Youth Law Day Event Brings Together Local High School Students and Legal Mentors


Public high school students from across New York City attended Fordham Law’s virtual Youth Law Day program on June 15, titled “A Career Day Panel and Speed Networking – Mastering the Art of Conversation,” to learn how to kickstart their networking skills and gain confidence in professional settings before starting summer internships. The event, which included both a virtual panel and opportunities to network, was sponsored by the Law School, in partnership with the Association of Corporate Counsel, New York City Chapter (ACC-NYC); law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo; and Legal Outreach. The students, including low and moderate-income, minority, and/or first generation, are participants in Legal Outreach’s four-year College Bound Program, and began a five-week summer law internship program on July 5.

The event was organized by the Pro Bono & Cultural Outreach Committee of the ACC-NYC with the help of Taylor Carter ’21, an incoming associate at Mintz and her colleague Narges Kakalia ’02, along with members of Fordham Law’s Mentoring Youth Through Legal Education (MYLE) student group, formerly led by Anisa Rahaman ’22 and Alex Bell ’22.

In her opening remarks, Kakalia, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Mintz, encouraged students to consider the benefits of pursuing a career in the law.

“There are many jobs that will allow you to do work that is meaningful to you personally, but very few that will allow you to actually be a force for good and give you a way to actually change the world that you live in,” said Kakalia. “So, when you choose what you will do in the future, I hope that you will very seriously consider becoming a lawyer. And I, for one, really look forward to welcoming you to the bar.”

Fordham Law School Dean Mathew Diller, speaking to the students, reflected on the early stages of his journey to practicing law. “When I was your age, I had not the foggiest idea what lawyers did,” said Diller. “I have come to understand that lawyers play a key role in our society. Almost anywhere you look, lawyers are in leadership positions and becoming a lawyer gives you a set of skills and a knowledge base that helps you unlock many [opportunities].”

The panel featured four practicing attorneys—Jeanine Anderson, senior legal counsel at Equinix; LisaMarie Collins, a partner at Mintz; Ndidi Elue, lead counsel, artificial intelligence at Meta, and Heather Strum, intellectual property counsel at Chanel—who answered a range of questions about their journey to law. The panel also featured one current Fordham Law student, Andrew King ’24, and was moderated by Kamille Dean, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the Law School.

When asked how they first came to study law, panelists had a range of answers, including exceptional stories of perseverance. Anderson, who grew up on the South Side of Chicago, worked at a fast food restaurant in high school while dreaming of one day practicing law. For her, she says, the support of mentors and advisors she met on her journey were essential.

“At 16, I knew I wanted to go to law school, I just wasn’t exactly sure how to get there,” said Anderson. “I had very instrumental relationships with people I met along the way, who helped direct me to where I am now.”

Andrew King ’24

King, who is a REAL Scholar at Fordham Law and member of the Fordham Law Review and Moot Court, discussed his experience as a first-generation law student. A former high school athlete in Queens, King was recruited by the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in law and legal studies. The son of a New York City police officer, he had an interest in law from a young age, but wasn’t sure what his path would look like. 

“As a first-generation law student, you don’t know who to call, you don’t know what the experience [will be], or what you’re getting yourself into,” said King. “I applaud Fordham for having pipeline programs like REAL Scholars,” he said, noting the importance of learning more about the law school experience alongside other first-generation law students.

After the panel, students were paired with volunteer attorneys or Fordham Law students in small group sessions, where they could ask questions related to college, law school, career paths, and hot legal topics. 


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