Angelika Romero graduated from Emerson in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. She is currently a Juris Doctor (J.D.) candidate at Northeastern University School of Law (2019) and a Legal Intern at Reebok.
How have your Emerson experiences prepared you for law school?
Angelika: “The journalism program at Emerson provided me with a series of skills that have been transferable to my legal education. The most important of them has been communication skills. I will never forget my first day of class at Emerson when my professor asked us to conduct “Man on the Streets” interviews. We had to walk down Boylston Street during rush hour and ask passerbys for their thoughts on any given topic. The class was assigned to particularly ask about the Affordable Health Care Act, and we had to report back on the answers we collected. This exercise really got me out of my shell. Not only did it challenge me to think on my feet about the best way to approach people, but also how to best phrase the questions I was asking. I quickly understood that good journalists have to be excellent communicators. The same is true for law students. Whether it is answering a legal question verbally, writing a memo on a complex issue, or collaborating with a group of law students, excellent communication is important.
In addition to the academics, I was involved with various student organizations – such as Student Government Association (SGA), AMIGOS, and Gauge Magazine- during my time at Emerson. Each of these activities allowed me to grow as a student and as a future professional. Outside of the classroom, I developed leadership, networking, and problem-solving skills. As a student, I recall handling budget concerns, booking speakers for last-minute events, and working on marketing/branding ideas to recruit student submissions. All of these scenarios required creativity and problem-solving skills that I did not always experience in the classroom, and yet, they have been essential to performing well in law school and beyond.”
It’s great that you’re currently doing research and working with first-year law students at Northeastern. What advice would you give to Emerson students interested in pursuing law school?
“I have found that there are key skills and qualities that are helpful when starting your legal education. One of those skill sets is critical thinking and analysis. During my first year of law school, I found that it was not enough to have really good reading comprehension skills. What made students excel in their courses was being able to provide an analytical and meaningful take on the material being covered. Being analytical has been essential to parsing out a case, a statute or a judicial opinion.
Another important skill is good researching and writing. The journalism curriculum at Emerson was great for me because it was focused on producing quality writers. This often meant drilling research exercise after research exercise because my professors knew that in order to be a great journalist, we needed to know how to do thorough and valuable research. At times this was a painful process, but very worthwhile. It has been particularly helpful in law school because the research principles that I learned at Emerson are the same ones applied in legal practice.
Lastly, it is important to be curious. Be curious not only about the curriculum that is front of you, but about everything. Being curious will drive you to the right questions, even if you think they are “dumb” questions. The first year of law school quickly taught me to get rid of any embarrassment associated with not knowing. Some of my fondest memories of my first year of law school include being called-on, put on the spot by a professor, and answering with the worst answer possible. These were learning lessons where I came to understand that it is okay to not have all the answers. Rather, it is about recognizing that while you do not have the answer, you have the skill set to find it.”
There is a lot of conversation about professional allies, both for women supporting one another and men supporting women. What do you think makes for great allyship?
“In law school, I learned that advocacy is not limited to the courtroom. Rather, advocacy can take different shapes. I have been fortunate enough to be a member of various latinx organizations that support latinx students and encourage us to achieve our potential. I have also seen how important it is for women to have allies in and outside the classroom. Allyship, however, can be tricky and ineffective if it lacks thoughtfulness. Here are five things I think make for good allyship:
- Self-reflection. Before deciding to be anyone’s ally, reflect on your intentions for doing so and whether those intentions will further the group of people you wish to support. Often, our intentions do not match our impact, and we may have other motives for wanting to be an ally.
- Listen More. We cannot be effective allies if we are not actively listening to the concerns of the group we wish to support. Often, we have a misperception of the issues facing a particular group.
- Talk Less. As an ally, we may have a lot of ideas on how to best address a particular issue. However, it is important to not grab the spotlight away from the people we seek to uphold.
- Lean on Other Allies. Learn from other allies you think are doing a great job.
- Do your own research. There is a lot of disinformation online. The burden of educating yourself is only on you. Doing your own research is essential to keep informed and up to date.”
What does representation for womxn mean for you in the field of law?
“Representation means a lot to me in the field of law. I am a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and one of the studies they conducted found that in 2009 there were only about 13,000 Latina lawyers in the United States. They also found that this under-representation was particularly striking when compared with attorneys from other racial or ethnic groups relative to their overall representation in the U.S. population. One of the things I have noticed among my fellow latinx law students and peers is that there is often a lack of attorney role models in our lives growing up. I didn’t think this would be significant until I realized how well-connected some of my law school classmates are in the sense that their parents are lawyers, judges, or corporate counsel. If not their parents, they have someone else in their lives who provided guidance, from choosing college programs to which courses to take in law school. It is easier to see yourself as something if you already have role models who have accomplished what you want to accomplish. Law students of color do not typically have that advantage and have to network and/or work much more to find those types of opportunities. It is important to continue pushing for representation and to continue supporting one another.”