By Kyeko M. Stewart
As a recent law school graduate, I have learned many things
in the past three years. One of the most important lessons is the importance of
networking to further one’s academic, career, and even personal development
goals. As I mentioned, you learn many things in law school: how to network, however, is not one of
them. Enter the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”).
I joined NYSBA as a student member during
the middle of my second year. It is by far one of the best decisions I ever
made during my tenure at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Recently, for
example, I was invited to attend the NYSBA Bar Leaders Breakfast and House of
Delegates. Attending this event has been one of the highlights of my law school
As a Law Student Member, I was
honored to sit in the front row as two of my fellow Cardozo Law School
classmates, Eugene Frenkel and Arthur Shalagin, received Pathway to the
Profession Awards. It is truly an attestation to the accomplishments of Eugene
Frenkel and Arthur Shalagin that I was even invited to attend this event. My
membership in NYSBA is the direct result of the successes and opportunities of my
fellow NYSBA members. NYSBA, as I witnessed first hand, is a community of
passionate attorneys who lend each other support and encouragement.
I was honored to get to shake the hand of Patricia E. Salkin,
the 2015 recipient of the Ruth G. Schapiro Memorial Award, given by the
Committee on Women. During the House of Delegates Meeting, I had the
opportunity to learn about the groundbreaking lifetime achievements of the late
Honorable Judith S. Kaye. Although I did not get the opportunity to meet her
personally, I did have the occasion of learning about Constitutional Law from
one of her former colleagues on the Court of Appeals, the (former) Honorable
Robert S. Smith.
As both a woman and a future attorney, I hope to carry forth
the momentum that both Ms. Patricia Salkin and Hon. Judith Kaye have started. By
learning from the many talented, intelligent female lawyers I know I will have
the opportunity to mentor and help eager young women hone their legal minds and
achieve their career ambitions.
Overall, the experience is one that I will not soon forget—even
after I finish organizing the multitude of business cards and personal connections
I acquired that day. Initially, I was drawn in by the hopes of free food, but
the connections I made, both personally and professionally, will be what I will
remember for the rest of my life. I am proud to be a member of such a
respectable organization and will maintain and foster the connections I’ve made
through NYSBA for the rest of my legal career.
-Kyeko Stewart is a 3L at Cardozo Law School