Awards: Dean's List. Graduated cum laude in political science.
Internships: During my time in college, I worked as an International Trade Intern at Georgia Department of Economic Development, Lobbying and Legal Affairs Intern at Troutman Sanders LLP, Legislative Aid and then Chief of Staff for Georgia State House Representative Spencer Frye.
Law School Jobs: Trademark Clerk at Citibank
What are the law school activities that you participate in?
Founder and Vice President of the Fashion Law Society
Managing Layout Editor of The Cardozo Jurist (law school newspaper)
Member of the Intellectual Property Law Society
Captain of Cardozo FC Soccer Club
Have you participated in any externship program? If yes, give details. How did you positively contribute to the ongoing work, meaning how did your presence make a difference to the work? What was the role you played? Though it's somewhat frowned upon to work during your 1L year, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Citibank's trademark attorneys. As the first 1L student to ever work in Citibank's trademark division, I have found the work gratifying and grueling. On any typical day, I assist in research for TTAB oppositions, foreign trademark prosecution, docketing and tracking infringements/conflicts, and much more. I'm also really fortunate to work under a handful of incredibly sharp attorneys, and it would be an understatement to say that their love for trademark law has rubbed off on me. Since joining Citibank, I have confirmed that I do in fact want to pursue a legal career in trademark law.
Are you a member of or affiliated with any professional institution?
I am a student member of the New York City Bar Association and a pending student member of the International Trademark Association.
What do you think are your key accomplishments or achievements?
I would say my key achievement thus far would be my work as Chief of Staff for Representative Frye. Prior to taking the challenge, I had never held a position with a managerial component. To supervise and lead an intern team of 15+ students is a truly humbling experience. It forces you to view your work in the context of a final product as opposed to blind task completion. Essentially, my job was to extract and synthesize my boss' needs, goals, and priorities, and then delegate that to each intern in a way that would play to each of their strengths. I enjoyed the responsibility, and I believe learning how to best optimize a team's output is one of my most cherished achievements.
I am also quite proud to be the only 1L student to ever work for Citibank's trademark department. I am humbled that my supervisors put so much trust in my capabilities, and I work incredibly hard each day to show them why I'm grateful to be there at this early stage in my legal career.
Why did you go into the law?
Having worked in both the private and public sectors of politics, I have been exposed to law and legislation for some time now. Though my resume may not show it, I have actually inched away from politics as a career path. Getting dipped into politics so early, though an exciting experience, taught me that a career in government wasn't something I wanted in the end. As I fell out of love with politics, the legal side of the discipline resonated with me. I was especially drawn to the problem solving aspect of law. Reading cases now I love tracing the thought processes of attorneys and analyzing the different ways they approach their arguments. It's a sort of logical maneuvering of facts and set of rules that excites me most. Like one of those TV shows where a contestant is given a few odd ingredients and told to create an amazing dish, my somewhat adolescent view of the law is the practice of making successful outcomes with the tools at hand, no matter how limited. The prospect of being the person a company comes to in order to solve a real life problem is thrilling to me. Since beginning law school, I have developed a keen interest in intellectual property law. I think as industries continue to transform and shift in this digital age, intellectual property will become the most valuable asset to any party.
What are the key strengths and skills that you would like to leverage upon to advance your career goals?
I would say my key strengths are my work ethic and ability to take orders well. I believe that with those two attributes, anyone can excel at whatever they choose to do. In addition, I would say my attention to detail and ability to approach problem solving in both a conservative and progressive way highlight a few more strengths of mine. I'm a firm believer of thinking outside the box, and I try to apply that concept to all that I do.
What makes you stand out from your peers?
If I had to decide what single attribute sets me aside from my peers, it would have to be my eagerness to expand my skillset and knowledgebase. I am always trying to dip my toes into new things so that I can learn from those experiences and apply those lessons elsewhere. For instance, though I am a law student, I have also founded and continue to grow my online fashion company BASTION&CO (www.bastionconyc.com). The lessons I have learned starting my own business as well as engaging in the fashion industry here in New York have taught me an innumerable amount of lessons that I intend on applying in my legal career. Through BASTION, I even taught myself photography. I have since received full photography accreditation for the past two Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks in NYC. I even do freelance work on the side as more of a creative outlet.
Do you have community or volunteer experience? Please list the organizations' names, their locations, year and duration of participation, any honors/awards, and the responsibilities you assumed.
Due to close family ties, the ALS Association is a cause that I hold near and dear to my heart. My family and I have volunteered with their ALS Walks since 2008. I was also overjoyed to witness the recent "ice bucket challenge" hit the internet. ALS is truly an overlooked disease, and it was wonderful to witness its promulgation into the international discourse.
Are there any weaknesses that you would like to work on?
A weakness I would like to work on is my work efficiency. Sometimes I can too easily dwell on a certain task and get lost in the details. In consequence, my speed of production is hindered. To remedy this, I have set constructive time constraints on my work schedule in order to keep me on track so that I don't get lost in a single project.
Would you like to share with us your aims and aspirations?
Because I am only a 1L, I am still soaking in all the different paths in the legal field that are out there. With that being said, my current position at Citibank has really opened my eyes to the intellectual property sphere. Currently I'm finding a nice home in trademark law, and the deeper I dive into the nuances of the practice the more attached I get.
Would you like to share with us your hobbies or personal interests?
I have played, watched, and obsessed over soccer ever since I could walk. In addition to playing soccer, I enjoy working on my business, photography, graphic design, and playing classical guitar. I am personally interested in both the business and legal aspects of the fashion industry, and I also enjoy keeping up with the latest news in international relations. For fun, I like to read Sherlock Holmes novels while I'm on the subway and then see if I can make deductions about strangers just as the protagonist does in his mysteries.
Have you traveled? Where? Most influential traveling experience?
In my life, I have been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing places. I have been to Germany a few times, once for the World Cup in 2006, which was a dream come true for a young soccer fanatic. I've also competed personally in England, where I was chosen to accompany an American club to participate in Arsenal FC's International Soccer Festival. The most unique place I have ever been has to be Dubai, UAE in the Middle East. I have family in that part of the world, so I've been lucky enough to travel there a couple times. The culture, the architectural marvels, and the diversity of Dubai make it a city unlike any other.
Legal role models?
Being a Cardozo law student, it would be improper for me to say anyone but Benjamin N. Cardozo. But in all seriousness, I have found his opinions to be as fair and concise, as well as his prose gripping to read.
Did you grow up in a small house? Brothers? Sisters? Proud parent?
Growing up in the Bible Belt of the US, I always felt a bit like an outsider. My mother was an Italian-American from New Jersey and my father was from Iran, so I always looked and spoke differently than my peers. This experience helped me grow as a young man in learning the true strength in individuality and staying true to yourself. At home, I had two loving and motivating parents and two lovely sisters. My sisters (one older, one younger) are very dear to me, and though we are separated by quite a few states now, we stay in touch on a regular basis.
Every talent must unfold itself in fighting. - Friedrich Nietzsche. I minored in philosophy, and Nietzsche was always my favorite person to read. This quote means so much to me because it explains that if you want to be great at something, you have to work and work to get yourself there. I love to romanticize the idea that hard work leads to success.
Where do you derive your confidence?
I derive my confidence in my steadfast work ethic. Every day, I try to work harder and smarter than my peers, and that perpetual challenge to better myself on a daily basis brings me confidence because I know I am pushing myself in the right direction.
What are the areas of law you hope to practice?
I am most interested in trademark law, and I hope to practice at a large IP firm after I graduate.
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