Today’s Professionalism Fellows are Tomorrow’s Leaders


Whether it’s holding a “tips and tricks” workshop during midterms or taking a “wellness walk” through Central Park, this year’s seven professionalism fellows have worked tirelessly to promote professionalism, mentorship, and inclusion among first-year law students at Fordham Law.

Professionalism fellows are upper-division law students who work with first-year students to help them adjust to law school and take advantage of the broad array of services, resources, and opportunities that Fordham has to offer.

Emma Hazeltine ’24

“Many students come into law school believing that academic success, prestige, and competitiveness are all they need to succeed, but in my experience, it’s so much more than that,” said Emma Hazeltine ’24, who has served as a fellow since the fall of 2022. “To truly succeed, students need to be supported not just academically, but physically, emotionally, and socially, too. They need a space where they can learn about opportunities outside of the classroom, think about and curate their professional identities, and form friendships and professional relationships.”

Since the program’s inception in 2020, several student leaders have participated in the Law School’s Professionalism Fellows Program, which currently supports approximately 435 day and evening, first-year students throughout the academic year.

When students first arrive at Fordham Law during their summer orientation, they are assigned to one of five “houses” in the Law School’s House System—an innovative program developed to create a smaller, more intimate community within the Law School. Each house, consisting of two sections of first-year students, is led by a faculty house leader and supported by designated upper-year student advisors, alumni mentors, house faculty, and administrative liaisons from all corners of the institution.

Working closely with faculty and staff in the Office of Professionalism, a professionalism fellow is assigned to each house and creates nearly 20 initiatives that cater to the needs of their group of 1Ls and encourage social engagement in informal settings. Two fellows are responsible for organizing inter house activities.

Christopher O’Hara ’26 of House 1/2 said that his house’s fall programming—which included an interactive DEI workshop, a warm “house-giving” ahead of Thanksgiving, and a practical exam IT overview session—helped him navigate issues in the legal field, both professionally and personally. “Both Professor Howard Erichson [house leader]and Emma were so hands-on in ensuring our transition to law students was as smooth as possible, and went out of their way to make themselves available for any questions or concerns at any point.”

Maya FitzGerald, the Director of Professionalism at Fordham Law, said the Professionalism Fellows play an integral role in fostering a vibrant community within each house. “Providing essential peer support, they cultivate a collaborative atmosphere where students can turn to each other for guidance, encouragement, and shared growth throughout their time in law school. Their thoughtful planning of both substantive and social programs for first-year students contributes to a holistic and enriching experience that goes beyond the conventional legal curriculum.”

This spring, the cohort of fellows—composed of Hazeltine, Anna Charny ’24, Serena Grewal ’25, Athena Karavasilis ’24, Ryan Lawless ’25, Amelia Lembeck ’24, and Yumiko Shime ’25—looks forward to helping their 1Ls evaluate their first semester of law school, grow, and prepare for the new semester. Sessions on goal setting, networking, course selection, and experiential education, among other topics of interest, are in the works.

Said Hazeltine, “The biggest thing I hope the [94] students in my house take away from the House System is that no matter how daunting or stressful law school may feel, there are always people in their corner who care about them, who want to support them and their futures, and who they can rely on.

House 1/2 poses for a group photo during their annual “Wellness Walk” in Central Park in Fall 2023.


Comments are closed.