First-Generation Fireside Chat: Legal Insights featuring Fordham Law School 2L, Tatiana Hyman ’17

In honor of National First Gen Day on November 8th, 2020, Career Services is highlighting experiences, perspectives and advice from first gen professionals in various career fields.

Join us for a LIVE Fireside Chat Zoom Conversation with Fordham Law School, 2nd year law student, Tatiana Hyman ’17, moderated by Omaya Torres ’21.

  • Friday, November 6th, 2020
  • 12:30p – 1:00p
  • LIVE via Zoom

Can’t attend the live session?  Register HERE to request a link to the recording.

Guest: Tatiana Hyman ’17, 2L Fordham Law School Moderator: Omaya Torres is a senior in the College studying Health and Societies and am sub-matriculating into the MPH program at Penn.

Learn more about our first generation professional, Tatiana Hyman ’17.

Tell us about your interest in the legal field.

I developed an interest in the law at a young age. As early as I can remember, I would tell people that I wanted to be the President of the United States and was told that I should go to law school. During college, I participated in Prep for Prep’s Internship Program and always indicated a preference for legal summer internships. Through a variety of internship experiences, I learned more about and grew more interested in the legal field and its multiple facets including private sector, public sector, and in-house.

Leading up to law school, one thing that further ignited my interest was my connection with attorneys that I met along the way and the amazing things they do to empower others and give back. Witnessing their impact continued to reassure me that not only could I be interested in the law intellectually and professionally, but I could also leverage my education to empower others and solve problems.

How does Fordham School of Law foster mentorship for first generation students? 

Fordham Law fosters mentorship for first-generation students through student organizations, sub-communities, and programming. Many first-generation students foster community and mentorship relationships through cultural affinity organizations like BLSA and LALSA. There is also a student organization—Fordham First-Generation Students (F1GS)—that is dedicated to building community among first-generation students. Through these organizations, students can receive mentorship from both current students and alumni.

Fordham Law also offers mentorship through the Fordham Law School House System, through which students can be supported by upper-year student advisors and alumni mentors. Additionally, various centers at the law school organize programming that cover topics of interest to many first-generation students. Through these conversations, students can build community with professors and administrators at the Law School.

What does being first gen mean to you?

Being first-gen means being resourceful, resilient, and responsible. It means seeking out opportunities for academic development and professional advancement that may not be readily shared within our networks. One of my passions is to share resources with other first-generation students including academic, professional, mentorship, and networking opportunities. I believe that knowledge is power and that it is my duty to share what I know with others. It also means growing through adversity and continuing even after encountering difficulties. During my application cycle, resilience meant seeing the process through even after getting an LSAT score that I was unsatisfied with. It also means being responsible, and understanding that it is not only your responsibility to persevere for yourself, but it is also your responsibility to help other underrepresented students do the same.

How could a student highlight their unique experiences or qualities during the law school application process?

I think the best law school applications are those that are a genuine lens into a student’s journey and interest in the law. The primary ways for students to highlight their unique experiences or qualities are through the personal statement and the diversity statement. Through the personal statement, students can highlight their motivations for attending law school through the lens of a transformative life experience or a combination of significant moments. Through the diversity statement, students can share their personal backgrounds and how aspects of their life story motivate them to pursue a legal education.

My advice for approaching the personal statement is to first think about the issues that ignite you or the problems you would like to solve. Then, think about defining moments in your life that exemplify your passion toward the specific issues or problems and show your passion through narratives or anecdotes. Finally, highlight how a legal education will give you the tools and skills you need to tackle these issues or problems.

Another way to highlight unique experiences or qualities is to have a recommender highlight them on your behalf. Thinking about professors, colleagues, or mentors that have witnessed your qualities or guided you through relevant experiences, and asking them to highlight your qualities through a recommendation letter can be a powerful addition to your application.

By Career Services
Career Services