Success Stories

Criminal Law

Crystal Dilone, '18

Geographically speaking, Pace Law is a central hub for our students to find opportunities and experiences from a wide array of institutions. With its proximity to New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, our students are able to fully take advantage of all that the law has to offer.

Crystal has been able to do just that. While exploring her love for criminal law, Crystal has been fortunate to participate in various internships and placements including the Bronx Legal Services, the Town of Greenburgh Justice Court, and the Criminal Justice Clinic here at Pace Law. Once a student has exhibited interest and success in a particular field, Pace Law assists them in obtaining Student Practice orders, allowing them to act as a practicing attorney, under the tutelage of an attorney mentor. As a third year student, Crystal has been able to represent her own clients charged with misdemeanor offenses in the Bronx County Criminal Court.

Through this work, Crystal has participated in arraignments, submitted motions and memoranda of law, negotiated with Assistant District Attorneys, prepped for trial and advocated for her clients in court. Like so many of our students, Crystal acknowledges that her work in the clinic has given her a more rounded understanding of the law and real-life experiences which set her apart.

Crystal is looking forward to working in the area of criminal law as a trial attorney after graduation. In the meantime, Crystal explains: “The more I learn about criminal law and its procedures, the more excited and eager I become towards working to achieve justice for all.”

Entertainment Law

Rachel Thanasoulis, '19

As a student pursuing a path to practice in Business Law, Rachel has had a very unique experience at Pace Law. Rachel is heavily involved in the Sports, Entertainment, and Art Law Society, which allows her to explore her passions of law, music and entertainment.

The entertainment world is a difficult one to penetrate as a young lawyer but, through her diligence and help from the Center for Career and Professional Development, Rachel was able to obtain an internship at the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Advisors at the Career Development were able to put her in contact with attorneys working at the WWE and a Human Resources representative. By showcasing her interest in entertainment law, and by having these connections, Rachel spent the summer after her first year interning at the WWE. Rachel explains, “I believe the help that I obtained through career services was one of the reasons I obtained the internship at the WWE. This shows how well connected Pace Law is and how the faculty and staff are willing to help you succeed!”

Rachel hopes to have a post-graduate placement in the entertainment and business law world, where she can explore her original interest in intellectual property, and further explore the foundation she was able to build through her work at the WWE.

Environmental Law

James Virga, '18

Driven by a desire to pursue a profession that beneficially impacts the environment, James is well on his way to obtaining the Environmental Certificate at Pace Law. During his undergraduate education at Northeastern University, James dual majored in environmental studies with a particular focus on law and public policy. After realizing his passion for environmentalism and sustainability, James decided that Pace’s renowned Environmental Program would be the next step in his education.

James has had a number of legal placements during his time at Pace Law. Notably, during his first year at school, James worked as an extern at the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission. He was able to obtain this position through Career Services and interactions with Pace Alumni who previously worked there. Throughout his time on campus, James has also worked at the Land Use Law Center. This unique experience allowed James to have early exposure to his interests and explore an area of law during his first year, while enrolled in the requisite first year classes. His on-campus work taught him the importance of land use laws in protecting the environment, which made him decide to ​also pursue Pace's concentration in Land Use and Real Estate. He has since interned at two Westchester law firms, conducting both land use and environmentally related work. 

As an Executive Board member of Pace’s Environmental Law Review, and a member of several environmental student organizations, James is a prime example of how the Environmental Law Program and the Land Use and Real Estate concentration at Pace Law can help further a student’s interests and ensure that they have substantial legal experience before entering the work force! 

Environmental Law Review

Zach Berliner, '18

One way that law school students hone their legal writing skills is on the law review. Pace has three different law reviews for which students can write and edit:  the Pace Law Review, Pace International Law Review and the Pace Environmental Law Review.

Zach participated in the law review write-on competition after he completed his first year in law school. After demonstrating strong writing skills, Zach was accepted as a Junior Associate on the Pace Environmental Law Review. During his second year, Zach drafted and finalized his own piece of scholarly writing on a topic of his choosing, while editing other articles for publication. He was then elected to serve as the Editor-in-Chief for the Environmental Review in his third year.

Zach is currently charged with leading the law review, accepting articles from scholars around the world for publication, and mentoring Junior Associates to ensure their skills are developed. He is currently pursuing post-graduation placements.

Family Law

Meghan Hook, '19

In their second year, students sometimes feel the pressures of wanting to be involved in everything, and it can sometimes be overwhelming at first. Once a student obtains academic success, opportunities to be involved in various, prestigious organizations present themselves. After placing in the top 15% in her first year, Meghan is a testament to all that this campus has to offer.

During the conclusion of her 1L year, Meghan attended the Public Interest Fair held at NYU campus. With careful prepping by faculty and Career Development staff, Meghan was able to speak to institutional representatives and was afforded the opportunity to interview with several of them. Ultimately, Meghan was able to receive a student practice order and worked for the Pace Women’s Justice Center Family Court Legal Program. There, she was able to advocate for her clients in court to several family court judges. In her second year, Meghan is volunteering for the Courtroom Advocates Project where she files orders of protection for victims of domestic violence.

These hands-on experiences, coupled with her involvement in Pace’s Family Law Society and Women’s Association for Law Students, has given Meghan the tools and expertise she needs to be a strong advocate for public interest cases.

Federal Judicial Honors Program

Kristyn Francese, '18

While Pace Law may be centered in White Plains, New York, that does not limit the opportunities for our students to seek gainful employment in the tristate area. With her track record for academic excellence, and deep understanding and appreciate for business law, Kristyn was able to obtain a clerkship in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California, in San Diego.

Kristyn is no stranger to the court room. In the summer after her first year, Kristyn interned at the Second Department of the New York Appellate Division. In her second year, she was selected to participate in the Federal Judicial Honors Program and was able to fully explore the federal court process. Kristyn was paired with a faculty mentor and able to emulate the judge-law clerk relationship in the fall semester. She was then placed in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, here in White Plains, in her spring semester.

In order to become a better-rounded student, Kristyn spent the summer between her second and third year as a summer associate at a leading financial services firm. Kristyn credits her prestigious post-graduate placement to the extensive opportunities afforded to her by Pace Law.  Kristyn is looking forward to her new adventures in California, but will always be a proud Pace Law alumna.

Joint Degree

Alix Dobles, '18

An ordinary student pursuing their Juris Doctorate at Pace Law will usually spend three years on campus. However, Alix is no ordinary student. Through her academic success and the substantial connections at Pace Law, Alix was able to enroll in a dual degree program and will graduate with a J.D. from Pace Law and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. 

Alix enrolled at Pace Law as a full-time student in the fall of 2014. She then spent two years studying environmental law at Pace before spending a full year at the Yale University campus, obtaining her Masters. Alix rejoined the Pace Law community for her final year and will be walking at graduation in May of 2018.

Alix credits her substantial success to the extensive pool of Pace Law alumni. She explains, “I find this web of alumni to be very comforting as I plan to enter the workforce, but also it shows that the industry has confidence in the legal skills that Pace Law cultivates in its students.” Alix has helped solidify the relationship between Pace Law and Yale, and has set a precedent for future students to follow her tremendous footsteps.

Law Review

Lydia Rainey, '18

A work-life balance is key for a successful law student. Lydia has proven that being involved on campus and maintaining good grades is not impossible. Her focus in English during her undergraduate studies at SUNY Brockport led Lydia to pursue an Executive Board position on the Pace Law Review. She currently guides underclassmen as they write their own case notes and comments for potential publication in the Review.

Lydia has also been able to hone her oral advocacy skills through her involvement in the Oral Advocacy Honor Board. As a second year student, Lydia served as the captain of the Black Law Student’s Association Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Team. Under the tutelage of her professor, and through collaboration with her teammates, the team won the Northeast Regional competition, continuing onto the final round. Due to Lydia’s success, she has been asked to continue as the captain on the trial team in her third year.

Lydia is looking forward to taking the skills she has developed at Pace Law to her hometown of Fairport, New York, and applying to the State Appellate Division Courts. The Pace Law community will miss Lydia’s involvement and dedication to campus!

Location

Savannah Bowling, '19

Pace Law offers a diverse population of students. While a large portion of that may consist of students from the local tristate area, students travel from across the nation to attend law school at Pace Law. Savannah, originally from Emerson, Georgia, was drawn to Pace Law for a multitude of reasons.

Savannah recognizes that the Pace Law campus is extremely conducive to a scholarly environment, as it is separated from the other two Pace University undergraduate campuses. This results in a quiet, secluded campus, while still affording our students the opportunity to travel into NYC or enjoy all that White Plains has to offer. Because of this synergy, Savannah finds that campus is warm, comfortable, and less distracting. Pace Law’s geographical location also allows our students to participate substantively in the legal world at large.

After completing one of her first year courses, Savannah was able to form a strong bond with one of her professors due to her frequent participation in class and shared interest in environmental law. Her professor allowed Savannah to join him at the Corporation Counsel Roundtable, a New York State regulatory meeting regarding environmental law and land use projects. Savannah helped her professor draft zoning initiatives, shared parking agreements, and plans to revitalize industrial zones while maintaining industry. Looking back, Savannah had a rewarding experience, where she felt she really made an impact on New York State environmental procedures – all thanks to the willingness of her professor to teach and include her, and the conducive nature of Pace Law.

Networking is Key

Mark Meeker, Dec. '09

Mark Meeker (Dec. ’09) graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts, where he studied advertising, and shortly thereafter he earned a Master of Arts from Kent State University while in the media management sequence. It wasn’t until grad school that he first began to consider law school. “During one conversation with my advisor, he mentioned that I was doing well and that I should think about continuing. Continuing? What would that mean? Neither of my parents had college degrees, so I was already farther along academically than I ever expected to be. But I bought a couple of study guides, worked through them in the evenings for about a week-and-a-half, took the LSAT, and scored in the 96th percentile. That’s when I knew that law school was somewhere in my future. The question was, ‘When?’ At that point, I was still barely on the fringes of the advertising industry, and I wasn’t ready to change directions.”

Things really started to happen for Mark when he packed his bags and went chasing after his first ad agency job. In all, he spent the first eighteen years of his career in a variety of advertising and marketing roles, working primarily in account services for media companies and on the agency side of the business for brands such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Sonic, Pepsi, and Bank of America. “I loved what I was doing at the time, but after I met my wife and got engaged, suddenly chasing advertising jobs all over the country lost its appeal. That’s when we decided to make a change, and about six weeks after our wedding I entered law school.”

Mark started at Pace Law as a 1L in August 2006. “I was drawn to Pace because of its location. In my previous career, I had spent time working in Ohio, where I’m from, then D.C., Virginia Beach, Chicago, Kansas City, and Connecticut. My most recent position had been in New York City and we wanted to stay in the area. Pace also showed a lot of flexibility in their academic programs. I would be able to attend part-time and still graduate in 3-1/2 years. It was ideal.”

During Mark’s time at Pace, he excelled academically as well as in his involvement with the Pace community and student organizations. As a result of his high academic achievement, he was consistently on the Dean’s List, served as Executive Editor of the Pace International Law Review, and graduated cum laude with a certificate in International Law. To Mark, though, one of his best experiences was being involved with the Intellectual Property Student Organization. He started out as IPSO’s Treasurer and eventually became President. “It was the perfect organization for me to get involved with. It combined my past experiences in the marketing, advertising and branding world with new legal topics that I was studying such as trademarks and intellectual property. I was lucky enough to meet and work with some great people who helped me push the organization forward as we sought out alumni working in IP, compiled a list of all of the alumni that we could find in the field, and tried to connect them back with the law school.”

Recognizing the importance of getting your feet wet in a variety of areas, Mark pursued as many practical opportunities as he could. While at Pace, he was an intern for the Honorable Alan D. Scheinkman, a legal assistant with the law firm Worby Groner Edelman LLP, an intern with the World Intellectual Property Organization at the U.N., and a legal assistant with the New York State Office of the Attorney General. “I like to stay busy and continually meet new people; network. Each new opportunity for me was a step towards the next one.” During his final year-and-a-half at Pace, Mark worked at Pernod Ricard USA as a legal consultant, and this position stretched beyond his graduation.

Then, in July 2010, Mark joined a small law firm as an associate, reviewing and evaluating telecommunications real estate agreements for AT&T, editing and approving amendments, and drafting legal opinions related to landlord/tenant issues. Mark remained in this position for four years before launching a venture as a solo practitioner, focusing on his first passion, providing counsel surrounding branding, trademarks and social media. It was shortly after Mark hung out his own shingle that he was presented with an opportunity to join American Maritime Safety, Inc., based in White Plains, first as Director of Membership and Legal Services and now as Assistant General Counsel. In his current role, Mark conducts nationwide, on-site training classes for drug and alcohol testing plus sexual harassment. He also provides legal guidance to over 400 member companies regarding compliance with federal regulations impacting the maritime industry while also supervising staff. “I feel lucky to be in-house with such a large organization. Compliance is an interesting field on its own, but coupled with the maritime industry, it really keeps me on my toes. Plus I’m able to pursue a people-oriented aspect of this position with the training and public speaking that I do, which I really enjoy.”

Throughout Mark’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional life, what has remained most consistent, aside from his work ethic, is his passion for networking and connecting people. In 2011, Mark founded the Pace Law Alumni Network (P.L.A.N.). “My goal with P.L.A.N. was to connect Pace Law alumni with one another in a casual atmosphere. I’ve found that networking can lead to a great many opportunities, professionally and otherwise. So, we started holding these quarterly networking events back in 2011, alternating between White Plains and New York City. They’ve steadily grown in size, and now our attendance usually ranges between 30 and 70 people. We even have faculty attend, and Dean Yassky has become a familiar face.”

Not one for downtime, in 2013 Mark was added to the Pace Law Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and was recently elected as the incoming President. He will start his term in September 2017. “Among my goals as President will be to increase the Board’s visibility and to expand the lines of communication between the alumni population and the Board.”

Aside from the marketing, advertising, and the law, Mark has always had a passion for the outdoors. “Biking, swimming, kayaking, camping, I like to stay active and get outdoors whenever possible.” In 2014, Mark became a kayak and stand-up paddleboard instructor with L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School and recently achieved American Canoe Association certification in both disciplines. Mark lives in Mount Vernon with his wife Cathy, who works for Pace University in Pleasantville.

If Mark could give any advice to future and current law students, and alumni alike, it would be to network. “Keep making new connections and maintaining past ones. Networking is key in finding out what career will be right for you and then finding opportunities. Oh, and speaking of which, come to our next P.L.A.N. event, which is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the back garden of Tuttles Bar & Grill at 735 2nd Avenue in New York City.”

*The P.L.A.N. Facebook group can be found here.

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