Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profiles on new, full-time faculty members.
As a lawyer for 17 years, Dawn Grosso of Victor often presents case studies to the adult students in her business law classes.
The one that generally raises the most eyebrows, she said, is that the law of contracts in many states includes a principle known as “unjust enrichment” that would allow, for example, a painter who accidentally painted the wrong building to be paid for the wholesale value of his services by the property owner receiving the fresh coat of “surprise” paint.
“The law … [states] … the homeowner received the benefit of a paint job even if he didn’t ask for it,” explained Grosso, assistant professor of business and management. “Most students generally find that outrageous, but the cases are often upheld.”
According to Grosso, a prospective business manager taking classes in Keuka’s Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP), should know some basic laws for risk management purposes. He or she may also need to work with a lawyer on business matters, said Grosso, who returned this fall to teach ASAP evening classes full-time to students working toward bachelor or master’s degrees in management across Western New York.
Grosso first taught ASAP classes for Keuka part-time starting in 2004, then spent four years teaching accounting and law at her alma mater, Alfred University, where she had earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and management more than 20 years earlier.
“I’m thrilled to be back working with all the wonderful people I was working with before, as well as meeting all the new students and staff,” she said, adding how significantly Keuka’s non-traditional degree programs have grown. “I’m very excited to be a part of that growth, creating new programs and new opportunities for so many students all over the world.”
According to Grosso, students need some basic knowledge of legal issues related to human resources, breach of contract, or international law disputes in order to be good managers.
“I like to bring everyday experiences from my law practice to the classroom,” said Grosso, who manages her own law practice in Fairport, and is an arbitrator for the 7th Judicial District of New York. Her experience has included setting up small corporations, handling bankruptcy matters for both creditors or debtors, and litigation of civil matters often involving contract disputes between businesses.
“This really prepares students for the real word, debates or disagreements with others, and maintaining professionalism while trying to convince someone to see it their way.
“I’m also adding the global component and international component due to our global economy and the fact that these management students will be using international laws to facilitate everyday contracts,” she said.
Grosso obtained her Juris Doctor from Pace Law School in White Plains where she won the New York Jurisprudence Award for Appellate Advocacy in 1991. For more than seven years, she served as a confidential counsel and legal adviser for two New York State Supreme Court Justices in the Seventh Judicial District. In addition to Keuka and Alfred, she has taught classes at Medaille College and Rochester Business Institute.