BLS: You are all very involved in the School— as fellows, with the SBA, in Moot Court, and on Journals. What part of your work has been the most valuable or treasured experience that you’ve had here?
Sparkle: For me it was definitely Moot Court. The practical experience I gained through working on briefs and oral arguments is truly amazing. And having the opportunity to argue before Court of Appeals judges is something that’s invaluable. Everyone on Moot Court comes back from competing and says the same thing: “I just argued in front of these Circuit Court judges, or these State Supreme Court judges.” It’s an incredible experience. When I was at Davis Polk over the summer I was assigned to help on a brief and I said, “Let’s dive in,” because I had written three or four of them throughout law school, and I wasn’t intimidated to do the work. Moot Court was also the most fun I had in law school, and I developed relationships outside the classroom that will last a lifetime.
Gloria: To meet the judges and to talk to them and have them tell you you did such a fantastic job and have a promising future in litigation—that’s serious encouragement. My clinical work at the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District was also a remarkable experience. Appearing in court helped build my confidence. It tested my nerves and showed me that I could make a coherent argument even in high-pressure situations.
James: It was my internship with the Bankruptcy Court during my second year. I was working on a weekly basis with a judge who really took the time to mentor me and help me understand the issues going on in court.
Mike: For me it’s the realization that I have already done a lot of really good work to help people through the internships and clinical programs at Brooklyn Law. I interned at three different public defense offices. A couple of days ago I argued a tenant’s housing eviction case, and in another case I tried to keep a kid from being suspended from school. I have a lot of positive memories of the past three years, but for me it’s all about the clients. It’s that I did more than research a memo. I was actually able to stand before a court and argue for people’s rights.
Gloria: I just want to add that, aside from the clinics and clerkship opportunities, Mike and I also had the pleasure of being in a seminar with Magistrate Judge Steven Gold, and we met weekly in his chambers. There were only six of us in his Evidence Workshop: Law of Privilege class, and we talked about legal issues that came up in his courtroom and did mock hearings. That was such a unique experience.
Shannon: The close relationship that the School has with the federal judges of the Eastern District is amazing—to have them teach us and to hold classes in chambers. Not many law students can boast this type of experience.
Paul: I participated in the Courtroom Advocates Project, in which students assist victims of domestic violence with filing orders of protection. People come in and they tell you what they need, and you protect them. In one case, we got a restraining order against a grandson who was beating his grandfather. You realize that you’re in a position with a lot of power and you can use that power to do good.
Gloria Yi spent two years as a corporate legal assistant at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and one year at Franklin Templeton Investments before deciding to go to law school. While most of her experience was in the corporate field, at BLS she found her true passion in the court room. Her love of litigation sprung from several sources, including her clinical experience with the Immigration Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where she assisted in litigating naturalization petitions. Her love of advocacy was also nurtured by her experience with the Moot Court Honor Society, where she served on the executive board and was a finalist in the NYU Immigration Law Competition. “Moot Court was one of the highlights of my time in Law School,” she said. “It got me really excited about advocating on behalf of a client. I used to be timid and reserved, and Moot Court forced me out of my shell. It helped me grow.”
Yi, who is the recipient of the Judge Max E. Cooper Endowed Scholarship and the Carswell Merit Scholarship, will be the first lawyer in her family. In the fall, Yi will return to the New York City Law Department, where she spent last summer as part of their Honors Program.