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Revel Atkinson
Revel Atkinson ’20

Hometown: Greenport, N.Y.

Career Plans: Associate, Lowenstein Sandler

Recipient of the Carswell Merit Scholarship, Dean’s Merit Scholarship, Marguerite Munger Peet Scholarship, and Paul Windels, Jr. Fellowship

 

What is the most surprising thing you learned at Brooklyn Law School?
A course in criminal law is much more than an exercise in memorizing statutes or the various degrees of an offense; it takes a far more theoretical look at both crime and punishment. I was also surprised to learn that the Commerce Clause plays a much greater role in U.S. law than its name might lead one to believe. Most surprisingly of all, however, I learned that I could actually enjoy spending 12 hours in the library with three friends and a whiteboard talking about federal income taxation.

What is your most memorable law school moment?
During my first summer in law school, in mid-July, I was walking home from work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the rain. My suit was soaking wet, and as I walked by the front gate of Brooklyn Law School and looked up towards the main building, I remember, in a fleeting moment of self-reflection, my surprise at how much a single year of school had reshaped my life since first walking through that gate.

What did you like about going to law school in Brooklyn?
One of the best and often overlooked parts of going to school near the waterfront in Brooklyn is the ease of access to the New York City ferry system. The ferries are great. From Brooklyn Bridge Park, either Pier 6 or Pier 1 in DUMBO, you can get to so many great places, from Astoria to the Rockaways, without ever getting onto a subway.

What is your favorite place in Brooklyn and why?
I love Red Hook. It feels a bit like the town that I grew up in, a seaside town with an industrial past. It’s a nice walk from Brooklyn Law School, and there are a bunch of really great bars, restaurants, and open spaces. I wholeheartedly recommend a lobster roll and the fried pickles from Red Hook Lobster Pound.

What advice would you give to an incoming law student?
Law school is a great time to meet wonderful and interesting people. It is definitely worth taking time away from studying to get to know them. It is also important to figure out the sort of legal work that you might be good at and want to do after graduation, but it can be equally important to figure out the sort of work you do not enjoy as much. This requires some experimentation, but law school is the time to do it, and ultimately, it can mean the difference between doing something you don’t mind and something you love.

Your last semester of law school was disrupted by a global pandemic, with New York City at the epicenter. What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you deal with it? What have you learned about yourself, your law school, and your hopes for the future?
The greatest challenge has been coping with the uncertainty—the uncertainty of when I can sit for the bar exam, when I can start working, what sort of legal work I will end up doing, and so on. Also, before the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, I had only one regret in law school: that I had not taken Professor Michael Gerber’s Chapter 11 course, Business Reorganizations. The global pandemic certainly compounded my regret.