Decnis Pimentel ‘23

You are the change you seek

Growing up in Harlem, New York, Haub Law student Decnis Pimentel experienced racial injustice first-hand. In part, these experiences led her to law school with the goal of pursuing a career in law to create change and have an impact on our system. “I am a huge believer in being the change you seek and pursuing a career in the law allows for the unique position of being able to help a range of individuals from all backgrounds regardless of their race or economic status. Lawyers have the ability to create change for the greater good of society and I look forward to having a career in law doing just that.”

Decnis is already breaking barriers in her own family. “I am a first-generation student in my family and will be the first lawyer in my entire family. I am Dominican and the oldest of three children. My mother is one of my biggest sources of power. Her resilience and the sacrifices she has made is one of the many reasons I am here today. I am proud of who I am and my background. I want to serve as an example for women of color and Latinas who come from similar backgrounds and show them that regardless of the stereotypes or labels society may want to place on you, you are in control of your own future and are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to.”

Currently, a resident assistant in Haub Law’s Dannat Hall, Decnis is also an active member of the Latin American Law Students Association and the Black Law Students Association. This past fall, she also interned with the Pace Women’s Justice Center. “It was a humbling and empowering experience. I learned a lot, both legal and life lessons.”

Decnis also feels fortunate to have experienced having Professor Randolph McLaughlin during her 1L year, who she notes has “inspired” her. “Taking Professor McLaughlin’s torts class during my 1L year and learning about his extensive career as a lawyer has inspired me and showed me that the work done as a lawyer really does have an impact and can create change in our system. He shared stories about his career, how he navigated being a black man who is a lawyer and the obstacles he faced throughout his career. Learning about his path and how he persevered motivated me to push through a very stressful 1L year.”

Decnis is pursuing an Advanced Certificate in Health Law and Policy while at Haub Law. So far, aside from her classes, her favorite thing about the Haub Law experience is the people. “Everyone here is extremely welcoming and willing to give a helping hand.”

When asked about her advice for others who may pursue a law degree, Decnis said, “trust yourself and have confidence in your potential. Bet on yourself. Do not compare your journey or story to the person next to you. You have gotten to the current place in your life because of your own talent, knowledge, and potential! You are the change you seek.”

As for the immediate future, Decnis is keeping her eye on the prize: graduate law school, pass the bar, and land a job in a law firm where she can create change. “I truly believe what I said, you are the change you seek, and I am confident that using the tools I have been given so far at Haub Law, I will fulfill my dream of graduating and having a positive impact on our system.”