadeh Law. “When you hit that 9- or 10-year mark in your career, I think it’s just a natural progression that every lawyer faces,” says Shihadeh. In its first year, the firm already has offices and attorneys working on both coasts, as well as a film and television practice in addition to its music practice.

Her clients include multiplatinum producer-songwriter J. White Did It, who produced Megan Thee Stallion’s megahit “Savage,” and Grammy-nominated producer-songwriter Roy Lenzo, who worked with Lil Nas X on his most recent album, Montero.

Shihadeh has her hands full, not just with the firm, but also as a new mother. Yet despite her commitments, she is passionate about mentoring other lawyers, whether they’re just starting out or wondering how to balance family and work. “I started my law firm in a pandemic and then had a baby,” she says. “It was a wild year, but it’s just been amazing.”