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Rising Stars: Part 1

Kathleen A. Behan ’88

Kathleen Behan didn’t wait until completing her degree to begin her work: While still attending Columbia, she volunteered at a lawyer’s collective in India providing legal support for the homeless. After graduation, she worked at the A.C.L.U. before joining Arnold & Porter in 1990. After only two months with the Firm, she was recruited to serve on the team for a high-profile death penalty appeals case based on her work with Professor Jim Liebman. She was named a partner in 1996. Her practice includes general civil cases and criminal and constitutional law, and she remains active on a pro bono basis with the ACLU. Last year, the National Law Journal named her one of the Top 50 women litigators.
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Victoria Bjorklund ’83

Victoria Bjorklund went to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett as a summer associate and asked whether the Firm had any exempt organization work for her (something she had long been interested in). As it turned out, the Firm had an unusually large pro bono program and eventually allowed her to develop a department devoted to non-profit clients. Now director of the Firm’s Exempt Organizations Group, she says, “Exempt organization work is the most fulfilling work you can do....You’re leveraging your skills for people who really need your help.”
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Margery S. Bronster ’82

Margery Bronster was a litigation attorney at Shearman & Sterling in New York and at Carlsmith Ball Wichman Murray Case & Ichiki in Honolulu before being appointed attorney general of the State of Hawaii. She was the First woman in Hawaii’s history appointed to a full term. During her four-year term between 1995-99, she obtained a multi-billion dollar settlement against tobacco companies, effected a partial multi-million dollar settlement against oil companies in an antitrust action, and committed more funds to combat domestic violence. She also attempted to oust trustees of the $10 billion Bishop Estate, charging them with abuse of funds. The largest charitable trust in the United States, the estate’s monies are intended to improve education for Hawaiian children. Members of the State Senate – some believed to be under the sway of those connected to the powerful estate – refused to confirm her for a second term. She is now a partner at Bronster Crabtree & Hoshibata, focusing on complex commercial litigation and trust and real estate cases.
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Judith A. Browne ’92

Judith Browne has an extensive background in civil rights litigation, which includes serving as lead counsel in a lawsuit against the State of Maryland for failure to fully implement the “Motor Voter” Law. She is widely respected for her legal work on fair housing issues and in the public advocacy arena. She currently serves as a senior attorney at the Advancement Project, which creates new strategies for achieving universal opportunities and a racially just democracy. Before taking that position, she was the managing attorney of the Washington, D.C. office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was the recipient of a prestigious Skadden Fellowship and has taught housing discrimination law at Florida State University Law School. Ms. Browne’s work on unfair discipline policies in public schools has received national recognition and, two years ago, she was named one of “Thirty Women to Watch” by Essence magazine.
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Jennifer Friedman ’98

As a Law School student interning at the Sanctuary for Families, Jennifer Friedman was struck by how poorly petitions for orders of protection were drafted and how many women were ill prepared to present their cases to a judge. The process was so discouraging that many women left without orders of protection. Together with others, Ms. Friedman created the Courtroom Advocates Project (CAP), of which she serves as executive director. Today, the expanded and federally funded program trains students from nine New York City law schools to advocate for battered women throughout the legal system.
In July, CAP celebrated its fifth anniversary with a celebration at the offices of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. In those five years, CAP has helped more than 450 domestic violence victims.
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Deborah G. Groeber ’95

Deborah Groeber has been legally blind and deaf since childhood, but this was no hindrance from her graduating magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, earning an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, or graduating Columbia Law School. She practiced labor and employment law for two years in Philadelphia, and was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled in 1996. In addition to her ongoing service on the Committee for Purchase, she is an outreach volunteer and board member for the Legal Clinic for the Disabled in Philadelphia, an institution providing pro bono legal advice for low-income, physically disabled clients. Ms. Groeber’s further honors include recognition as ABC News “Peter Jennings Person of The Week” for May 19, 1995, and selection as a torch runner for the Salt Lake 2002 Paralympics.
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Katherine Kendrick ’86

Born and raised in Southern California, Katherine Kendrick graduated from the Law School as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. After a few years at Latham & Watkins, she joined the legal department of Hollywood Pictures, the Theatrical film division of Walt Disney Studios, in 1989. She went on to become Disney’s vice president of European legal affairs, with responsibility for legal matters not only in Europe, but in the Middle East and Africa. She was later recruited by former Disney executives, including Jeffrey Katzenberg, to join DreamWorks SKG, the film, television, music, and publishing company, where today she serves as general counsel and head of human resources.
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Professor Jessica Litman ’83

A professor at Wayne State Law School, Professor Jessica Litman has become one of the country’s foremost experts in intellectual property law. She testifies regularly before Congress and is author of Digital Copyright (2001), which the New York Law Journal called “brilliant and challenging.” She is also co-author, with Professor Jane Ginsburg, of Trademark and Unfair Competition Law. Prof. Litman asks the question, Do the new statutes being proposed by copyright holders make sense? “A law that says 57 million users are breaking the law is not sensible,” she says, referring to the Napster case. “I would like to see a channel of compensation to copyright owners without suing millions of people or bugging their hard drives.”
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Kathleen A. McGinty ’88

Kathleen McGinty has continued to draw upon her background in science and law to promote sustainable development nationally and globally. She entered the Law School to pursue her interest in the intersection of public policy, technology, and the environment. After a federal clerkship, she served as a senior legislative aide on environmental issues to then-Senator Al Gore. In 1993, President Clinton appointed her director of the White House Office on Environmental Policy, where she implemented significant advances nationally and internationally. Vice President Gore described her as “a remarkable blend of passion and pragmatism, idealism, and political acumen.” Since leaving the White House, Ms. McGinty served as a senior fellow at the Tata Energy Research in Bombay, India, and was appointed the leader of the asset management division of Natsource LCC, a major broker in energy-related products.
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Professor Gillian Metzger ’95

The daughter of a Columbia professor, Gillian Metzger grew up on campus. After graduating from Yale, she worked as a legislative aid for a local union in New York. While she enjoyed the work, she missed the intellectual engagement she had known as a child. After studying at Oxford, she was still searching for a balance between her political and philosophical interests. “What attracted me to law is that it combines both,” she says. After two clerkships, including one with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 she served as a staff attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School before coming to Columbia, where she specializes in constitutional law, administrative law, and social welfare law and policy. Back to top