Christina Dimeo, L'22

Christina's headshot

Reflecting on your first year of law school, what is one piece of advice you would give to yourself, knowing what you know now?

Law school, like much of life, never really lets up. There is always something more we can be doing as students working toward success. Yet wearing ourselves down in a never-ending grind helps neither us nor those around us.

I would tell my past self to look for and recognize moments of peace and joy when they arise, and to embrace those times without worrying about whether I ought to be studying. Studying—and after we graduate, work—will always be there. We as humans have many identities, and “law student” or “lawyer,” while undoubtedly important, is only one of them. Taking a moment, an hour, or even an evening to refresh ourselves and enjoy those we love is a crucial and easily forgotten way to ensure we remain connected to our families, friends, and inner selves.

What has been your most meaningful experience so far in law school, and why was it impactful?

I left an unstable job to attend law school because I knew it was the best decision for myself and my children. But committing myself to three years of intensive schooling, while forgoing a salary, exposed me to hurtful comments from naysayers. Thankfully there were few, but they stung. Moments of positive feedback, such as a good grade or a professor’s thoughtful comment, deeply encourage me and validate my knowledge that I chose the right path. In those moments, quietly in my own mind, I triumph. It is I—not someone else—who defines what I can achieve.

What are some of the traits, characteristics, or qualities of an “ideal” lawyer?

A lawyer who represents an individual client may find herself helping at one of the worst times of that person’s life. When it’s time for a layperson to call a lawyer, it frequently means that something bad is happening. The client may be scared, hurt, or angry—and the complex legal process is often bewildering.

A lawyer’s job is to listen to her client—nuances and all—and turn what she hears into an array of options: “Here’s what we can do.” Giving a nervous client calm, reasoned choices as to how to pursue a goal, and communicating realistic expectations as to how those options are likely to play out, is one of the best services a lawyer can perform. A lawyer should strive to live up to her calling of “counselor” by bringing stability and a path forward into the lives of those who are hurting and scared.