The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Next Generation of Lawyers Attend John Jay’s Annual Law Day

Wendy Wang
Law Day luncheon.

John Jay held its 19th annual Law Day on Friday, March 22nd, which was organized by the Pre-Law institute.

Law Day provides students the opportunity to learn about law school, the application process, and to connect students with people in the legal field, law students, and other students who want to go to law school.

The day consisted of various informational workshops, a law school admissions panel, and a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Nachael L. Bright, a partner at K&L Gates Law Firm.

The workshops included LSAT success strategies, a guide to writing a law school personal statement, navigating legal internships, formulating résumés, financing law school, and a mock law school class.

Michelle Lai, a Law and Society major, spoke about how the days workshop helped her become more informed about the application process and her next steps.

Classroom runs out of seats for the Mock Law Class.

“I wanted to get more information about applying to law school, about just the process, I feel like I’m so behind on everything. The info sessions made my decision more solidified. I definitely want to go to law school at some point but it kind of took the pressure off,” said Lai.

The law school admissions panels included representatives from Boston College Law School, CUNY School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, and Cardozo Law School. Students filled the lecture halls of John Jay as they listened intently to the speakers, eager to ask questions and learn more.

The luncheon provided students with the opportunity to connect with attorneys, judges, law school representatives, and law students. Students and professionals alike chatted over lunch and got a chance to network and learn more about the legal field.

Pre-Law Institute director, Elizabeth Broccoli, gave the introductory speech at the luncheon. The other speakers included John Jay President Karol Mason, Pre-Law Institute associate director Jerylle Kemp, and student council member Jeff Mathew.

Keynote speaker Nachael L. Bright began her speech with a quote from a Langston Hughes poem, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor—Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on,” recited Bright. 

Bright followed by telling the story of her legal journey, from the tumultuous start in her childhood education to the struggles she faced in college and law school, to eventually becoming partner at her law firm. 

Nachael L. Bright delivering her speech to John Jay students and guests. (Wendy Wang)

The common thread throughout Bright’s journey was the presence of advocates who pushed her to where she needed to be, including President Mason herself.

Bright emphasized the importance of resilience, advocacy, and perseverance in order to keep climbing life’s stairs even if things are not going the way you expected. 

At the end of Bright’s speech, President Mason presented Bright with the Fierce Advocate for Justice award.

Chioma Ibe, a senior majoring in International Criminal Justice, expressed how Bright’s speech resonated with her.

“I found her story very inspiring, especially as a Black woman myself, it was very nice to see someone that’s already a lawyer and already has her success story. It reminded me of why I wanted to go into law in the first place, the way she inspired me today I also wanted to inspire other people who look like me,” explained Ibe.

For many John Jay students, the lack of diversity within the legal field can be daunting. According to a 2023 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey, people of color make up less than a quarter of U.S lawyers.

The goal of the Pre-Law Institute in holding events like Law Day, is to provide students with the resources and tools they will need to break into the legal field and succeed as the next generation of lawyers.

The results speak for themselves, as John Jay ranks 3rd nationally for sending Black applicants to law school and 13th nationally for sending Hispanic applicants to law school. According to President Mason’s Letter from the Law Day pamphlet, John Jay students and alumni have been admitted to over 155 national and local law schools in the past 6 years. 

“Just being surrounded by a lot of students who also want to go to law school, I feel like there’s a sense of unity and that I’m not doing this alone, it feels like a community” said Ibe.

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