In 2021, K&F expanded its Pre-Law Paralegal Program for high-achieving college graduates with the inauguration of an internship for pre-law undergraduates at Spelman College, which is ranked Number 1 among historically Black colleges and universities. We’re proud that a year and a half later the program, which offers a paid internship to a Spelman student interested in joining K&F’s paralegal team for a semester, now has three impressive alumni:
- Destiny Reese joined the firm as its first Spelman intern in the Spring of 2021 and was hired as a full-time paralegal after graduating summa cum laude from Spelman in May 2021 with a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing. She left the firm in 2022 to attend Emory University School of Law.
- Grace Hall joined K&F in the Spring of 2022 and graduated summa cum laude from Spelman in May 2022 with a B.A. in Political Science and a Minor in Writing. She left the firm in 2022 to attend the The University of Virginia School of Law.
- Kennedy Mackey joined K&F in the Summer of 2022 after graduating magna cum laude from Spelman with a B.A. in Political Science and a Minor in Philosophy. She left the firm in 2022 to attend Harvard Law School.
We asked Destiny, Grace, and Kennedy to have a conversation about their experience at K&F and what they hope for the future of our program. Here’s what they had to say:
Grace: Destiny, you spent over eighteen months at K&F. What was the most memorable experience?
Destiny: I had the opportunity to write an article, Increasing Diversity in Tax Law, which was published in The Federal Lawyer. Writing this article was the most memorable experience not only because I love writing, but because I was able to raise awareness of the need for diversity in tax law from the perspective of a young Black woman and aspiring attorney. In the article, I also discussed what I learned during my experience at K&F as it pertains to the field of tax law at large.
Kennedy: Grace, what, for you, stood out about working at K&F?
Grace: What stood out to me about K&F is the mentorship aspect of the internship program. The ability to experience having mentors at the paralegal, associate, and partner level during my time at K&F was an incredible opportunity. It showed me the firm’s dedication to uplifting and encouraging its interns.
Destiny: Kennedy, what influenced your decision to spend your summer before law school at K&F?
Kennedy: The decision to spend my summer before law school with K&F was not hard at all. Some argue that it is most wise to spend the period immediately before your 1L year resting and enjoying mindless entertainment. While I think there are pros to that approach, it was important to me to remain intellectually active leading up to the fall semester. Luckily, the K&F team was dedicated from the very beginning to making sure that I enjoyed a low-stress, high-enrichment summer. Because of this, I was able to learn invaluable skills and take advantage of what seemed like never-ending 1L resources provided by K&F’s attorneys, paralegals, and staff while mentally preparing for the intense semester ahead. If I could do it again, I would make this choice every time.
Grace: Destiny, as the inaugural intern, how has the program grown since you started?
Destiny: K&F is actively making efforts to expand the Spelman program. Since I started, the firm welcomed two additional interns and hopes to continue to do so every year. Grace and Kennedy, in what ways do you think we can continue to improve the program?
Grace: I think a way to improve the program would be to open it up to the fall semester and the spring. Allowing students to work in the firm setting earlier in the academic year could help them discover more about themselves and their future legal aspirations.
Kennedy: K&F can continue to improve the program by expanding it to include students from other Historically Black Colleges and Universities and even other minority-serving institutions. Students at these institutions can benefit greatly from the organic experiences and career advice offered to paralegals at K&F, and the firm can only be bettered by the diverse perspectives and talents of these students. Destiny, how has your time at K&F impacted the next steps of your legal career?
Destiny: Working at K&F solidified my passion for law. I’ve gained invaluable knowledge that I will carry with me to law school and beyond. I feel well prepared to conquer law school, after which I plan to pursue a career in business law. Grace, what have you valued most about K&F’s mentorship program?
Grace: As I mentioned earlier, the mentorship program has been an incredibly valuable experience for me. One of the greatest things to come out of that experience is that my partner mentor, Jay Nanavati, was an amazing resource in helping me choose where I would attend law school. Having an experienced partner give you advice on where to continue your education is an incredible asset.
Destiny: Where do we all hope to see the Spelman program in the upcoming years?
Kennedy: In the upcoming years, I hope to watch the Spelman program grow towards reaching its maximum impact capacity both at K&F and for Spelman students. This can be easily achieved through continued dedication to the program’s success and consistent publicization. I hope Spelmanites will take full advantage of all that K&F has to offer, from employment opportunities to LSAT prep resources. I also hope K&F will continue to embrace Spelmanites as brilliant minds and valuable voices. With these steps, it is my honest (and possibly somewhat biased) belief that the partnership between K&F and Spelman College is guaranteed to produce continued excellence.
Grace: I agree with you, Kennedy. I hope to see the program continue to grow and, hopefully, bring more students to the program.
Destiny: I also hope to see more Spelman graduates participate in the pre-law paralegal program. I had the opportunity to participate in both the internship and the paralegal program, and I highly recommend my Spelman sisters to do the same, if given the opportunity. The paralegal program is a unique experience that played a major role in preparing me for law school, and I would love for more Spelman graduates to have that same experience.