Alumni Short

Private Equity Powerhouse to Teach Her Playbook to Cornell Law Students

Ithaca, NY, August 9, 2013

Private Equity Playbook is a new course developed and taught by Distinguished Practitioner in Residence Franci J. Blassberg ’77, who practiced for more than twenty-five years at Debevoise & Plimpton and developed and co-chaired its private equity practice.

Blassberg, who has been recognized by Private Equity International as one of the thirty most influential lawyers in global private equity, is bringing her experience in representing private equity sponsors and investors to the course. “I think that students will find it engaging to learn by applying legal and analytical skills to advising clients on actual issues in transactions,” she said.

Blassberg’s career as a private equity lawyer has won her a number of accolades. She was named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America (2007) and one of the 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America (2006). She also was named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer (2006) for her leadership efforts in her firm’s $15 billion Hertz acquisition.

Blassberg said when she started practicing in 1977, most lawyers learned how to practice on the job. “That is not as customary today because the legal profession is evolving and changing and specialization is more common.” she said. “Because of the pace of that change and the increased competitiveness in global law practice, it is becoming more and more important for recent law graduates to be better prepared at applying analytical skills to real-world problems in ways that will meet their clients’ objectives,” she said. “Law schools are embracing that approach.”

The development of the Law School’s business law curriculum and the increase in its permanent and adjunct faculty under its Clarke Business Law Institute illustrates that Cornell Law School has recognized that approach and started to move in that direction a number of years ago, she said.

Blassberg, who has previously been a guest lecturer in classes at the Law School, hopes the class will give students perspective on how to think not only like lawyers, but also to anticipate what their clients are thinking and use that insight to better and most efficiently advise clients.

Currently chair of the Law School Advisory Council and a Cornell Presidential Councillor and Trustee Emeritus, Blassberg would like to see more alums with significant practice experience get involved in adjunct teaching at the Law School’s Ithaca campus and, perhaps, eventually at the Cornell Tech campus in New York City.

--Linda Myers