Legal Education

Law school group helps first-gen law students get 'a leg up'

  • Print.

Some say that law school is a game, and you’re at a loss if you come in not knowing how it’s played.

“There are times when you don’t know how to associate with the people you’re associating with in the legal profession, and it can feel like a glass ceiling,” Cameron Chan, a second-year law student at Boston University, whose parents did not finish high school, told the school’s website.

He’s a member of First Generation Professionals, a law school group founded in 2017, which focuses on both mentoring and the “sometimes arcane rules of decorum,” according to the news release.

That includes advice on what color of suits are appropriate, where to put your napkin when you leave the table and how to make a good first impression. The group also addresses the self-doubt some first-generation college graduates feel about being in law school, and family relationships.

“The goal when I started the group was to have a community of students who could talk openly about their struggles. First-gen students may struggle with bills or things happening at home that other students are not necessarily going through,” Miosotti Tenecora, a third-year student who founded the group, says in the news release.

Her mother was a school bus monitor who was laid off last year, and last summer Tenecora found herself thinking about if she should find internships, or take a leave of absence from law school, so she could work and help her mother pay rent. Ultimately, Tenecora liquidated her retirement account to help her mother.

Imran Malek, who currently serves as the group’s president, says he joined because of what he saw as professional expectations for students “that aren’t acknowledged until they don’t happen.”

“ ‘Disadvantaged’ is the key word here,” says Malek, whose mother emigrated from India and had little education. “It’s about people who do not have these built-in advantages, whether through their upbringing or college background, and kind of need a leg up.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.