After they spent nearly a year opposing each other in a
custody case, Kathleen “Casey” Copps DiPaola ’09 and Lorraine Silverman ’05 met
for lunch. Both appreciated the other’s approach and performance during the
case, and both of their clients felt that they had an opportunity to be heard.
The stamped influence of their shared mentor, Professor Melissa Breger, and
their experiences in the Family Violence Litigation Clinic, was evident.
“It was refreshing to work against someone like Lorraine,”
said Copps DiPaola. “As mentees of Prof. Breger, we were taught the same way:
strong ethics, listen, be prepared, respect family court like you would a
“After the case I asked Casey to dinner to see if she
wanted to join forces,” said Silverman, which eventually led to establishing
Copps DiPaola Silverman, PLLC. “We were starting a new business and everyone
was counting on us to succeed – and so those first few days were scary, but then
it worked, the risks we took paid off, and it has been an amazing experience.
But not for one moment have we forgotten all of the mentors who helped us along
the way, which is why it is critical to us to pay it forward by continuing to
mentor law students."
This wasn’t their first meal together. Twelve years
earlier, Copps DiPaola was heading to Duke Law School. But her mother, Anne
Reynolds Copps ’81, and her father, Carl Copps ’80, encouraged—“pleaded with”—their
daughter to at least look at Albany Law School. Silverman, at the time a fellow
in the Family Violence Litigation Clinic, was asked to take her to lunch with
“Everyone knew I loved the Clinic,” Silverman said. “I
never left the Clinic during law school. I told Casey everything that I did and
everything she could do, and that in two years she could be in front of a judge
advocating for a battered woman or protecting a child.”