Online registration for the Gala has now closed. Tickets can still be purchased at the door.

Make a gift to the Alumni Scholarship Fund in honor of
this year's Alumni of the Year

The event will feature an elaborate cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception,
music and entertainment, a celebratory program,
and a fun and festive dessert reception.

Memorabilia and photographs highlighting
Cardozo's 40 years will be on display.

6:30 p.m.
Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres

7:45 p.m.
Program and presentations to Honorees

8:30 p.m.
Dessert Reception



Mark Yagerman ’79 is an Equity Owner of Smith Mazure Director Wilkins Young & Yagerman, P.C. Mark received his law degree from Cardozo School of Law in 1979, which was the first graduating class. Prior to joining Smith Mazure in 1985, he was an Assistant General Counsel with the New York City Transit Authority and was a trial attorney in the New York City Transit Authority Torts Department from 1980-1985. He is the Senior Trial Attorney for Smith Mazure and is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, United States Supreme Court, United States District Court for both Eastern and Southern Districts and the Federal Court for the State of Connecticut. Mark has extensive experience in personal injury/product liability litigation and he has received the highest rating in Martindale-Hubbell, the profession’s most respected evaluation source. He is an elected member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, as well as the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. He was also named a “Super Lawyer” for 2009, 2013 through 2016. Mark writes and lectures extensively in the areas of personal injury and trial practice, including at Cardozo.

Mark has worked tirelessly with the Cardozo School of Law Alumni Association. He was  a Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and then elected Chair of the Executive Committee, serving in that capacity from June 2010-June 2014. Mark has served as the Chair of the Parents Council in 2015 and 2016. He has worked with the Alumni Association fundraising and was a Chair ofthe Alumni Dinner Committee in 2015. Mark mentors law students and young attorneys and works with career services to find jobs for Cardozo students. Mark received the Alumni Association Volunteer Service Award in 2015.

Mark’s son, Evan Yagerman, graduated from Cardozo in 2008 and is a member at Smith Mazure. Mark has been married to Laurie for 38 years. They live in Old Westbury, New York. Mark’s daughter, Jill, is a special education teacher, teaching kindergarten through third grade in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Mark’s daughter-in-law, Dani, is a nurse. Mark’s son-in-law, Brett Zuckerman, is a practicing attorney. Mark is blessed to have three grandchildren, Cooper, four years old; Lane, 19 months; and Ari, four months.

Stephen Breitstone ’82 is a Partner and Vice Chairman of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP and also leads the 24-attorney Private Wealth & Taxation Group at the firm. His practice focuses upon high net worth clients and their businesses, with a special emphasis on real estate. His clients include private domestic and international real estate owners and developers, closely held businesses, public companies, private equity funds, trusts, estates and charitable organizations. Stephen has the rare combination of skills as a business lawyer, a transactional income tax attorney and an estate planner. This combination enables him to effectively advise his private clients on their individual needs and those of their businesses. Stephen also serves as general counsel and financial and business advisor to a number of clients. Stephen currently teaches as an adjunct professor a course in Tax and Business Planning for Real Estate Transactions at Cardozo Law School. Stephen has lectured at the NYU Institute on Federal Taxation, Practicing Law Institute, Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Conference, Bloomberg BNA Tax Management, National Multi-Housing Conference, Jeremiah Long Section 1031 Conference, Federation of (1031) Exchange Accommodators and for many more organizations. Stephen’s style of practice is personal, not institutional; and his clients’ goals and objectives are his priority. Stephen has been interviewed on tax and financial topics by a number of media outlets including CBS, ABC, Fox, Fox Business News and News 12 Long Island.

Over the last 35 years, Stephen has been a devoted alumnus. In addition to being an adjunct professor at Cardozo, Stephen has volunteered to be a mentor to students and alumni. He has been a featured speaker in the Dean’s Speaker Series, he is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and he has endowed a scholarship.

Ira Dizengoff ’92 is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, specializing in corporate restructurings with an emphasis on creditors’ committees and bondholder committees in large, complex cases both out of court and in chapter 11. Ira represents bondholders, noteholders, institutional investors, hedge funds and other interested parties. He has also represented debtors in possession, post-petition lenders and acquirers of distressed assets. His restructuring matters encompass a variety of industries and involve multijurisdictional and cross-border matters.

Ira has played leading roles in the most complex restructurings in history. As a young partner, he co-led the representation of the creditors in the WorldCom restructuring, which is still the largest business rehabilitation ever. Over the past 20 years his work for institutional investors, who are among the largest money managers in the world, includes household name credits like Avaya, Energy Futures, Six Flags, SeaDrill, Dynegy, Walter Energy, Momentive Performance Products, Sequa and Lyondell, among others. He also represents companies in restructurings and recapitalizations in and out of court including, among others, TerreStar Networks, American Media (publisher of the National Enquirer), U.S. Shipping, Stallion Oil eld Services, Connacher Oil & Gas and Atari. Ira is a frequent lecturer at leading high-yield conferences and restructuring seminars. In addition to other accolades, Ira has been listed in Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading lawyer in the area of bankruptcy/restructuring for the last eight years.

Ira was a member of the Cardozo Law Review. He has been an involved alumnus for many years, particularly as a regular interviewer for his firm during on-campus interview week. He has been a featured speaker at the law school on many occasions including addressing students at the Law Review Reunion and the Dean’s Distinguished Scholars reception. Ira currently serves as a member of the Cardozo Board of Overseers. Ira and Betsy, who have been married for 25 years and reside in New York City, are the proud parents of current Cardozo student and Law Review member Reuben Dizengoff, and Sophie Dizengoff, currently a junior at Hamilton College. In addition to his Cardozo activities, Ira is involved in community and charitable activities and has received recognition for his accomplishments in this area.

Emily Tisch Sussman ’08 is the Campaign Director for the Center for American Progress and CAP Action Fund, where she is responsible for working with policy teams and coalition partners to create and execute campaigns that turn policy ideas into laws. Her work has included leading the con rmation of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, the only successful campaign against the NRA in recent history. Before joining American Progress, she was the executive director of Young Democrats of America, where she led a team that helped to produce record-breaking youth participation in the 2012 election cycle. Prior to that, Emily served as Director of Government Affairs for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), where she was a key figure in the movement to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Before joining SLDN, she founded Think Blue, a political organization for young professional Democrats.

Emily holds membership with the New York Bar and earned her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she graduated with cum laude honors and specialized in constitutional and matrimonial law. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Skidmore College, where she concentrated in developmental disabilities. She was honored with the Cardozo Law Gates Award, with the award for Extraordinary Contribution toward Advancing the Truman Democratic World View from the Truman National Security Project, and on the inaugural list of “40 under 40 Emerging Leaders in Politics” by the New Leaders Council. Emily is a regular contributor to CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS News and a variety of additional local news outlets. She has spoken on issues, including from jobs and the economy, health care, the environment, and civil rights. She is regularly quoted in Politico, Bloomberg News, and other local, state, and national online and print media.


For more information, call the Office of Alumni Affairs at 212.790.0293 or e-mail