Laie-raised BYUH alumna graduates from law school with aspirations to become president of the United States

Photo by Sala McCarthy-Stonex She finished at Kahuku High School as a junior. She finished her undergraduate studies at BYU–Hawaii in two years. Now, just months before her 23rd birthday, she has graduated from BYU Law School with her juris doctorate degree (JD) and master’s of public affairs (MPA).

Through it all, Sala McCarthy-Stonex said she has stood by the claim she made as an “angsty” 14-year-old girl that she would one day become president of the United States.

“Why not me? That’s kind of where I’m always working from: If I can do it, why can’t anyone else? I’ve been in many situations already where I’ve done it [and thought] ‘Why not keep on doing it?’ Then others who are like me can see someone who looks like them and … it’ll inspire them to think outside of what the world has already ingrained in them.” A tribute to mum

McCarthy-Stonex is more than 6-feet tall and possesses Maori, Hawaiian, Samoan, German, Irish and English ancestry.

“People are always fascinated to see what I am. I am very ethnically ambiguous looking. When I travel, people always assume I’m one of theirs, but just a freakishly tall one of theirs.”

McCarthy-Stonex shared how she sees her diverse cultural background as an advantage, including the time she spent being raised on a Navajo reservation for a few years when she was young. “It was amazing to be surrounded by a culture so different from mine, but also so richly preserved and respected. That’s kind of shaped the way I view the world, seeing culture as not something divisive, but something that can bring us together.”

She explained even though she wasn’t raised in New Zealand, the Maori and Hawaiian culture are a part of her identity and she takes great pride in it. One aspect that has been imprinted on McCarthy-Stonex is the prioritizing of family, especially her elders.

She shared the main reason she was quick to complete all of her schooling was so she could be prepared to help take care of her mom when the time came.

Hanatea Elkington, McCarthy-Stonex’s good friend since elementary […]

Nudging others to ‘do something’ about looming Covid-grad crisis, Jindal U earmarks Rs 1.5 cr for 100 emergency scholarships (incl 40 for JGLS)

JGLS shifts to scholarship alternatives as job and PG market likely to come under serious stress The mainstream press have reported over the last few weeks that OP Jindal Global University and its subsidiary law school, JGLS Sonepat, have launched 100 scholarships for students facing the economic and general fallout from Covid-19, dubbed “graduate research immersion scholarships” or more succinctly, GRIPS.

There has also been considerable interest from readers, so we have asked JGLS founding dean and JGU vice-chancellor (VC) Prof Raj Kumar for some more details of how it will work.

First off, the GRIPS scheme offers scholarships for 100 students, of whom 40 will be from the law school. Those students will be assigned to a professor at the university and work under them for six months.

The idea would be for the students to publish articles and assist in research but more importantly than that, said Kumar, “the vision is to give them some time and space to figure out their future but instead of doing that sitting at home and not connected to the world at large”.

“You can compare it to the equivalent to a gap year,” said Kumar, referencing the time out that students sometimes take after or before university, particularly in the West, but added that it would be “particularly for those who are interested to immerse themselves in a research ecosystem” but not necessarily only for those “who want to become an academic”.

Each student would receive free accommodation on campus, health insurance coverage as well as a stipend of Rs 10,000 per month; normally research positions of this kind would be unpaid, noted Kumar.

The total budgetary allocation JGU was making for the programme: Rs 1.5 crores. Extraordinary times

The scholarship is likely not going to be a regular thing but appears a very Covid-specific measure, as the jobs and even postgraduate academic market for 2020 graduates is looking increasingly tough as the pandemic drags on globally and locally.

“We have not done this any time before and may not do in future also,” noted Kumar about the programme. “Just this year we’ve realised those who have […]

Things to Consider When Pursuing a Law Career

Before deciding on this career, however, it is good to keep in mind what is expected during your education and while on the job.

A law career can be rewarding for many people, but it is important to consider more than your potential future paycheck before you start. Since this is a highly technical field that requires years of education, the costs in terms of both time and money are large and you should be sure that your skills and personality are a good fit. You may have many talents which translate well to the career, such as public speaking, logical reasoning, and analytical writing.

Education and Related Costs

Becoming a lawyer requires completing three years as a full-time law school student after getting a bachelor’s degree. Your undergraduate degree can be in most subjects and classes in English, history, and public speaking are important. Some jurisdictions also require a Juris Doctor program to practice law. You can earn your Master of Laws online from accredited institutions and find accelerated or part-time programs to help you plan out your timeline and costs. While your future salary can pay school debt, it is important to know how much you need as well as the average starting salary in your area. The cost of professional work attire should also factor in, as nice suits come with a hefty price tag and they can be too uncomfortable for some.

Timelines and Testing

After getting your high school diploma or equivalent, it takes an average of seven years of study for your Master of Laws as a full-time student. Since many students work full-time and take part-time classwork, it can take much longer to get the degree. Luckily, many institutions understand this and offer night classes, part time schedules and other accommodations. Throughout this time, you will be tested frequently on course work and will probably be required to take the LSAT for admission. While most practicing attorneys will tell you it is worth it, they will also usually be up front about the difficulty and that the timelines and testing should […]

International students and graduates face new challenges amid stricter immigration laws

The job hunt is a lot different for this year’s dental school graduates as they grapple with the uncertainty that comes with transitioning into their careers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the new wave of dental professionals trying to find their place in the job market are the international graduates who face the additional stress of obtaining legal eligibility to work in the U.S.

For recent graduates, this means getting approved for an H-1B visa — a permit that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers. With 85,000 H-1B visas available each year that graduates must obtain through a lottery process or sponsorship, it can be a competitive and sometimes confusing process for applicants and employers.

“The biggest obstacle I will face is finding an employer who will sponsor my work visa,” said Rahul Nagda, DDS, a 2020 graduate from the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry. “There is a lack of knowledge about H-1B visas among private practitioners and most are not willing to sponsor a work visa.”

Dr. Nagda came to the U.S. nearly three years ago from Mumbai, India, where he worked as an associate dentist. His dreams of attending a dental school in the U.S. got off to a rough start as he spent three years applying to several schools only to be faced with one denial after another.

It wasn’t until he enrolled into a preceptorship at the University of California, Los Angeles that the doors of opportunity began to open. He enrolled at UCSF School of Dentistry soon after where he received his degree in dental surgery, but behind this significant milestone awaits the growing challenge of obtaining a legal permit to practice in the U.S.

President Trump on June 22 signed an executive order suspending new H-1B and H-4 visas until the end of the year — barring hundreds of thousands of foreigners from seeking employment in the U.S. Although the suspension will not have an immediate impact on Nagda, who is on a student visa as he completes a pediatric residency at UCSF, the new order could have a negative effect on his […]

An Entrepreneurial Tax Spirit: A Conversation With Beverly Winstead

Profile photo of Beverly Winstead In one of her first jobs, Beverly Winstead met a former head of the IRS Criminal Investigation division, who told her that more lawyers of color were needed to help taxpayers resolve their tax issues and that she should be one of them. That encouragement set her on the path to law school and to owning her own law firm, where she recently celebrated 10 years in business.

Winstead began her road to tax law in college, honing her teamwork skills on the basketball court and majoring in business administration. She found her tax classes in college fascinating and especially liked corporate tax, but initially decided to pursue a different course.

Instead of heading straight to law school after graduation, she went to a tax accounting firm, where she met her first mentor in the legal field and developed an appreciation for tax work. Some of the clients she worked for there would later form the foundation of her legal practice.

As a student at the University of Maryland School of Law, Winstead developed a network of close friends and advisers who have remained important to her throughout her career and with whom she frequently collaborates.

She is working on a project with one of her best friends from law school, Michelle Mendez of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., to create a webinar for taxpayers who would benefit from information about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ( P.L. 116-136 ) and economic impact payments in languages other than English.

Winstead also works with her former classmate Caitlin Ryland of Legal Aid of North Carolina on a project to help reclassify misclassified farmworkers so that they don’t run into tax problems. Working with law school friends is especially satisfying, she said. Hanging Out a Shingle

One of the things Winstead likes best about being an entrepreneur is the constant new challenges, which started right from the beginning.

Winstead’s venture into law firm ownership coincided with the market crash in 2008, and her first years in operation were marked by the ensuing recession.

Looking back, she said it […]

Skills And Education For Legal Professionals In The 2020’s

Empty asphalt road and New year 2020 concept. Driving on an empty road to Goals 2020. What are the skills required of lawyers in the 2020’s? Is traditional legal education equipped to provide them and, if not, how, where, and from whom will lawyers acquire those skills? How will the profession’s insular culture adapt to full-throated collaboration with allied legal professionals essential to the delivery of customer-centric, data-driven, efficient, accessible, value-driven, impactful, and scalable legal services? These are pressing questions that are—or should be—front and center for the legal profession and the industry. Here are some answers.

Legal Knowledge Is Table Stakes: Augmented Skills Are Required

For most lawyers, legal knowledge will become a skill , not a practice, during this decade. The practice of law, long defined broadly and exclusively by lawyers, is now largely a consumer-driven determination—especially in the corporate market segment. Practice activities are shrinking and the business of delivering legal services is expanding. Some reasons include: client need for multi-disciplinary, data-driven, holistic risk analysis requiring other professional skills and competencies; automation; the “productization” of legal services; the rise of legal operations; and, in some jurisdictions, re-regulation.

The distinction between legal practice and the business of delivering legal services is more than a semantical one. It involves different skillsets and mindsets that impact legal education and training. In the UK, for example, the list of “reserved services” requiring licensed attorneys has been pared down to six categories. Effective 2021, candidates sitting for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), are no longer required to attend law school. In the US, corporate legal buyers are reevaluating when, to what degree, from what delivery models, and at what price licensed attorneys are required to perform what were once described as “legal” tasks. Law schools are generally impervious to these systemic marketplace changes. Most are preparing students for careers that are vanishing.

Legal knowledge has become table stakes for lawyers. Lawyers must also have augmented skills that include: business and data-analytics basics, project management, and a grasp of how technology is applied to legal delivery. Lawyers need not become experts in each of […]

The Only Question for Law School Re-Openings

William H. Widen, a Professor at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida, discusses the necessity of online learning for law schools in the fall of 2020… How do you ask a person to be the last person to die for a mistake? That is the question American law school deans and their supervisors must consider as the fall term approaches. I pose this question to advocate for law schools to teach fully online in fall 2020 because a law school might take a conservative approach in the short term without serious jeopardy to their academic mission. Other disciplines operate under different parameters—I do not presume to advise a chemistry department with labs or a music department with recital halls.

Administrators should strategically reduce overall campus population density by teaching law online because law adapts well to distance learning, as explained below. Lowering student density on campus reduces the risk to our overall academic communities. A maintenance crew cleaning a needed chemistry lab is not exposed to the risk of infection from law school students.

Law school management must prepare to answer this question if they open classes in-person, despite reservations about safety, or the efficacy of social distancing measures. Harvard Law School and UC Berkeley Law School led with decisions to cancel in-person instruction for fall 2020. Other schools have taken notice and are in various stages of deciding the way forward, including hybrid learning approaches that mix in-person and online instruction, also designed to minimize risk, as an alternative to the risk mitigation strategy advocated for here. UC Irvine just announced a hybrid approach—all online for upper-division, with a choice given to incoming 1L students.

For 1L courses, a large classroom with active discussion is common—but not strictly necessary. Conventional wisdom suggests that a failure to hold in-person classes will result in a dramatic decline in first-year law school enrollment and, thus, tuition revenue. Financial ruin follows because law students will only pay for the in-person Socratic experience. Economics drives the decision to take the risk to open with in-person classes. The brunt of the risk […]

ASU Law graduates increasingly land at top firms throughout U.S.

As the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has raised its profile over the past decade, becoming the youngest top-25 law school in the country, it has seen a corresponding rise in attention and interest — both from prospective students and employers.

As a top ranked national and No. 7 public law school, ASU Law now draws a substantial majority of its applicants from out of state. Graduates are finding that ASU Law is not only a gateway to a robust legal job market in Arizona, but can also unlock opportunities at large firms throughout the country. Recent graduate Zade Shakir participates in the Spring 2019 Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law convocation ceremony. Download Full Image

Although in-state applications have risen sharply, the increased interest from nearby states has been even more dramatic, and out-of-state students now make up the vast majority of applicants. ASU Law’s in-state applicant pool has risen from 414 in 2017 to 506 so far in 2020, a 22% increase. In that same time span, the number of nearby state applicants soared from 400 to 741 from California, an 85% jump, while Texas applicants rocketed from 131 to 348 — a leap of 166%.

“We provide a world-class legal education at a value compared to other schools in our ranking, and that is an attractive equation for any prospective law student,” said ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester . “But perhaps more importantly, we are committed to a positive outcome for every one of our students. From day one, we work to make their dreams a reality, knowing that wherever they want to work, a degree from ASU Law is going to open a lot of doors.” A ticket to Texas

McCall Bauersfeld, JD ’19, ASU Law. After getting her undergrad degree at ASU and enrolling at ASU Law, Wisconsin native McCall Bauersfeld had fallen in love with the warm weather of Phoenix — and her fiancé — and was planning to soon launch a career in Arizona.

“I was recently engaged and we were still trying to figure out where we wanted to […]

5 Questions for an LL.M. Graduate — Bela Karmel

Originally from Bulgaria, Karmel pursued an LL.M. from UC Berkeley, passed the California bar exam and is now working at a law firm in San Francisco

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and raised in Brussels, Belgium. I earned a master’s degree in law from SciencesPo Paris in 2017 after a bachelor’s from the same institution. Then, I worked at an international law firm in Paris on intellectual property issues, and at the European Commission on copyright legislation. In 2019, I earned my LL.M. degree from UC Berkeley School of Law and passed the California bar exam that year. Now, I am working as an associate in a major US law firm in San Francisco. As a former LL.M. student, how do you suggest incoming students approach their studies?

Once you’ve selected the law school you will be attending as an LL.M. student, it’s important to make an organized plan of what you wish to achieve during this year. Some students prefer to take the minimum required classes and focus their efforts on legal clinics and practical experience, while others prefer to focus on academic work. Some law schools offer additional certificates of specialization to the JD and LL.M. degrees that show that the student has developed expertise in a specific field. It is always good to have such certificates, especially for job applications.

Once you’ve selected all your courses, it’s important to focus on doing the work on a continuous basis: US law courses are known for having a lot of readings and surprise in-class questioning, so come prepared for every class. What are some aspects of the US LL.M. experience that might not be apparent to international students?

Whatever courses you decide to take, you should know that grades matter. If you decide to apply for jobs in the US your transcript will be reviewed by the hiring manager of the company or law firm you’ve applied to, and your grades will determine, in part, the strength of your application. Do not take courses that you […]

A shift in quaran-time

Saptak’s culinary skills took his family on a ‘food trip’ The lockdown threw a spanner in the works for many. Forced into the ‘new normal’, five Amdavadis tell us how the changes have been — good, bad or ugly

By Rhea Lodhiya

♦ Saptak Tambe,
GM (projects)
MAJOR CHANGE: Three months spent with family as work trip got cancelled

My work requires me to be on project sites, and I would usually be in the city for a month. I was about to leave for a project three days before the lockdown was enforced. And it has sure been a blessing in disguise as I got to spend these months with family. I live in a joint family of 12 people, so our evenings are spent in playing games like kho-kho, kabaddi, ‘dog and the bone’, et al. After college, to get such moments with loved ones is unique.

I think one habit I would like to take along from my lockdown routine into my ‘normal’ one, would be my morning yoga and meditation practice. I have come to learn that it brings out the best in you, and changes your perspective to life and everything. I don’t think going back to our normal routine would be difficult. It would be like moving in a new direction, following the fundamentals of hygiene and cleanliness. I am taking this change quite positively as it would bring about a safe working environment, which I believe is best for us as well as for nature.

♦ Cheta Sheth,
Law student
MAJOR CHANGE: Finished BA LLB (Hons), GNLU during the lockdown

I was finishing my final semester when the lockdown was announced. I would attend classes, rest a little, study in the library, play badminton and call it a day. Suddenly, we were all sent back home. Everything stopped abruptly and everyone went back to their respective cities, I came home to Mumbai. There was to be a farewell party for us, which seems unlikely now, and the valedictory ceremony might happen next year. At GNLU, we have […]

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