Recently, Americans witnessed the historical confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Events like this have empowered the executive board of Montclair State University’s Pre-Law Society to make history too while pursuing careers that evoke change.
The Pre-Law Society aims to attract students with an interest in law by providing them with networking opportunities, studying tools for the Law School Admission Test, trips to law schools and mock trials that help students gain exposure to the legal field.
The executive board members have different inspirations for pursuing law.
Senior political science major and president of the Pre-Law Society for the 2021-2022 academic year, Nazish Naeem, explains how her close relationship with her grandfather, who was a lawyer, inspired her to follow in his footsteps.
“I was super close with him so I guess law was always in the back of my head,” Naeem said. “I really wanted to see what it was about so I got this internship working at a law firm.”
Naeem highlighted the struggles she faces going into the legal field.
“Being a woman alone, we have to catch up to men at their level, especially in the legal field,” Naeem said. “On top of that, there are so many big struggles [with] race [as well].”
Emayzyah Reeves is a junior business administration major, the current vice president and the newly elected president for the 2022-2023 academic year. She wants a hand in the changing of flawed systems.
“[Within] the criminal justice system, there needs to be a change so I [want to] contribute to that,” Reeves said.
For liaison and junior justice studies major, Michelle Roblero-Moreno, pursuing law is personal. Having seen the mistreatment of her relatives who immigrated to the United States from Mexico, Roblero-Moreno is passionate about using her voice to make a difference within the immigration system.
“I saw the treatment that my people, or just immigrants in general, receive,” Roblero-Moreno said. “I [kind of] saw that there [needs] to be a certain change or a voice.”
After taking time to discover what career was best for her, treasurer and junior jurisprudence, law and society major, Marielina Halabi found a subject she loves.
“I was undecided for about a semester and a half until I found jurisprudence and I loved it,” Halabi said.
The Pre-Law Society is also a platform that addresses important issues and topics. Jackson’s confirmation had a massive impact on Halabi and her fellow members of the Pre-Law Society.
Halabi spoke about the backlash that Jackson received, despite her astounding credentials.
“[I believe Jackson] is more qualified than probably most of the current sitting judges at the time of their confirmation,” Halabi said. “She just has so much to back her up but there was obviously so much backlash [toward] her based on past decisions that she’s made. It’s just a double standard.”
Reeves explained why women of color often fear entering legal professions.
“A lot of people [are] discouraging women of color to go into law,” Reeves said. “A lot of [women of color] say they [don’t] want to go into law because of the intimidation of it and how they were always told they were never good enough.”
The controversy surrounding Jackson’s confirmation exposed many issues affecting women in legal professions. As women who are working toward establishing careers in law, the executive board understands the struggles that Jackson faced.
Halabi believes in the importance of creating a more inclusive legal system and in the steps the Pre-Law Society is taking to get there.
“We live in the most diverse country in the world but if we take a look at our legal system, it doesn’t accurately represent our country,” Halabi said. “So, I think representation is the first step.”