Lafayette’s Women in Law NYC Trip: Q&A

Women in Law, a new club on campus, was established during the spring 2019 semester aiming to provide guidance to female students who are on a pre-law track at Lafayette. Women in Law was founded by seniors Anna Bock, Haley Matthes, and Gianna Hroncich. While Dean Clemence and the Gateway Career Services are great resources, the club organized a day of events at New York Law School to provide mentorship for female students pursuing a career in legal professions. The event featured three panels: experienced legal professionals, practicing attorneys and lastly current law school students. This day embraced the goal of the Women in Law founders: to support women and diminish the “boys club” stereotype in the legal field. We spoke to senior and freshmen members of the club to hear different perspectives on the day’s events.

 

Q: What do you wish to happen with Women in Law in the next few years?

 

Anna: As the Founding President of Women in Law, I am extremely excited to see how this new organization evolves over the course of the next few years. As of now, our members are largely women who have majors centered around Government & Law. One thing I wish to see is a larger representation of Lafayette women with majors in differing fields. By having women of different educational backgrounds, there will be different perspectives on legal discussion represented in club meetings.

 

Haley: I would love to see this club evolve and become a network for all women on the campus interested in the legal field. Oftentimes, I feel like resources aren’t always available to college women considering a law career and I believe this club will become a great source of guidance and resources in the future.

 

Q: Where do you see yourself in your future legal career (and why)?

 

Katie: As a Freshman who is still currently undecided, I see myself taking the next few years to identify my interests through courses and internships. This event helped confirmed my fascination with public interest law. I am interested in working for a few years post-undergrad to narrow down my interests. Then I hope to attend law school and pursue a career within some area of public interest, possibly immigration law or client-based services.

 

Anna: As a Senior preparing to enter Law School in the upcoming Fall 2019 academic year, I see myself as a practicing attorney at a Firm in New York City. Early in my professional career, I would like to practice Intellectual Property Law. I find Intellectual Property interesting because it focuses on protecting and enforcing legal rights to inventions, designs, and creative works. I am interested in this field of law because I understand the impact of IP and its influence on the American economy. I also understand how valuable it is to secure IP in a dynamic global market.

 

Q: What was the biggest piece of advice you took from the panelists?

 

Anna: The biggest takeaway which I gained from the Women In Law panel discussion is the importance of finding mentorship. The panelists stressed that mentors are crucial in aiding the advance of a professional career. By having a strong mentor you are given insight into a legal profession through the eyes of a professional. They are able to guide you, answer questions and provide judgment based on their professional observations. What I enjoyed hearing from the panel is that a mentor can be either gender: male or female.

 

Gretchen: There were so many pieces of advice I took from the panelists, but most importantly was that you never know where your interests can take you and you should always dress to impress. Once you can practice law, so many doors open for you. Also, sometimes it is simply about advocating for yourself to get your foot in the door at your dream firm. Never underestimate yourself and your abilities.

 

Haley: Network. Network. Network. Also, know your worth when you’re applying for internships and law schools, I think that having the confidence going into new opportunity sets you far apart from other candidates. Building strong connections with other female alum in law was very beneficial as I’m going through the challenging process of applying and attending law school soon.

 

Mallory: The biggest takeaway for me was how flexible a lawyer’s career can be. From public sector to larger firms, it’s reassuring to know I’m not stuck with just one option and can explore different aspects of the law.

 

Q: What inspired you to consider law school and in what ways did the event appeal to your interests?

 

Gretchen: I’m still not 100% set on law school, but as my dad has told me many times “law runs through my veins”. I’ve always been passionate about social justice and was active in many activist clubs in high school, and I’m sure these interests will continue in the future. Once I started watching shows like “How To Get Away With Murder”, I realized how much impact a lawyer’s work can have on the course of someone’s life and the future judicial system. I’ve always wanted to make an impact and help people in my career, and law perfectly suits these goals of mine.

 

Mallory: I want to attend law school because my parents are also lawyers and I’ve always been interested in the logic of law. The event gave me a better understanding of what it is really like to work for a big firm--something I’ve been considering for my future.

 

Alexis: I’ve always been interested in the law and I really have enjoyed my time taking classes in the Government/Law department. The event was extremely helpful in knowing the ins and outs of law school and how to get there. It was really helpful to learn that you are able to major in anything as an undergraduate and still be a successful lawyer in any area of law.

 

The Lafayette students who attended the trip to New York Law School left inspired and motivated to pursue a career fighting for justice. Some students came with little interest in law while others have had their hearts set on law school for their whole lives, but all gained new insight on the wide range of potential legal career paths. The panelists provided realistic insight, candid anecdotes and informative stories of their struggles and experiences through their academic and professional careers. They have interests in intellectual property, criminal justice reform, private and public sector, etc. demonstrating how there really are no limits to what a woman can accomplish when she just puts her mind to it. We can’t wait to see what else Women in Law has in store for the future!