As a 1L, Michelle Marcellus was a bit surprised to be invited to the Law School's "In Honor of Justice" dinner back in January, an event honoring the 116 Hofstra Law alumni currently serving as judges. Yet there she was in a room packed with some of the school's most esteemed graduates. "The only way it could have been more intimidating," she jokes, "was if they were wielding gavels."
"But I didn't feel intimidated," says Marcellus, who talks about the state Supreme Court judge who recognized her from another alumni event. "That's amazing," says Marcellus, "but what's even more amazing is that she took the time to get to know me on a personal level and gave me some great advice and feedback."
This has been Marcellus's experience over and over again at Hofstra. The first person in her family to go to law school, Marcellus came to Hofstra without a single connection to the legal profession. But since she arrived on campus last fall, alumni at some of the city's biggest firms have reached out to her, taking her to lunch in the city, answering questions over e-mail.
"At Hofstra Law, the alumni go above and beyond what's expected of them," says Marcellus, whose alumni mentor is Samuel Ramos, VP and associate general counsel at Goldman Sachs. Ramos gives Marcellus important real-life perspective on her studies. "You can teach anyone the law," she says, "but until you hear from an attorney what they actually do on a daily basis, it's just theory. You need that connection."