What is a first generation student?
First generation (first-gen) students are students whose parent(s) did not complete a baccalaureate degree. In the law school setting, many students whose parent(s) graduated from college, may nonetheless be the first in their immediate family to attend law school.
How might law school be different for first-gens?
Did you know that some experts claim that it's 17x more likely that you'll go on to pursue a law degree, if you have a parent who is a lawyer? It's true, a large portion of individuals entering law school are following in their parents footsteps. Their excitement and confidence for law school often grows as they chat with their loved ones about what their law school experience was like, and what they themselves can expect on the route to become a lawyer.
First-gen students on the other hand often enter law school with more uncertainty on the brain and they may struggle to feel a sense of belonging. The pursuit of a law degree can become an overwhelming and daunting experience. Students who feel comfortable and included in the law school setting are more likely to experience academic success, which is where New England Law comes in.
How does New England Law support first-gen students?
New England Law supports first-gen students through our First Generation Students Program. The First-Generation Students Program at New England Law exists to help welcome, support, and celebrate this important population of students. The program was created to ensure that New England Law students from varied socioeconomic backgrounds and educational trajectories find a welcoming community and are connected with the tools to succeed in law school and beyond.
The program puts on monthly events featuring tailored advice for first-generation law students, covering topics such as:
- Networking with fellow first-gen students and first-gen alumni
- Developing mentor/mentee relationships with faculty and practicing attorneys
- Mental health and wellness
- and more
One of the signature components of the program is a regularly occurring group session co-facilitated by Professor Teixeira de Sousa and a licensed clinical social worker. These confidential sessions enable first-gen students to have a supportive space in which to share their challenges, celebrate their successes, and develop important coping skills.
You’ll receive guidance on everything from preparing for your first law school exam, to finding the summer fellowship or internship position of your dreams. The resources and avenues of support that the program offers are continuously growing according to the wants and needs of the program's participants. In addition to having fellow first-gen classmates and faculty in their circle, first-gen students also have opportunities to connect with alumni who have become successful and thriving first-generation lawyers.
Learn More: How A First-Gen Program Will Shape Your Law School Career
Who leads the first-gen program?
The first-gen program is led by program director, Professor Natasha Varyani.
Professor Varyani is the children of immigrants and brings to the group her extensive experience navigating the feeling that she does not quite belong. She is committed to support building relationships that will lift all involved.