I was barely a week into Kindergarten when my teacher told my parents I was destined to be a lawyer. Throughout my childhood, I heard this message repeatedly from adults around me. This didn’t surprise me; I recognized that I was outspoken, didn’t intimidate easily, and loved a good debate. But, fiercely independent, I didn’t like having other people foreshadow a future that I didn’t choose on my own.
In college, I fell in love with every subject that didn’t pertain to law. I gravitated towards history and flirted with the possibility of pursuing a Ph.D. and writing books. I took graduate level courses in international politics and after interning at a think tank focused on middle east politics, considered a career abroad. My dance and art classes gave me fulfillment with my creative side and I loved how sociology challenged me to consider the root of my own choices and the choices of others. Yet still, no interest in law.
My junior year of college, I began traveling abroad and developed an insatiable passion for seeing new places, learning about different cultures and religions, and connecting with people whose backgrounds and lives were vastly different from my own.
Like most soon to be college graduates, I was faced with the terrifying question of– what will you do after graduation? There were so many choices but I hated having to pick just one, feeling that doing so would foreclose many opportunities and careers I could genuinely be happy with. If I went to law school, I told myself, I didn’t have to be a lawyer and could pursue different jobs with the J.D. degree.
The truth is, I hated law school. However, I loved the moot court and trial teams. I disliked feeling stuck in theory and desired to be engaged in practice. I wanted out of the classroom and into a courtroom.
After graduation, I accepted a job at Brooklyn Defender Services in New York City, one of the premier public defense offices in the country. I was still not convinced that I was destined to be a lawyer, but I felt I should give it a try. The first time I walked into a jail cell and introduced myself as an attorney, the client, who had no one to turn to, looked up at me, a complete stranger, and asked if I could help him. It was a humbling and transformative experience. I never doubted my path again.
Words can’t describe the gratitude I feel for having had the privilege to work as a public defender for 11 years. Every day, I got to wake up and use my voice and passion to seek justice and fairness for all, regardless of income bracket. Each day I fought to hold the justice system accountable and to ensure that the rights of all my clients, regardless of race, religion, or nationality, were protected.
In March 2022, I moved coasts from NYC to Washington so that I could spend every free moment in the mountains, pursuing the other great interests of my life including trail running, hiking, skiing, and climbing.
While it has been many years since I first introduced myself as an attorney in that jail cell, I still feel the enormous responsibility of being a voice and advocate for someone needing help. I am fortunate that I can utilize my skills, passion for learning, and compassion for the injured and aggrieved to fight for justice every day.
While it turned out that my kindergarten teacher was right, I needed to reach this destiny on my own. Of course, now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
- Washington Association of Justice (Member, CLE Committee)
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group (Member)
- Cardozo Society of Washington State (Board Member)
- Society of Women Trial Lawyers (Member)
- Washington State Association for Justice, “Using ChatGPT in your practice of law” (2023)
- Washington State Associate for Justice, “Diversity is Crucial to the Practice of Law.” (2022)
- Washington State Associate for Justice, “Cross Examination of the Defense Product Liability Expert” (2022)
- Featured in: Bazelon, E. Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration. New York, Penguin Random House, April 9, 2019
- Five Black Teenagers, Innocent, Face a Lifetime of Guilt. The New York Times, A3.
- Featured in: Clifford, S. (2014, Dec 15). Scrutinized, a Gun Case in Brooklyn is Adjourned. The New York Times article, A.
- Featured in: Clifford, S. (2014, Dec 11). In Brooklyn Gun Cases, Suspicion Turns to the Police. The New York Times, A.
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group, Spring Seminar, “Cross Examination of the Standards Expert.” Attorneys (2023)
- Panelist. “Crown Heights.” Brooklyn Academy of Music and Amazon studios. Brooklyn, NY. October 10, 2017.
- Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, J.D., 2010
- Barnard College of Columbia University, Political Science and History, Magna Cum Laude, 2007