Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Alyson Mathews
April 1, 2023
By: Alyson Mathews
Up until halfway through her sophomore year in college, Alyson Mathews would have said the last thing she aspired to become was a lawyer. As an English major at Boston College, she loved to read and analyze texts. Her compass seemed to point toward journalism.
“When I was little, I used to say that I was going to be editor in chief of The New York Times,” she says.
But some of the required courses she took at the Jesuit college – in subjects like philosophy, theology, intro to law – ended up nudging her trajectory.
“Some of those classes, which I would have never taken if they were not required, had the biggest impact,” she says.
They asked expansive, important questions she wanted to continue trying to answer – in law school.
Having grown up in Maryland, just outside the nation’s capital, and spending her college years in Boston, she set her sights on a big city for her legal education. Maybe American University in D.C., or Rutgers or Seton Hall in New Jersey. As she narrowed down the choices, she traveled from Boston and her mom traveled from Maryland to meet in New York City to visit law school campuses there.
The search ended at Brooklyn Law School.
“This is where I’m going,” she remembers saying. “It’s right in the heart of Brooklyn. You can see the Manhattan skyline right there.”
A beautiful view. Until one bright Tuesday morning just weeks into her first semester in September 2001.
“I heard the first plane crash on 9-11,” Alyson remembers. “Papers from the World Trade Center blew into my yard. That’s how close we were.”
Despite the shuddering start, Alyson thrived in Brooklyn. Drawn to First Amendment issues, she made a close connection with a dean who invited her to help in the preparation of a brief that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. As graduation neared, she kept her ear to the ground for firms that specialized in free speech matters. But it was a highly competitive area of the law, and she also knew she probably should limit her search to Long Island.
“I had met my future husband going into my third year of law school,” Alyson explains. “He was working on Long Island. I figured I should cast a wider net of practice areas at firms in the area.”
She landed at a mid-size Long Island firm, with a majority of its practice focused on work with school districts. She initially began to build a practice in special education, with some focus on labor and employment. Unsure whether she would remain in New York, Alyson made a conscious effort to expand into labor due to the fact that the practice involves federal law. Having this experience would better position her to work outside of New York, if she ever wanted to pivot. With that in mind, she successfully applied for the position of labor and employment liaison to the New York State Bar Association.
When she approached the NYSBA chair for advice about her next career move, he invited her to join him at his full-service law firm in Melville. She did and stayed for the next 15 years, advancing to become one of five equity partners at the firm.
In 2022, aware that many of her colleagues were closer to the ends of their careers than she was, Alyson started to think about making a change. Around the same time, in January 2022, a lawsuit was filed against a client school district, but the plaintiff was a defendant in another of the firm’s cases. Because of the conflict, the case went to Howard Miller, deputy managing member in Bond’s Garden City office.
Their paths had crossed before, but this time, the wheels started turning.
Six months later, Alyson joined Bond in Garden City.
She advises both private and public sector clients (including school districts and municipalities) on all aspects of labor and employment law.
“Alyson is a strong, experienced, no-nonsense negotiator and a very thorough investigator,” says William Miller, assistant superintendent for human resources at Valley Central School District. “Her professionalism and attention to detail is top notch.
Alyson always makes herself available for assistance and is very accommodating.”
“On a personal note, Alyson comes across as a very kind, compassionate person who is genuine in her approach to her role,” Miller continues. “She is able to be strong and professional while also putting people at ease.”
Alyson and her husband have two active daughters, ages 13 and 8, involved in lacrosse, soccer and field hockey. When she’s not chauffeuring or cheering on the sidelines, she likes to unwind by watching Netflix or other streaming services. Like her daughters, she enjoys an active lifestyle and, during her years at Boston College, she competed in several 5K runs. In her senior year, she even flew home to Washington, D.C., to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. On most mornings, you will find Alyson up early working out in her home gym. She strives to serve as a role model for her daughters, leading by example to encourage them to be strong in all that they do and work hard to achieve their goals.