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Third Year Law Student Alex J. Kaminski Wants to be an Employment Discrimination or Sports Attorney

published November 20, 2012

By Nabeal Twereet Follow Me on Google+
( 72 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
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Personal Life

Alex J. Kaminski, Law student at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
Alex J. Kaminski is a third year law student at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and anticipates a May 2013 graduation. The student plans on becoming an employment discrimination and/or a sports/entertainment attorney. He expressed, “I would be crazy if I turned down a good opportunity in sports.” Although Alex has been an avid sports fan since he was ten years-old, he pointed out that if things did not work out as a sports/entertainment attorney he would focus on employment discrimination cases after he graduated from law school.

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Since March 2012, Alex has been working at Valli Kane and Vagnini, LLP in Garden City, NY as a legal intern/law clerk. The firm works on employment law, primarily on the plaintiff side of employment discrimination cases. The firm also handles other issues relating to the New York Labor Law (NYLL) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While working at Valli Kane and Vagnini, LLP, Alex has been involved in many cases, including Taylor Et. Al v. Turner Industries, an ongoing employment discrimination case in the Eastern District of Texas' Marshall Division.

As a legal intern/law clerk, the third year student has been responsible for drafting and filing Charges of Discrimination with EEOC offices all over the country on behalf of the firm's clients. He has also done the following: drafted numerous letters to employers on behalf of the firm's clients, drafted affidavits on behalf of clients and witnesses, assisted and sat in on depositions, drafted position statements and rebuttals to the EEOC during their investigations, conducted numerous client intakes and interviews, participated in every aspect in discovery and drafted numerous discovery responses and requests, drafted numerous court pleadings, subpoenas, waivers of service, motions, and memorandums in support of and opposition to motions, and has conducted extensive legal research on many issues in employment law as they arise, particularly issues involving the FLSA and NYLL. The student stated that working at Valli Kane and Vagnini, LLP has been a “real gratifying experience to help people out.” His position has changed his mind about just wanting to work as a sports/entertainment attorney.

Alex was born in Manhasset and raised in Huntington Station, New York. He grew up with his parents, Laure and Eddie, his brother Dan, and their beloved dog, Fred. Alex's grandparents used to live in an apartment in their house for a few years, but still remained close when they moved out. Laure and Eddie are very proud of both of their sons and Alex and Dan are as close as two brothers can get. Alex's brother is a great man and his best friend. The law student has been very close to his girlfriend, Meghan, for four years and plans on marrying her in the near future.

The future attorney attended University of Miami and received a B.A. in Business Administration. During his undergrad, Alex was a part of the Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity and he earned the Bowman Foster Ashe Merit Scholarship for academic excellence. The dedicated student also participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

At Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Alex is involved with the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. In 2011-12, he became the treasurer of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society and was responsible for the budget and was responsible for approving events based on whether they fit into the budget. For the 2012-2013 school year, the law student became vice president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society and is responsible for heading meetings and organizing committees. Individuals who participate in this organization have to report to Alex about the events they want to run on the sports side of the organization.

Alex is also a member of the Hofstra Trial Advocacy Association. The organization held a competition where fifty percent of the law students represented defendants while the other fifty percent represented the prosecution in a criminal case. Alex and his partner, Justin, represented the prosecution and made it to the semi-finals of the competition. Based on his performance, Alex was asked to become a member of the HTAA team at Hofstra and hopes to compete in interscholastic competitions in the upcoming spring semester.

Another program the law student is proud of is the Unemployment Action Center. Alex represented clients in their unemployment hearings who reached out to the Unemployment Action Center for help. The law student prepared for the hearings with his clients and advocated for his clients at hearings in front of Administrative Judges at the Nassau County Department of Labor in Garden City, NY.

Alex was a research assistant for Professor Brian L. Frye during Spring Semester 2011 and Fall Semester 2011. The law student completed research and analysis for articles the professor was preparing to write. Alex is a recipient of the Sylvia Martin Endowed Scholarship.

When Alex isn't working or attending classes, he enjoys watching the New York Rangers, Giants, and Yankees. He is a diehard New York sports fanatic who loves going to the games with his father and brother. The family loves sharing their excitement when their teams win. Alex also enjoys a bevy of different types of music, ranging from classic rock to today's popular music. His favorite group is Led Zeppelin, but Alex noted that listening to the English rock band isn't an option when his girlfriend is around.

The law student traveled to Costa Rica, where he was amazed by the fishing and nature of the country. Alex has been on several Caribbean cruises and “took advantage of the cheap jewelry,” especially two watches he purchased on his trips. The student studied Italian in high school and in college. He plans on visiting Florence, Venice, and Rome, Italy in the future. Since his family is from Sicily, Alex will also visit the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of Alex's favorite books is All Roads Lead to October, written by Maury Allen. Alex and Meghan are frequent visitors of Besito, an authentic Mexican restaurant located in Huntington, New York.

Alex's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations

The third year law student was asked why he went into the law. He replied, “I initially wanted to go into law because I saw Jerry Maguire when I was about 10 years old. This interest only grew the more I learned about the law. I initially thought Sports and Entertainment was the only route for me but I now have a passion for civil rights and helping our people who are facing discrimination. There is no place for discrimination in the world today.”

Alex continued to say, “Diversity is one of the best parts of the world today. It is now truly a global community where all corners can reach one another easily and the exchange of ideas amongst all people facilitates improvement for the world as a whole. Only once discrimination is completely eliminated (which may never happen unfortunately) can we truly reach our potential as a global collective people.”

The student shared his aims and aspirations. He declared, “My aims and aspirations are to be successful in my career and never compromise my values. I also aim to keep my family close and to have children I can raise as my own with my wonderful girlfriend (who will someday be my wife if I am lucky enough!) I also aspire to help as many individuals as I can in my legal career. I believe that everyone deserves a fair trial and nobody deserves to be discriminated against. I aspire to foster these ideals.”

Alex discussed three key accomplishments he's either achieved or still striving towards. He stated, “A very key accomplishment is my great relationship with my family, I think that families too often fight and do not remain as close as they should. That is unfortunate because family, at least in my opinion, is extremely important.”

The future attorney foresees his second accomplishment, which is just within his grasp. He claimed, “Another huge accomplishment for me hasn't happened yet, but will soon and that is graduation from a top-tier law school. I have wanted to become a lawyer since I saw Jerry Maguire when I was about 10 years old and to know that I wanted to do this and follow through on it is extremely gratifying. The fact that I will be getting my J.D. from a[n] esteemed University like Hofstra is just the icing on the cake.”

Alex hasn't forgotten about his past accomplishments. The student said, “Another key accomplishment for me is my graduation from the University of Miami School of Business. Graduating from a highly ranked business school was very gratifying to me and is high on my list of accomplishments. I loved my time there and I feel I grew a lot from living on my own and accomplishing this on my own.”

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So what are Alex's key strengths and skills that he would like to use to advance his career goals? He answered:
“My key strengths and skills I would like to use to advance my career goals are my personal skills and my creativity. I am very good at expressing myself and speaking to people in almost any situation. I take pride in being confident in myself and not being timid in any situation, no matter if I am talking to a prominent figure or an everyday conversation with any person I come in contact with. I find that my positive personal skills will be vital in becoming a successful lawyer. I have been able to relate to clients and form a very positive relationship with numerous clients at my current position at Valli Kane and Vagnini, LLP. I feel continuing to use these skills and improve upon them even more will be very helpful in advancing my career in the legal field.”

“I also mentioned my creativity. I love being creative with the law and I think it is very important and helpful for a lawyer to be creative. The law changes constantly and in order to make any effective argument some creativity must be used. In order to make persuasive arguments as a lawyer, creativity is essential. I have always been creative and had a very active mind. I love coming up with arguments that others have not thought of before and take pride in advancing my own arguments with proper justification. I love coming up with new ways of doing things and think this will lead to great success in my career as a lawyer.”
The law student spoke about his weakness. He asserted, “I may check things over too much. I am confident in myself but am very meticulous and hate to submit anything with any error I can avoid. I always try to work to find a comfortable middle ground between overlooking errors and checking things over too much. I think I have done a good job working to improve in this aspect and can continue to improve to benefit my career.” When it was suggested that checking things over seems like a positive thing rather than a weakness, Alex added, “I have caught myself spending more time on projects than I need on occasion. I'm too much of a perfectionist. I need to recognize that my work is good; if it wasn't I wouldn't be where I am today.”

Many readers are probably wondering how Alex handles new assignments. The third year law student shared his process. He proclaimed:
“I like to handle new assignments by doing proper background research. I do not like to delve into things without the proper information[,] so I believe in doing my homework when I take on any task. There is nothing wrong with knowing more than you need to and it is impossible to be as effective as you can be in any situation without knowing all the relevant information. Once I do the proper background information gathering, I like to challenge myself and work hard to complete tasks. I am not afraid to ask for help and think that, when appropriate, enlisting others can be very effective in improving our own skills. Experience is the best way to learn to do something. As such, I believe it can never hurt to have someone who knows more than yourself give you advice on a topic. So, I guess my overall theory on tackling new assignments is to gather as much information as possible and be open to the suggestions of those who have more experience than I do.”
Indeed, Alex believes in asking attorneys for their advice since he knows experience is the best way to learn. For example, while working at Valli Kane and Vagnini, LLP, the legal intern/law clerk revealed that when his colleagues are not too busy, he asks them for their opinions. Alex explained, “They've been doing it for a long time, so I will definitely learn a lot from them if I am open to their suggestions.”

Where does Alex derive his confidence? He admitted, “I get my confidence from my family and my experiences. My parents have always told me I could do anything I put my mind to and my brother has always been there to help me when I need it. It helps my confidence knowing he will always be there to guide me when I need someone. My experiences, in which I have been lucky enough to be successful for the most part, have showed me that my parents have always been right and I can do anything I set my mind to and work hard for.”

Top Priority Outside Work, Three Wishes to Live By, Dealing with Fear, Stress Management Tactics, and Conquering Obstacles

Alex's is a family man. He stated:
“My top priority outside of work is my family. I have a very close-knit family and my father is currently quite sick with cancer. My parents have always been very good to my brother and I and I think it is our job to keep the family close together now that I am 25 and he is 28 years old. My brother and father are my best friends and nobody has my back more than my mother who would fight to the death on my behalf without me ever having to ask for it. I am truly blessed to have a great family and just hope my father is able to overcome his illness so I have time to repay him for all he has done for me over the years. Also, I have a girlfriend of 4 years named Meghan who has become a part of my family and is right up there with the others I mentioned. She is another who, like my mother, would fight to the end for me without me ever having to ask for her help. She is truly a blessing and someone who I hope to spend the rest of my life with.
If Alex had three wishes, he would ask for his father to be healthy. The law student said, “My first wish would be for my father to beat the cancer he has because he is extremely important to me. He deserves to get fully healthy because he is the most amazing person I've ever met. He never complains about anything even now that he has cancer and the treatment has been debilitating. He deserves to get better and I love him[,] so him getting healthy is my number one, two, and three wish.”

What if Alex didn't use all three wishes on his father, what would he wish? The family man answered, “If I can't use all three wishes on my dad, my next wish would be for my girlfriend and I to get married and have healthy children. She is extremely important to me and she is finishing up her school to become a elementary education teacher and she specializes in special education. I love her and think what she has chosen to do is extremely noble so I think she deserves to have a good life and to have some healthy children we can care for together.”

Alex's final wish would be used on his family also. He claimed, “My third and final wish would be for the rest of my family to also enjoy a healthy and happy life. My brother and his wife are extremely good people who deserve a good life and my mother, as I mentioned, has always put me before herself. The rest of my family also deserves a lot as they work hard and are extremely generous to me.”

The law student explained how he would deal with fear if faced with it. The candid law student acknowledged, “I like to confront fear straight on. My theory is that you should confront your fears to see if they are justified or if they are hollow. The worst thing that can happen with most fears is that you will still be afraid of it. I see no point in fearing something that you don't really know about. I'd rather jump right in and see if my fear is valid then sit around and fear something I know nothing about.”

Since law school can add a tremendous amount of stress onto students, does Alex have any stress management tactics? He shared, “My main stress management tactic is to remind myself that no matter how daunting something may seem, there is always tomorrow and the only thing I can do is put my best foot forward. I do not believe in letting myself get worked up about things, I just try to do my best at everything and remind myself that there is nothing more I can do than just give it my best shot whenever I get worried or stressed about anything.”

How has Alex conquered his obstacles? He revealed:
“I have faced some substantial obstacles in my life. First, when I was about 6 years old I lost my hearing in my right ear. The exact time I lost it is unknown as we only found out when I began hanging up the phone on people! No real explanation for how this happened was ever given but it was seemingly a result of many different problems[,] including a concussion and multiple ear infections. I have overcome this by simply accepting it and never letting it bother me. I never let anyone feel sorry for me for my unfortunate hearing loss. I have adapted to the point where people would never know unless I tell them and the only situation where it ever comes into play is when someone whispers something to me. I don't even think about it any more as it has been almost 20 years[,] and I have grown to know that I have so many blessings in my life that I cannot let this one unfortunate thing that has happened to me bother me at all. My life is pretty good and I refuse to allow a slight physical impediment have any effect on my life and career.

Another obstacle I faced was losing my grandfather and my dog both within a short time period right before I turned 21 years old. These two were two of my best friends. My grandfather was always there for me. Out of all his 8 grandchildren I look and act the most like he did and everyone tells me I'm the 21st century version of him! He was a great influence on me and he passed while I was away at school. Unfortunately when he fell ill I did not make it back until after he passed and did not get to say goodbye to him like I wish I could have. However, I spoke to him over the phone shortly before he passed and my mother relayed the message that he loved me and that he knew I could do anything I put my mind to. My dog Fred passed shortly after my grandfather and I had him from when I was 7 years old until he passed. He was truly like a member of the family[,] and seeing him fall ill and eventually pass was not easy. I overcame these two unfortunate passings by knowing they would want me to be the best I could be. My grandfather always looked out for me and was always so proud of all of my accomplishments that I wouldn't want to disappoint him. . .I know he is looking down with a huge smile on his face every time I accomplish anything. My dog was so protective of me and I like to think he saved me from a lot of bad things that could have happened to me! He was a little dog with a big heart and always tried to protect me, even sometimes from dogs that were 5 times his size! I like to think that he didn't protect me for nothing and [I] know that he always wanted me to be happy.

The final and most substantial obstacle I want to share is my father's unfortunate bout with cancer. My father is the best man I know. He is extremely compassionate, selfless, and everyone who meets him loves him immediately. He has been battling cancer for the past 6 months (since it was discovered) and the treatment has been very hard on him. He deserves to overcome this awful disease and live a long life. I want nothing more than for him to be happy and healthy. This obstacle is one I am still dealing with at the moment but hopefully we can overcome it together. I love my father and want to make him as proud as I possibly can because he has always been there for me. I want my father to see me succeed in my career and I want to share my accomplishments with him because he is always so happy when my brother and I succeed. I just pray that he gets through this, [because] he means the world to me.”

Legal Role Models, Personal Philosophy, People You Want to Surround Yourself With

Alex mentioned four legal role models he respects greatly. He said, “My first legal role model ever was Jerry Maguire! I love sports so much that I would love to do what he did in the movie. I love the way he came to believe in the attorney-client relationship and how he was able to help his clients. He truly cared and advocated zealously for his clients. I think a close attorney client relationship; especially in an agent-type setting is extremely important for effective representation.”

The law student respects and admires the attorneys he works for at Valli Kane and Vagnini, LLP. He noted, “New legal role models that I have are the partners at the firm I currently work at. Sara Kane, Robert Valli, Jr., and James Vagnini are great lawyers and great people. They are dedicated to civil rights and helping people who experience discrimination. I am amazed at how they are always willing to go the extra mile when their clients are wronged. . .when I am in practice I hope I can be the same way.” The legal intern/law clerk said it's a great experience to learn what Kane, Valli, and Vagnini know. He also explained how his colleagues spoke at rallies in Washington D.C. on Martin Luther King Day. Alex added, “Working closely with Valli, Kane, Vagnini and their associates, Andrew Kimble, Tito Sinha, Deborah Rubin, and Aneeba Rehman, has prepared me to be a lawyer. I think they are largely responsible for helping me develop the lawyering skills I needed. Without each and every one of them, I would not be ready to become a lawyer.”

What is Alex's personal philosophy? The student stated, “My personal philosophy is to treasure my family and friends and to do my best in everything I can do. I do not believe in doing anything half-heartedly and I love and appreciate everything my friends and family have done for me.”

Alex talked about what he believes holds more truth in light of his personal philosophy. Was it fate or choice? He believes “in choice. I think that your fate is what you make it; you have to make the right choices and do your best if you are going to succeed.”

What kind of situations and people is Alex attracted to? What kind of situations and people does the law student avoid? He answered, “I love sports and am attracted to any situation involving sports. I am also attracted to situations that present challenges for me. I do not believe there is any point in just going through life without challenging yourself. Whether it be something that coincides with my strengths or weaknesses, I always like to challenge myself to be the best I can be.” The future attorney concluded, “I am attracted to controversy because I always like to work [out]. . .a solution for any controversy. I love being proactive and creative in coming up with solutions to any problem.”

Alex made it clear that he avoids “situations that could get him in trouble. I do not like to be around people who lack respect for others as I feel all people are equal and it is not right to judge people before you know them. I do not like to be around people that are overly judgmental and shallow. I also avoid people who discriminate and believe in stereotypes; there is no place for any of that in life.”

The student prefers spending time with people. He expressed, “I love being around people and bouncing ideas off of one another. I feel that a collaborative environment fosters learning, refines one's skills, and lends itself to creating a better work product in the end. However, I certainly recognize that certain tasks are not meant for group work and I do not mind taking initiative on my own and getting assignments done individually when the assignment calls for it.”

Volunteer Experiences and Favorite Quote

Alex donates his time by volunteering in his community. During high school, the student was a member of the Habitat for Humanity Chapter at Walt Whitman High School. This organization helped build homes for people who couldn't afford them.

While Alex was enrolled at the University of Miami, he participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. His fraternity was able to raise a lot of money for cancer research. Sigma Alpha Mu also ran a relay for cancer research, which started in the evening and continued the following day, lasting twelve hours. Alex sated, “It was a cool thing to be involved in.”

The law student was also involved in the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Alex explained how he participated in this organization. He said, “I participated in several fundraisers for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I participated in the ‘Good Faith' Walk, which took place at Walt Whitman High School several times over the years from 1999-2012. My brother was a founding member of this walk at our former high school and I have been involved since he was a part of the group who started the walk. I also raised money for this organization through my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, while I was at the University of Miami from 2005-2009. We performed a wide variety of philanthropic efforts and this organization was one of the primary organizations we provided funds to.” Alex estimated that he donated and collected money for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation about eight times.

Alex's favorite quote is by John F. Kennedy: “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” The student is inspired by the quote because he believes no problem is beyond a solution and the only problem that doesn't have a solution is the problem we don't try to solve.

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