Learning to Lead


Fordham Law alumni gain leadership skills at NYC Bar’s inaugural Associate Leadership Institute.

This summer, six Fordham Law School alumni are participating in the New York City Bar Association’s inaugural Associate Leadership Institute, which helps young attorneys learn how to navigate their rise through the ranks of major law firms.

A project of the City Bar Association’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the institute provides networking and career development training to promising associates who are not otherwise widely represented among the senior ranks of firms.

“The City Bar Association looked at the law firm model to see what training is not being provided, particularly to underrepresented communities,” said Matt Putorti ’11, currently an associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and an attendee of the institute. “The institute aims to discuss with attendees how to navigate the law firm advancement process and further develop skills to succeed—and ultimately help diversify the leadership of the profession.”

The institute, which takes place across five sessions throughout the summer, has drawn 50 participants from the ranks of New York City’s most prestigious law firms. Leaders within the participating firms nominated participants based on their leadership potential.

More than 10 percent of the institute’s attendees are Fordham Law alumni. In addition to Putorti, Fordham graduates in attendance include Patrick Dorime ’12, of Chadbourne & Parke LLP, Thais Garcia ’16, of Clifford Chance LLP, Ganesh Krishna ’10, of Baker Hostetler LLP, and Sherri Graniero ’11 and Claudia Pak ‘10, both of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.

The institute’s first session took place on May 19 and addressed communications skills and professional presentation.

“I think minorities, especially at big law firms, often find it difficult to stand out,” said Krishna. “So the question is how do you create an executive presence for yourself? It’s one of those things that does not come naturally for everybody.”

On June 9, the institute’s second session was held; it covered sponsorship relationships, a term used to describe a senior law firm partner ushering a promising associate up through the ranks in exchange for loyalty and dedicated service.

“I think it’s a nice and safe environment to promote an open debate on diversity,” said Garcia. “So personally I was quite pleased to see such initiative with representation from major law firms in New York.”

The institute has booked an impressive list of speakers to help coach attendees on their presentation and careers. Speakers have so far included NBCUniversal’s Steve Chung, Prudential Financial’s Michelle Meyer-Shipp, and Julia Taylor Kennedy from the Center for Talent Innovation.

The institute’s remaining three sessions, scheduled to take place on alternating Fridays through July 28, will cover personal branding, business development, and career management.

“I think the caliber of the associates involved in the program itself is very high,” said Dorime. “The hope would be that, down the line in our careers, these relationships will help carry us to success.”


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