Spotlight on Remarkable Fellows

Columbia Law School

Honorable Kenneth M. Karas

United States District Judge, Southern District of New York

Ken Karas was appointed United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on June 30, 2004, and entered duty on September 7, 2004. He graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a B.A. degree in 1986, and received a J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1991, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Tony Patiño Fellow.

Upon graduating from law school, Judge Karas served as a law clerk to the Hon. Reena Raggi, then United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Thereafter, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1992 until 2001, and Chief of the Organized Crime and Terrorism Unit from 2001 until his departure from the office in June 2004.

While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Judge Karas worked on numerous terrorism investigations into associates of several terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and the IRA. He was part of the team of prosecutors who in 2001 convicted four of Usama Bin Laden’s followers for their role in the August 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. He also participated in the prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui who pled guilty to being part of several conspiracies that involved the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Judge Karas has been the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award and the John Marshall Award from the Justice Department, and the Agency Seal Medallion from the Central Intelligence Agency. And in 2001, he was named the Federal Law Enforcement Association’s Prosecutor of the Year.

Judge Karas is a member of the Federal Bar Council and the Board of Directors for the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues.

Judge Karas on the Tony Patiño Fellowship:

I remember the day I was selected to be a Tony Patiño Fellow-Elect as a first-year law student. Along with the exhilaration of being accepted into a family-like network came the sense of responsibility of living up to the ideals of the Fellowship: to be a leader and contributor to the community.

This responsibility was not a burden, but an inspiration to become the kind of lawyer who could help others. Francesca’s warmth and genuine interest in each Fellow and Fellow-Elect added motivation and confidence, and permanently instilled in each of us the belief that no matter what professional path we chose, we should and would always find ways to improve our community. For all of this, I am eternally grateful to the Tony Patiño Fellowship.

University of Chicago Law School

David Hoffman

Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

David is a former Inspector General, federal prosecutor, and Supreme Court clerk. He has tried over a dozen federal jury cases, has argued and briefed multiple appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and has directed hundreds of investigations. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, internal investigations, and corporate counseling.

David graduated from Yale University with a B.A. cum laude in History in 1988, and subsequently served as press secretary and foreign policy legislative assistant to U.S. Senator David L. Boren (D-OK). He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1995 with High Honors, Order of the Coif, and served as Articles Editor of the Law Review. He was a Tony Patiño Fellow, received the University President’s Award for Volunteer Service, and founded the community service group Neighbors, which partners with the adjacent Wood lawn community.

David served as a law clerk for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist in October Term 1996, and for Judge Dennis G. Jacobs of the U.S. Court Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1995 to 1996.

From 1998 to 2005, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago. He led investigations and prosecutions involving health care fraud, bank fraud, and other types of fraud, civil rights violations, organized gang conspiracies, and interstate weapons trafficking, among other matters. David tried 14 jury trials, most as first chair, and briefed and argued multiple appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In 2002, U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald promoted him to be a Deputy Chief to supervise a newly-created gang unit. David also served as co-head of the office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods anti-gun-violence program and was a recipient of the Justice Department’s Director’s Award. In editorials, the Chicago Tribune praised him as “an uncommonly accomplished crime-fighter” who was an “architect of strategies that have slashed this city’s murder rate” from 2002 to 2005.

From 2005 to 2009, David served as the Inspector General for the City of Chicago, following appointment by the Mayor and confirmation by the City Council. He transformed the office into a strong, independent anti-corruption agency that conducted investigations, audits, and analyses involving all operations of the City of Chicago, a $7-billion-per-year municipal corporation with 36,000 employees. Under his leadership, the office for the first time conducted high-level criminal investigations, including large joint investigations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Antitrust Section of DOJ, and federal Inspector General offices. He also moved the office away from being a purely investigative office, and hired a team of auditors which, for the first time, began conducting independent audits relating to compliance, efficiency, and other issues.

In 2009, while Inspector General, David was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to serve as a Commissioner on the Illinois Reform Commission, the independent body created after the arrest of Governor Blagojevich to recommend anti-corruption and ethics reforms for Illinois. The Commission issued its report in April 2009, recommending sweeping legislative changes, some of which were enacted by the state legislature.

David was a candidate for the United States Senate in 2010, placing second in the Democratic primary by a margin of 39% to 34%. He was endorsed by all the major daily newspapers in Illinois, with the Chicago Tribune calling him “an incorruptible man who tells truth to power,” and Crain’s Chicago Business praising his “independence and integrity.”

Since Spring 2010, he has been a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he teaches Public Corruption and the Law. He was appointed in October 2010 to the Legal Services Corporation’s Special Task Force on Fiscal Oversight. He is a member of the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, a member of the Chicago Inn of Court, and serves on the board of directors of the Better Government Association, the Anti-Defamation League (Midwest chapter), and Providence St-Mel School.

David received the Champion of the Public Interest award in 2010 from BPI (Business and Professional People for the Public Interest), and was chosen for Crain’s 40 Under 40 in 2006.

Hastings College of the Law

Isabelle Mussard

Legislative Analyst, Safe Passages

Isabelle is a Legislative Analyst with Safe Passages, an inter-governmental partnership that includes the City of Oakland, California, the County of Alameda, the Oakland Unified School District, and philanthropic and community-based partners, which is committed to advocating for children, youth, and families, with a special emphasis on vulnerable populations within the County of Alameda.

Isabelle has dedicated her professional life to advocating for equitable access to education, services and opportunities for historically disenfranchised communities. In her current position at Safe Passages as a Legislative Analyst, she reviews pending local, state and federal legislation and analyzes the impact of budget decisions on underrepresented children, youth and families in Alameda County. Isabelle also facilitates the development of a policy agenda for the Alameda County Early Childhood Policy Committee and conducts budget and policy analyses for the Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority.

She is a first generation student who received her B.A. from UC Santa Cruz, her M.A. in Non-Profit Management from the School for International Training, and her J.D. from Hastings (’06) where she had the honor of graduating as a Tony Patiño fellow. Isabelle has worked as a homeless advocate, a public school teacher, a director of an early childhood education center and of an after-school program, and the program manager of a juvenile diversion youth court. She researched and drafted writs of habeas corpus as a judicial extern for Judge Vaughan Walker in the United States District Court, Northern District Court of California, and conducted research on the rights of homeless preschoolers as a clerk for the Child Care Law Center. She also served as a law clerk in the Alameda County Public Defender’s office, where she conducted intake interviews in both English and Spanish, and argued motions to suppress in court.

Isabelle is honored to have the opportunity to combine these professional and personal experiences to champion the rights of underserved communities.

Isabelle Mussard on the Tony Patiño Fellowship:

As a first generation student and a single parent, I was immeasurably bolstered by the Tony Patiño fellowship. Not only did the financial support make both my studies at Hastings possible and my commitment to public interest law sustainable, but the honor of being selected to join a fellowship of some of the most highly-achieving, committed, and capable legal practitioners in the country strengthened my belief that I, too, would succeed in law school and in the legal profession.