NYLS’s 127th Commencement is just days away. On May 20, the School community will gather in Lincoln Center to hear from distinguished honorees and to celebrate its newest alumni.
As graduation approaches, student leaders from the Class of 2019 reflected on their proudest accomplishments and best memories of life at 185 West Broadway.
What They Shared
Jenna L. D’Attilo
“The best experiences I had at NYLS were related to my participation in the Veterans Justice Clinic, where I was able to make lasting, real-world impact on the lives of clients within the veteran community.
“That experience solidified my passion for public interest work and paved the way for a fulfilling career in veterans’ legal services.”
D’Attilo is President of the Military Justice & Veteran’s Association.
“My time at NYLS has been filled with many proud moments. I’ve seen my fellow students excel in the face of adversity, watched strangers become good friends, and had the privilege of witnessing my classmates rise to the occasion to make a difference at NYLS and in the broader community. If I had to choose one moment, it would be my 2L Evening year, when I had the honor of participating in NYLS’s Froessel Moot Court Competition. I often doubted my abilities as an oral advocate; my strengths were mainly in transactional work. It gave me great pride not only to compete against my talented peers, but to excel in ways I thought I couldn’t.
“Winning that competition was proof that with hard work, dedication, and help from my classmates, I could be a champion in any arena.”
Borha is Evening Vice President of the Student Bar Association and Evening Vice President of the Black Law Students Association.
“One of my most memorable experiences in law school was competing in the American Bar Association Trial Advocacy Competition at the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse. My team represented the defendant in a negligence case.
“I will never forget delivering a closing argument in a federal court room. It was electrifying.”
Maynor is President of the Trial Competition Team, First Generation Professionals, and the Christian Legal Fellowship.
“The administration, my professors, and my fellow classmates made me feel at home. These are the connections that will stay with me for life.”
Brandt is President of OutLaws.
“I had so many ideas that I wanted to implement to benefit the student body, and I was incredibly excited to be given the chance to make my visions come true.”
Simels is President of the Student Bar Association.
“In the end, I realized that I am capable of so much, and I have NYLS to thank for that.”
Persaud is President of the Black Law Students Association.
“I remember leaving school after the first night of orientation in August 2015, and as I went home, the reality of what I had embarked upon started to sink in. I realized I would be taking this same route home, at 9:30 at night, after a long day of work and class, for more than a thousand days. I suddenly felt deeply unsure about my decision.
“But my experience has been the total opposite of what I feared: I have had so much fun, and graduation feels like awakening from a short dream because of the friends I’ve made, my interesting classes and engaging extracurriculars, my wonderful professors, and our close-knit NYLS community.”
Kelley is an Executive Board Member and the Froessel Competition Author for the Moot Court Association.
“I am thankful for the opportunities that I had throughout law school to help others and develop my skills as a legal advocate. I enjoyed being a member of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team and traveling to Vienna, Austria to compete as an oralist and explore Vienna with my teammates.
“I also learned a lot through my experiences with the Education Law Clinic by advocating for New York City public school students and their families before, during, and after superintendent suspension hearings.”
Tran served as a Judicial Extern at the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“One of my most memorable moments at NYLS was being an Education Law Clinic Student Advocate and representing students in suspension hearings before New York City Department of Education independent hearing officers.
“As a result of these unique opportunities, I am now a stronger leader, a better mentor, and a more zealous advocate.”
Hussain is President of the Muslim Law Students Association and Vice President of the Legal Association for Women.
“This would not have been possible without the guidance that I received from my NYLS professors, career counselors, and administrators, who helped me coordinate class schedules and program requirements in order to successfully earn my degrees.
“I’m grateful for their support and excited to use what I have learned throughout this journey when I enter the working world as a lawyer.”
“I was able to be part of the Education Law Clinic (which represents low-income students in suspension hearings), Street Law (which teaches high school students basic legal concepts), and the Criminal Defense Clinic (which represents low-income defendants in the criminal justice system).
“Being a voice for someone who has had theirs taken away is an utmost privilege, and I am thankful to have had that privilege as a law student.”
Natchaya May Vutrapongvatana
“One day, I caught sight of my campaign poster, which had been posted around the School. I was looking at a powerful Asian-American woman and a strong leader—me.”
“One of my proudest moments at NYLS was seeing the teams that I put together for the Moot Court Association succeed in their competitions this spring. After all of the hard work that went into selecting competitions, choosing who would compete at each event, staying on top of deadlines, and securing registration and travel arrangements, it was satisfying to see the teams’ efforts come to fruition. Many of our teams walked away from their competitions having advanced to the final rounds or having won awards.
“This recognition was a tangible reward for the hours upon hours that went into planning and preparation by me and the competitors themselves.”
Hilber is Vice Chair of the Moot Court Association.
“My most memorable moment was during Professor David Chang’s class after the election. He instructed us that this is the time we keep our heads down, study, and work extremely hard to build our skills and knowledge. He said that when we graduate, the world was going to need our skills as lawyers. Now, I realize how true it was, and I am proud to be graduating at a time when people need these skills I spent so long fortifying.”
James is Vice President of Domestic Privacy for the Privacy Law Association.
“I will never forget the way law school has encouraged me to look inward and be part of something bigger. Our profession calls for helping others, and I have had a chance to play a material role in that.
“Throughout my three years at NYLS, my experiences in student organizations and clinics, as well as my professors, have always reminded me of that.”
Futoryan is President of the NYLS chapter of the American Constitutional Society and served as Managing Research Fellow for Professor Nadine Strossen.
Danney G. Salvatierra
“As I reflect on the past three years, I am filled with gratitude. I am thankful for my first summer internship, where I learned that passion for a job can lead to success. I am grateful for earning a place on the Moot Court Association, where I learned to believe in myself in the face of self-doubt. I appreciate the student organizations I joined, which taught me about mentorship, leadership, and commitment. I am grateful for the Asylum Clinic, where I heard inspiring narratives of strength and resilience from immigrants hoping to make a home in the United States. I am thankful for securing my dream internship at Human Rights First, where my lifelong career goals became a reality.
“But I am equally grateful for the times things didn’t go the way I wanted them to and the days I felt like giving up. Without those challenges, the successes wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful.”
Salvatierra is Vice President of the Immigration Law Students Association and Professional Development Chair of the Latin American Law Students Association.
More Information on Commencement
- Find more details, including a link to live video.