Supporter Spotlight

Sheila Birnbaum ’65

Sheila Birnbaum

A generous donation from NYU Law Trustee Sheila Birnbaum ’65 has helped to establish the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network (BWLN) at NYU Law.

Founded in 2017 as the Women’s Leadership Network, the BWLN is led by Faculty Co-Directors Florencia Marotta-Wurgler ’01 and Melissa Murray. The BWLN seeks to identify and help overcome obstacles to women’s success in the law and nurture women’s leadership skills through training, research, and workplace equity initiatives.

“The Law School has a long history of supporting and promoting women’s leadership within the law,” Birnbaum said. “The Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network will help to formalize this support system and create new opportunities to cultivate and encourage women’s leadership through scholarships, experiential training, and mentorship.”

A pioneer in product liability defense, Birnbaum is a partner at Dechert and co-chair of the firm’s product liability and mass torts practice, focusing on complex product liability, mass torts, and insurance litigation. Previously, she was professor of law and associate dean at the Law School; chair of the product liability group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and co-chair of the global product liability and mass torts practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. She has been named by Fortune as one of the 50 most powerful women in American business and by Crain's New York Business as one of the 25 most influential women in New York business.

In 2008, Birnbaum was honored by the Law Alumni Association with the Vanderbilt Medal, the highest honor bestowed on an NYU Law alumnus. In 2017 she received the Judge Edward Weinfeld Award, which recognizes distinguished alumni who graduated from the Law School 50 or more years ago. In addition, she is the 2018 recipient of the Law Women Alumna of the Year Award, awarded annually to outstanding alumnae who have broken new ground in the legal profession.