A few weeks ago, 16 lucky fifth graders from PS 73 in the South Bronx got a chance to become Junior Executives for a day at the Law Firm of Labaton Sucharow, our amazing Team 73 Lead Change Team Sponsor. The morning started with the steep walk to the subway near Yankee Stadium, and about 40 minutes later we were in the middle of downtown rush hour. Winding through all the tourists and business men and women, we found ourselves at the corner of Liberty and Broadway, across from the now famed Zuccotti Park.
A quick check in with the doorman, and we packed the elevator full on our way to the 35th floor. “Whoa, my ears popped,” said Brittany. “Yeah, that was super fast,” agreed Anthony. And then the doors opened to the marble lobby with panoramic views of Manhattan. “Oh my God!” “That’s the Empire State Building.” “That’s the Brooklyn Bridge!” “Look, you can see the tops of some of the buildings, we are so high.” For some of these kids this was the first time they had ever been in a skyscraper, and the view was nothing short of awesome.
I mention all of their reactions to the buildings and the fancy lobby furnishings, because this was all part of their experiences as Junior Executives. Definitely part of the lure, and something they will remember when they dream about the possibilities for their future. They could have a corner office too someday; it just takes hard work and perseverance!
We walked through the lobby to the conference room and each kid took their place in leather chairs at the board table. First up, we heard from Jay Pontrelli and Amy Greenbaum, the investigative team at Labaton, and learned all about the great lengths they go through to gather evidence. Spy pens and watches, along with an official FBI vest were definitely a highlight. Following that, Associates Jeffrey Alexander, Corban Rhodes, and Danielle Stampley shocked us by explaining that they often prepare 200 page documents as part of a case. Luckily, the principles behind persuasive writing are the same whether your argument is 2 pages (what our kids are used to working on) or 200, so our Junior Executives felt confident they could tackle the task one day soon. And finally we chatted with the Marketing and Communications team including Jennifer Bankston, Maggie Martin, and Gennaro Della Gatta. One of the big revelations of the day was learning that it takes a lot more people than just lawyers to make a law firm run smoothly.
After the talk back sessions ended, we went on a tour of the rest of the office, and as is always the case, something I never anticipated being a big deal really excited our kids – they recognized their names on the office doors! People with the same name as either themselves or their friends had really important jobs in this giant office. Anything is possible.
It was truly an awesome day. Thank you many times over to the Labaton Team for being such generous hosts and mentors for our students. I think there just might be a few future investigators or law partners in about 20 years!