Syracuse Law Student to Intern with Rochester Firm as Part of Diversity Program

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Since 2005, the Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program has provided opportunities for first-year law students from groups under-represented in the legal field. Photo by Patti Singer/Minority Reporter Media Group

Since 2005, the Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program has provided opportunities for first-year law students from groups under-represented in the legal field. Photo by Patti Singer/Minority Reporter Media Group

First-year law students don’t always get the opportunity to put what they learned in the classroom to work in the real world.

Alexandra Casey of Syracuse University College of Law will be able to get practical experience.

Casey will intern at the Rochester firm of Harris Beach PLLC through the Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program.

The program is co-sponsored by the Monroe County Bar Association, the Rochester Black Bar Association and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.

The program, recognized by the American Bar Association, started in 2005 and aims to increase diversity in the legal profession locally by offering paid positions with Rochester-area law firms and legal employers to qualified first-year students from groups that are under-represented in the field.

“Being a first-year student, especially a student of color, it’s difficult to get internships,” said Allana Benton, who finished her first year at University at Buffalo. She is among 11
students who earned positions in the Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program. “Being in this program gives us an opportunity … that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to get,” said Benton, who is from Buffalo but lived in Rochester for a year when she was younger.

Benton will work at Constellation Brands, where she said she will be involved with trademark agreements and contracts. “Being a first-year, I’m not sure what kind of law I want to do. This helps me get experience in different areas so that I know where I want to take the next steps.”

The interns were introduced to the legal community June 6 at a reception at Harter Secrest & Emery in Rochester.

Here are the current interns, their school and their summer employment:

Jesutowo Adeniji, University at Buffalo, Nixon Peabody LLP
Halima Begum, Albany Law School, NYS Supreme Court
Allana Benton, University at Buffalo, Constellation Brands
Alexandra Casey, Syracuse University College of Law, Harris Beach PLLC
Justice Dunwoody, University at Buffalo Barclay Damon, LLP
Ashley Gordon, University at Buffalo ,Vahey Getz LLP
Akash Patel, University at Buffalo,  Pullano & Farrow PLLC /Boylan Code
Hailey Trippany, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Eastman Kodak Co.
Dagan VanDemark, University at Buffalo, Legal Aid Society
Yiran Wu, Emory University School of Law, Disability Rights New York
Binghu (Bessie) Zhao, University of Wisconsin School of Law, Nixon Peabody LLP