Success Stories

Non-Traditional Student

Patricia Petrosky, '19

Studying to become an attorney is difficult and time consuming; however, here at Pace Law we recognize that our students have obligations other than their studies. Patricia is not only able to rank strongly in her class, but is a wife and mother of two young children.

While it may be arduous to for her to juggle so much, she credits her success to the accommodating and collegial atmosphere here at Pace Law. Patricia explains, “While some level of competition amongst students is evident, the overall culture of the school can be best described as a place where students, faculty, and staff are accommodating, resourceful, and respectful to one another.” Patricia especially highlights the willingness of upper level students to share their knowledge and help our underclassman in any way that they can. Through the Dean Scholar Program, all first year classes are assigned an upper level student who has completed that class with high marks, and is able to provide insight and support. Patricia has found it helpful to reach out to those students, converse substantively regarding the subject matter, and obtain tips and tricks for the class.

Upper level students are not the only ones ready and willing to help our students. Patricia was able to obtain a prestigious internship at the New York State Attorney General’s Office this past summer and credits a large portion of her success obtaining this position to the help of our Center for Career and Professional Development. Career Development staff guided Patricia throughout the application process, helped her revise her resume, and conducted several mock interviews to guarantee her preparedness. Pace Law’s collegial and community environment has been hugely beneficial to Patricia in ensuring her success, while also allowing her to support and enjoy her family!

 

Oral Advocacy

Christopher Zamlout, '18

Take a poll of attorneys across the nation and they will tell you in unison that one of a lawyer’s most prominent skills is their oral advocacy. Here at Pace Law, our Advocacy Program boasts numerous Mock Trial and Moot Court teams, ranging in subject matter covering all aspects of the legal profession. As a part of a student’s first year at Pace Law, they participate in the Louis V. Fasulo First Year Moot Court Competition where they showcase their oral advocacy skills. Once a student has exhibited raw talent, they are inducted into a prominent group of students who participate in oral advocacy competitions, facilitated by Pace Law.

After demonstrating his strong and commanding advocacy skills in the first year competition, Christopher was one such student who was given the opportunity to participate in one of the world’s most formidable competitions. The Willem C. Vis Moot Court Competition – started twenty-five years ago by Pace faculty members – exposes our students to the world of international commercial arbitration. Christopher and his fellow teammates spend a full academic year dissecting the issues presented in the fact patter, researching applicable international law, and perfecting their oral arguments. Towards the end of the semester, the team flies to Vienna, Austria to represent Pace Law in the competition.

Due to his tremendous success his second year, Christopher was invited back to the Pace Law team as a captain in his third and final year of school. Christopher has been able to hone his advocacy skills, while also exploring a unique field of law. Christopher explains that because of this experience he is able to set himself apart from his peers, substantively engage in international law and current events, and has developed necessary skills in order for him to advocate on behalf of future clients.

Pace Path

Kevin Douchkoff, '19

The Pace University community is large and tightly knit. It comes to no surprise when a student completes their undergraduate studies at Pace and then pursues their legal education at Pace Law. As a Pace Pleasantville alum, Kevin immediately knew that Pace Law was the school for him. Kevin is now in his second year, pursuing a concentration in Criminal Law. He aspires to work in the District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor upon graduation.

Kevin has been able to work towards his goal by taking advantage of the John Jay Legal Services Criminal Justice Externship. This past summer Kevin worked in the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office and had the opportunity to attend town and county court daily, draft memoranda, and submit a brief to the New York State Appellate Division. This experience cemented his goal of becoming a prosecutor.

Kevin is also a tremendous leader on Pace Law campus. He currently serves as the President of the Lambda Law Student Association, which strives to promote equality amongst all people and seeks out opportunities for reform. Kevin explains that these reforms first begin in our education institutions and, as future lawyers, particularly in our law schools.  

Pursuing Passion

Miriam Lacroix and Stephanie Ramos, '14

When you ask Miriam Lacroix (’14) and Stephanie Ramos (’14) about their Pace Law experience, there are many common threads, but perhaps none stronger than their gratitude for Professor Vanessa Merton and Pace Law’s Immigration Justice Clinic. “Professor Merton is absolutely our favorite professor. She gave us the confidence to start our own immigration practice. Stephanie and I were both in the Immigration Justice Clinic and worked on many cases together under Professor Merton’s supervision. She, along with the Clinic, shaped our career.”  

Prior to attending Pace Law, Miriam already had a strong Pace connection – attending the University as an undergraduate student. “I had a positive experience with Pace at the undergraduate level and was eager to pursue a law degree at Pace Law thereafter.” During her time at Pace University, as a political science major, Miriam pursued internship opportunities in the political arena.  She was an intern with then United States Senator Hillary Clinton’s office and also with State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins’ office. After graduating from Pace University as a political science major, Miriam was accepted into Pace Law.

Stephanie’s path to Pace was a bit different than Miriam’s. Prior to attending law school, Stephanie graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a women’s study minor. “I was told by an undergraduate mentor that I would make a great attorney and that I could do a lot of good with a law license. But, I was 6 months pregnant and thought law school was a crazy idea. I decided to work a year or so and then decide on graduate school when my daughter was a bit older.”

Stephanie started at Pace Law in the fall of 2011, just after her daughter’s second birthday. Miriam began in January 2012 in the accelerated program. Both note how they noticed right away how many opportunities there were at the Law School to help others through participating in clinics and internships.  Stephanie was a legal intern with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. “I was fortunate enough to gain experience in a variety of areas – from domestic violence, to elder abuse, to housing law. I even participated in court proceedings. As a student, I definitely gained a practical advantage as a result of my internship.”

In 2013, both Miriam and Stephanie became student attorneys with Pace Law’s Immigration Justice Center.  At the time, they had no way of knowing that this opportunity would eventually launch them later in life to open a law firm together. Stephanie notes, “[o]ur most memorable experience with the Clinic was when we helped a woman from Senegal and her two young daughters escape female genital mutilation. We assisted her in her application for asylum, which was granted for all of them. It was rewarding for us to know that our hard work saved her and her daughters from future persecution.”

Miriam and Stephanie were the first “Semester in Practice” students. They spent an entire final semester working as full-time time student attorneys in the Clinic. They were able to gain experience interviewing clients, evaluating, and analyzing legal options, investigating the facts, obtaining evidence, submitting necessary petitions, drafting legal documents, and appearing in immigration court (under the student practice order).  “We worked so closely in that final semester that we realize we really had a chemistry. We decided then that we would start our own law firm dedicated to representing immigrants.”

Miriam is confident that the Clinic gave her the confidence to eventually open her own practice. “As a student attorney, you are responsible for your case. You want to ensure the outcome is a positive one for your client. I learned how to act and work as an attorney from my experience with the Clinic. I am the child of a Haitian immigrant, so helping other immigrants was never a question for me, rather a privilege. And, my experience with the Clinic gave me the confidence to help people like my father.”

In 2014, Miriam and Stephanie graduated from Pace. Miriam was chosen as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow with the City Bar Justice Center. Miriam accepted the prestigious 2-year fellowship and functioned as an immigration lawyer. Stephanie was chosen as a Legal Fellow/Attorney with the Pace Community Law Practice. They used their time at their fellowships to hone their legal skills and start building the plan to launch their firm. The pair provided a wide variety of immigration services, including naturalization, family-based petitions, deportation defense, unaccompanied minors, asylum, and victims of domestic violence and crimes. Stephanie describes it as “a year of intensive experience as an immigration attorney.”

While at their fellowships, Miriam and Stephanie stayed in close contact – sharing their experiences as attorneys and preparing for the launch of their immigration practice. Then, in 2015 they decided to take the leap and open their own practice.  Lacroix Ramos, Attorneys at Law, LLP launched in September 2015 and is located in White Plains.  Naturally, the firm is focused on immigrants. The firm handles family and humanitarian based immigration services for small business owners, victims of domestic abuse and other serious crimes, migrant children, and LGBT families. Miriam notes “Professor Merton and the Immigration Justice Clinic, thoroughly prepared us to be zealous advocates for immigrants. We are confident in ability to help our clients, because we learned how to be the best attorneys that we can during law school.”

Both Miriam and Stephanie are very involved in the legal community. They are both active volunteers on non-profit boards, mentor interns and young lawyers, and speak at a variety of immigration events. In Stephanie’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her daughter, volunteering, and reading. When not at the office, you can find Miriam singing, reading, or spending time with family and friends. Both Miriam and Stephanie have the same advice for current and future law students: “Don’t tell yourself that you can’t and don’t listen to those who tell you that hanging out a shingle is crazy. If you love helping your clients, you’ll succeed because they need you.”

Stepping Stones to a Career

Britny Auletti, '17

Britny Auletti ('17) graduated from Fordham University in 2014 with a B.S. in Finance. She was confident that she wanted to continue to learn more about corporate law and securities regulation by attending law school.  Prior to law school, Britny had interned and worked in the legal field, and also during undergraduate school Britny had worked as a legal assistant for a firm in the City.

While Britny was at Pace she was very active and participated in several clubs, a trial team, the Pace Investor Rights Clinic, and the Corporate Externship program. “I was the treasurer for the Italian American Law Organization, and the Pace Law Tax Society Vice President. My experiences both inside and outside of the classroom gave me to opportunity to seek guidance from others in the Pace community and network with attorneys in different fields.” Throughout law school, Britny was an intern with various corporations. She was a summer associate with AIG for two summers and a legal intern with Marsh & McLennan Companies. “Through my internship experiences I was able to meet mentors, and enhance my writing and research skills. My internships help me realize my passion for corporate and securities legal work.”

Britny’s classroom experiences at Pace are what she calls “stepping stones” to her career in the financial regulatory industry. In particular, three professors stick out in Britny’s mind: Professors Jill Gross, Jane Shahmanesh, and Elissa Germaine. “Each of them taught me a great deal about the securities industry. Their classes gave me a solid foundation for my current job at FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). Each professor brought their unique real life experiences into the classroom, which inspired me to pursue a career in the field.”

However, if you ask Britny the best decision she made during her time as a student at Pace Law, her answer is simple:  participating in the Investor Rights Clinic. “The Clinic had an immense impact on not only my law school experience, but my career path as well. It afforded me the opportunity to learn that some of the most important lawyering skills are taught outside of the classroom. I learned how to be a passionate advocate for my clients who did not always have a voice or know where to turn when they felt they had been wronged by their broker.  The Clinic provided me with a unique environment where we were forced to think on our feet and outside of the box. Professor Germaine helped me become a stronger writer by taking the time to review multiple drafts and teaching us the importance of paying attention to detail.  Most importantly, while, yes, the clinic helped me solidify my desire to work in the securities regulation industry, it also helped me figure out my passion for helping those who do not always have a voice.”

During her winter break of 3L, Britny received the news she was hoping to hear. “I received an offer from FINRA to work for them as an associate examiner. I was thrilled to receive the offer and I was equally thrilled to share the news of the offer with Professors Gross, Shahmanesh, and Germaine. Each had been such an integral part of my experience at Pace and knew how much I wanted to work at FINRA.”

As an Associate Examiner at FINRA, Britny participates in examinations, sweeps, and task forces of FINRA registered broker-dealers. “Every day at FINRA we work to deter broker misconduct through in-person examinations of brokerage firms to make sure they are following the rules, detect and prevent fraud in the markets, and disciple those who break the rules. I love my job because I feel the work is very important and I get learn something new every day.”

Recently, Britny was awarded first place in the 2017 James E. Beckley Writing Competition sponsored by PIABA (Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association).  The paper, supervised by Professor Elissa Germaine, is entitled “Bice, Bice Baby: Are Investors Getting the Cold Shoulder? An Overview of the Department of Labor’s Proposed Fiduciary Duty Rule and Its Potential Impacts.”  The paper will be published in the next PIABA law journal and Britny was invited to attend the annual PIABA conference in Colorado. 

Britny is a firm advocate of staying involved and also giving back to the larger law school community. “I recently helped judge the St. John’s FINRA Triathlon Competition - it is a negotiation, mediation, and arbitration competition. As a 3L at Pace, I participated in the same competition and helped FINRA with the event this year.” Additionally, Britny believes it is important to stay involved in the Pace community. “I was also lucky enough to be able to come back to Pace to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Investor Rights Clinic. For me, it was especially important to be a part of this celebration because the Clinic helped me discover my passion for investors’ rights.”

Britny reflected on an assignment from the Investor Rights Clinic that has stuck with her since. “We were asked to write a memo about our goals, obstacles we may face while trying to achieving these goals, and how we plan to ultimately overcome those obstacles. My main goal each semester was to learn how to best communicate with clients and develop more empathy towards their situations – skills that can only learned though simulations, practice, and several awkward first phone calls. This assignment provided me a final opportunity to take a step back from grades and outlines and ask myself two very difficult questions – Do I truly have the skills required to be a lawyer? And what kind of lawyer do I want to be? By the end of year I could answer both of these questions. To be a great lawyer you need to work hard, always keep learning and honing your skills, and never lose your passion for the law. I want to be the kind of lawyer that tirelessly advocates for those who do not have a voice and one who stands up for justice.”

Britny was excited to share that she just passed the New York bar examination and is looking forward to life in the professional world. “I think that students and young alumni should not be afraid to follow their passion and to network. I was able to find great mentors both inside and outside of the Pace community that still continue to give me guidance and support. Throughout my law school journey I learned that hard work and dedication make all the difference. I am very thankful for each member of the Pace community that helped me get to where I am today.”

Student Bar Association

Sarah Cinquemani, '18

Due to the small and intimate campus at Pace Law, our students are able to really make a name for themselves. Sarah has been able to do just that, and was elected by the student body to serve as our Student Bar Association President.

Sarah was able to rise to such heights due in large part to her dedication to campus and involvement in various organizations. In her first year at school, Sarah was elected to represent the first year class and advocate on their behalf. She was then able to serve as Secretary to the Association in her second year because of the skills she exhibited right from the start. Sarah was set on being involved in the betterment of the student body as soon as she arrived on campus. Now Sarah is charged with overseeing the numerous student groups on campus, maintaining a budget, and planning events for the entire student body.

This tremendous leadership role, coupled with her certificate in Environmental Studies, has placed her in an ideal position to pursue her passions in the years to come. Any Pace Law student will tell you that student life on campus has soared to new heights because of Sarah’s efforts.

Unparalleled practical experience

Patrick Carroll, '15

Patrick Carroll (’15) graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Studies from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY in 2012. During his undergraduate studies, it became increasingly clear to Patrick that he wanted to pursue a legal education. By the time he graduated, Patrick had already taken the LSATs and applied to law school. In the fall of 2012, he began his legal studies at Pace.

Having always had a strong passion for environmental legal issues, Patrick primarily chose Pace Law because of its nationally recognized environmental law program. “During an admitted students visit, I spoke with Daniel Estrin, who was the supervising attorney for the Clinic at the time. While speaking with Dan about the Clinic’s accomplishments, I came to understand the opportunities afforded to the Law School’s students to receive both the classroom and practical experience I desired.”

Patrick also quickly learned that the School not only had an exceptional environmental program, but offered many other excellent opportunities as well, including the Federal Judicial Honors Program (“FJHP”). “Before I started at Pace I knew that I wanted to participate in the Environmental Litigation Clinic, but not long after I began my legal studies I realized the value of participating in the Federal Judicial Honors Program. Both programs provided unparalleled practical experiences.”

Patrick describes the FJHP as one of the highlights of his law school experience. “Through the FJHP, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the Honorable Kenneth Karas of the Southern District of New York and his exceptional law clerks. My assignments in his chambers were varied, intensive, and very fulfilling.”

He notes that between the FJHP and the Environmental Litigation Clinic, respectively, he had the opportunity to participate in substantive chambers discussions and file a lawsuit under a student practice order before ever having graduated from law school. In fact, Patrick was fortunate enough to have appeared in both New York State Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. “These were outstanding experiences, and quite complementary. The legal research and writing skills I had honed while working with Judge Karas and his law clerks enabled me to more effectively advocate on behalf of the Clinic’s clients.”

Patrick credits his experience in Judge Karas’ chambers with enabling him to comfortably transition from completing law school to fulfilling the responsibilities of an appellate court attorney for the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department, where he has handled countless appeals running the gamut of civil and criminal legal issues. “My placement through the FJHP entailed a very collaborative work environment. It gave me the confidence to openly discuss cases with appellate justices and their clerks on a regular basis.”

Now, after spending the past two years in the Fourth Department, Patrick is preparing to begin his clerkship with the Honorable Elizabeth Wolford of the Western District of New York. “As I begin my new position as a law clerk for a federal judge, I am grateful to have experienced the character of the work expected of a federal chambers clerk through the FJHP.”

“Pace was full of rich and varied opportunities and I was lucky enough to pursue many of them.” In addition to his participation in the FJHP and the Environmental Litigation Clinic, Patrick also credits many of his professors with giving him the confidence to fulfill his passion for the law and complete law school, graduating first in his class. “During my 1L year, I recall questioning whether I had made the right decision to pursue a legal education. At the time, I was taking Torts and Constitutional Law under the instruction of Professor Steven Goldberg. I was inspired by how Professor Goldberg conducted each lecture with the utmost professionalism and a complete mastery of the subject matter. Each student was treated as a colleague in his classes, which was something I greatly appreciated. Any remaining doubt that I had chosen the correct path was soon erased, and to this day I strive to emulate that degree of professional character in my own work.”

When asked if he had any advice for future or current law students, Patrick stated, “Participate in as much as you can, especially hands-on programs like the Federal Judicial Honors Program and the clinics. It was through these programs that I gained practical, real-life attorney experience before ever even graduating.

Patrick currently resides in Rochester, New York, and in his spare time he enjoys cooking, hiking, running, and checking out music venues. He is a fan of exploring new cultures and believes that one of the best ways to do so is by experiencing culinary recipes and traditions. Patrick also just finished a 50-mile ultramarathon through the scenic mountains and forests of the Mohonk Preserve in May 2017.

After Patrick completes his clerkship, he would like to pursue a career as a litigator in the field of environmental law. “It has always been my aspiration to apply the law to change our world for the better. I cannot imagine a more satisfying professional accomplishment than working to preserve and protect the quality of our environment and that of our local communities.”

Work Hard, Foster Relationships, Give Back

Meghan J. Summers, '12

Meghan J. Summers ‘12 received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, graduating summa cum laude and first in her major with a 4.0 GPA. As an undergraduate student at Cornell, Meghan studied communications, a major which allowed her to hone her writing and public speaking skills. She also spent time as a legal trainee at a solicitor’s firm in Dublin, Ireland, where she learned to draft contracts, perform legal research, and even assisted in writing a book chapter on Ireland’s cartel immunity program. It was this experience that made Meghan first realize her passion for the law.

After graduating from Cornell, Meghan spent a year working as a paralegal at Kirby McInerney LLP, a boutique litigation firm in New York City specializing in individual and class action securities fraud, antitrust, and qui tam litigation. As a paralegal, Meghan learned the rules of civil procedure and legal citation – skills that would come in especially useful in the years to come. She also solidified her plans for law school, applying to Pace Law School, where she was accepted with a full tuition scholarship.

While at Pace, Meghan continued to work part-time as a law clerk at Kirby McInerney. She also immersed herself in every opportunity that Pace had to offer. For example, she participated in Pace’s Federal Judicial Honors Program, through which she obtained an externship in the chambers of Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison, United States District Court, Southern District of New York. The Judicial Honors Program also allowed Meghan to get to know one of her favorite professors, Jill Gross. “Professor Gross was my mentor for the program and worked with me on my writing piece.  She was one of those rare professors that took a real interest in her students, always having thoughtful and constructive feedback and advice to offer.”

At Pace, Meghan also served as an articles editor for the Pace Law Review and as a research assistant for another of her favorite professors, Professor Thomas McDonnell, during which time she edited and cite-checked a book Professor McDonnell authored on international law and terrorism. Meghan also spent a semester at University College London as part of Pace’s London Law Program. While there, she took courses on various aspects of international and EU law. Finally, Meghan participated in the Suspension Representation Project as a student advocate, where she represented New York City public school students at school suspension hearings.

During law school, Meghan also obtained various legal internships. During her 1L summer, Meghan served as an intern at the John Jay Legal Services, Criminal Justice Clinic: Post-Conviction Project, where she worked alongside Professor Adele Bernhard to help exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals through the presentation of newly discovered evidence. During her 2L summer, Meghan worked on criminal and family law cases at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. Meghan also spent time during both summers (and throughout the school years) working for Kirby McInerney. After graduating from Pace summa cum laude in 2012, Meghan accepted an Associate position at Kirby McInerney.

At Kirby McInerney, Meghan specializes in complex commercial litigation, including the representation of plaintiffs in, inter alia, individual and class action lawsuits involving securities and commodities fraud, structured finance fraud, antitrust, consumer fraud, and common law torts. She is currently litigating several noteworthy cases, including In re Libor-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation and In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, the latter of which has already achieved partial settlements of over $2 billion. She is also working to expand the firm’s reach into Europe, where collective redress mechanisms are becoming more prevalent, particularly in the context of securities and antitrust litigation. In December 2017, Meghan was elevated to firm partnership, and is currently the youngest Partner Kirby McInerney has ever had.

In her spare time, Meghan volunteers with the animal rescue organization, Stray from the Heart, through which she rescued her own dog from Puerto Rico in 2015. She is an avid fitness enthusiast and is currently training for her second Spartan Race, and she also loves to travel internationally whenever she can. Meghan’s advice for current and future law students? “Work hard, have an open mind, and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. You never know who you will meet, what you will learn, and where each opportunity will take you. Foster relationships with your professors, with one another, and with others around you – those relationships are invaluable. Don’t forget to give back. Being a member of the legal profession is a privilege and with that, comes the responsibility to help the less fortunate. And most importantly, figure out your passion and pursue it with all your heart. It is so much more rewarding when you live to work, rather than work to live.”  

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