Birnbaum Women's Leadership Center

BWLC Advisory Board

Sheila L. Birnbaum ’65, BWLC Co-Founder

Birnbaum Sheila Portrait

Sheila L. Birnbaum is a mediator, arbitrator, and indepenent panelist at Phillips ADR. She was mostly recently co-chair of Dechert’s product liability and mass torts practice, focusing on on complex product liability, mass torts and insurance litigation. As one of the country’s preeminent product liability defense lawyers, she has served as national counsel or lead defense counsel for numerous Fortune 500 companies in some of the largest and most complex tort cases in the United States. Prior to joining Dechert, Birnbaum was co-chair of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s global product liability and mass torts practice and chair of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s product liability group. A trailblazer for women in the legal profession, Birnbaum is also a former NYU Law professor and associate dean of the graduate division and was the first tenured woman professor of law at Fordham University Law School. She was honored in 2008 with NYU School of Law’s Vanderbilt Medal, the highest honor bestowed on an alumna or alumnus. In 2011, Birnbaum was also appointed special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. In 2017, she was honored with the Judge Edward Weinfeld Award, which recognizes distinguished alumni who graduated from the Law School 50 or more years ago. Birnbaum is also the 2018 recipient of the Law Women Alumna of the Year Award, which is awarded annually to outstanding alumnae who are groundbreakers in the field of law.

Sara Moss ’74, BWLC Co-Founder

Sara Moss

Sara Moss is the visionary supporter and namesake of the Sara Moss Women’s Leadership Training Program. Sara is the founder of Sara Moss Advisors, LLC and currently serves as a Senior Advisor at The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC). Previously, Sara was the Vice Chair of The Estée Lauder Companies. In this role, she provided guidance to the Board, executive leadership, and the Lauder family. While Vice Chair, Sara established the Open Doors Women’s Leadership Program at Estée Lauder, which continues to be a success. Before becoming Vice Chair Sara was the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for 16 years. Sara began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Constance Baker Motley, U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York, and then became a litigator at Davis Polk & Wardwell. She went on to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she prosecuted a wide range of federal cases. Moving back to the private sector, she was a senior litigation partner at Howard, Darby & Levin (now Covington & Burling) and then Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Pitney Bowes Inc. Sara’s passion for the law and community engagement is widely recognized. She is a Trustee of the New York University School of Law and serves on the Board of the New York Common Pantry and Central Synagogue. She also sits on the Advisory Boards of the Legal Aid Society and the International Rescue Committee. Throughout her career, Sara has been recognized with many awards and honors, including: the New York Law Journal Lifetime Achievement Award, the Legal Aid Society Servant of Justice Award, the Chambers Outstanding In-House Lawyer of the Year Award, the NYU Outstanding Alumna Award, the Anti-Defamation League Human Relations Award, and the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund “Aiming High” Award.

Barbara L. Becker ’88, Chair & Managing Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Barbara L. Becker ’88

Barbara L. Becker is Chair and Managing Partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  She is the seventh Chair and Managing Partner in the firm’s 133-year history.  Prior to becoming the firm’s Chair and Managing Partner, Ms. Becker served as Co-Chair of Gibson Dunn’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group for over a decade, and also created and led the firmwide Diversity Committee. Ms. Becker advises companies on all significant business and legal issues, including mergers and acquisitions (including domestic and cross-border), spin-offs, joint ventures and general corporate matters.  Ms. Becker also advises boards of directors and special committees of public companies.  Ms. Becker represents corporations and investment banks based in and outside of the United States and other investors in their M&A activities.  Ms. Becker focuses on clients in the consumer/retail, technology, healthcare and industrial industries. Ms. Becker’s corporate clients include Accenture, General Electric, Kraft Heinz, Merck, News Corp., PepsiCo and VMware, among others. Ms. Becker’s investment bank clients include Centerview, Evercore, Guggenheim Securities, Lazard and UBS, among others. Ms. Becker earned her Juris Doctor in 1988 from New York University School of Law.  She received her undergraduate degree in 1985 from Wesleyan University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  Ms. Becker is a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University School of Law.  Ms. Becker is also Chair of the New York City Bar’s Mergers, Acquisitions & Corporate Control Contests Committee.

Twyla Carter, Attorney-in-Chief and CEO, The Legal Aid Society

Twyla Carter

Twyla Carter serves as the Attorney-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer of The Legal Aid Society, becoming the first Black woman and first Asian American to lead the organization in its 147-year history. Prior to joining Legal Aid, Carter was the National Director of Legal and Policy at The Bail Project (TBP), a national nonprofit organization that pioneered a national movement to bring free bail assistance and pretrial support to thousands of low-income people every year. At TBP, Carter created the department’s strategic mission and directed the legal, policy, and advocacy efforts at the federal, state, and local levels. Carter has also served as a senior staff attorney in the Criminal Law Reform Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) national office, where she litigated local and state bail inequities and right-to-counsel protections in the federal courts and designed alternative bail and representation policies and procedures for targeted jurisdictions. Prior to working at the ACLU, Carter was a public defender for ten years. She was the Misdemeanor Practice Director for the King County Department of Public Defense in Seattle, where she oversaw all misdemeanor casework across the four divisions of the department. As a Staff Attorney at The Defender Association, Carter handled felony and misdemeanor trial caseloads, represented juveniles, and appealed misdemeanor convictions. Against the backdrop of the legislative attacks against the teaching of white supremacy and anti-Black racism in schools, Carter serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of The Who We Are Project, founded by Jeffery Robinson. Carter is admitted to practice law in New York, Washington State, and numerous federal courts. She is a nationally recognized expert on bail reform and is a frequent speaker on all aspects of the criminal legal system, including police reform, right-to-counsel issues, and how to incorporate race and culture into criminal, death penalty, and civil cases.

Karen Dunn, Partner and Co-Chair, Litigation Department, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Karen Dunn

Karen Dunn is Co-Chair of the Paul, Weiss Litigation Department and one of the nation’s top trial lawyers and is widely recognized for securing courtroom victories in difficult cases. Karen is also highly skilled at crisis management, advising companies, public figures and boards of directors as they navigate reputation-threatening investigations, government inquiries and media scrutiny—often all at the same time. Karen is also go-to counsel for clients in high-profile government, law enforcement and sensitive internal investigations. Among others, she prepared Amazon Chairman Jeff Bezos for his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee; represented key witnesses asked to appear before the congressional committee investigating the killing of Americans in Benghazi; the New York Attorney General’s independent investigation of sexual harassment allegations against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo; represented a high-profile witness in simultaneous investigations by the Department of Justice, an agency Inspector General and a congressional committee; and guided a major university in responding to sexual abuse allegations concerning a former university official. She has led debate preparations for presidents, vice presidents, and senators for consequential debates in every federal election cycle since 2008 including for President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Kamala Harris. Karen has been named a “Litigator of the Week” five times in the past three years by The American Lawyer as well as “Litigator of the Year”; one of the National Law Journal’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers”; one of Elle Magazine’s “Most Compelling Women in Washington Now”; and a Law360 “Trials MVP” and a “Technology MVP.” Karen has served in all three branches of government, including as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia; Associate White House Counsel under President Barack Obama; and Senior Advisor and Communications Director to former Sen. Hillary Clinton. Karen also led presidential debate prep for President Obama in 2012, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020. Earlier, she served as a law clerk to Judge Merrick B. Garland of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and to Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Julie B. Ehrlich ’08, Program Director, Presidential Initiatives and Chief of Staff, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Julie B. Ehrlich ’08

Julie B. Ehrlich is the program director for presidential initiatives and chief of staff at the Mellon Foundation. There, she is a counselor and key strategist for the president, the convener of the Foundation’s senior leadership team, and the lead on a wide range of complex initiatives with impacts across the organization. Together with the Foundation's president, she also directs the Foundation’s signature Presidential Initiatives: The Monuments Project, Imagining Freedom, and the Foundation’s work in Puerto Rico. Prior to joining Mellon, Julie was assistant dean for strategic initiatives and chief of staff and adjunct professor of clinical law and co-instructor of the Reproductive Justice Clinic at NYU Law. She was also the inaugural executive director of what was then the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network, where she led the development of the fellows program. Prior to NYU, she worked as a litigator on a range of First Amendment cases and civil rights issues including sex discrimination, legislative redistricting, prison conditions, and police misconduct, first at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and later at Cuti Hecker Wang LLP and Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP (now part of Ballard Spahr). She clerked for the Honorable Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York and the Honorable Robert D. Sack on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She holds a BA cum laude with distinction in American studies from Yale University and a JD magna cum laude from NYU. While studying at NYU, Julie received a Hays Fellowship in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Maurice Goodman Memorial Prize for Scholarship and Character. She is a member of the board of directors of Pregnancy Justice and a former member of the board of directors of the NYCLU.

Damaris Hernández ’07, Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Damaris Herández ’07

Damaris Hernández focuses her practice on complex civil litigation related to antitrust, contractual disputes and securities. Ms. Hernández also devotes substantial time to pro bono and community work. She is currently representing juveniles sentenced to indeterminate life sentences with the possibility of parole in a suit seeking to reform the parole hearing process in New York. She served as lead counsel in a lawsuit in Alabama federal court that challenged Jefferson County, Alabama’s compliance with a consent decree after findings of discrimination in the hiring of firefighters and police. Ms. Hernández is a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University. She is also a Trustee of New York University School of Law and a mentor to students in the school’s AnBryce Scholarship program. In 2023, she was appointed by the New York State Bar Association as a co‑chair of a special committee to examine the selection of judges for the New York State Court of Appeals. Ms. Hernández is a fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and was selected to serve as a member of Law360’s 2023 Diversity & Inclusion Editorial Advisory Board. In addition, she was elected to serve as a member of The American Law Institute and the Litigation Advisory Board for Practical Law. Ms. Hernández is also a board member of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, the Central Park Conservancy and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ms. Hernández has received numerous honors, including being named to Crain’s New York Business “40 Under 40” list. She has been recognized by publications including Benchmark Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America, Lawdragon, The Legal 500 US, and New York Law Journal and by organizations including the Council of Urban Professionals, LatinoJustice, and the Puerto Rican Bar Association. Ms. Hernández was born in Brooklyn, New York. She received an AB degree magna cum laude in Literature from Harvard College in 2003 and a JD from New York University School of Law in 2007, where she was an associate editor of the Review of Law and Social Change and an AnBryce Scholar. Ms. Hernández joined Cravath in 2007 and was elected a partner in 2015.

Hon. Marcy Kahn ’75, Chair, Task Force on the Rule of Law, New York City Bar Association

Hon. Marcy Kahn ’75

Associate Justice Marcy L. Kahn graduated with an AB with honors from Stanford University in 1972 and received her JD from New York University School of Law in 1975. She was admitted to the Bar in the State of Arizona in 1975 and to the State of New York’s Bar the following year. She was admitted to the Bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1982, and the Bar for the Supreme Court of the United States in 1984. From 1975-1977, she served as Special State Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New York State Prosecutor. She then went into private practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom where she was a Litigation Associate from 1977-1980. She became a Litigation Partner at Anderson Kill & Olick, P.C. in 1980, where she remained until 1986. In 1987, she became a Judge of the Criminal Court of the State of New York until 1993. From 1993-1994, she was the Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Since 1994, she has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and has been reelected to serve until 2022. In 2016, she was elevated to an Associate Justice at the Appellate Division, First Department. Marcy Kahn is the co-chair/chair for the New York Tribal Courts Committee for the New York State Unified Court System since 2002.She is also the chair of Judicial Opportunities Committee for the National Association of Women Judges, District 2 since 2002. In 2016, she co-chaired “a new commission to address LGBT concerns with the justice system and the legal profession” with Elizabeth Garry of the Third Department. She is also the first openly lesbian judge in the New York City Criminal Court. Kahn is known for her fierce advocacy since the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. She retired from the Appellate Division, First Department in September 2019 “to become an advocate on climate change, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.”

Angela M. Libby ’11, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Angela Libby ’11

Angela M. Libby is a partner in Davis Polk’s restructuring practice. She advises debtors, creditors, banks, hedge funds, lenders, asset purchasers and other strategic parties in a wide range of corporate restructuring matters. These include prepackaged and traditional bankruptcies, out-of-court workouts, debtor-in-possession and exit financing transactions, asset sales, bankruptcy litigation, cross-border insolvencies and liability management transactions. Angela’s work has been widely recognized. Most recently, The Deal listed Angela among its 2023 “Top Women in Dealmaking” for restructuring. Global Restructuring Review named her to its “40 Under 40” list in 2022, and Law360 named her a “Rising Star” in energy in 2021. Turnarounds & Workouts listed her among 2020’s “Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyers,” and the American Bankruptcy Institute named her among the “40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders in Insolvency” in 2019. Angela was one of only three recipients nationwide of the 2019 IFLR “US Rising Star Award.”

Inosi Nyatta LLM ’00, Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Inosi Nyatta ’00

Inosi Nyatta is a partner in Sullivan & Cromwell’s Finance & Restructuring Group, is co-head of the Firm’s global Project Development & Finance practice and a co-coordinator of the Firm’s Energy Transition practice. Her award-winning work for clients on a broad range of financing transactions, including project financings, joint venture transactions, capital markets offerings and commercial transactions, has resulted in her recognition as a “Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer, a “Project Finance Lawyer of the Year” by Euromoney’s Women in Business Law Awards, an “Energy MVP” and “Project Finance MVP” by Law360 and as one of Crain’s “Notable Diverse Leaders in Law” and “Notable Women in Business”. Inosi has acted for a cross-section of sponsor, financial institution and corporate clients in oil and gas, power, financial, mining, infrastructure, consumer and other sectors in the United States, Europe, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. Inosi has particular strength advising on debt and financing arrangements in the energy and renewables industry, energy transition sector and the impact of ESG matters on project structures, financing terms and financing sources. She also works closely with clients on green and sustainability-linked bonds and loans. Inosi has experience in a range of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, joint venture arrangements and project development arrangements. She was the pro bono coordinator in S&C’s London office and is a member of the Firm’s Diversity Committee and S&C’s Women’s Initiative Committee. Inosi is a graduate of the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law (2001), New York University School of Law (2000) and University of Nairobi (1998).

Valerie Radwaner ’87, Deputy Chair, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Valerie Radwaner

Valerie Radwaner has been the Deputy Chair of Paul, Weiss since 2014, where she has spearheaded a wide range of important strategic initiatives. As a longtime partner in the Finance group, Valerie has advised numerous corporate borrowers, leading private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, and alternative lenders in a broad range of corporate finance transactions. Valerie has spent her entire career at Paul, Weiss. She serves on several civic, educational, cultural and charitable boards, as well as on various professional organizations devoted to women’s leadership and DEI. Valerie was recognized with the NYU School of Law “Alumni Achievement Award” in 2022 for her extraordinary professional achievements, service to the legal profession and impact on society. She was profiled as a law firm leader in LEADERS Magazine in 2018, and was recognized by Corporate Counsel that same year in its Women in Law Awards for Law Firm Transformative Leadership. In 2017, she was profiled in Crain’s New York Business’s inaugural list of “Leading Women Lawyers” in New York City. As a longtime advocate for greater diversity in the legal profession, Valerie is active in several professional organizations devoted to women’s leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a founding member of Thomson Reuters Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, and is a member of the Global Advisory Board of Women in Law Empowerment Forum, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women in law. Valerie is also a member of the Steering Committee of the 30% Club, an organization comprised of CEOs and other leaders committed to gender balance on boards. Valerie is involved in numerous community, civic and charitable activities. Valerie serves on the Board of Trustees of New York University School of Law. She is a founding mentor of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Fellows Program at NYU Law. Valerie earned her BA from Brandeis University, magna cum laude, and her JD from New York University School of Law.

K.M. Zouhary, Vice President, Leadership Initiatives, The Estée Lauder Companies

K.M. Zouhary

Katie Marie (“K.M.”) Zouhary serves as Vice President, Leadership Initiatives, at the Estée Lauder Companies (ELC). She develops the Company’s women’s advancement and gender equality strategy, with a focus on the leadership development pillar. K.M. co-created Open Doors, the company’s signature women’s leadership program. She designs experiential learning, coaching, and development programs to grow the next generation of leaders. Prior to joining ELC, K.M. founded Cadenza Communications LLC, where she created dynamic programs teaching persuasion, negotiation, and effective communication. She is a founding consultant, coach, and facilitator for the BWLC. K.M. is an award-winning lecturer. In 2020, she received Northwestern Law’s Outstanding Teaching Award—voted on by students, and in 2021, Northwestern Law honored her with the Emerging Leader Award. K.M.’s squiggly career has included multiple chapters. As an attorney, she received Proskauer’s Golden Gavel award and appeared on 60 Minutes in connection with her work to exonerate innocent men who were coerced to give confessions when they were kids (the Dixmoor Five and Englewood Four). K.M. proudly served as the Chief of Staff of the National Endowment for the Arts. She worked as the Associate Producer of HAIRSPRAY (Broadway). K.M. has served on the boards of the Michigan Prison Doula Initiative and the Center on Wrongful Convictions Justice Council. K.M. received her JD (magna cum laude and Order of the Coif) from Northwestern University School of Law and her BA (cum laude) from Yale. She also graduated from The Second City Chicago’s Conservatory Program.

Melissa Murray, BWLC Faculty Director; Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law, NYU Law

Melissa Murray

Melissa Murray is the Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law at NYU and faculty director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center. Murray is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson Scholar and an Echols Scholar, and Yale Law School, where she was notes development editor of the Yale Law Journal and earned special recognition as an NAACP-LDF/Shearman & Sterling Scholar. Following law school, Murray clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, then of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Stefan Underhill of the US District Court for the District of Connecticut. Murray teaches constitutional law, family law, criminal law, and reproductive rights and justice, and her research focuses on the legal regulation of sex and sexuality and encompasses such topics as marriage and its alternatives, the marriage equality debate, the legal recognition of caregiving, and reproductive rights and justice. Her publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the California Law ReviewColumbia Law ReviewHarvard Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. She is an author of Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice, the first casebook to cover the field of reproductive rights and justice. She has also written for the New York TimesVanity Fair, and the Huffington Post, and has offered commentary for NPR, MSNBC, and PBS, among other media outlets. In 2010, Murray was awarded the Association of American Law School’s Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice. Murray was previously on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction. From March 2016 to June 2017, she served as interim dean of Berkeley Law. Twitter: @ProfMMurray

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, BWLC Executive Director

BWLN Executive Director Jennifer Weiss-Wolf

Attorney and author Jennifer Weiss-Wolf joined the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Center in 2022 as executive director. Prior she was vice president and the inaugural women and democracy fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. She also leads partnerships and strategy at Ms. – the feminist movement-making magazine. A passionate writer on and advocate for issues of gender and politics, Weiss-Wolf was dubbed the “architect of the U.S. campaign to squash the tampon tax” by Newsweek. She has presented on issues related to her area of expertise – menstruation and the law – at the White House and before Congress, as well as in state legislatures and major city governmental bodies; she works closely with domestic and global leaders, advocates, and innovators in pursuing policy reforms. Her 2017 book Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity was lauded by Gloria Steinem as “the beginning of liberation for us all.” Her forthcoming book, Period. Full Stop. The Politics of Menopause will be published by NYU Press (2025). Weiss-Wolf’s scholarship and writing have been published by the NYU Review of Law and Social ChangeColumbia Journal of Gender and Law, and William and Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice. Her writing and work have also been featured in the New York TimesWashington PostLos Angeles TimesTIMECosmopolitanHarper’s BazaarTeen Vogue, NPR, PBS, and NowThis, among others. Weiss-Wolf received her JD from Cardozo Law School, where she was editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Women’s Law Journal, and her BA in government from Lafayette College. Twitter: @jweisswolf