A Snapshot of the Class of 2010
They come from hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States and from around the world—from California to Connecticut, from Canada to Korea—with majors ranging from engineering to philosophy to political science.
They come with experience and backgrounds in scientific research, the arts, education and business. They are accomplished students and leaders in their communities, who all have come to Pitt Law to pursue their passion for the law.
They are the 235 diverse, talented and vibrant members of the Pitt Law Class of 2010—a class indicative of the Pitt Law student today.
We invite you to meet four of its members—members who represent a fascinating cross-section of abilities, experiences and aspirations.
Tares Vazquez came to Pitt Law from New York City with thoughts of becoming an international human rights attorney—aspirations largely shaped by his undergraduate experiences. “The outstanding reputation of the International Law Program is what first piqued my interest in the School. However, attending the 6-week CLEO (Council on Legal Education Opportunity) Summer Institute hosted by the School of Law solidified my decision to attend,” explained Tares.
As an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, Tares became involved in human rights organizations. “My interest in international human rights began after spending a summer in Washington, D.C., working with the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE) in their efforts to educate the public about global exploitative child labor,” says Tares. His decision to apply to law school was finalized after completing an internship with Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB). “Given the opportunity to facilitate the linkage between top-notch attorneys and nonprofit organizations in need of pro bono legal assistance, I realized the impact that can be made by a firm with the dedication and resources to commit to pro bono efforts.”
At Pitt Law, Tares remains active and involved. He is a student in the School’s International Law Certificate Program and is also currently President of the Hispanic Law Society. This past summer, Tares served as a Summer Associate in Reed Smith’s Pittsburgh office.
Tares admits his career path may be heading in a different direction than he originally anticipated, aspiring to someday direct a firm’s pro bono initiative or perhaps start a nonprofit organization of his own.
Lynne Pistritto will be among the first students to graduate from the School’s newly launched dual Master of Social Work (MSW)/Juris Doctor (JD) program. This program will give Lynne the background and training to pursue “a career where I can advocate for children—those who don’t have a voice in the legal system,” says Lynne. “I have always been interested in child advocacy and social justice.”
As an undergraduate majoring in social work and Spanish at Providence College, Lynne interned with Kids Count in Rhode Island—a social policy and advocacy think tank—where she worked on a publication in their “Issue Brief” series entitled, “Grandparents and Other Relative Caregivers in Rhode Island,” written to inform legislators and the community about issues surrounding kinship care. That experience reinforced her passion for social justice and advocacy work. Upon graduating, Lynne joined the AmeriCorps program, bringing her to Pittsburgh to teach high school Spanish to at-risk inner city youth.
Pitt Law has further fueled her interest in advocacy. She completed a summer externship at KidsVoice in Pittsburgh where she served on a KidsVoice team of attorneys and child advocacy specialists. She also participated in Pitt’s LEAD program (Learning, Educating and Advocating for the Disabled). Under the direction of Stella Smetanka, Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney of Pitt’s Health Law Clinic, Lynne was one of a select number of first-year law students offered the opportunity to work on cases in Pitt’s Health Law Clinic one day a week this past spring, offering invaluable clinical experience.
Lynne is also a member of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review as well as PLISF (Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation), the student organization that supports and promotes public interest law.
“For as long as I can remember, I have had a true burning desire to be an attorney,” says Dawn Patterson, a graduate of Texas Christian University in Forth Worth, Texas. She will soon fulfill her career dreams, as she hopes to specialize in either employment and labor law or corporate law upon graduation from Pitt Law in 2010.
The mother of three children ages 17, 13 and 5, Dawn has always balanced a demanding schedule. She worked for IBM in New York and Texas for twelve years in various roles, including as a conflict resolution consultant and as a recruitment manager before she came to Pitt.
“I learned so much from that experience, and it was a factor in shaping my interest in employment and labor law,” recalls Dawn. “When I had the opportunity to go to law school, Pitt Law was my first choice. And it has been a great experience for me. The Admissions Office and everyone at the School truly reached out to get to know me and help me in so many ways during my first year here.”
Dawn is actively involved in the life of the School. “I have always believed it is important to be involved, for the success of the institution as well as for one’s own personal success and well-being.”
Within just her first year at Pitt Law, Dawn was named President of Pitt’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA), a member of the Student Advisory Committee for the School’s Career Services Office, and a National Student Director of the ABA Law Student Division’s Client Counseling Competition.
She was one of only three first-year law students chosen as a summer associate in the Pittsburgh office of Cohen & Grigsby, P.C., this past summer.
Sumeer Kakar of Long Island, New York was drawn to Pitt Law for its Intellectual Property Program and the reputation of the School’s faculty.
“I chose Pitt Law for several reasons,” explains Sumeer. “It is a school located in a city with a notable legal community. It has great faculty. And the IP Program is highly regarded. I was interested in a law degree, specifically in the area of patent law and IP law in general, given my background and interest in science.”
A two-time undergraduate recipient of the National Science Foundation Summer Research Grant, Sumeer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biotechnology with a minor in microbiology from the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University, and served as an undergraduate research assistant in that university’s Golbeck Laboratory. He worked as an associate scientist at Supelco/Sigma-Aldrich, where he worked on developing and enhancing products used in life sciences research, and conducted research on amounts of trans fats contained in cheese and cheese products.
“My research eventually led me in the direction of IP law, and Pitt Law was a natural choice, given the reputation of the IP Program, the School’s faculty, and its location,” Sumeer adds.
“Now that I am here, I am impressed with the faculty who go ‘above and beyond’ for the students, who are accessible, and who are a valuable resource.”
Faculty recommendations were important factors, Sumeer believes, in helping him win a summer associate position this past summer at Fox Rothschild LLP in Philadelphia.
Sumeer is a member of the 2008 Philadelphia Diversity Law Group and is President of Pitt Law’s Asian Law Students Association.
Tares, Lynne, Dawn, and Sumeer are just four of the interesting, dynamic and talented students of the Pitt Law Class of 2010. Their wealth of talent and achievement is but a promise of their contributions yet to come.