Haub Alumni of the Month: Tareian King '21

Law Student and Entrepreneur

Tareian King came to New York on a one-way ticket from New Orleans, Louisiana. As a Posse Scholar, she received a full tuition scholarship to Bard College in Dutchess County, New York. Tareian recalls, “[w]hen I landed in New York City, it was night time and I had a chance to see the city lit up. It was massive and I had never seen anything like it. In that moment, I fully believed if I could make it to NYC, I could make it anywhere. For the first time, I actually felt proud of myself. Out of 200 students, I was one of ten chosen for this opportunity. As a senior in high school, I knew that I was interested in international law and Africa. I also knew that New Orleans was not the ideal place to land a career in that sector. I sacrificed everything I knew and loved in New Orleans to chase my international law career.”

Tareian acknowledges that things were not easy in New York. It was a tough transition from her life in New Orleans and she regularly experienced racism. Despite the hardships, Tareian made a commitment to herself that she would not return to New Orleans empty handed. “I wanted young girls in New Orleans to know that they could go as far as they wanted and that they could be successful. They could dream outside of Louisiana --while still loving where they came from and respecting their culture.”

During her junior year at Bard College, Tareian was selected to participate in The Bard Globalization and International Affairs, a program that allowed her to intern at The Global Poverty Project during the day and take international affairs classes during the evening in New York City. During the spring semester, she was awarded the Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship which sponsored her international law  studies at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa.

Tareian returned to New York during her senior year to finish her studies at Bard. She focused on her thesis, “For Better or For Worse: An Exploration of Law and Black Identity in America.” “After receiving my degree from Bard, I felt that I accomplished my personal goal.  I left a blueprint that allowed little Black girls in New Orleans to see that with hard work and perseverance, they could go far. Nevertheless, my career goals had only just begun.”

When Tareian graduated from Bard, she felt she had two options: apply to law school or move to Paris. “I chose Paris. Besides obvious reasons, I thought it was the strategic choice. I knew I would go into international law and French would be a necessity for the geographical areas I was interested in. Additionally, I would be an attractive applicant to international organizations and American law firms abroad. I found a job that provided me an apartment, paid for me to attend French school, paid for my monthly transportation and also gave me a monthly allowance.”  After Tareian was fluent in French, she decided to return to the United States and prepare for the LSAT. “I wanted to find a law school that made sense for me – community was important to me. Haub Law made the most sense. As a southern woman, I especially loved that there was a campus with grass and not just a building in the middle of NYC.” 

During her time at Haub Law, Tareian had a variety of interesting opportunities and experiences – many of which she self-created. “Upon entering law school, I knew exactly what fields of law I wanted to concentrate on. Africa and international law were always my goal. I spent my 1L summer working for DLA Piper’s partner in Senegal. I paid for Linkedin premium and wrote outside of my network. I landed an interview and it went very well. During my 2L year, I applied for an externship at the Senegalese Mission to the United Nations. Having work experience in Senegal enabled me to do a strong interview, and they accepted my application. For my 2L summer, I found a job post for a research position for the Africa Department of the Council on Foreign Relations. Although it was not legal, I did not hesitate to apply because I understood the intersectionality between international relations, affairs and law. I also was confident that I could bring a lot to the table within CFR’s Africa department which mostly focused on Nigeria.” At the same time, Tareian was applying to other positions to expand her set of skills in the legal arena. She ended up landing both the CFR position and one with the Open Society Foundation. Although CFR was based in Washington, DC and the Open Society Foundation economic development position in New York – due to the pandemic, both were virtual. “I worked constantly, but in hindsight it was one of the most rewarding experiences.”

Currently based in Dakar, Senegal, Tareian has been met with success. “The virtual classes made it possible for me to do law school from abroad. I made the decision to move because it made the most sense for me from a personal and professional standpoint. I am trying hard to build myself as a phenomenal international attorney and my focus is to get the skills that will make an actual impact. Working for DLA Piper’s partner in Senegal has provided me exposure to mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, and transactional work all relating to Africa. It has been a great experience and I have the opportunity to continue with them after graduation if I wish.”

Not just a recent law school graduate, Tareian is also an entrepreneur. “I have an agribusiness in Senegal and I run an e-commerce business, Nolafrique, which supports local artisans throughout Africa. Additionally, with my business partners throughout Africa who are international lawyers, project managers, economists, and more, we co-founded an investment consulting firm, The Africa Wealth Alliance. My current project involves building a private equity online platform that connects local businesses in Africa to international investors.  Working in international law while being an entrepreneur means that I am always busy. Thankfully, I have a dynamic team that helps with all of the projects, this allows me to focus and be 100% present in whatever I am doing.”

Tareian notes that the pandemic has brought some uncertainty with it. “It is important for me to have options. I have come so far, and the journey has been hard and long – I have spent the last nine years running after an international law career. Sacrificing my culture, my family, and my finances. I refuse to allow the global pandemic to hinder me from having opportunities post-graduation. Even if it means using my legal education on my own international projects, I will use my law degree. I have never allowed anything to get in my way of my goals, and I certainly will not start now.”

Tareian King processional