Prioritize Law School

Kristyn Francese , '18

Kristyn Francese (J.D. 2018) always knew she wanted to go to law school.  “I am very problem-solving focused and I thoroughly enjoy learning.  Both my mother and my uncle are Pace Law alums, and with Pace being in my home county (Westchester), coming here was a no-brainer.  I did not even apply to any other law schools.”

Once Kristyn started at Pace Law she jumped right in.  She joined the Corporate and Commercial Law Society, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and obtained a position as Professor Darren Rosenblum’s research assistant for the spring semester of her first year.  “I wanted to immerse myself and hit the ground running.  In particular, the opportunity to serve as Professor Rosenblum’s research assistant has been invaluable.  Not only did I dive deep into areas I had not previously explored, but the guidance that he gave me throughout my law school career has truly gotten me where I am today.”

When asked about one of the most valuable experiences of her law school career, Kristyn does not hesitate to answer with the Federal Judicial Honors Program.  “My experience participating in the Federal Judicial Honors Program was instrumental to say the least.  As a law school student, I was able to say that I have seen the inner workings of a federal judge’s chambers, which is fascinating.  It is also ultimately what led me to pursue a federal clerkship post-graduation.”

Prior to participating in the FJHP, Kristyn had the opportunity to intern for the Honorable Francesca E. Connolly, New York Appellate Division, Second Department.  In that experience, Kristyn conducted legal research on civil and criminal issues on appeal, drafted legal memoranda for ongoing Second Department appellate proceedings, and even had the opportunity to draft a judicial opinion and order.  Kristyn notes that “some of the most valuable time I spent as a judicial intern was in chambers, discussing complex questions of law on appeal with the Judge and her Law Clerk.”

After her Summer with Judge Connolly, Kristyn went on to complete an externship with the Honorable Cathy Seibel, United States District Court, Southern District of New York as part of the FJHP.  In this time, she assisted law clerks with research, prepared bench memoranda, and drafted decisions regarding pending motions before the Court.

In addition to the Federal Judicial Honors Program, Kristyn spent time while at Pace concentrating on financial compliance.  During her last summer while in law school, she was a Summer Associate for a boutique financial services law firm.  Eventually, Kristyn would like to work on the regulatory side of securities litigation – such as with the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or one of the regulators like FINRA or the CFTC.  And, even further down the road, she would like to work for a financial firm, such as a broker-dealer, bank, or investment advisor, in the hopes of transferring her skills and experiences to these institutions to help them create and enforce strong compliance programs and hopefully help them avoid securities laws violations and the ensuing litigation.

Immediately next on Kristyn’s radar is the bar exam and then her clerkship.  In July, she will sit for the New York Bar Exam with plans to sit for the California Bar Exam in 2019.  Later this Summer, Kristyn will move to San Diego where she will be clerking in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California.  “I am looking forward to the next chapter.  I will miss Pace, but am so thankful for the experiences I had and all that I learned and gained.  I would absolutely not have the opportunities I have had and continue to have without my Pace Law education and if not for the amazing relationships and guidance from Professors Darren Rosenblum, Bridget Crawford, and Jill Gross.”

As for advice for current and future students:  “My biggest piece of advice to incoming law students is to prioritize law school in a way where it – attending class, doing the readings, participating, etc. – is not optional.  This can be tough at first, and it may take a while to get into the swing of things, but once your mindset is changed, the path for success has been paved.  I would also tell students to take advantage of the opportunities that Pace gives them.  I don’t necessarily mean over commit yourself by joining every club or to getting involved with every program.  Instead, students should really focus on what opportunities would fit best with their interests, goals, and resume.  For example, I am not necessarily litigation/advocacy focused, so I did not join trial teams or participate in the advocacy programs.  I am much more transactional and I enjoy research and writing.  That is why FJHP and a guided externship at FINRA worked for me.  There are plenty of opportunities – programs, teams, clinics – to fit each students’ particular circumstances.  You just need to take advantage of them.”