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Alumni Profiles

Learn more about our most accomplished alumni. They are a distinguished group of leading public officials & judges, law firm partners, public interest advocates, and business leaders. In each of our BLSLawNotes magazine issues, we profile a few of our best and most loyal assets - our graduates.

Read more about alumni in the news.

  • ThereseDoherty
    Therese Doherty
    Therese Doherty, one of this city’s most seasoned and sought-after derivatives litigators, always has an answer at the ready.  And yet, on this summer morning, in the bright conference room of her law firm’s Park Avenue offices, a single answer eludes her. “I have no idea why, but I know that I have always wanted to be a lawyer.”

    Born and raised in Boston, Doherty chased her dream, heading from the University of Massachusetts to Brooklyn Law School, where she thrived and was elected to the Moot Court Honor Society.  During her second year, while going through the on-campus interview process, she was lucky enough to meet with then Career Services Director Grace Glasser ’53.  “Grace really made a difference to me,” recalled Doherty. “There were many professors at Brooklyn who took a big interest in students.  They loved to see their students develop. Grace was excellent at promoting the students who were not number one or number two in their class, but in whom she saw a spark, or real potential.”  Seeing something special in Doherty, Glasser made a phone call to Graubard Mollen, a firm where Doherty had been interviewing. “She made the call, and I got the job,” recalled Doherty. “That’s where I got my education as a litigator.”

    Her education at Graubard, coincidentally, was directed by a Brooklyn Law School source; she was mentored by Jack Weinberg, Class of 1965.  Weinberg gave her the rare opportunity to work on several high-profile matters defending the brokerage firm Refco in civil cases and regulatory investigations involving securities and commodities laws and complex Ponzi schemes.  “I truly grew up as a lawyer under the wing of Jack Weinberg.  He was a brilliant and tenacious litigator,” she said.  “As a very young lawyer, he provided me with the opportunity to get real hands-on experience defending securities and commodities cases in federal courts around the country as well as at regulatory enforcement proceedings.  He also gave me the opportunity to learn the commodities industry which formed the basis of my practice.”

    Doherty spent over a decade at Graubard, developing a reputation as an expert in the field of securities and commodities defense, and made partner, before joining Herrick, Feinstein in 2001.  Today, she is a senior partner in Herrick's Litigation Department, and the Co-Chair of its Securities and Commodities Litigation and Regulatory Practice Group. Her practice is focused on derivatives, commodities and securities litigation, including class actions and arbitrations, as well as regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings.  On Doherty’s watch, Herrick brought the first case against the SEC for its failings in connection with regulating and investigating Bernard Madoff.  Filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the case is currently on appeal in the Second Circuit.  “It’s a tough case to win because the SEC is claiming sovereign immunity,” said Doherty, “but we wanted to develop a creative strategy to seek compensation for our clients who were Madoff victims, who include older individuals who could no longer make mortgage payments.”

    In recognition of her expertise, Doherty was appointed to the New York City Bar’s Committee on Futures and Derivatives Regulation in August. She will serve a three-year term, working with other leading lawyers on trading issues, the regulation of futures contracts and over-the-counter derivatives products. “Since Dodd-Frank was passed a year ago, we have entered an era of seismic change,” said Doherty. “This committee gives us the opportunity to provide commentary to the regulatory agencies and to be involved in the development of a new era of financial regulation.”

    While Doherty cannot pinpoint what led to her decision to come to law school, her choice was clearly the right one. “Other than being in a nice villa in Italy, with good wine and good food, there is nothing else I’d like to be doing,” she said, smiling. “I enjoy what I do, and I have a lot of fun. This is an area of law that keeps getting more interesting. I enjoy the process of putting all the pieces together--figuring out the facts, finding the skeletons, and developing a strategy. I love knowing when to fight and when to settle. It’s a lot like my childhood, come to think of it. I have five brothers. Maybe that’s why I am a lawyer.”

  • LarryFeldmanLarry Feldman’s mother was so proud. Her son, whom she and her husband had raised in the projects of East New York, Brooklyn, had graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1974. Three years later, at the age of 27, he was already on his way to a successful legislative career, working on Capitol Hill as Deputy Minority Counsel to the House Banking Committee. But then, he made a change. He decided to make sandwiches.
     
    Feldman was fed up with the institutional quality of lunch options around the Hill and jumped at the opportunity to open one of the first franchises of Subway, a sandwich shop founded by Fred DeLuca, a friend from Feldman’s undergraduate days in the late 1960s at the University of Bridgeport. In a vacant space across the street from the House of Representatives, next door to Congressional Liquors, he opened his first Subway store. His mother, to put it mildly, was not pleased. “You could hear the screaming all the way from Brooklyn to Washington,” he recalled of the phone call in which he broke the news of his career change.

    That was more than 30 years ago. Today, Subway has more than 43,000 stores in 83 countries, surpassing McDonald's as the largest fast food franchise in the world. Feldman is the CEO of Subway Development Corp. of Washington, which includes Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, with nearly 1,100 Subway locations under his control. In March, he became the CEO of Subway Development Corporation of South Florida as well, with 250 locations in operation. He is also the creator of the Subway Café, a more upscale spot with an extensive menu that includes fresh-baked breakfast pastries, coffee, paninis, and gelato in a setting marked by exposed brick walls and comfortable sofas.

    His overwhelming success has helped bring his mother around. “Once we bought her a condo in Florida, she came around to thinking making sandwiches was not so bad.”
     
    LawNotes Managing Editor Andrea Strong ’94 spoke with Feldman to learn more about growing up Brooklyn, and his transition from working in the House to making heroes.

    BLS: Tell me a bit about your background before law school.
     
    LF: I am very blessed that I had great parents. My sister and I never realized that we were poor. For most kids like us who grew up in the projects, it was just about having fun. My dad, like many of the fathers at that time, had just returned from the war. It was a great life. We were outside playing from eight in the morning until dinnertime. We played baseball, stickball, and every sport imaginable, on concrete. It’s funny. I didn’t know that schools had grass ball fields until I was eight or nine years old and visited cousins in Long Island.

    We left Brooklyn when my dad, who was a hairdresser, bought a salon in Monticello, New York. I loved small town living. At the age of 16, I could drive, and I remember pulling into a gas station and having the attendant say, “Good morning!” In all my years in Brooklyn, I’d never heard that. I never wanted to leave. I thought, “I’m going be a lawyer and settle here.”

    BLS: You wanted to be a lawyer from an early age. Where did that goal come from?
     
    LF: Originally, I wanted to be a doctor, but the sciences were not for me. History and English were much easier for me, so law was a logical step. It may also go back to watching Perry Mason and seeing what lawyers could do. That, plus I had two uncles, George Warmund ’31 and David Kitzes ’70, who went to Brooklyn Law School, and I loved hearing stories about the law. BLS was a great choice. I am one of those crazy guys who loved law school. I learned something new every day. Professor Crea was an awesome teacher who became a mentor to me as well. He also taught my uncles, and so there was a nice connection there.

    BLS: How did you end up on capitol Hill so soon after graduating from law school?

    LF: I was an intern to Congressman Stewart McKinney of Connecticut during the summers of law school. When I graduated, I went straight to Washington and became his legislative assistant. Then I moved on to become Deputy Minority Counsel to the House Banking Committee. McKinney actually loaned me the money to open my first Subway store, which is still there today. I would be involved in congressional hearings in the morning, and at lunchtime, I would run across the street, take off my jacket and tie, put on my apron, and start making sandwiches. The lobbyists would say, “Hey, you look very familiar!” Then I would run back to the Hill after the lunch rush. After opening a few more successful stores, I said to myself, “I am no longer the minority counsel, I am a sandwich maker.”

    BLS: Do you have any regrets about leaving the Hill?

    LF: No. I was once given good advice not to have a job, but to find a labor of love. And that’s what I have. I wake up every morning not to a job, but to a career that lets me help individuals become entrepreneurs. A woman wrote to me recently and told me that she sent her daughter to medical school because of her Subway franchise. That’s what it’s about -- creating opportunities for people.

    BLS: You’ve made philanthropy a large component of your Subway business model. Why is that?

    LF: Philanthropy is a big part of my family’s life and our business model. My wife Diane is extremely involved in charity work. Together, through our Subway shops and the sale of pink ribbons, we have raised almost $2 million for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer research. We want to set an example. We are good corporate citizens and we also want to show people how to be philanthropic citizens. We give each of our employees in our corporate offices $500 to use for charity. But it’s not about writing a check. They need to be active in the work, participating in the charity as well.

    BLS: What changes are you seeing within the industry?

    LF: The real issues come from the obstacles that the government puts in the way of the small business entrepreneur. I have direct contact with a number of congressmen, and the conversations continue to get back to the banks saying that government regulation prevents them from loaning money, and the government saying, “What do you mean? You have money to loan!” The small business person is caught in the middle, which is a shame. If the dollars were made available, the amount of money we could give back in the form of increasing our tax base would stimulate our economy.

    BLS: Do you have any advice for young lawyers and budding entrepreneurs?

    LF: When I was growing up, it was about telling your children to be doctors, lawyers, or accountants. Now those doctors and lawyers and accountants are telling their children to be entrepreneurs. My wife Diane and I have three sons who have that entrepreneurial spirit. My oldest son, Daniel, is a men’s clothing designer. His made-in-America line, Feltraiger’s, takes its name from our original Russian name, which was changed at Ellis Island. My middle son, Adam, is the Vice President of Marketing for Subway in South Florida, and he really brings us into the 21st Century with his social networking expertise. And my youngest son, Jonathan, is Feltraiger’s Director of Marketing.

    While I support entrepreneurship, I strongly believe that everyone considering a career in business should study law. It allows you to see the issues clearly, and to find the solutions. It’s a very different kind of thought process. It affords you the skills to do whatever you want to do. Even if it’s not in your heart and soul to practice law, you can use the study of law and apply it to business. There is no better background.

    BLS: Do you have a favorite Subway sandwich?

    LF: I’ve often asked people, “What would your last meal be?” My wife’s happens to be a bacon cheeseburger, but mine is a Subway tuna sub.

  • Brad Keller photoThe elevators to the office were on 24-hour lock down. An armed guard was stationed in the lobby. A marked police car was in the home driveway. A fleet of black SUVs was in place. Death threats or not, Brad Keller ’79 was ready for court.

    The 2008 case, in which Keller represented SuperSonics’ owner Clay Bennett against the city of Seattle in his quest to take the team to Oklahoma City, was one of the most polarizing in Seattle’s history. A rabid fan base was enraged at Bennett and happily took its frustrations out on his lawyer. In the end, the case landed Keller with the somewhat unfortunate legacy as the man who whisked the Sonics away after 41 years to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. But for Keller, death threats or not, it was a great ride.

    “I’d never worked on a matter that generated such violence and ill will,” he said. “But to me it was a fun case. You knew your client was disliked, you knew your position was shaky, and you knew the outcome you wanted raised the ire of your community. And against all that, how do you package your case at trial in a way to give it a shot at winning?”

    After a nine-day bench trial, during which Keller’s offices were patrolled by armed guards and he was escorted to and from the courthouse by a private security detail, the parties settled. Bennett would take his team to Oklahoma City, and in return would pay $25 million to the city to terminate the KeyArena lease. It was a good outcome for my client,” he said. “And, hopefully, Seattle will get another basketball team in the not-too-distant future.”

    The son of a trusts and estates lawyer, Keller grew up on Long Island and went to Wisconsin’s Beloit College, where a work-study program landed him in a semester-long internship at the Dade County Public Defender’s Office. “I was your typical Jewish liberal kid, thinking I’d go and defend the downtrodden from the United States government. But that internship quickly took the burnish off that image.” While criminal law didn’t appeal to Keller, jury trials did. “I learned a lot from the experience, and while it didn’t really push me toward criminal law, I knew I wanted to try cases,” he said.

    After graduating from Brooklyn Law School magna cum laude, Keller joined Bogle & Gates, one of Seattle’s most prestigious litigation firms, where he was mentored by Peter Byrnes, one of the firm’s senior litigation partners. Keller quickly came up the ranks as a star litigator. Five years later, in 1984, Keller was ready for a new challenge, and approached Byrnes for help with obtaining a position at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Byrnes returned with an unexpected proposal. “He said, ‘What if I left and started a firm? Would you come with me?’ I’m thinking, here is someone who’s 15 years senior to me, a top wage earner, and he wants to start a firm with me? Naturally, I agreed, but I had two requirements – that I be a partner and that my name be on the wall. Thirty days later, we left Bogle & Gates and started a new firm.”

    Their firm, now Byrnes Keller Cromwell, has grown from three lawyers to a trial boutique of 10. “In this size firm, you can achieve a level of personal and professional recognition far beyond what you would have achieved as a senior trial partner in a big firm,” said Keller, whose team includes another BLS graduate, Josh Selig ’05. Selig was working for Heller Ehrman in Seattle, and cold-called Keller off the alumni directory to bend his ear for career advice. The timing was right, as Heller’s firm was looking to hire a new associate. “We hired him and he is doing a terrific job for us,” said Keller. “He is a smart lawyer and it’s fun to have that BLS bond.”

    While Keller’s public image may be strongly tied to the departure of the Sonics, his practice includes an impressive variety of cases, from commercial leases and products liability to civil actions for sexual assault and securities fraud. “A lot of people like the comfort of being in one area of the law. Not me. I am the opposite. I don’t care whether it’s a whiplash case, a price-fixing case, or anything in between.”

    Over his 30 years as a litigator, Keller has built a reputation as a legal sorcerer, capable of massaging even the most difficult case into a winner. He has been called “a money lawyer, the go-to guy when the all the chips are on the table” by the King County Bar Bulletin. His reputation means that he is often tapped by clients as trial is approaching to try to win tough cases. Using the originally-retained firm for support, Keller comes in like a relief pitcher, the closer.

    “Our firms lawyers are known for our forensic skills in the courtroom, our reputation in the courts, and our ability to present a case to a jury. We are hired because we can come in and present the case in a jury-receptive way.” Armed guards and all.

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