BLS: You are all at the end of your journey now. How do you think you changed from the beginning to third year? Any “Aha” moments?
James: It sounds kind of odd, but not being so intimidated by your own success, if that makes sense. Realizing that if you really put the work into something that it will come out well, and that’s okay. I think law school, at least for me, opened up so many doors that I just never even knew existed, and I think if I knew what I was getting myself into my first year, I would have been very intimidated by that.
Sparkle: Law school has taught me that there’s nothing I can’t do if I put the work in. I started off law school thinking, “I’m going to keep my job, go part time, and do my best in my classes, but we’ll see what happens. I don’t need to be at the top, I don’t need to do very well, I just need to graduate and get a law degree.” The experience has far exceeded my expectations. All these opportunities are now available to me that I never would have imagined back then.
Shannon: This summer at Paul Weiss I felt like I was able to put into practice everything I had learned. I was going toe to toe with other summer associates from Harvard and Yale and I felt like I knew more than they did, and that I had been trained in a way that I could get the job done much more efficiently. It felt really good.
Gloria: I wouldn’t say it’s any one moment, I’d just say it’s the culmination of three years of a lot of hard work and growth. There’s an overall confidence level accumulated from experience, from interactions, from friends, from classmates—you just learn so much. You go from first year, when you’re afraid to even ask a question for fear of sounding stupid, to third year, when you get much more comfortable with yourself and your capabilities.
Paul Molina always knew that law school was in his future. As an undergrad at Texas State University, he worked in the state legislature in Austin, Texas, and became fascinated by policy work. “Most of the legislators were lawyers,” he recalled. “You’re more empowered and in a better position to understand policy if you understand the law.” After two years of teaching 7th grade history in Dallas, he packed his bags and headed to New York City to start the next chapter of his life at Brooklyn Law School.
His passion for politics and policy work has followed him to Brooklyn Law School, where he is the President of the Student Bar Association. He also interned for the government relations firm Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin, led by Vincent Pitta, Class of 1978. He monitored legislation and political events with a focus on issues pertaining to labor, procurement, minority- and woman-owned businesses, health care, law enforcement, juvenile justice, and green energy.
During the spring of his second year, Molina worked at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a legal intern to Lisa Garcia ’98, then the Chief Advocate for Environmental Justice and Equity. “It was a great experience,” he recalled. “I worked on a number of issues that had a big impact on communities—people who lived near power plants, or on waterfronts near major sources of pollution. I’ve always been passionate about policy work because you’re helping people without a voice.”