Kasama Star '23

A Star on the Rise

Kasama Star ’23 grew up in a single parent immigrant household, moving from Thailand to Queens when she was 7 years old. After completing her undergraduate degree, MBA, and taking time off to raise her family, it was the murder of George Floyd that motivated Kasama to apply to Haub Law. Three years later, Kasama feels that Haub Law has provided her with top tier opportunities, experiences, and resources. After taking the bar exam, she will begin her legal journey as a litigation associate at a NYC firm.

What will you miss about Haub Law?

So much. I am sad to graduate, there is always so much more to learn. I picked up a new interest/skill even in my last semester when I took the Mediation Practicum with Professor Erin Gleason Alvarez. I have really enjoyed being a mediator. Mediation is a skillset that builds upon my previous life experiences (studying psychology and business). It feels really gratifying to give people a chance to air their feelings and an opportunity to resolve their disputes so that they can avoid the costs and expenses (mental and physical) of litigation. But most importantly, witnessing the opportunity to repair a relationship after a dispute is what really gratifies me as a mediator. So, I will miss the constant stream of opportunities to learn more, do more, and discover new passions. Haub Law has left me feeling very blessed and well-trained.

What brought you to law school and to Haub Law in particular?

I grew up in a single parent immigrant household and am originally from Thailand. Growing up as an immigrant, I never thought going into law was a possibility. I was raised with the mentality that professions like law are not something immigrants do, and I shouldn’t even think about it. I completed my undergraduate studies at Cornell and worked as a web designer. From there, I received my MBA at NYU Stern and transitioned to business process management. Then, I took time off to care for my kids and be a mom. It was during the pandemic, after the murder of George Floyd that I knew I wanted to do something. I decided to go to law school. I applied to two law schools and was accepted into both. Haub Law had a lot of what I was looking for in terms of location and size. I chose Haub Law, and the rest is history.

You have been very involved during your time at Haub Law, in particular with the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) – what has that experience meant to you?

As soon as I came to law school, I was able to get involved with the Land Use Law Center and Professor Nolon and during that time I read the book “The Color of Law” – which discusses redlining and the way it impacts Black Americans to this day. In that book, you learn about the case, Shelley v. Kraemer, which discusses restrictive covenants. Until I read the case in entirety, I didn’t realize that they had consolidated two cases, one had a covenant that was also restrictive against Asians (restriction applied to “Mongolian Race”), while another also implied the exclusion of Asians (and other non-White races) and I was fascinated by it. So, circling back to an earlier question about how I got to law school – I am here because of George Floyd, but the moment I read that case, I realized that I am here because of my upbringing too. I ended up doing extensive research on our American history against Asian Americans and was able to conduct several panels and presentations through APALSA. As an immigrant, you can feel very powerless, and the fear of deportation is driven into the back of your mind. When I came to law school, to be able to be involved in an organization like APALSA, learning more about the appalling legal history of AAPI discrimination and presenting on it have been empowering. Also, in my Environmental Justice class, I learned so much more about structural inequities and atrocities like the mass sterilization of Native American women. I feel so much more powerful and equipped to respond to arguments positing structural inequities as choices or coincidences.

Which professors at Haub Law have been most impactful for you?

Where do I begin? All of them, really. As soon as I started law school, I knew what a great community I had just become a part of and as a result, my (non-exhaustive) list of impactful professors and staff is very long. Professor Waldman has been an incredible mentor to me. She really cares about her students and teaches the subject of civ pro in a way that is thorough, but not intimidating. I loved taking classes with Professor Humbach, Professor Gershman, Professor Cassuto, Professor Pollans, Professor Brown, Professor Narula, Professor Kuh, Professor Lin, Dean Horace Anderson, Dean Jill Gross – they have all been amazing in their own unique ways. The Center for Career and Professional Development staff members Jill Backer, Kapila Juthani, and Elyse Diamond have all been a great support system and mentored me during my job search. I’ve also enjoyed learning from adjunct professors – Professor Hatcliffe, Professor Lettera, Professor Stephen Brown, Professor Muller, Professor Jay Diamond, Professor Shahmanesh, Professor Gleason Alvarez and Professor Carbone. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible support that I have received as a Haub Sustainable Business Law Hub Scholar as well as all the support staff at Pace who truly make it run.

What do you feel makes a “good” lawyer?

I am going to use the words that I have learned from my professors. “Don’t lose your heart, don’t lose yourself and the reasons why you came to law school.”

Do you have any advice for current or future law students?

Law school is emotionally demanding. Have confidence in yourself and just go for it. And three years later, when you are about to graduate, don’t forget to take note of what an accomplishment that is. Professor Narula reminded me before graduation about how powerful a law degree is and what a defining moment it is to accomplish graduating law school. Stay motivated - although it has been demanding, it has also been very rewarding. Haub Law graduates can do anything!