Student Spotlight: Ammara Farooq
Q&A with Student and Judicial Intern Ammara Farooq
Ammara will graduate from Touro Law in May 2022. She is an active member of the part-time program, working a full-time job in New York City while earning her law degree. She is motivated by past experiences and driven to succeed. She was selected as one of twenty law students in New York as a Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Intern this past summer.
What made you decide to go to law school?
I decided to go to law school because while growing up in a developing country, around the refugee community, I constantly observed the human suffering and injustice in many areas from immigration issues, human trafficking, and war crimes. If I can create a difference even in one person's life, I will consider the purpose of my existence fulfilled.
Why did you choose Touro Law’s Part-Time Program?
I chose Touro Law’s part-time program because it gave me an opportunity to continue working as a full-time employee during the day at Morgan Stanley in the Legal & Compliance Division in New York City. Touro Law Center’s part-time program provided me with the flexibility to manage other aspects of my life, while accomplishing my dream to be an attorney.
Why did you apply for the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program?
I was inspired to apply for the Judicial Internship Program after reading a few landmark decisions by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I developed a passion to learn more about her as a person and as a Judge. I came across the Judicial Internship Program created by Justice Sonia Sotomayor which seeks to increase diversity in the legal profession by educating and empowering students from underserved communities and diverse backgrounds. I come from a diverse background and being part of this program helped me to connect with like-minded individuals and has opened doors to connect with members of the legal community at a larger level. It was surely a dream come true moment when I met Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She is the most kind, intelligent, and inspiring woman that I have ever met in my life. During a conversation with all of the fellows, Justice Sonia Sotomayor's presence was so powerful and inspiring and she encouraged us to follow our dreams.
How was the experience? Would you recommend it?
The Judicial Internship Program is an amazing experience that provides a complete structure of networking, legal research, mindful breaks, learning practical aspects of a trial, and, above all, it gave me an opportunity to work under the supervision of Hon. Judge Doris Gonzalez and interact with Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
I was lucky to work under the supervision of Hon. Judge Doris Gonzalez at New York Supreme Court, Bronx County. Judge Gonzalez is a powerhouse, who runs her courtroom in the most eloquent and effective manner. As I would like to be a Judge in the future, it was a great experience to learn how to maintain order in the courtroom.
I was exposed to the procedural part of the pre-trial hearings, process of negotiations, and settlements. This experience also taught me how to be well-prepared as an attorney to represent my clients. The court clerks were helpful resources who helped me navigate through the whole process from when the case was initiated, pre-trial procedures, and when a case was set aside for a Jury trial or adjourned.
I was also honored to be part of a trial of ex-president of United States of America Donald Trump and Hon. Judge Doris Gonzales presided over the oral argument by the counsel of both parties.
I would highly recommend this program because it is a great networking and learning experience.
What are your plans after graduating from Touro Law?
I aspire to clerk with one of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices and then I would like to focus on areas of laws related to human trafficking, white-collar crimes, and immigration. I am open to exploring the area of cyber securities laws as well. I plan to be a future Judge at the Federal level or Supreme Court level.
What has been the most surprising thing you have learned about law school?
I was surprised at the support, guidance, and assistance I received from Touro Law to overcome certain obstacles in my life. I was able to secure many scholarships and financial aid to continue law school.
Do you have a favorite class/professor/experience that you want to share?
I have so many favorite professors that helped me to get through law school; Professor Zablotsky, Professor Melniker, Professor Citron, Professor Berman - and the list goes on. I can proudly say that so many professors supported me throughout law school. I still recall vividly Prof. Darrow-Kleinhaus teaching me how to effectively write a legal analysis. Professor Roig always encouraged in-class discussions of current events. I recall that I found my voice during constitution law class in an open discussion on international terrorism laws that originated while discussing the case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. It was a moment I cannot forget because I had an unpopular opinion, yet I expressed it aloud without any hesitation and since that moment I haven't stopped.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
Regardless of your current circumstances, dare to dream, work hard, and take a leap of faith. Hard work always pays off and if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Be kind to others because you don't know what others may be going through.