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About the Awards

Judge William B. Groat Alumni Award

Judge William B. Groat (1899-1986) served as counsel to the New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Industrial and Labor Relations, where he played a pivotal role in founding the ILR School and drafting its charter.

The Groat Alumni Award was established in 1971 in honor of Judge Groat's vision and in tribute to his professional accomplishments, which culminated in appointment as justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Eleventh Judicial District.

Jerome Alpern Award

The Jerome Alpern Award was established in 1997 and named in honor of Jerome Alpern '49, whose contributions of outstanding service and support to the ILR School, its students, and its alumni, combined with his professional accomplishments outside the field of industrial and labor relations, embody the essence and spirit of the Alpern Award.

Past Awardees

See past awardees of both awards

2024 Award Winners

James E. Miller ’88 and Lauren Ezrol Klein ’88 will be honored by the ILR School with its highest awards at the April 18 Groat and Alpern Awards celebration at The Pierre in Manhattan.

James E. Miller ’88
Judge William B. Groat Alumni Award

Jim Miller ’88
James E. Miller ’88

Managing partner at Miller Shah Attorneys at Law, Miller concentrates his practice on financial services and whistleblower litigation, including ERISA, securities, corporate governance and employment matters. He has also represented clients in trade regulation matters and other complex commercial litigation, including patent, licensing and other intellectual property matters.

Miller earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Daniel H. Huyett III, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

He began his law practice in 1992 at Pelino & Lentz, P.C. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he concentrated his practice on representing clients in labor and employment litigation and other complex commercial litigation. In addition to representing major corporations in commercial and employment litigation and collective bargaining negotiations, he represented clients in employment discrimination litigation and securities industry arbitrations.

Miller serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council. Each year, he sponsors several credit internships that introduce ILR students to Miller Shah’s practice, offers opportunities to contribute to legal efforts that intersect with subjects at the heart of ILR’s curriculum and provides inroads into a field with historical barriers to entry. He developed a project analyst program for interns to join Miller Shah for one or two years to hone their research and analytic skills. Miller also supports a credit internship for a student who spends a semester with a union or labor organization.


Lauren Ezrol Klein headshot
Lauren Ezrol Klein ’88

Lauren Ezrol Klein ’88
Jerome Alpern Alumni Award

Klein, is executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, serving as chief legal officer for the world’s leading performing arts center. As part of Lincoln Center’s executive leadership team, she provides legal advice across a broad range of matters and supports and counsels 80-plus member board on governance.

Before her role at Lincoln Center, Klein was executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, and a 21-year veteran of Time Inc. At Time Inc., she was a member of the executive management team responsible for all global legal and governance matters, including all legal aspects of an NYSE-listed company and board governance. Klein also led legal teams in acquisitions and divestitures of businesses. She played a lead role in the company’s 2014 spin-off from Time Warner, the establishment of Time Inc. as a new independent public company, and the $3 billion sale of the company in 2018.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Klein began her career as an associate in the corporate department of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York, where she focused on transactions in the mergers and acquisitions and securities areas.

Klein serves on the President’s Council of Cornell Women, the Cornell ILR Dean’s Advisory Council, the Cornell ILR Alumni Association Board Executive Committee and is co-chair of ILR’s capital campaign. She has generously supported the ILR Annual Fund and has endowed a scholarship fund.