Thane Rosenbaum

Creative Director & Founder

Thane is a novelist, essayist, and Distinguished Professor at Touro College where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society (“FOLCS”). He is the author of the widely praised novels, How Sweet It Is! , The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and the novel-in-stories, Elijah Visible. His articles, reviews and essays appear frequently in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Slate, Salon, Huffington Post, and Daily Beast, among other national publications. He moderates an annual series of discussions on politics and culture at the 92nd Street Y called The Talk Show.

He serves as the national legal analyst for CBS News Radio. He is the author of Payback: The Case for Revenge and The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What’s Right. He is the editor of the anthology, Law Lit, from Atticus Finch to “The Practice” : A Collection of Great Writings about the Law. His latest book is entitled Saving Free Speech…from Itself.

e: thane.rosenbaum@folcs.org

Olivia Simon

Managing Director

Olivia Simon serves as the Managing Director of FOLCS, overseeing the production of events and supporting the direction of the organization as a whole. She has experience with content creation and storytelling across the media landscape–from executing live and virtual events, to producing video for broadcast and web, to writing and editing.

Formerly, she was a Producer with media company Stringr, where she wrote and packaged video content for news media clients, and coordinated video coverage across local and national stories. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

In her free time, she enjoys creative writing and live music.

Shervin Abachi

Producer, Director of the International Short Film Competition (ISFC)

Shervin Abachi is a Producer and the Director of the International Short Film Competition (ISFC) at the Forum on Life, Culture & Society at NYU School of Law, where he gathers short film entries on legal, social justice, and human rights issues from filmmakers all around the world. At the end of the competition, he produces the annual FOLCS Awards Night, a red-carpet event dedicated to showcasing finalist shorts and emerging filmmakers. Prior to his role as the Director of ISFC, Shervin served as Manager of Legal Research & Digital Marketing and Assistant Producer at FOLCS.

He earned his J.D. degree from Rutgers University School of Law, and while working at FOLCS, Shervin is simultaneously working as a Legal Assistant at Sethi & Mazaheri Law Firm in New York City. In addition, Shervin has significant experience in civil rights advocacy and community building. He has been an active member, co-founder, and co-organizer of the Iranian Community of the Northeast (ICON) in early 2017, seeking justice for the underrepresented Iranian community in New York City.

e: shervin.abachi@folcs.org

Sydney Lerner

Content Coordinator

Sydney Lerner is the Content Coordinator for FOLCS. She manages social media across platforms.
She is a Northeastern University graduate with a degree in Communications and Media Studies. She has previous internship experience at Reebok, Bumble, and Nickelodeon. She has been working as a concert photographer and journalist for Lucid Magazine for nearly a decade in her free time.

Board of Directors

There are many reasons for the exponential growth and wide public acclaim FOLCS has experienced since its founding in 2005, but perhaps most important is the leadership and guidance of our Board of Directors. Want to learn more about FOLCS and our Board? Reach out on our Contact page.

Joe Feshbach


1981-1983: Stock Market Analyst at Forstmann Leff Associates.

1983-1991: Senior Vice President and Chief Market Analyst at Prudential Bache Securities.
During his time at Prudential Bache Securities, Feshbach was featured in almost every major financial publication and was a regular guest on financial TV shows. He was one of most widely followed stock market analysts throughout the financial world, and year after year was voted one of Wall Streets top analysts by Institutional Investor magazine.

1991-1993: Executive Vice President of Shearson Lehman/American Express.

As at Prudential Bache, Feshbach was responsible for formulating stock market strategy for the firm, and traveled all over the world speaking on stock market strategy.

While at Shearson, Feshbach started his own hedge fund, Heatherhil Capital, and managed that into the late 1990s. Feshbach now manages his own funds, with a specialty in foreign currencies.

Feshbach is currently on the board of Jay Williams’ charity of choice, Rising Stars, which helps low income kids achieve academic goals and pave the way to college through basketball.

Jeff Lenobel


Jeffrey A. Lenobel is a partner with Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (“SRZ”), where he has chaired the Real Estate Group for nearly 20 years and also is a longtime member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Operating Committee. Jeff practices primarily in the areas of real estate restructuring, development, finance, sales and acquisitions. His clients include real estate funds, developers, borrowers, lenders and other financial institutions in their real estate and capital markets activities, complex financing transactions, sales and acquisitions, developments, funds, joint venture arrangements, including workouts and restructurings, and other related matters.

A veteran of the firm, Lenobel has grown the real estate practice at SRZ, which today is in an elite class that completes billions of dollars in real estate transactions annually. Under his leadership, the Real Estate Group has developed a reputation for producing inventive solutions to the most difficult challenges in a timely and efficient manner. In his own practice, one factor that separates Jeff from others is his hands-on approach to matters. Nationally recognized as a leading lawyer, he has a reputation for expediently structuring complex deals that utilize diverse financial vehicles.

Recent deals include the ongoing representation of the Oxford Properties Group and The Related Companies joint venture, which is developing Hudson Yards, a $15 billion development in NYC, and advising on the construction of the expansion of the main gallery at MoMA’s main campus in NYC. Lenobel also led the real estate team in advising Albertsons LLC and an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management in the $9.2-billion acquisition of Safeway Inc., the second largest traditional supermarket chain in the United States.

An elected member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, Jeff is consistently listed in Chambers USA, The Legal 500 United States and other ranking publications. He was ranked in the “Top 100 Lawyers in the NY Metro Area” by Super Lawyers and named as one of “New York’s Most Powerful Real Estate Attorneys” by the Commercial Observer. Jeff has chaired the Committee on Securitized Mortgage Lending and the Committee on Pension Fund Investments, both committees of the American Bar Association’s Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law. He is currently a member of the inaugural Alumni Admission Board at Cumberland School of Law, and he is a former member of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Cooperatives and Condominiums and the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Housing and Urban Development. At various times during his career, Jeff has served on the Advisory Boards of Chicago Title Insurance Company, Stewart Title Insurance Company and Fidelity Title Insurance Company. He is frequently invited to speak on current real estate topics at leading industry events.

On a personal level, Jeff has served on the Executive Committee of the UJA-Federation, Real Estate Lawyers Division, and the Executive Committee for the Fund to Cure Asthma of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. An avid golfer, Jeff is a member of The Longboat Key Club and a long-standing member of Metropolis Country Club, where he has served many terms as an officer and member of its Board of Governors. He is also involved as an active member of the Friars Club in New York City.

Joel Simon


Joel Simon is a partner at the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.  Joel has more than 30 years of experience as a corporate lawyer handling complex transactions, with deep experience in all aspects of leveraged finance.  He also has represented clients in special situations investing, acquisitions and dispositions of businesses, joint ventures between financial investors and operators of businesses, corporate and financial restructurings, IPOs and general commercial advice. Joel has had wide industry exposure, including media and entertainment, technology, fintech, energy, real estate, building materials, hotels and hospitality, telecommunications, auto parts, aviation, commercial audio, retail, spirits, biotech, industrial machinery and financial services. Throughout his career, Joel has shown a commitment to pro bono work and diversity and has been actively involved with recruiting and mentoring young lawyers.

Joel has lived and worked in New York, London and Paris, giving him experience in a multiplicity of business and regulatory environments, as well as the sensitivity to bridge cultural differences among people of diverse backgrounds.

Joel obtained his law degree from the Cornell Law School in 1985 and a bachelor of science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 1982.

Joel’s interests include astronomy; classic film; listening and dancing to music (ranging from swing to 1980s new wave); reading classic novels, biographies of presidents and military history; and debating subjects with passion.  Joel lives in Ridgefield, CT and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Ridgefield Academy and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Marymount International School of Paris (both non-profit, independent schools).‎  He enjoys spending time with his wife, Beth, and his three daughters, Olivia, Josephine and Luisa, and their dogs, Oscar and Remi.

Hugo Barreca

Hugo Barreca is Chief Financial Officer of National Standard and is a member of the Management Committee.  In additional to Mr. Barreca’s role as CFO, he is a leader in the company’s government policy practice.  In this capacity, Mr. Barreca works with our policy advisors to create and implement various types of economic, social and infrastructure policy plans for our government clients.

His experience includes senior positions in management, finance, and business law with both large public corporations as well as privately held companies. He holds an MBA from New York University, a Juris Doctor of law from the Fordham School of Law, and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from The City University of New York, where he is currently completing his Doctoral Degree in Political Science. Mr. Barreca also serves as director of several New York non-profit foundations. In that capacity he has contributed to the planning and development of urban infrastructure development, zoning law, project management and implementation of smart-city technologies.

Warren Bloom

Warren S. Bloom is Co-Chair of the National Public Finance Practice and began his legal career with Kaye Scholer in New York City in the mid-1980s specializing in the representation of lending institutions in leveraged buyouts and “going private” transactions. Upon his relocation to Florida in late 1988, Warren began to focus his practice on public finance and the representation of creditor entities in such transactions (e.g., indenture trustees, bondholders, bond purchasers and credit enhancers). Since that time, Warren represents municipal security credit holders in both new and existing distressed transactions in more than half of the United States.

Warren’s experience includes active roles in bankruptcies, foreclosures and consensual restructurings of municipal transactions both in Florida and throughout the nation. His practice continues to include a substantial amount of underwriters’ counsel, bond counsel, purchaser’s counsel and credit enhancers’ counsel roles on new transactions.

Steve "Bubba" Cohen

Steve “Bubba” Cohen has a 50-year history of bringing enthusiasm, passion and fun to his work and community.

In high school, Bubba played offensive tackle and was part of Beach High’s first undefeated football team in 40 years. After graduating, he coached football at his Alma Matter and was offensive line Coach on the Championship team that played in Miami Beach High School’s only State championship game during his final season.

At 22, Bubba started working in television, doing over 300 live television shows during next 6 years as a co-host and then host of Steve Cohen Celebrity Time on WKID-TV 51. Advertising followed, and during the next 30 years Steve produced over 2000 TV commercials and billed over $50 million in television advertising for many local and national clients.

In the mid 90s, Steve once again stepped in front of the camera and hosted over 200 highly praised local television shows. “Open to the Public” and “Bubba Time” would help Miami Beach transition from paradise lost, into becoming the exciting popular destination of today.

In the early 2000s, Bubba joined the Sales Management Team at WAMI- TV. Bubba identified an undervalued revenue source and fully monetized infomercial revenue, expanding it by tenfold on his station, in the process creating a full value revenue source for the South Florida Television Market.

Bubba’s enthusiasm and passion for his community never diminished during his distinguished career. Among his many community service highlights was being the youngest Nor-Isle Optimist Club Man of the Year. He was also voted Best First Year Jaycee, followed by being named Mr. Enthusiasm for the Miami Beach Jaycees. Bubba has hosted auctions for the ARC, helping them raise hundreds of thousands of dollars during his 4-year span. He was also a founding member and a past president of the Miami Beach High School Alumni Association and is a proud member of the Miami Beach High School Hall of Fame.

“Mr. Beach High,” Steve “Bubba” Cohen continues his advocacy for his alma mater and his beloved Miami Beach. He is delighted to bring over 40 years of experience in the television industry as a broadcaster, advertising executive, and television sales manager to the FOLCS Board.

Brett Feder

Brett Feder, DVM, Dipl ACVIM (SAIM) is a veterinary internist and former medical director of veterinary specialty practices. He founded a specialty veterinary internal medicine practice in Columbia, South Carolina in 1994 that over the next 25 years he and his partners built into a state-of the art multi-specialty and emergency veterinary center, South Carolina Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care (SCVSEC). The practice grew to twenty veterinarians and over 100 employees, with emergency veterinarians and veterinary specialists in internal medicine, oncology, cardiology, and dermatology. SCVSEC was always involved and supportive in the community too, including sponsoring protective kevlar vests for police dogs, oxygen masks for pets on fire trucks, the Komodo dragon exhibit and Holiday Lights at the Riverbanks Zoo, local contemporary art, and continuing education seminars for veterinarians.

Dr. Feder earned B.S. degrees in Zoology and Microbiology and his D.VM. (1987) from the University of Florida. After internship and residency at The Animal Medical Center in New York City and three years as Assistant Professor of Small Animal Medicine at Oklahoma State University, he became a board-certified Diplomate of Small Animal Internal Medicine from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He has lectured frequently at local, state, and national veterinary conferences, has been co-editor of a section of a veterinary textbook, and published articles in veterinary journals. He is past president of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and the Greater Columbia Association of veterinarians. His honors and awards include South Carolina Veterinarian of the Year (2017), the Beecham Award for Resident Research Excellence, and the Phi Zeta Award and Merck Award for Academic Excellence.

Dr. Feder has always had a keen interest in constitutional law and how it affects all of our lives, being raised by two parents who were attorneys active in civil rights. He is now retired and living in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife Karen, also a retired veterinarian, and their 3 month-old Golden Retriever puppy Gibbs. Their proudest achievements by far are their two sets of twin daughters – Lauren, Lindsey, Brooke & Bailey. Lindsey and Brooke recently graduated college and are teachers in elementary school and high school, Lauren just finished her Masters in Public Health, and Bailey is soon starting her doctorate in physical therapy.

Robert Hollweg

Mr. Hollweg started his legal career in a storefront in the Bronx, NY. Before joining Weight Watchers International in 1969 he compiled, wrote, annotated and edited the Emotional Distress Section of the classic legal treatise on Personal Injury Actions, Damages  and Defenses from Matthew Bender. He joined Weight Watchers, then a public company, as Assistant General Counsel  focusing on establishing and protecting the company’s legal rights  to its well known invaluable name and trademark WEIGHT WATCHERS. He transferred to the H.J. Heinz law department following Heinz acquisition of Weight Watchers in 1978. While at Heinz he served in various capacities including Director of Legal Affairs with responsibility for Weight Watchers among other functions including General Counsel and Secretary. He retired from Heinz in 1999 with its divestiture of Weight Watchers, participating in the buyout and continuing in his role as chief legal officer of Weight Watchers until his retirement in 2006.

Mr. Hollweg has had a broad  range of legal experience over his career including intellectual property matters, franchising, antitrust, advertising, securities and corporate governance issues overseeing Weight Watchers inititial public offering and listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 2001, two additional secondary offerings, five re-financings, and ten acquisitions including that of its affiliate WeightWatchers.com. Most recently he serves on the Boards of several not for profit organizations including FOLCS, provides legal services on a pro bono basis and  participates on the Dean’s Planning Counsel of his alma mater Fordham University School of Law and as Advisor to Fordham’s Corporate Law Center and Center for Law and Information Policy.  He is a member of the New York State and American Bar Associations and a former President of the International Trademark Association.

Jim Leitner

James Leitner serves as President of Falcon Management Corporation, a family office.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Yale in Economics with an emphasis on Russia and Eastern Europe.  He also holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University specializing in International Finance and Russian Studies and a JD from Fordham University Law School.

Jim is on the Yale President’s Council on International Activities and formerly served on the Yale Investment Committee and Yale Honorary Degree Committee.
He sits on the Dean’s Council of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, Columbia University Global Leadership Council, Princeton University’s Institute for International and Regional Studies Advisory Council, and the Dean’s Planning Council and the Crowley Advisory Committee at Fordham University Law School.

Board Member of The Marshall Project, nonprofit journalism about criminal justice.
Mission Statement:
The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan news outlet and public forum.  In all of our work we strive to educate and enlarge the audience of people who care about the state of criminal justice.

Board of Trustees Vice President of the Montclair Art Museum.

Chairman of the Montclair Film Festival Capital Campaign.

Board of Visitors of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University.

Established The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School.
Mission Statement:
The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School is an innovative Think-and-Do Tank that aims to make international human rights protections an everyday reality for marginalized communities around the world

Established The Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at Yale University.

In 2009, he received the Columbia University Alumni Medal for his distinguished service on behalf of SIPA.
In 2010 Fordham Law School honored him with the Eugene J. Keefe Award, which is given to the person who had made the most important contribution to the Fordham Law community.
In 2010, he received the Yale Medal which is the highest award presented by the Association of Yale Alumni, conferred solely to honor outstanding individual service to the University.  He is a fellow of Pierson College.

Shareef Malnik

Attorney and entrepreneur, Shareef Malnik, is recognized as a top restaurateur and nightlife empresario, with over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. The Forge, Malnik’s celebrated, award-winning steakhouse has been a part of the Miami Beach culture for over 50 years.

Malnik has spent the last decade in the finance world and is Chairman and Co-Managing Partner of Greyhawk Capital, a lending investment firm, CEO of Forge Legacy Investments, a financial consulting and investment firm, AIM Investment Corp, a hospitality investment firm, and CO-CEO of Sonrisa Rum, a new rum brand in development.

Malnik is Chairman Emeritus of Make-A-Wish Florida, Chairman of the MAW Ball for the last 17 years and Chairman of the MAW Capital Campaign. He considers himself blessed to co-emcee the Ball with his wife, Gabrielle Anwar, who has brought great success to the event in her own right. Under Malnik’s leadership, the Foundation has raised over $80 million. Malnik says, “Make-A-Wish is in my DNA and my top priority is to grant as many wishes to every eligible child as is possible.”

Accolades: Four Keys to the City of Miami Beach; Citizen of the Year; Honorary Police Officer; Hero Award; Police Athletic League Board Member 25 years; Community Police Relations (CPR) Foundation Board member and the Pikler Foundation’s Advisory Board for infant rearing.

Shareef has three degrees from the University of Miami, BBA, JD, MBA. He judges the law school’s annual “Law Without Walls Competition,” has lectured at the Herbert Business School and Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality.

Malnik is a Black-Belt in Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an avid snow skier, and a fledgling golf student.Malnik resides in Coconut Grove, Florida with his wife, children, and assorted pets.

Brett Paul

Brett A. Paul has served as Executive Vice President of Warner Bros. Television (WBTV), the division of the Warner Bros. Television Group which produces scripted dramatic primetime television programming for each of the five broadcast networks as well as premium cable and subscription platforms, since July 2008. In March 2014, Mr. Paul was named Co-President of Warner Horizon Scripted Television (WHSTV), the division for scripted cable primetime programming, co-running the division alongside top WBTV development executive Susan Rovner. Mr. Paul reports to Warner Bros. Television Group President and Chief Content Officer Peter Roth in both capacities.

As the top business/operations/production executive at WBTV and WHSTV, Mr. Paul works closely with Mr. Roth and is directly involved with all aspects of the strategic direction and operations of both divisions, which are producing a combined 46 series as of September 2017. He is charged with direct oversight of the physical production, financial, business & legal affairs, and administrative departments for WBTV and WHSTV.

During his tenure at Warner Bros., Mr. Paul has structured and/or overseen some of the Studio’s highest-profile licensing agreements, covering series such as The DC Universe at The CW (e.g. “Arrow,” “Flash”, “Supergirl”, “Legends of Tomorrow”), “The Big Bang Theory,” “Blindspot,” “Claws”, “Disjointed”, “Fuller House”, “Gotham,” “The Middle”, “Mom,” “Shameless”, “The Vampire Diaries” and “Young Sheldon”, as well as HBO’s “The Leftovers” and “Westworld.” Mr. Paul has also been intimately involved in the structuring of high-profile talent agreements, including overall deals with producers Chuck Lorre, J.J. Abrams, Greg Berlanti, Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Patrick King, Damon Lindelof and John Wells, as well as the talent agreements for the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” and many more.

Thane Rosenbaum

Thane is a novelist, essayist, and Distinguished Professor at Touro College where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society (“FOLCS”). He is the author of the widely praised novels, How Sweet It Is! , The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and the novel-in-stories, Elijah Visible. His articles, reviews and essays appear frequently in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Slate, Salon, Huffington Post, and Daily Beast, among other national publications. He moderates an annual series of discussions on politics and culture at the 92nd Street Y called The Talk Show.

He serves as the national legal analyst for CBS News Radio. He is the author of Payback: The Case for Revenge and The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What’s Right. He is the editor of the anthology, Law Lit, from Atticus Finch to “The Practice” : A Collection of Great Writings about the Law. His latest book is entitled Saving Free Speech…from Itself.

Diane Sapir

Diane Sapir was an associate at the law firm of Finley Kumble (and its successors) from 1986-1993 practicing in the areas of securities, general corporate matters and mergers and acquisitions. In 1993 she joined the General Counsel’s office of The Wyatt Company and stayed there until 2000 when her first child turned 2 1/2.

Since then she has been a stay at home mom. She and her husband Michael have two children, one about to graduate college and one in middle school. She and her husband support many charitable causes, including the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Hirshhorn Art Museum and Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC.

John Thomas

John Thomas is a Partner at Hicks Thomas LLP. Thomas’ many professional honors include his recognition among the state’s top business litigation attorneys by the publishers of Texas Super Lawyersand as one of the nation’s leading environmental litigation attorneys by the respected Chambers USA guide. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University and a Juris Doctor from University of Michigan Law School.

Thomas earned a Judicial Clerkship with Honorable Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and has been recognized for the following:

  • Texas Super Lawyers – Business Litigation – 2003-present
  • Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business – Environmental Litigation
  • Inside Houston Magazine – Best Environmental Lawyer