December Graduates ‘We’re So Proud of You’

“Just because you are graduating, that doesn’t mean that our relationship is ending,” Associate Dean for Student Affairs Kelly Timmons said to the December graduates at a celebration luncheon at the Commerce Club on Dec. 15. “We can’t wait to see what you do with your hard-earned law degree. We’re so proud of you.”

December graduates have a different path through law school—whether part time, or dual degree students or those who pursed the LL.M., Timmons said. “One of the reasons I love teaching at this school is because of your differences. Because we don’t force all of our students to fit the same “three years of full-time law school” mold, we get more interesting students with diverse life experiences, who can be a joy to have in the classroom. You will be missed.”

Graduate Ashley Eady (J.D.’17) who was a transfer student, said she felt the sense of community at the College of Law right way. “Georgia State felt like home to me,” she said. “Everyone has been so nice and helpful from the day I was admitted to now. I’m happy this is where I got my J.D.”

At the annual luncheon, graduates invite their favorite professors to join them in celebration. Eady, who worked in the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic for three semesters, chose Tameka Lester, assistant clinical professor and associate director of the clinic, as her favorite professor.

“Professor Lester is a phenomenal person and teacher. She made tax fun and less scary, and made me realize my brain is better than the material. Beyond that, she made me believe in myself,” Eady said. “There are things you learn by actually working cases that you don’t in class, and the professors are extremely hands on.”

Shan He (J.D. ’17), who had a full-time job as a patent agent and a 2-year-old daughter when she decided to pursue a law degree, said Georgia State Law’s community is what motivated and helped her through.

“When I went to open house I found the staff and faculty to be so generous and nice,” He said. She expressed her concern about being able to juggle law school to Cheryl Jester-George, senior director of admissions, who connected her with another student who was also a patent agent and had a young child.

“After meeting with her, I felt like ‘I can do this,’” He said. “Faculty is so willing to help students, they want us to be successful … those were the things that made me feel more confident and comfortable.”

He worked as a GRA for Yaniv Heled, associate professor of law and co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property, and chose him as her favorite professor.

“Whenever there was a networking opportunity or a membership for an honors organization or internship he offered to help me,” said He. “Also, my father passed away last year and he gave me so much support during that time.”

Eduardo Galvao (LL.M. ’17) who came to the United States to pursue an LL.M. after graduating from law school in Brazil, was also concerned language may be a barrier. One of the reasons he chose Georgia State was because it offered an intensive English program.

“Georgia State Law was the also best in the sense of quality and price,” said Galvao, who didn’t speak English before the move.

Galvao chose former LL.M. program director Lynn Hogue as his favorite professor. “I look up to Professor Hogue. He taught me how to follow the rules and he set an example of honesty. His empathy toward the LL.M. students—it means a lot,” said Galvao, who is working at Wasserman West in international law and will sit for the bar in February.

Karla Diaz (J.D.’17) chose Georgia State because of its part-time program, and said she most enjoyed the relationships she’s made at Georgia State with fellow students and professors.

“I really enjoyed my involvement in the Latinx and Caribbean Law Student Association and the friends I made,” said Diaz, who is working as a legal assistant at Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network. She externed with the nonprofit over the summer and hopes to transition to an attorney position after taking the bar.

Diaz chose Charity Scott, the Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law, whom she had for Torts and a mediation class, as her favorite professor. “Her approach is different—she is laid back, but also always pushing you to question things, look at different alternatives and not always have an adversarial position. I really like her approach not just to class but to life.”

Evan Barnard (J.D. ’17) had been working at a law firm in collections for years when he decided to pursue a law degree. “I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could cut it,” he said.

He took four classes with Megan Boyd, his favorite professor. “I really enjoyed her teaching style, her personality and her enthusiasm for the subjects,” he said.

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