Columbia Pre-Law Society

Lawlapalooza 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018
Lerner Hall, 5th Floor


What is Lawlapalooza?

Presented by the Columbia Pre-Law Society, Lawlapalooza is a conference that aims to help students answer whether a law career is right for them and allows them to explore the diverse fields within law. By bringing together professionals across various fields and aspiring lawyers, we try to answer questions ranging from the broad "What do lawyers do?" and "What can I do with a law degree?" to more in-depth topics such as "What barriers remain in the realm of equal rights?” 


Check-in / Outside Lerner 555


Keynote Speech / Lerner 555


Panel 1: Pro Bono Law / Lerner 555

Panel 2: Technology Law / Lerner 569


Networking Event / Lerner 569


Resume Workshop / Lerner 555




Panel 3: Corporate Law / Lerner 555

Panel 4: International Law / Lerner 569


Closing / Lerner 555



Keynote: Hon. W. Franc Perry

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Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York

Franc Perry is a native of Brooklyn, New York, who was raised in Ridgewood, Queens. He is a 1983 Cum Lude graduate of New England College, Henniker, New Hampshire and Arundel, Sussex England. He received his Juris Doctor Degree from The National Law Center of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in 1986 in the field of International Law.

Upon graduation from Law School, Franc became a litigator with Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman and Dicker focusing on Medical Malpractice defense work. In 1990, Franc was appointed as a Principal Court Attorney to the Appellate Term First Judicial Department. In 2001, Franc took a sabbatical from the law and earned his Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, earning the Maxwell Prize for Service. Thereafter, he was ordained as a pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church. He then returned to the practice of law as Court Attorney to the Hon. Peter Moulton.

In 2011, Franc was elected as a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York, making him the first openly gay African American judge elected in the history of the State of New York . He began his judicial career in the Brooklyn Family Court. In 2016, Franc was appointed to the position of Acting Supreme Court Justice of the State of New York, where he presently sits presiding over the New York City Part.

Franc has always been involved in his community. He was one of the youngest persons appointed to the New York City Youth Board by Mayor David Dinkins. While serving as the Vice Chairman of the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association, he founded an “Adopt A School” program called, “The Real World”, which served six Manhattan High Schools. For that work, he was named an Honorary Mayor of New York, by Our Town Newspaper.

During that time, Franc was named Vice Chairman to the National Board of Mothers’ Voices, the country’s first National Organization dedicated to fostering education and awareness on the AIDS epidemic.

For 6 years, Franc was a co-facilitator of the Caregiver’s Support Group at GMHC with Judy Peabody and John Tatarakis. As a former associate Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in New York, Franc assisted Rev. Pat Bumgardner in the coordination and opening of the Sylvia Rivera Homeless Shelter and food pantry for LGBT youth. Franc is the former Chairman of Community Board 10 in Harlem and recently received  the Man of the Year Award from the Mid-Bedford Heights Lions Club Inc., International. In January 2016, Franc was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from New England College for his dedication to Community Service.

In November 2017, Franc was elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. He is the first openly gay African American elected Justice in the history of New York.

Presently, Franc is an Executive Board Member of the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP, the Professional Advisor to the Columbia University Pre-Law Society, the Coalition of 100 Black Men, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, LEGAL, the LGBT Bar Association, the International Association of LGBT Judges, an inaugural  member of the Richard Failla Statewide Commission on LGBT issues within the Courts and a member of the Supreme Court Board of Justices. He is a member of Abyssianian Baptist Church.

Franc is a single dad and the proud father of Jackson and Ruby-Lee.


Pro Bono: Public Interest in the Private Sector


Elise Funke, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Elise Funke is a litigator at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. Elise attended Columbia Law School, where she was an editor of the Human Rights Law Review, participated in the “Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration” clinic, and interned at five different public defender offices in NYC, including the Bronx Defenders’ Adolescent Defense Project. She also participated in the Latino/a Student Association Moot Court. Prior to law school, Elise worked for the Legal Rights Center as a restorative justice mediator in Minneapolis public schools in an effort to diminish the school-to-prison pipeline.

Cathy M. Kaplan, Sidley Austin LLP

Cathy M. Kaplan is a lawyer in the New York office of Sidley Austin LLP, an international law firm with over 2000 lawyers world-wide.  Cathy graduated from Yale University and Columbia Law School.  Cathy’s practice is focused on a broad range of structured finance transactions.  She has worked on cross border transactions and asset and mortgage backed financings, structured insurance products, CDOs and  CLOs.  Cathy also represents collectors, artists, galleries, corporations and museums in a wide range of art related transactions.  Cathy served eight years on Sidley’s Executive Committee and served for fourteen years as a Co-head of the Global Finance Group.  Cathy is the Co-chair of the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School.  Cathy is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Aperture Foundation.  She also serves on the Governing Board of the Yale University Art Gallery and the Photography Committee of The Whitney Museum of American Art.  Cathy served nine years on the Board of Her Justice, which provides legal services to victims of domestic abuse.  Cathy Kaplan is a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School and co-teaches a seminar on Law and Finance.



Carlos Estevez, Arent Fox LLP

Carlos Estevez is an associate at Arent Fox LLP in their New York office.  His practice focuses on a wide variety of real property transfers, financing transactions, and title matters. He represents lenders in the real estate aspects of secured bank financings. Carlo Estevez attended Columbia Law School and during his time he wrote for the Human Rights Law Review and was a student advocate at the Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. After his first year, he interned for Legal Services NYC. Carlos continues to be an advocate for immigrants through his pro bono work.



Innovation Litigation: Legal Careers in Tech


Joshua Simmons, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Joshua Simmons is a partner in the New York offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  His practice focuses his practice on all aspects of intellectual property, including litigation and counseling, as well as regulatory and legislative policy.  He routinely represents clients in appellate and trial courts around the country—particularly in complex cases and those of first impression.  These high-profile matters involve a range of industries, including computer software and services, consumer and leisure products, financial services, health care and pharmaceuticals, media and entertainment—such as electronic games, film, news, publishing, sports, television and theatre—and telecommunications.  In addition to maintaining a full-time litigation practice, Mr. Simmons is a frequent speaker and has authored numerous articles on emerging trends in intellectual property.  The Legal 500 has named Mr. Simmons a “Next Generation Lawyer” and recognized him for his trade secrets and media and entertainment practices.  In addition, each year from 2014 to 2017, Super Lawyers named Mr. Simmons a “Rising Star” for his intellectual property litigation practice. He also was part of the Kirkland team that was honored by Managing Intellectual Property magazine for its work on “Milestone Case of the Year” Oracle America v. Google.



Hunter Vanaria, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Hunter Vanaria is an intellectual property litigation associate in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. His practice focuses on litigation and counseling in the fields of copyright, trademark, trade secrets, right of publicity, art, internet, and advertising law. He represents and advises clients across a wide range of industries, including film, television, art, fashion, computer software and services, electronic games, financial services, and consumer products. Mr. Vanaria’s pro bono matters include the representation of asylum seekers before the Department of Homeland Security, as well as matters for the Transgender Law Center and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Stephen Guzzi, Norton Rose Fulbright

Mr. Guzzi studied mechanical and electrical engineering as an undergraduate and graduate student at Cornell and Columbia Universities, and then designed integrated circuits in Silicon Valley for several years prior to developing an interest in patent law.  Subsequently, he learned the legal trade from the ground up, starting as a legal assistant at a sole proprietorship in San Francisco, before eventually attending law school at night at Georgetown University while practicing as a patent agent during the day at a prominent IP boutique, Kenyon and Kenyon.  Currently Mr. Guzzi is a Senior Associate in the New York office of a large international law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, practicing patent prosecution and patent litigation.



Big Law: Exploring Corporate Careers

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Laura Torre, Covington & Burling LLP

Laura Torre graduated from Columbia University in 2011 with a major in Women's and Gender Studies and a specialization in Philosophy, and graduated from Yale Law School in 2014. She currently works as a corporate associate at Covington & Burling LLP in New York City, where she represents clients in a broad range of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, joint-ventures, financings and securities offerings. Laura has significant experience in representing Latin American clients in various cross-border transactions.

shimite Obialo, Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Shimite Obialo graduated from Columbia Law School in 2013 and is currently a 5th year associate at Lowenstein Sandler LLP in New York City, where she finds her passion in guiding entrepreneurs and startups through the life cycle of a business, from formation to growth to exit. Her practice focuses on early-stage company and venture capital-backed transactions. Prior to joining Lowenstein in 2017, Shimite spent four years at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, working on private equity merger and acquisition transactions and public company periodic reporting and corporate governance matters. Shimite also has an active pro bono practice representing nonprofit and small business clients in corporate governance matters. When not pursuing legal endeavors, Shimite loves singing and working on her own startup, ANOKO, a private members club for diverse professionals and creatives.



Yoon Ho Jung, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Yoon Ho Jung graduated from Dartmouth College in 2012 with a major in philosophy, and graduated from Duke University School of Law in 2017. He currently works as a junior associate in the corporate and financial services department of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York City, where he represents clients in corporate transactions including mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions. Yoon is also involved in his firm’s pro bono practice, as he has represented victims of domestic violence in family court or filed clemency petitions on behalf of New York State prison inmates. Outside of work, Yoon likes to read and write or take dance classes.


Crossing the Globe: International Law


Juliette M. Passer

Juliette M. Passer, a U.S. attorney, has over 20 years of broad international transactional experience, specializing in corporate and project finance, as well as international joint venture transactions, arbitration, e-commerce and corporate sustainability. Ms. Passer holds a JD (cum laude) from Cardozo School of Law and studied Soviet Law at the Columbia University School of Law. She practiced law with the international law firms of Debevoise & Plimpton and Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York representing clients in such diverse markets as the former republics of the USSR, Eastern and Western Europe, China, Turkey and Central America. She serves on boards of several companies. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Law and Who’s Who in American Women. Ms. Passer is a frequent guest lecturer and adjunct faculty at Moravian College and others. Ms. Passer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. As a pro bono undertaking she represents Russian artists, dancers and musicians. Ms. Passer is a proud holder of American citizenship since 1981 and has two sons.



Anna Bulman

Anna Bulman is an advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston. After completing her Master of Laws at Columbia University in 2015, Anna worked on international land investments at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, spent a year and a half heading a right to food project in the Constitutional Litigation Unit of the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa, and worked for a short time in international agricultural trade at the World Trade Organization. Prior to her Masters, Anna clerked at the Supreme Court of South Australia and worked as a paralegal at Blake Dawson (now Ashurst). Anna is a former South Australian Co-Convenor of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and has further previous experience in Aboriginal legal aid, representing young people in employment law matters, and teaching and mentoring students. Anna is proficient in German and Spanish, and is currently learning French. Her academic writing focuses on the human rights to food and nutrition within international investment and human rights law, as well as international development more broadly   She holds a Master of Laws from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts, and Diploma of Languages from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Alexandra Zetes

Alexandra Zetes is a recent graduate of NYU School of Law and current the Human Rights Fellow at the Vance Center for International Justice. Before joining the Vance Center, Alex was the 2016-2017 Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellow with the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, where she worked as a staff attorney and research fellow. Her work has focused on a variety of human rights topics, including transitional justice, national security, and refugee issues. During her time at NYU School of Law, Alex led NYU's chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project, and was a co-chair for the Courtroom Advocates Project. She was also an International Law & Human Rights fellow (where she worked for the UNHCR in Turkey), and participated in both the Global Justice Clinic in New York and the Clinic on Policy Advocacy in Latin America in Buenos Aires.


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