Eliana J. Cruz '26

Taking a Leap of Faith

Unhappy in her job at the time, Eliana J. Cruz ’26 decided to study for the LSAT and apply to attend law school. “It was a long time coming, with each path my career took, I became more interested in the law. Finally, I decided to finally take a leap of faith. At the same time, I switched careers and became a paralegal. To me, it made sense that if I was working, I should work directly with attorneys while attending law school.”

Eliana’s background also inspired her to push herself and her education further. “I come from a big multi-generational, multi-cultural Latinx family from the Bronx. I’m privileged to say most of my family has attended and graduated from college. We were inspired by my grandfather. He immigrated to The Bronx with his parents and small children, he did not have a high school diploma to his name. I dedicate all my academic accomplishments to him. All my degrees are his, too.”

Eliana chose the FLEX JD program at Haub Law because she knew she would receive a quality legal education in New York while working at a job she enjoyed and provided her with an income. “The FLEX JD program allowed me to have it all and not have to fall into debt. When I graduate, I will be competing for jobs I want in the City I call home.” While balancing working and attending law school has had its challenges, Eliana is steadfast in her belief that it is well worth it. “My paralegal work has been paramount in gaining experience that will land me a job after graduating. I am actively applying what I learn in class, while networking with some of the top attorneys in my field. It’s a win-win. And the Haub Law community is tremendously supportive. I feel a true sense of camaraderie. I know if my classmates can do it, I can do it.”

As a FLEX JD student, Eliana has not yet participated in clinics or externships, however, her most recent career move has her as a Legal Operations Manager at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “This position has fueled my interest in media and intellectual property law; however, transactional law is where my passion is now. I enjoy the technical aspects of it.” Prior to her position at Lincoln Center, Eliana was a Foreclosure Defense Paralegal at New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG).

Notably, Eliana also co-founded NYC Celebrates Women, a non-profit group dedicated to Women of Color Entrepreneurs. "The non-profit was co-founded by a friend and former manager of mine. We saw that the services offered by WOC owned businesses in our neighborhood were of exceptional quality, but lacked the investment and marketing needed to compete with other businesses at the level they wanted to. So, we created an organization as a platform for these women to connect and grow as entrepreneurs."

Despite her busy schedule, Eliana likes to stay active. “I swim whenever I can. I also paint, draw, and write in my free time.” Outside of work, Eliana has also had some of her writing published and her art featured in different galleries across Westchester.