Student Spotlight Joshua Stickell

Meet a Student Leader: One that talks the talk and walks the walk!

Joshua Stickell, a 2L, is the perfect combination of ambition, dedication, and execution – an embodiment of talking the talk and walking the walk! His face is one many students can recognize at Touro Law: a student leader who enriches both themselves and the community. Joshua shares, “I am proud to be the Student Bar Association President and represent Touro’s student body … I want students, especially student organization leaders, to feel empowered and to continue making Touro an inclusive, fun, and academically stimulating law school!”

Joshua’s title of student leader is not without merit. He is a 2025 Pro Bono Scholar, Honors Program Scholar, and a member of the Touro Law Review. Joshua is also President of the Fostering LGBTQ+ Openness and Respect Alliance (FLORA), and a 2L Representative for the Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA). Under Joshua’s leadership, FLORA was able to organize Touro’s first-ever drag show, during which they sparked important and relevant conversations on campus about LGBTQ+ issues relating to law. Joshua hopes the drag show becomes an annual tradition and staple of the Touro community. In his role as President of the SBA, he works closely with the Office of Academic Excellence and Bar Success to aid students in taking advantage of the services that office provides. Joshua says, “students must [take] their legal studies and bar prep into their own hands! I hope to push students to utilize every opportunity Touro makes available to us academically, professionally, and in preparation for the bar exam.” Since matriculating at Touro, Joshua has participated in numerous pro bono opportunities. He’s been able to assist people in filing: (1) their federal income taxes for free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic; (2) applications for legal name changes through the Name Change Project; and (3) work permit authorization and Temporary Protected Status applications through Sepa Mujer’s Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) Clinic. This semester, Joshua plans to work with the Herstory Writers Network, where he will write alongside middle-school and high-school students involved in Judge Fernando Camacho’s Concept Court. The network’s objective is to use a story-based approach to drive policy change, reduce recidivism, tackle racial injustice in our incarceration system, and help the students advocate for themselves.

Joshua began his law career as a paralegal, where he witnessed the benefits for a client of having a highly effective and dedicated attorney, which inspired his want to be the same for other people. Joshua ultimately decided to attend law school to become an advocate for underrepresented communities. His eventual goal is twofold: to open a ‘one-stop’ firm of like-minded attorneys who can service people’s needs, and to become an integral community member who gives back.

As a first-generation Latino, and both a first-generation college graduate and law student, Joshua shares he may not have family members to model his professional trajectory after. Nonetheless, Joshua expressed gratitude for the undeniable support of his family throughout his journey and describes himself as “blessed” for having such relationships in his life. Joshua also acknowledged the educators he’s met that have been crucial to his success and drive, even reminiscing back to his alma mater SUNY Old Westbury, and its Politics, Economics, and Law Department, to which he accredits much of his skill development. However, many of Joshua’s current influences are right here at Touro Law Center! Joshua praised Professors John Quinn and Deseriee Kennedy, and thanked the Public Advocacy Center Director Cate Carbonaro:

I loved Legal Process with Professor Quinn because he always emphasized that our names are the two most important words in any legal document we write. He taught us that our voice—specifically, the individualism we bring to the writing, the flair we insert in the monotony of case law, and the story we craft for our audience—is the most valuable asset we can develop during law school. I am also grateful to him for allowing me to work alongside him during my 1L summer as a Federal Judicial Intern to the Honorable Raymond Dearie and now as his research assistant for his appeal work in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals!

I loved Civ Pro with Professor Kennedy because she not only taught us the rules but pushed us to question their efficacy and purpose. Are the rules for a higher good, or are they meant to make litigation more complex and inaccessible to those who do not understand them or do not have access to a competent attorney? Moreover, she emphasized the value of using the rules to our advantage—as attorneys, a win is a win, whether substantively or procedurally! I appreciate that she wants her students to go beyond the rules and think deeply about what may seem mundane!

Thank you to Cate Carbonaro for all your work, the opportunities you provide, and the experiences I have been through. I am confident that, because of your help, I will graduate and be ready to work as an empathetic and effective attorney anywhere I go.

A few more inspiring words from Joshua:

What did you find to be the most surprising thing about law school?
I am surprised by how much fun I have as a law student. I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from distinguished and highly experienced professors to develop my legal skills, but I always get to laugh and try new things while doing it. What more could I ask for?

What advice would you give to a prospective law student?
My advice is that you belong, whether you believe it or not. If you do not think that you belong yet, so what? Act as if you already do until it is so.

Too often, many of us kick ourselves out of a room before we even get in them. We think, “Who am I to be in that space? I can’t be there, I can’t have that, I can’t want that,” while no one has ever denied us these desires or ambitions but ourselves! We deserve to treat ourselves better and to be confident in who we are and what we bring to the table.

 


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