Sofie Syed

Senior Associate

EDUCATION

  • B.A., University of Chicago
    with Honors
  • J.D., Columbia Law School

CLERKSHIPS

  • Honorable Eric N. Vitaliano, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • Hon. Peggy Kuo, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

FELLOWSHIPS, LEADERSHIP & RECOGNITION

  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Columbia Law School
  • President, Empowering Women of Color, Columbia Law School
  • Executive Digital Editor, Journal of Law and Social Problems, Columbia Law School
  • Editor, Journal of Gender and Law, Columbia Law School

Sofie Syed is a senior associate at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP.

Sofie joined Kaplan Hecker from Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, where her practice focused on internal investigations and complex commercial, structured finance and public interest litigation. At Patterson, Sofie led an internal investigation for a major media company arising out of a popular reality television series and investigated allegations that NHL player Evander Kane gambled on and threw his own games for profit. Her litigation matters included representing Ambac Assurance Corporation in multibillion-dollar litigation against Countrywide Home Loans, defending Johnson & Johnson’s CEO and Board of Directors in shareholder derivative litigation, and advising pharmaceutical and energy companies on complex disputes. While at Patterson, Sofie devoted significant time to public interest matters. She filed suit against the Trump administration on behalf of a government watchdog organization, represented a class of nursing home residents asserting violations of the ADA by the New York Department of Health, and submitted amicus briefs in civil rights cases related to national security.

Sofie previously worked as a litigation associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she focused on white collar defense, complex commercial litigation, and public interest matters with an emphasis on amicus briefs. In 2016, Sofie represented the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and a coalition of civil rights organizations as amici in People v. Bridgeforth. In a precedent-setting decision, the New York Court of Appeals adopted the arguments set forth in their amicus brief, expanding Batson jurisprudence to address discriminatory peremptory strikes of potential jurors based on skin color, as a category distinct from race. Legal commentary has recognized the Bridgeforth decision as a model for other courts. 

While at Akin Gump, Sofie also worked on challenges to President Trump’s travel ban. After volunteering at JFK airport to provide emergency legal assistance, Sofie was the lead associate on an amicus brief for the Korematsu Center, Karen Korematsu, Jay Hirabayashi, and Holly Yasui filed in travel ban cases across the country. Justice Sotomayor later cited the Korematsu Center’s brief in her dissent in Trump v. Hawaii, as part of the discussion that prompted the Supreme Court to disavow Korematsu v. United States

In addition to her time in private practice, Sofie clerked for the Honorable Eric N. Vitaliano and the Honorable Peggy Kuo of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Her legal scholarship has been published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, and the Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property.  

Sofie received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, President of Empowering Women of Color, Executive Digital Editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, and an Editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. During law school, Sofie served as a research and teaching assistant to civil rights pioneer Jack Greenberg. She also spearheaded the development of a course on sexual assault law and contributed to initiatives reforming university policies on gender-based misconduct. 

Sofie graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a major in Political Science and a minor in French Language and Literature. Between college and law school, she worked as a teacher in South Korea.