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Student Spotlight

Lais Washington

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A summer internship in sunny Palo Alto, California, revealed to Lais Washington that corporate law just didn’t suit her. Spending weeks in the lovely glass-walled offices of Morrison & Foerster handling intellectual property cases, Washington kept thinking about her previous summer position in nearby Oakland, where she had been exhilarated by hitting the streets to canvas voters and rolling up her sleeves to draft the language in a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana.

“I had my own office and secretary,” says Washington of her Silicon Valley setup. “But it just felt wrong to me since I’d never so much as had my own desk or computer on a regular basis.”

Instead, Washington, a Root-Tilden- Kern scholar, has found a better fit in New York. After graduation, she will work as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office under the legendary Robert Morgenthau. By taking this position, she hopes to help lead the way for others, especially women of color, to consider prosecutorial work.

Washington’s aspirations include returning to NYU. “I’m hoping it’s not too far off that I’ll come back to talk in the Leaders in Public Interest Series,” says Washington. “It would be great to walk into Vanderbilt as an attorney to share what I’ve learned.”