Alumni Join in as Business Boot Camp Celebrates 10th Year of Mixing Instruction and Life Lessons

Law schools are well known for training students to “think like lawyers,” but in the week commonly known as semester break, more than 120 Brooklyn Law School students, faculty, and alumni—working in tandem with a team of Deloitte Financial Advisory professionals—gathered for Business Boot Camp, a four-day crash course designed to help students understand how clients think.

Business Boot Camp, which premiered 10 years ago and was held Jan. 9–12 this year, follows the life cycle of a fictional company as it grows from a family-owned pub into a publicly owned restaurant chain with an appetite for acquisitions.

Students learn how businesspeople work with lawyers as they deal with the growing pains, opportunities, and pitfalls encountered along the way. They learn about developing business plans, budgeting, financing, accounting, valuation, and cryptocurrency. They also work on softer skills, including networking, client development, and leadership. The course is based in part on training that Deloitte provides to new associates at law firms.

Back in 2013, Board of Trustees member John P. Oswald ’84, president and chief executive officer of Capital Trust Group and event underwriter; Barry Salzberg ’77, then global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.; Frederick Curry III ’03, anti-money-laundering and sanctions client leader for the Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory practice; and Brooklyn Law School Professor Michael Gerber developed and introduced the Business Boot Camp in collaboration with Deloitte Partner Anthony Campanelli.

The program included keynote and Q&A sessions with distinguished graduates whose careers straddled law and business, and lively panel discussions with alumni who arrived straight from the office or, in some cases, flew to New York to present, sharing experiences and practical advice. The course concluded with breakout sessions in which nearly 100 alumni met students in small groups, followed by a cocktail reception.

In one panel discussion, Fred Rosen ’69, who was president and CEO of Ticketmaster Group, shed light on hiring decisions in the business world. For those aspiring to be a corporate lawyer, he said, knowledge of contracts and ensuring that what a CEO wants is included in the contract is important, but negotiating skills and the ability to adapt to different settings are also crucial. “What works in New York doesn’t work in Seattle; what works in Seattle doesn’t work in Dallas,” Rosen said. “You need somebody with the ability to interact with counsel on the other side to get things done… You want really great advocates. It’s not so much getting into courtrooms, because often things get settled. It’s about creating the dynamic so that people take you seriously.”

Gloria Greco ’98 spoke to students about her role as chief compliance officer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch during a lunchtime Q&A with Gerber. One regular challenge she faced: business partners who wanted to do things that did not align with her efforts to ensure the company stayed in compliance with financial services industry regulations. Tempers rose and the language got salty in those conversations, but Greco held her ground. “You have to be able to advocate for your position; you have to be able to convince other people,” Greco said. “The critical way to do that is to have confidence and convey that confidence when you’re talking to people.”

Frederick Curry III ’03 said his deep knowledge of financial crimes, particularly money laundering, helped catapult him to partner at Deloitte and made him a go-to media expert. “Go really deep,” Curry said during a Q&A session with Oswald. “Whatever it is you are interested in, whatever it is you want to do, you have to be the best in it. You have to be an expert. And that is what I attribute my success to.”

Gloria Greco with Professor Michael Gerber
Gloria Greco ’98 (left) spoke to students about her role as chief compliance officer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch during a lunchtime Q&A with Professor Michael Gerber.
People sitting at table
L–R: John P. Oswald ’84 led a “Practical Day-to-Day Legal Advice” panel featuring fellow Board of Trustees member Sasha Linney ’11, in-house counsel at GoldenTree Asset Management; Fred Rosen ’69, former CEO of Ticketmaster Group; Michael Elkin ’84, vice chairman and New York office managing partner at Winston & Strawn; Robert Schmidt ’89, partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel; and Sophia Valiotis ’04, chief legal officer at Alma Realty.
Frederick Curry III in a Q&A session with John P. Oswald
Frederick Curry III ’03 (right) in a Q&A session with John P. Oswald ’84. Both helped develop and introduce the first Business Boot Camp in 2013.