For the past four years, taking the subway home at around 5:30 p.m.—the normal end-of-workday routine for many New Yorkers—was far from the reality of Amy Torres ’18. Her late afternoons involved departing her full-time job as a marketing assistant with T&M Protection Resources on Park Avenue for Fordham Law School evening classes, which lasted until 10 p.m. She had just enough time to clear her head before opening her casebooks.
Starting this summer, Torres will for the first time devote all her daily intellectual efforts toward the law, when she clerks for the Hon. Paul Crotty of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Torres is also scheduled to clerk for the Hon. Denny Chin ’78 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 2019-2020.
“I’m excited to focus on the law all the time, as opposed to constantly shifting gears, and to have an opportunity to strengthen my legal skills,” Torres says.
Torres, a research assistant in statutory interpretation/labor law for Professor James Brudney, credits him for suggesting she explore clerking opportunities during the fall of her third year, and Professor Daniel Capra for helping her navigate the lengthy application process. Until this past December, Torres had planned to spend her first post-graduation year at Sullivan & Cromwell, where she had been a summer associate, before clerking for Judge Chin. Her two-year itinerary changed when she received word Judge Crotty had selected her to clerk in 2018-2019.
Torres’ evening student status presented pros and cons in her clerkship pursuits, she says. Her schedule prevented her from attending judges’ speaking events at the Law School or from completing a judicial internship. On the flip side, her ability to work and attend school showed judges she possessed excellent time management skills. In addition to her work with Brudney, Torres served as a legal writing teacher assistant and as an articles and notes editor of the Fordham Law Review, for which she published the note “I am Undocumented and a New Yorker: Affirmative City Citizenship in New York City’s IDNYC Program.”
“I remember that in some of my clerkship interviews I told the judges, ‘I can’t promise you I’m the smartest person, but I will try the hardest, and I can guarantee that if I fail it won’t be for a lack of trying,” Torres says.
Working at the district level first will provide Torres immediate day-to-day litigation opportunities under Judge Crotty, who has served with the court since 2005. In addition, she is looking forward to learning the internal operations of the Second Circuit—a court whose opinions she often cited in memos during her summer with Sullivan & Cromwell—and sharpening her writing skills under the tutelage of Judge Chin, a revered legal writer and longtime first-year Legal Writing adjunct professor at Fordham Law.
Four years of long days and nights have paid off, Torres reflects as she considers her forthcoming clerkships.
“Knowing I could attend Law School while working, and being able to pay the rent, was a huge relief,” she says. “It ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made.”