Stephanie Breslow ’84

Breaking Barriers

Winter 2009

Stephanie Breslow ’84 is the first woman to serve on the executive committee at the 88-partner New York law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel. Breslow reached that lofty position thanks to years of hard work and an open disregard for societal expectations. There were few women attorneys at the top to guide her, so she had to feel her own way. “It was daunting,” says Breslow, who specializes in investment management, partnerships, and securities. “I would see women sort of getting derailed, and I gave a lot of thought to why that was.”

Her desire to tear down boundaries is, in part, genetic. Breslow’s mother worked at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University as a biochemistry professor, a position she achieved in the 1950s, when sexism permeated American culture. “To me, having a serious profession is something I just took for granted,” says Breslow. “I never considered scaling back.”

Having built a solid and successful career, Breslow now makes time to promote gender equality in the law, periodically speaking to women’s law groups about how to scale the gender barrier and succeed. She has also signed on as the first advisory board member to Professor Katherine Franke’s Gender & Sexuality Law Program at the Law School. “When I was a more junior lawyer, sexism was much more overt,” Breslow recalls. “I think things have dramatically improved since then.”