Fireside Chat at the Southern District of N.Y.
  • 5:30 - 8:00 PM ET
  • Please join the ChIPs NY Chapter for a discussion, hosted by US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), with leaders in law on their successful and high-profile careers, the personal and professional challenges they overcame, and their relationships and support in achieving those heights. 

    The Honorable Loretta A. Preska, SDNY Senior District Judge and former Chief Judge will introduce her colleague SDNY District Judge Hon. Katherine Polk Failla, along with Dean and Professor of Law Gillian Lester of Columbia Law School, and Carolyn Blankenship, General Counsel and Secretary at Big (NYSE:BBAI), to share their experiences of things not going according to “plan” during the course of their careers, and how they learned to flip obstacles into opportunities. 

    Hear from the luminaries in the judiciary, higher education, and the private sector, as we discuss topics such as how to foster strength through adversity, how to take feedback seriously but not personally, how to turn resilience into a superpower, and how as women, we can develop meaningful relationships with colleagues, friends, mentees and others who will help lift us up and sustain us through the hard times. A networking receipt with members of the court will follow.

    DATE | Monday, October 3, 2022

    TIME | 5:30 – 8:00pm ET

    5:30-6:00 PM, arrival and welcome

    6:00-7:00 PM, panel discussion and Q&A

    7:00-8:00 PM, networking reception

    NOTEPlease allow ample time to get through courthouse security 

    EVENT TYPE | In-Person

    LOCATION | Thurgood Marshall Courthouse

    40 Centre Street – on Foley Square

    25th Floor

    New York, NY

    JOIN ChIPs | This event is open to all members of the ChIPs Community. To become a member of ChIPs, click here.

    RSVP | On the ChIPs community platform or to Jenn at

    INTRODUCTIONS | The Honorable Loretta A. Preska 

    Judge Preska was appointed United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York on August 12, 1992 and entered duty on September 18, 1992.  She served as Chief Judge from June 1, 2009 to the May 31, 2016.  Judge Preska received a B.A. from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York in 1970, a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1973, and an LL.M. in Trade Regulation from New York University Law School in 1978.  Following graduation from Fordham, Judge Preska was an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and an associate and, beginning in January 1983, a partner at Hertzog, Calamari & Gleason until her induction as a United States District Judge in September 1992.

    MODERATOR Katherine A. Helm 

    Katherine A. (“Kassie”) Helm, Ph.D., is a Partner at Dechert LLP. She represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with a focus on global biologics patent disputes and is one of the co-founders of the NY Chapter of ChIPs.


    The Honorable Katherine Polk Failla 

    Judge Failla is a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. She was appointed by President Obama in 2013, following her tenure as Chief of the Criminal Appeals Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Judge Failla received her Bachelor of the Arts, summa cum laude, in 1990 from the College of William & Mary and a J.D., cum laude, in 1993 from Harvard Law School. Following graduation, Judge Failla served as a law clerk for Judge Joseph E. Irenas of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. In 1994, she began work at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where she handled commercial litigation and securities enforcement. In 2000, Judge Failla left private practice and became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. She then served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Appeals Unit from 2004 to 2008 and then as Chief until her appointment to the bench.

    Dean Gillian Lester 

    Gillian Lester is Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Prior to joining Columbia in 2015, Dean Lester was on the faculty of the University of California, first at UCLA, and later at Berkeley Law School, where she served as interim dean from 2012 to 2014. Her scholarship focuses on income inequality, public finance policy, workplace law, and the design of social insurance laws and regulations. Dean Lester obtained a B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia, an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and a J.S.D. from Stanford Law School. As Columbia Law’s 15th Dean, she has led the faculty in recruiting more than two dozen full-time professors, with expertise across a wide range of disciplines, and establishing six new law clinics. Dean Lester has dramatically expanded student access and career choice through landmark investments in student financial aid and loan repayment assistance, established a new Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law degree program, and transformed the Law School’s physical and digital campus infrastructure. In addition, she created a Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program and has spearheaded initiatives dedicated to lawyer-leadership, organizational character, science and technology policy, and constitutional democracy. The five-year Campaign for Columbia Law, which Dean Lester launched in 2017, is on target to exceed its $300 million goal this fall.
    Dean Lester is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute. She served on the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools from 2017 to 2020 and is a founding board member of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. For her service on the President’s COVID-19 Task Force, Dean Lester was recognized in 2022 with Columbia’s Nicholas Murray Butler Medal for distinguished contributions in academic administration.

    Carolyn H. Blankenship 

    Carolyn H. Blankenship recently joined (BBAI:NYSE) as their General Counsel and Secretary.  Previously, she was General Counsel for Innovation & Product for Thomson Reuters, where she had been employed in various capacities for almost 22 years.  Ms. Blankenship has also held a variety of IP-related positions as both in-house and outside counsel, including stints at Skadden, Arps and As an undergraduate, Carolyn attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for two years and went on to earn a B.A. in Biology from Harvard College.  She has a J.D. from Arizona State University College of Law and clerked for the Hon. Noel Fidel of the Arizona State Court of Appeals.

    PRESENTED BY | ChIPs New York Chapter Co-Founders: Kassie Helm, Allison Altersohn, Caren Khoo, Laura Sheridan, Lisa Knight, Naomi Waltman and Carolyn Blankenship