Sarah Krissoff attended EGRPS schools through her freshman year of high school. She is a White Collar and General Criminal Defense Partner at Day Pitney in New York. She ardently defends companies and individuals in government and internal investigations, criminal matters, and complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts. Prior to joining Day Pitney, Sarah was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for over a decade. Sarah often comments on breaking news and trials of public interest in major media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Business Insider, Reuters, Bloomberg News, New York Post, BBC World News, Court TV, NBC News, NewsNation, Miami Herald, New York Law Journal and Daily Mail. In addition, she is a prolific author on a range of legal topics, including asset forfeiture, business litigation, and trial practice. Sarah earned her B.A. from Brown and her J.D. from Columbia.
You can only have one: Rose’s caramel corn, an ice cream cone fro Jersey Junction, or a Yesterdog. Which do you choose?
Definitely an ice cream cone from Jersey Junction! I have many amazing memories of going to JJ with my family on the weekends and, when I was older, going with my friends for lunch. I think I ate hundreds of their pizza bagels when I was a pre-teen. While I appreciated the food, the best part was running into other families in Gaslight Village.
What was your path from East Grand Rapids to where you are now in life?
When I was in second grade at Lakeside, I wrote down my life goals on a purple piece of paper. I had already decided then that I wanted to be a lawyer. I always anticipated that I would go straight from college to law school, which I did. In retrospect, I think it would have been great to work for a few years after college before continuing school. My decision to go to law school at Columbia was a bit impulsive–I hadn't spent much time in New York City before that–but I loved the city and have never left.
What specific thing did you learn in East that has enabled you to be successful?
Ask questions, ask more questions, and make sure you sufficiently vet any information you rely upon. I have a very distinct memory of sitting in Mr. Brown's fifth grade class at Lakeside on a Friday afternoon, when we would regularly engage in an activity called "Newspaper Wars." Essentially, we would work in groups to review the Grand Rapids Press to find the answers to questions posed by Mr. Brown. That day, Mr. Brown asked us the question, "Is everything you read in the newspaper true?" I was flabbergasted to learn during the course of the class that newspapers sometimes got things wrong, and that the material in the newspaper may be written from a particular perspective, not a place of objective truth.
What were you like in school?
I was geeky but social, and probably worked a bit harder than I should have to fit in.
Did you have a favorite teacher or class?
Mr. Brown's fifth grade class was transformative. He provided me my first glimpse into critical thinking. I learned that education was not about rote learning and the regurgitation of facts. He also taught us to be responsible for ourselves, and our work.
If you had to choose one moment in one location to serve as the signature moment of your East school experience, what would it be?
In 9th grade, there was nothing more important than going to the EGR home football games. I can still hear the marching band playing at halftime on a beautiful fall night.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
I am actually kinder to myself as an adult. I pushed myself pretty hard when I was a kid--to perform at school, in sports, etc. I wish I was a little nicer to myself when I failed, like when I got cut from the 8th grade volleyball team! It all worked out.
Do you stay in touch with many people from East Grand Rapids?
While I am not a fan of social media, it has enabled me to keep in touch with many friends from East. I've also connected that way with my brother and sister's friends from East, many of whom were a significant part of my youth.
What advice do you have for young East alums who are just starting out?
Explore and appreciate the vastness of the world and the opportunities ahead.
Who else would you like us to have a virtual cup of coffee with?
Rob Steiner, who was close friends with my brother.
Bonus question: What are you glad we didn’t ask you about?
I take the fifth on this one! I got into a few scrapes as a teenager that fortunately resolved in my favor. I was lucky.