Recently, Americans witnessed the historic confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Events like this have allowed the Montclair State University Pre-Law Society Board of Trustees to also make history while pursuing careers that speak of change.
The Pre-Law Society aims to attract students interested in law by providing networking opportunities, study tools for the law school admission test, law school trips and mock trials that help students familiarize themselves with the legal field.
Board members have different inspirations for pursuing the law.
A 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 very close to him, so I guess the law was always in my head,” Naeem said. “I really wanted to see what it was all about, so I got this internship at a law firm.”
Naeem highlighted the difficulties she faces in the legal field.
“Being a single woman, we have to catch up with the men, especially in the legal field,” Naeem said. “On top of that, there are so many great struggles [with] race [as well].”
Emayzyah Reeves is a young business administration student, the current vice president and the new president-elect for the 2022-2023 academic year. She wants a hand in changing faulty systems.
“[Within] the criminal justice system, there has to be a change, so I [want to] contribute to that,” Reeves said.
For Michelle Roblero-Moreno, a liaison studies and junior justice major, pursuing a law degree is personal. Having seen the mistreatment of her loved ones 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’ve seen the treatment that my people, or just immigrants in general, get,” Roblero-Moreno said. “I [kind of] since there [needs] be some change or voice.
After taking the time to find out what career was best for her, Treasurer and Junior Major in Law, Law and Society, Marielina Halabi found a subject she loves.
“I was undecided for about a semester and a half until I found the case law 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 huge impact on Halabi and her fellow Pre-Law Society members.
Halabi spoke of the backlash Jackson received, despite his amazing credentials.
“[I believe Jackson] is probably more qualified than most current sitting judges at the time of their confirmation,” Halabi said. “She has so much to support, but obviously there’s been so much backlash [toward] her based on past decisions she has made. It’s just a double standard.
Reeves explained why women of color often fear entering the legal professions.
“Many people [are] discouraging women of color from entering law,” Reeves said. “A lot of [women of color] say they [don’t] want to get into law because of the bullying and the way they were always told they were never good enough.
The controversy surrounding Jackson’s confirmation revealed many issues affecting women in the legal professions. As women working to establish careers in law, the board understands the challenges Jackson has faced.
Halabi believes in the importance of creating a more inclusive legal system and in the steps taken by the Pre-Law Society to achieve this.
“We live in the most diverse country in the world, but if we look at our legal system, it doesn’t accurately represent our country,” Halabi said. “So I think representation is the first step.”