VERMILLION, S.D. – The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosted a professional panel titled “What Do Lawyers Do?” at the University of South Dakota School of Law to discuss the legal profession in front of area high school students April 11.
Tamara Nash, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and panel lead, encouraged students to ask tough questions to the 6 other panelists.
“There are only a couple of requirements. That you have fun, that you learn something new and that you stay engaged,” said Nash.
Questions ranged from how much law school costs to how the panelists overcame challenges. When asked how difficult it was to start her own law firm, Taneeza Islam, a civil rights attorney and community organizer in Sioux Falls, answered it was “actually pretty easy.“
“I found some office space, a phone line and got some furniture from a thrift store,” said Islam, the first lawyer in her family.
Billy Coby, third-year law student and president of the Black Law Student Association emphasized it was important for the students to focus on their interests in preparation for law school. “Focus on discovering who you are as a person. Listen to yourself,” said Coby.
About 30 high school students from the Briar Cliff University TRIO program in Sioux City, Iowa, attended the event designed to encourage students to consider exploring a career in the legal profession. The TRIO program is an outreach and student services program designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Tamara Nash – Special Assistant - S.D. U.S. Attorney Office
Beth Overmoe – Strategic Plan Coordinator - American Bar Association
Taneeza Islam – immigration attorney and community activist
Ashlee Wendt – attorney at Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith Associates
Alison Ramsdell – Civil Rights Division - S.D. U.S. Attorney Office
Jeremy Jehangiri – Assistant - S.D. U.S. Attorney Office
Billy Coby – third-year USD law student and president of the Black Law Student Association