Student Spotlight: Abdiel Caballero ’23


Abdiel Caballero

NYU Law Dean's Scholarship

What is your favorite part about being a NYU Law student?

One of my favorite parts about NYU Law is the culture created by the student body. The media depicts law school as this ruthless environment where everyone seeks to get to the top. I have found NYU Law to be quite the opposite. Everyone is incredibly friendly and trying to create meaningful connections from day one. The student organizations, especially the affinity groups, ensure students never feel as if they are dealing with law school on their own. I’m one of LaLSA's (Latinx Law Student Association) co-presidents, and we seek to support and empower the Latinx student population, even amid this pandemic. I genuinely don't know where I would be without the friends I made through LaLSA and my class section.

My other favorite part is the array of opportunities and experiences that can be found at NYU Law. No matter one's interest or lack of interest, we leave NYU Law with a new/reinvigorated desire to make a change.

Describe your experience in the Civil Rights Clinic.

I think the Civil Rights Clinic ("CRC") has genuinely surpassed any expectations I had coming into the clinic. As a First-Generation college/professional student with a case of Imposter Syndrome and seeing just how accomplished everyone at NYU Law is, I was pretty shocked in finding out I got into CRC. CRC has been an incredible experience to learn and grow with a passionate group of classmates, our professors (Deborah Archer and Johanna Miller), and our partnering organizations (LDF, NAACP, etc.).

We have each had the opportunity to work on a broad range of of civil rights and social justice matters, such as voting/redistricting, economic and racial justice in the infrastructure/highway sphere, housing, and employment discrimination. Our professors have allowed us to take the lead on everything such as public comments and notice letters to city councils, Title VI Complaint, and meditation preparation. The clinic has allowed us to work on the ground with the communities impacted by these issues. Our speaking and listening to residents impacted by the highways in South Carolina and Syracuse or talking to community organizers in New Orleans have brought a better understanding and layer to our advocacy.

Outside our clinic fieldwork, our seminar is an excellent opportunity to dive into substantive issues and provide social and political context for our advocacy. We have had some fantastic and deep conversations regarding movement lawyering, education equity, and more. We also have learned and practiced many valuable advocacy skills, such as counseling a client, litigation planning, and research and writing.

Overall, a 12 out of 10, and I could not recommend it more highly.

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of the classroom?

One of my favorite hobbies is dancing Salsa/Bachata. As a Cuban American who has been dancing since I was pretty young, I enjoy the NYC Salsa scene. One of my favorite NYU memories is our Orientation event this past year, Baila Baila Baila con LaLSA. A mix of 1L, 2L, 3L, and LLM students learned to dance salsa overlooking the Hudson on Pier 15. Gonzalez y Gonzalez is another great dancing spot right next to campus with a live Salsa band from Thursday-Sunday.

Another one of my hobbies is working out and playing sports. I meet a few of my closest law school friends on the basketball court. Since one of the first weeks of law school, a group of us 1Ls played basketball almost once a week. We continue to play over a year later, and now the Groupme is over 100 people, and we often get up to 15 people to play. It's a great time, whether it's 7 am at NYU's gym or outdoors in the cold. We are looking forward to the Deans Cup and playing against Columbia Law School.

What do you like about going to law school in New York City?

New York City may be the greatest city in the world, and I'm saying that being born and raised in Miami. New York City truly provides many opportunities and things to do daily, no matter your interest. I love how free most people feel in this city. I enjoy sitting at Washington Square Park on a nice day, where I see hundreds of people unapologetically being themselves and doing what they love. New York City is also one of the largest legal hubs globally, so there is a plethora of legal opportunities.