Around Syracuse Law

2L Encourages Others to Work Hard But Take Time to Enjoy the Vast Opportunities of the Syracuse University Campus

Noah stands in front of a blue and orange stack of Law Review publications on a shelf

Noah Centore ’25 has wanted to be a lawyer since high school. Today, he is well on his way to accomplishing that goal at the Syracuse University College of Law, where he has gained some valuable experience to help decide on his career path.

He credits his uncle, Chris Centore, a real estate attorney at Barclay Damon, LLP, in Syracuse, for being a role model to him as he considered studying law, as well as his late grandfather, Henry Centore, who “was always interested in what I was doing and always supported me.” One of the reasons the Syracuse native decided to attend Syracuse Law was because he wanted the support of his family nearby as he navigated law school.

Centore graduated from Nazareth College with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in business leadership. Before starting law school, he decided to take a gap semester. He thought it would be filled with odd jobs and some time to himself, but instead he ended up as a long-term substitute teacher in the Rochester (NY) City School District—a role he found both interesting and challenging.

Noah looks to the side as he stands in front of large windows in a darkened courtroom

Now, as he completes his second year of law school, he is taking advantage of the many opportunities available to him. Currently, he is the vice president of the Class of 2025 and next fall will take on the position of executive president. He is also the social chair of the Student Bar Association (SBA), an editorial member of the Syracuse Law Review, and a member of the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society, Appellate Division.

“There’s a whole big University campus out there at Syracuse with a lot to offer, whether it’s time with friends, activities around the campus or going to a football game at the Dome. To be successful, you need to put the books down once in a while and enjoy all that Syracuse has to offer.”

Noah Centore ’25

He has also participated in the law school’s Youth Law Day, which brings 100 high schoolers from Central New York to Dineen Hall to give them a first-hand look at the legal profession. And as a 1L, Centore received two CALI (Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction): Excellence for the Future awards—one for professional responsibility and another for legal communications and research. CALI awards are given to students with the highest grade in the class.

Noah reads an open Law Review

Centore is not yet sure what area of law he’d like to practice, but he’s built up some great experience over the past two years. Last summer, he interned as a law clerk with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, and, this academic year, he is a research assistant for Professor David Driesen, supporting the faculty member’s work in constitutional law and assisting in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. As his 2L year comes to a close, Centore is eagerly waiting to start a position as a summer associate at the firm of Hancock Estabrook, LLP, where he will rotate through the various departments to get a better understanding of his career preferences.

“I am currently open to a variety of practice areas,” he explains. “I know I’d like to work for a large law firm, but I think I’d like to clerk for a judge first to gain some additional experience. I love my hometown of Syracuse, and I think I’ll come back and settle down here one day, but I would love to work in a larger city for a couple of years to see what possibilities are out there.”

Noah smiles at the camera in a darkened courtroom

Centore encourages others to tackle law school and not buy in to the stereotype that it’s too difficult. “Of course, you have to work hard. There’s no substitute for that, but sometimes people make law school out to be impossible,” he says. “You need time management and a good work ethic, but it’s worthwhile, so don’t let anyone deter you if you’re passionate about the law.”

He also encourages those in law school to take time to enjoy themselves. “Despite its reputation, law school can be a lot of fun,” Centore says. “There’s a whole big University campus out there at Syracuse with a lot to offer, whether it’s time with friends, activities around the campus or going to a football game at the Dome. To be successful, you need to put the books down once in a while and enjoy all that Syracuse has to offer.”

Noah taking a video with his phone during a Syracuse Bar Association Third Thursday Event on a beautiful sunny day

Syracuse Law Alum Dreamed of NYC But Returned to California to be a Pioneer in Entertainment Law

Leslie Park stands in front of the Hallmark Media sign in her L.A. office.

When Leslie Park L’95 was a young girl growing up in a Korean-American immigrant family in Los Angeles, she remembers watching a movie where a female lawyer with a briefcase was walking down the courthouse steps in New York City. It was then that she decided “that’s going to be me one day.”

That moment planted a seed in her that continued to grow. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Irvine, she decided to pursue law school. Park only applied to law schools in the Midwest or on the East Coast, as she kept dreaming of walking down those courthouse steps. One was the Syracuse University College of Law, which was a lot closer to New York City than California.

“I enjoy being a full-fledged entertainment lawyer. I know how a movie is made, the legal and real-life issues, intellectual property matters, how to handle talent and labor disputes, as well as how to comply with ever-changing privacy laws.”

Leslie Park L’95

Park credits her experience at Syracuse Law for instilling a sense of independence in her that has continued throughout her legal career. It was her first time away from home, and it took some adjustment. Most of the students were from the East Coast with only a few from California. “And, it was so cold!” she says. “The heaviest coat I brought with me was a windbreaker. But, I made it through the obstacles, and I’m grateful that I succeeded in becoming a lawyer.”

After graduating, she did make it to New York City after all, working as an attorney for Sidley Austin LLP and Moses & Singer LLP, as well as corporate counsel for Atari.

But, in 2003, she and her husband decided it was time to move back to Los Angeles to be near family. Park took a job with Hallmark Media (operator of Hallmark Channels and owned by Hallmark Cards, Inc.), as an in-house counsel in charge of corporate and securities filings. Even after Hallmark Cards took the company private in 2016, Park stayed on and assumed an expanded role since she had learned so much about the company and entertainment law in the 13 years. Today, she is the senior vice president of legal and business affairs and assistant general counsel at Hallmark Media.

Leslie Park at her desk at Hallmark Media

“I enjoy being a full-fledged entertainment lawyer,” she says. “I know how a movie is made, the legal and real-life issues, intellectual property matters, how to handle talent and labor disputes, as well as how to comply with ever-changing privacy laws. Hallmark Media produces over 100 movies a year on a very tight schedule, and if something falls off the radar on my watch that impacts the business.”

Other responsibilities include negotiating different kinds of commercial agreements to support all aspects of Hallmark Media, including content acquisition, strategic alliance, software licenses, data processing agreements, IP licensing, and various types of vendor, consulting and service agreements, as well as advising management on legal issues related to entertainment and media law. She also deals with privacy and data security, advising on marketing initiatives, global procurement, and research and analysis of FCC and FTC rules.

“Entertainment law is relatively new when you compare it to something like real estate law or estate planning. There is no set checklist on what to do, as the industry is constantly evolving…I like to look at my role as being a pioneer in figuring out this new way that people consume entertainment and the rules of not only entertainment law but the marketplace.”

Leslie Park L’95

The perks of the job are glamorous, too, as she has walked Hollywood’s red carpet, meeting celebrities like Florence Henderson, Jack Wagner and Rick Schroder, who have frequently appeared in Hallmark movies.

Entertainment law has certainly seen changes since she began working for Hallmark Media, particularly in the way the company produces and secures the amount of content needed to keep viewers watching its channels and streaming service 24 hours a day.

Leslie Park works in a conference room with her colleagues

“Early on it was just TV, VCRs or DVDs, but today content comes from all over the place. It used to be about working with just a handful of studios, but now there are so many different players in the space, from streaming services like Hulu and Netflix to independent producers and more,” says Park. “Entertainment law is relatively new when you compare it to something like real estate law or estate planning. There is no set checklist on what to do, as the industry is constantly evolving. Now, the same content is being sliced and diced into so many slivers so that providers can sell it both domestically and internationally, and that comes with a host of legalities. I like to look at my role as being a pioneer in figuring out this new way that people consume entertainment and the rules of not only entertainment law but the marketplace.”

“Watching that movie as a little girl, I dreamed of being a strong female lawyer,” she says. “I never dreamed then that I’d accomplish that by working in the entertainment business. I am thankful for the solid foundation Syracuse Law gave me that led to what I’ve accomplished in my career.”

Yohannes Takele Zewale LL.M.’19, S.J.D.’24 Successfully Defends Dissertation for Doctor of Juridical Science Degree

Yohannes Takele Zewale, LL.M.’19, S.J.D.’24, successfully defended his dissertation for the Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree. Zewale passed the oral defense of his dissertation with no revisions, becoming the first student to receive his S.J.D. from the College of Law.

In his dissertation, titled “Representation and Persons with Disabilities in Legislatures: A Proposed Model of Approval Representation,” Zewale discusses the lack of descriptive representation of disabled people in legislatures, as well as the limited research on the topic. To address this shortcoming, Zewale proposes a new model of “Approval Representation”, which seeks to increase descriptive representation based solely on voter preferences. His model is an alternative to the model of Descriptive Representation, which has been used in many countries to promote the representation of women and racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Only five countries’ laws include quotas requiring the descriptive representation of disabled people in their legislatures, and all these countries are in the African region.

“Not only is Yohannes’ dissertation significant for its comprehensiveness (at 270 pages), its originality (there is only one other article on the topic), and its use of qualitative research methods to support its claims (following receipt of Institutional Review Board approval, he conducted interviews with 12 disabled people who serve in legislatures), but this dissertation is also significant because it shines a light on countries that are too often ignored by a research field largely dominated by Western scholars. The fact that the first five countries that have instituted policies to ensure representation of disabled people in their legislatures are all within the African region is a topic worthy of research in itself,” says Professor Arlene Kanter, Faculty Director of International Programs and dissertation advisor to Zewale.

Zewale has published one of the chapters from his dissertation in the Harvard Online International Law Journal and a separate chapter in the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

Zewale earned his LL.B. and his first LL.M. from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, in 2015 and 2018, respectively. He received his LL.M., as an Open Society Fellow, with a concentration on international and comparative disability law, from the College of Law in 2019. He has held positions at the Addis Ababa University School of Law, the Ethiopian Center for Disabilities and Development (ECDD), and different organizations. He is currently working for various non-governmental organizations at both national and international levels.

College of Law Student Attains Highest Score on the Arizona Uniform Bar Examination

In the February 2024 administration of the Arizona Uniform Bar Examination, Jessica Marie Lanum L’23 had the highest score among the 238 applicants.

Lanum, a paralegal at Shore Dombrowski Law Firm, P.C. in Tucson, AZ, completed her law degree in the College’s JDinteractive online program while working full-time. At the College of Law, she graduated summa cum laude and was admitted to the Justinian Honor Society for students with the highest grade averages. Lanum was an Academic Success Fellow who mentored first-year students and received a Scribes Award for legal writing. She was the Research Assistant to Professor Nina Kohn.

“Congratulations to Jessica on her outstanding success in passing the bar exam. Having the highest score is a tremendous accomplishment on top of becoming licensed to practice law,” says Associate Dean of Academic and Bar Support Kelly Curtis. “The best way to prepare for any bar exam is to be diligent in completing the bar preparation materials you have selected. Jessica is proof that putting in the study time and effort pays off in the end.”

Lanum outpaced the other top scorers on the Arizona UBE from Harvard Law School, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and University of California Berkeley School of Law

The College of Law Class of 2024 February 2024 bar passage rate for New York state test-takers is 94% and 90% for all jurisdictions.

In addition to offering free bar preparation materials through one of many commercial options, the College of Law’s Office of Academic and Bar Success conducts a series of Bar Bootcamp Programs with an intensive and focused review of topics you will see on the exam, effective exam taking strategies, skills enhancement, a structured study plan, and more,

In addition, the Office’s comprehensive bar preparation offerings include:

  • Bar Admissions Checklists highlighting everything students need to know for admission to law practice
  • A guide for Character and Fitness evaluations
  • Suggested courses to cover each examination topic
  • Recordings for self-paced study, including Bar Exam 101, Studying for the Bar as a Non-Traditional Student, the Path to New York Licensure, and more!

College of Law Celebrates the Class of 2024 Commencement

Judge Graves delivering the commencement remarks from the podium
Commencement Speaker the Hon. James E. Graves Jr. G’80, L’80, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Syracuse University College of Law recently held Commencement exercises for the Class of 2024. The Class of 2024 includes 208 recipients of the J.D. degree, 26 LL.M. graduates, and one S.J.D. degree .

An S.D.J. graduate receives his diploma

Class of 2024 Commencement Speaker the Hon. James E. Graves Jr. G’80, L’80, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, said, in part, “Begin each day expecting that the world owes you nothing, because it doesn’t, and then you will be delighted with every kind word, every helping hand, and every little smile, which is given to you during the day. Remember that as you go through life you will inevitably encounter and interact with people. You’re making memories for those people. Make those memories, those moments, positive.”

Dean Craig M. Boise awards a diploma to an LL.M. graduate

Dean Craig M. Boise said to the Class “In a world that is increasingly characterized by division, injustice, and inequality, the need for principled, compassionate, and courageous advocates has never been greater. You are the future leaders of the legal profession, and the challenges that lie ahead will require vision, integrity, and a steadfast commitment to justice. Let your actions speak louder than words and let your commitment to justice be a beacon of hope in a world that is often filled with darkness.”

Professor Kelly Curtis received an award from Omnia Shedid
Teaching Professor and Associate Dean of Academic and Bar Success Kelly Curtis receiving the Res Ipsa Loquitor Award.

During Commencement, the J.D. Class of 2024 awarded Teaching Professor and Associate Dean of Academic and Bar Success Kelly Curtis the Res Ipsa Loquitor Award (voted upon by the graduating class in recognition of a faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and service to the College of Law) and Assistant Director of Student Experience Vicki Donella the Staff Award (voted upon by the graduating class in recognition of a College of Law staff member in recognition of their support of students and faculty, and their accomplishments that make the College run day-to-day.)

Students gather in their caps and gowns during the 2024 commencement ceremony

The LL.M. Class of 2024 awarded Associate Professor of Law Jenny Breen the Lucet Lex Mundum Award (voted upon by the graduating LL.M. class, it recognizes the professor who has made a significant impact on the success and experiences of LL.M. students during their studies.)

Academics from Adam Mickiewicz University Visit the College of Law for Research Projects

The College of Law’s Memorandum of Understanding with Adam Mickiewicz University (AMU) in Poznań, Poland continues to provide opportunities for academic collaboration between the Universities. Most recently, three academics from AMU spent a few days in Syracuse between stops in Washington, DC, and New York City as part of their research trip to the United States, possible thanks to financing through the Polish National Research Centre. The visit to Syracuse was facilitated by the College of Law’s Office of International Programs.

The visitors were:

Igor Gontarz, a Ph.D. student at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences of AMU, where he is preparing a dissertation under the supervision of Professor Dr. Hab. Wojciech Piątek [1]. His scientific interests focus on the automated activity of public administration (especially towards the citizen), the issues of judicial review of algorithmic decision-making, and challenging automated activity. He is the principal investigator in the research project “Control of Automated Decision-making Systems Employed in Administrative Proceedings” and a team member on the project devoted to “Appealability of Administrative Court Judgments”.

Professor Wojciech Piątek is a professor of administrative law and procedure at AMU. He has authored more than 100 papers focused on administrative, administrative enforcement and court administrative proceedings from the European, comparative, and national (Polish) legal perspectives. He is the principal investigator in research projects devoted to supervision over courts and judges, appealability of administrative court judgments, and simplifications in administrative proceedings in Visegrad Countries.

Michał Szudrowicz is a Ph.D. student at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences at AMU, where he is preparing a dissertation under the supervision of Professor Dr. Hab. Andrzej Skoczylas, who is a Polish Supreme Administrative Court judge. His scholarly interests focus on communication between courts and society as well as the operation of the open justice principle (with particular reference to administrative courts). He is a team member on the research project “Appealability of Administrative Court Judgments”.

Their visit to the College of Law started with a tour of the Law Library where they were given information on research services they could use for their scholarship by Christine Demetros, Assistant Director for Student Learning. Then Professor Piątek attended Professor Keli Perrin’s L’04 Regulatory Law and Policy class.

“Professor Piątek gave a brief overview of how administrative law is structured in Poland. Poland is a civil law country with a Supreme Administrative Court and a Constitutional Tribunal. The United States has a common law legal system and neither of those courts. It was a wonderful comparative law discussion,” says Perrin.

Gontarz and Szudrowicz presented on their dissertation topics to a group of College of Law students and faculty. Later, the group was hosted by the Hon. Thérèse Wiley Dancks L’91, United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of New York, for an informal discussion about the federal court system and the court system in Poland.

The visitors finished the day by attending Professor Brian Gerling’s L’99 Technology Law and Innovation Practice class.

Their second day began with a meeting with University Professor David Driesen, who visited AMU to research Poland’s democratic decline for his book, “The Specter of Dictatorship: Judicial Enabling of Presidential Power.”

“Since my visit, the opposition to the autocratic Law and Justice Party has taken control of the Parliament, so I was eager to learn more about how the process of restoring democracy was going. I learned a lot about that in speaking with Professor Piątek and his students. And I was pleased to be able to share some details about our administrative law system relevant to their research,” says Driesen.

The formal part of their visit concluded with Professor Piątek delivering a lecture together with Dr. Kamil Joński, from SGH Warsaw School of Economics to the College of Law faculty on “New” versus “Old” judges in the Polish Supreme Administrative Court – is it important which judge adjudicates your case?

An important part of the visit to the College of Law was the opportunity for the visitors to casually meet and interact with ISPL students during breaks by using the Institute for Security Policy and Law (ISPL) as a workspace, kindly provided by ISPL Director the Hon. Jamie Baker.

“You might not think there would be a lot of crossovers between administrative law professors and students and national security, but we had a lot of discussions pertinent to the rule of law and democracy,” says Faculty Fellow Maria Cudowska. ““One of the reasons why ISPL is a great hub for international visitors are the people who work here. Our research assistants are an invaluable asset of the College of Law community, they are deeply invested in creating a collegial and collaborative environment.”

Because their visit was so short, it would be hard to make connections and rapport with College of Law students and faculty if not for the ISPL.

“I have to give credit to the ISPL research assistants who went above and beyond in making our visitors feel welcome. The Ph.D. students are about the same age as the law students so that made a difference for both sides in establishing relationships,” says Cudowska.

The AMU visitors found their brief stay in Syracuse very beneficial to their scholarship and created lasting connections with faculty and students.

“The aim of our stay was exclusively scholarly. Our goal was focused on presenting our research whilst learning from our American counterparts by attending classes and performing library research on the system of appealing administrative decisions of administrative bodies (agencies) to the American courts (both at federal and state levels) as well as how the judiciary and public administration are open to citizens’ needs (mainly at the courts level – the idea of open justice) and to what extend they are digitalized (mainly at the public administration level in issuing and controlling of automated decisions.)

In reality, we received much more information than we expected. The consultations with Professors Driesen and Perrin gave us a deep view of the American administrative procedure and judiciary. The discussions had both a theoretical and a practical perspective. We got to learn many details that are not easily accessible in books. The same impression is connected with the presentations that we gave to professors and students.

In addition, research done in the library was entirely useful. We had an opportunity to go through electronic and manual sources and collected a broad array of materials and documents that now are a remarkable point for studying American administrative procedural law.

The social component of our short stay in Syracuse is worth stressing. We met many friendly scholars who offered us their time and company coffee in the Institute for Security Policy and Law as well as caps and scarfs from the Syracuse University store that were useful during the freezing Syracuse days.

Undoubtedly, we will keep in mind all our experiences from Syracuse with a hope for a comeback!” said the visitors from AMU.

[1] Habilitated doctor (Eng.), doktor habilitowany (PL). An academic degree awarded to a person who holds a doctoral degree; has scientific or artistic achievements, which constitute a significant contribution to the development of a specific discipline, Act of 20 July 2018, the Law on Higher Education and Science
Place of publication: (Dz. U. z 2023 r. poz. 742, z późn. zm.)

Pursuing the American Dream: From A Village in Egypt to Law School in Syracuse

Omnia Shedid headshot

Omnia Shedid L’24, ’24 M.P.A. (MAX) was born in a small, rural village in Egypt. As a child running through her grandparents’ corn fields, she never imagined she would one day walk the halls of the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit while supporting work that would impact the lives of many Americans.

“As a girl, my village felt like my entire universe. I never thought I would graduate college, let alone have the experiences I have had at Syracuse Law,” says Shedid, who is a dual degree candidate also completing a master’s degree in public administration (M.P.A.) at the University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Omnia posing in front of the Maxwell School

“My upbringing did more than teach me how to overcome adversity. It instilled in me a passion for helping others, particularly through the law.”

Omnia Shedid L’24, ’24 M.P.A.

When she moved to the U.S. at age 6, her family settled in Baltimore. Shedid and her siblings were raised by a single mother who worked tirelessly to make ends meet but still found time to study for her U.S. citizenship exam—demonstrating the kind of work ethic that has inspired Shedid’s discipline throughout law school.

“Growing up poor, you learn quickly how valuable helping others can be. And, growing up as an immigrant in America, you learn that disadvantaged communities are the first to be affected by harmful implications of certain laws and policies, yet they are the last to receive support in navigating the circumstances caused by those implications,” says Shedid. “My upbringing did more than teach me how to overcome adversity. It instilled in me a passion for helping others, particularly through the law.”

Omnia in front of Dineen Hall

“Syracuse Law has allowed me to explore the intersection of law and policy, and, while that has sometimes been challenging, it has been rewarding to learn how these two disciplines can work together to improve people’s lives,” she adds.

A graduate of Towson University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Shedid took a few years off before deciding on law school. When she made the decision to pursue a law degree, Syracuse Law impressed her with the opportunity to earn a joint degree in law and public administration, something few other universities offered. Shedid was also fascinated with the various legal clinics and experiential learning opportunities that the School offered.

Today, she is president of the Class of 2024, a member of the Advocacy Honor Society’s Trial and Alternative Dispute Resolution divisions and a Notes and Comments editor for the Journal of Science and Technology Law.

Last year, she worked at the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, helping veterans access much needed resources. She also took on two prestigious summer internships. In 2022, Shedid served as one of three Judge William C. Clifton Sr. law clerks at the Office of the Attorney General of Rhode Island. The following summer, she worked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which was made possible by the support of the Syracuse Public Interest Network grant.

Omnia in her cap and gown

Shedid credits many professors for guiding her along the way, particularly Professor Aliza Milner, who is the director of legal communication and research.

“Professor Milner met me as a confused, lost first-year law student and helped me find my way,” says Shedid. “Since then, she has taught me how to advocate for myself and those around me. She is an inspiring attorney and one of the most encouraging teachers I’ve ever had. I feel very fortunate to have learned from her.”

Shedid will graduate this spring with a dual degree and a job waiting for her as an honors attorney with the U.S. government—bringing together her interest in law and public policy.

“My late grandfather once told me ‘You must always think about the people around you, and you must treat them with kindness and compassion,’ and that is what studying law and policy means to me. I want to ensure that the law is accessible to people and that it empowers and protects them. I care a lot about this country, and I believe it deserves leaders and policies that serve everyone,” she says. “I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had at Syracuse Law that have prepared me for the attorney and leader I hope to be, while allowing me to serve my fellow classmates and the Syracuse community.”

Omnia walking up the steps in front of the Maxwell School and looking behind her

3L Came to Syracuse Law With an “Anything Is Possible” Attitude That Has Led Him to Numerous Opportunities

Nate Linton headshot

You’d think becoming the first lawyer in your family would be accomplishment enough, but that is just one item on a long list of achievements for Nathanael Linton L’24. His “anything is possible” attitude has opened many doors over the past three years as a residential student at Syracuse University College of Law.

One of the things that attracted the Middleton, New York, native and former charter school teacher to Syracuse Law was the wide range of clinics, clubs, externships and other activities available to him. When he was accepted to Syracuse Law with a merit scholarship, he knew he had to make the most of his time, not only in his pursuit of international law but also with as many other opportunities he could fit into his already demanding schedule.

Linton sitting in an empty courtroom

Over the past three years, he’s done just that. Linton is a member of the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society’s trial and appellate divisions; managing editor of the Journal for Global Rights, member of the Student Bar Association; and research assistant helping national security expert Professor Emeritus William C. Banks.

“From when I was a little kid, I told my mom I wanted to be a lawyer—and maybe one day sit on the Supreme Court. My parents did push me to do great things, and their sacrifice and dedication have given me the room to develop an optimistic outlook on things and be grateful for every opportunity.”

Nathanael Linton L’24

Linton has also had some valuable externships over the summer breaks, which included working as a judicial intern for Judge Daniel J. Yablonsky L’86 in 2023, where he focused on the domestic violence docket in family law in New Jersey; and, in the fall of 2023, as a legal extern with the SUNY Upstate Office of General Counsel. This semester, he is working at the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office.

Linton reaches for a book on a library shelf

One of the most exciting opportunities Linton has received, however, was being named the 2023-2024 student representative to Syracuse University’s board of trustees. His responsibilities include writing three to four reports to the trustees, updating them about current issues at the law school and keeping them apprised of various student issues. He sits in on executive board meetings, as well as takes part in the Student Experience Subcommittee and the Academic Affairs Subcommittee.

“It’s really a privilege to interact with people who want to see all aspects of Syracuse University thrive, while also advocating for the law school,” Linton says. “It’s been an amazing experience and has allowed me to develop an even larger skillset.”

Linton looks down at a folder while sitting at a desk

Linton credits his parents for his eagerness to grab on to every opportunity in his path. “From when I was a little kid, I told my mom I wanted to be a lawyer—and maybe one day sit on the Supreme Court. My parents did push me to do great things, and their sacrifice and dedication have given me the room to develop an optimistic outlook on things and be grateful for every opportunity,” he says, noting that one of his proudest days was being able to give his parents a tour of the Court of Appeals in Albany, New York. “I think that’s when it hit them that I was really on my way to being a lawyer.”

He credits the many experiences he has had over the past three years at Syracuse Law for “preparing me to meet the challenges ahead by giving me a solid foundation to build upon.”

Linton standing in the courtroom

Linton is also grateful to the faculty, alumni, classmates and others who have guided and mentored him along the way, particularly Teaching Professor Aliza Milner, who helped him during the process of applying for externships and wrote him a stellar letter of recommendation. “I consider her a mentor because she takes the time to meet with me and encourage me—and that’s an awesome thing,” he says.

As he prepares to graduate, Linton is looking forward to his next chapter—clerking for the New York State Court of Appeals on the Central Legal Research Staff as a staff attorney. His role will involve making recommendations to judges on whether or not to grant motions to appeal.

Eventually, he hopes to pursue a federal clerkship at the appellate level or go into appellate practice. One possible dream job is to work for the Office of the Solicitor General, and then possibly private practice at some point. And, because he will continue to believe that “anything is possible,” he’s not giving up on getting to the Supreme Court one day.

Linton in his cap and gown on the Syracuse University campus

Moving From Place to Place, Ex-Marine, Entrepreneur Shifts His Career to Law Thanks to Flexibilty of JDi Program

Jason Barnes working on a laptop in a brightly lit conference room

After six years with the U.S. Marine Corp. as an artillery officer and a nuclear weapons security officer, Platoon Commander Jason Barnes L’24 became used to moving from place to place every few years. He and his wife, who is on active duty with the U.S. Navy, along with their two children, are currently living in Oahu, Hawaii, but Barnes knows they will be stationed elsewhere in the not-so-distant future. Because of this, attending a residential law school program was out of the question, but the Syracuse University College of Law JDinteractive (JDi) program was just the right fit.

“Syracuse Law’s JDi program has been an excellent opportunity for me to create a new career for myself. There was no other way I could have reached that goal without the flexibility that Syracuse’s JDi program had to offer.”

Jason Barnes L’24

After leaving the military, Barnes was a CrossFit coach and gym owner from 2014 to 2017 and went on to work as a fitness coach when he sold his business. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Barnes decided it was a good time to look for a career change.

“The intellectual challenge associated with the legal profession intrigued me, and I thought, ‘I wonder if I can go to law school?’” says Barnes, who is a 2007 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. As he explored further, he saw that the flexibility of the JDi program would allow him to balance raising two children with earning a law degree from a school almost 5,000 miles away. He was accepted into the JDi program and began his coursework in the fall of 2021.

Students studying in a classroom

Barnes admits that the first semester was “a bit like finding your way through the dark.” However, his final semester grades proved to him that he was on the right path.

“Being successful during my first semester affirmed that I was where I should be,” he says. “The unapologetic intellectual challenge of the first semester for a 1L is amazing. I’ve never been academically challenged this way, but I found it refreshing.”

Working his way through that first semester led to one of the highlights of his law school experience—helping 1Ls as a legal communications research assistant (LCRA) and an academic success fellow (ASF).

A student pays attention during a presentation

“I really enjoy helping people and teaching others how to succeed—serving others, showing them how to study, tackling problems,” he says. “These are some of the same qualities that drew me to my military career. More than anything else, I enjoyed seeing others achieve what they often thought was impossible.”

As Barnes prepares to graduate this spring, he is pleased with the knowledge he gained from the JDi program. “It honed my analytical communications skills, and I noticed I can tackle problems in day-to-day life more effectively now,” he says.

Students chatting during a residency

As for the future, Barnes says, “I plan to grow where planted” when he and his family move on to his wife’s next assignment. He hopes to land in civil litigation with a focus on business law, although he is also drawn to entrepreneurship and other business-related areas, as well as the “adversarial component” of litigation.

“Syracuse Law’s JDi program has been an excellent opportunity for me to create a new career for myself,” Barnes says. “There was no other way I could have reached that goal without the flexibility that Syracuse’s JDi program had to offer.”

Jason Barnes headshot

Internship and Externship Experiences, Faculty Mentors Helped 3L Find His Calling in Criminal Law

Peraza in the courtroom looking at the camera

When Daniel Peraza Soles L’24 started at the Syracuse University College of Law, he wasn’t sure what area of the profession he wanted to pursue. But, after taking classes from experts in the field and participating in externships and internships over two summers, he decided that criminal law was the way to go.

Two pivotal experiences helped shape his choice. The first was working in the summer of 2022 as an extern at the Public Defender’s Office for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orlando, Florida. He credits “four amazing felony attorneys” from the Public Defender’s Office for serving as mentors and allowing him to see what goes into preparing for a criminal court case.

“I was able to sit in on psychological evaluations, go into jail cells and meet with the clients and more,” he says. “It’s interesting work, and I started to see how this experience also helped people along the way.”

His second experience, in the summer of 2023, helped to solidify his decision when he worked as an intern with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of New York.

Peraza working on a laptop with classmates in Dineen Hall

“The work I did there was invaluable,” he says. “I was given many opportunities to come up with my own creative ideas to help the attorneys assist clients in any way possible.”

This led Peraza Soles’ interest in finding out more about the defendants’ backgrounds. “Part of the work of a criminal defense attorney is discovering as much as they can about an individual’s health or family struggles in order to bring these things to light and see how we can make their experiences known at sentencing,” he explains. “You’re dealing with someone’s life, so it’s incredibly important information to have at the time a person is sentenced. It’s not about asking for people to be let off for their actions, not at all. It’s more about wanting to make sure the court understands what each person has been exposed to and get them the help they need, so one day they might be able to reintegrate into society.”

His interest in criminal law led him to write “People Not Numbers,” a class assignment on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), which, while not an exact indicator, can show the likelihood between the aspects of the home life of minors—negligence, abuse or exposure to drugs and alcohol, for example—and future criminal involvement.

Of course, his coursework and interaction with Syracuse Law faculty over the past three years has also helped affirm his decision. He is grateful to Lauryn P. Gouldin, the Laura J. & Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence, Crandall Melvin Professor of Law and director of the Syracuse Civics Initiative, who teaches various courses related to criminal law for being a mentor to him. Gouldin’s scholarship focuses on the Fourth Amendment, and Peraza Soles is grateful to her for “helping me to understand criminal procedures and letting me talk her ear off about what I think about the Fourth Amendment,” he says.

Peraza in the courtroom looking at the camera

He is also especially appreciative of Professor of Law Todd Berger, director, advocacy programs, and a former public defender, for helping him to understand what he could expect in criminal law and assisting him in developing his litigation skills; as well as Associate Teaching Professor Courtney Abbott Hill L’09 for helping him learn to properly prepare legal documents, providing feedback on resumes and cover letters, and encouraging him to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) after 1L, so he wouldn’t have to stress about it as he studies for the bar this summer.

Peraza Soles has been very involved in Syracuse Law since he enrolled. As a 2L, he was vice president of the International Law Society and participated in three different advocacy competitions, most notably the Ulvaldo Herrera National Moot Court Competition. He is grateful for his involvement with the Advocacy Program, which he calls “fantastic advocacy learning experience.”

This year, Peraza Soles is the executive director of the Travis H.D. Lewin Advocacy Honor Society, something he encourages all students to look into, as it is ranked in the top 15 in the nation. And, thanks to his involvement and hard work, Peraza Soles was the recipient of the Syracuse Law’s Rhoda S. and Albert M. Alexander Memorial Scholarship in recognition of his commitment and dedication to public service.

Peraza chatting with a group of students in the hallway of Dineen Hall

Today, Peraza Soles is preparing for his next chapter post-graduation—a full-time job working at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office. He is excited to use the skills developed over the past three years to represent the rights of others in a court of law.

“Law school is as challenging as people say it is, but if you can get through 1L, you’re golden,” he says. “Keep an open mind when you head to law school and look at different areas to see which ones appeal to you. You just never know. I didn’t imagine going in to criminal defense when I started here three years ago, but then something clicked, and I saw what I think is a great fit for me.”