Promethean News

Siena Hosts Prestigious Women and the Law Panel

Siena Hosts Prestigious Women and the Law Panel

By Tatiana Medina

On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, Siena College was proud to host “Women and the Law” panel in the New Hall Residence sponsored by the Pre-Law Society of Siena College, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International, and the Pre-Law Program. The guest panelists were the Honorable Victoria A. Graffeo, Associate Judge, New York State Court of Appeals, Mylan Denerstein, Esq., Counsel to the Governor, Meg Levine, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, State of New York, and Kathleen DeCataldo, Esq., Executive Director of New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. Coming from different backgrounds and professions, these distinguished women were eager to share with the Siena Community their insight and experience.


The Panel began with opening remarks from Dr. Leonard Cutler, Siena College Pre-Law Advisor, and the Honorable Richard E. Sise. Afterwards, Panel Discussion Moderator Tatiana Medina, President of the Pre-Law Society, Class of 2013, introduced each panelist with a brief biography and the panelists shared their advice with the students. The panelists first referenced on how they became involved in law. Their levels of interest varied based upon internships or friends’ advice. Some, such as Judge Graffeo and Ms. DeCataldo, stated that they were not raised in a family of lawyers and were far from having any interest in the field of law. Their remarks were helpful to students who feel unease about law school. As Judge Graffeo explained, “life is change, and you have to be open to change.” The panelists felt very passionate on providing helpful insight to the students. Meg Levine, for example, further explained the importance of shadowing attorneys and interning for either the judiciary or legislature. She mentioned, you may have a passion for helping battered women or child abuse but know that based on your personality it is too difficult to represent such a case. Therefore, working on Bills would be another route to take because you are still advocating for that issue.

As the night progressed, the student body asked the panelists questions on issues concerning financial advice for law school to their perspective on the difficulties women face in high professions as themselves. The panelists carefully answered in detail the students’ questions based upon their life experience. They stressed the importance of exploring opportunities through internships, forming relationships with people, and seeking information from mentors. Afterwards, when the panel finished, the students were able to speak informally with the guest panelists.