Cardozo’s Board of Overseers has a new leader heading into the 2018-19 school year. Ira Dizengoff ’92, is the new Board Chair, succeeding David Samson ’93, who served in the role from May 2014-May 2018. “Cardozo has had a period of tremendous growth and it is important we continue to build on that momentum,” said Dean Melanie Leslie. “Ira’s history with Cardozo and his renowned position in the legal world make him the ideal person to help the law school continue to rise as a leader in legal education.”
Dizengoff, a partner at Akin Gump, focuses on corporate restructurings, with an emphasis on creditors’ committees and bondholder committees in large, complex cases both out of court and in Chapter 11. He was recognized as one of the top 30 restructuring and insolvency professionals in the world in the 2017 Best of the Best Expert Guide and recognized by Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, every year since 2011.
Dizengoff shared his thoughts on his Cardozo experience and offers guidance to recent Cardozo graduates as they delve into the legal profession:
Who was your favorite professor at Cardozo?
This is a tie. Professor David Rudenstine and Professor Stewart Sterk both left an indelible mark on me. Both were incredibly smart, engaging and remarkably accessible to their students. Professor Rudenstine’s passion for the law, commitment to free speech and defense of civil liberties is as inspiring to me in today’s world as it was to me as a law student. Professor Sterk challenged me to think analytically and look at an issue from all angles. I use that skill every single day to approach my clients’ challenges and develop legal strategy.
What advice do you have for the Class of 2018 as they start their careers?
Be inquisitive about everything. Do your homework, ask questions, be responsive, be responsible and think critically. Every assignment, even the seemingly mundane, is a learning opportunity. The world is a rapidly changing place, and the practice of law is forever evolving. Tomorrow’s leaders will be the ones taking a sharp look at the way things are done today and asking “is there a better way?”
How has Cardozo impacted your career?
Cardozo gave me the tools: analytical reasoning, critical thinking and a collaborative, creative approach to problem-solving and seeing the bigger picture in complex disputes.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
I am privileged to be a partner in Akin Gump’s Financial Restructuring Practice and its New York office. I joined this firm as a young associate when the New York office was small and the restructuring group was even smaller. I am proud to say that our practice today is widely regarded as a market-leader in complex restructurings and workouts.