Student Spotlight: Cara Day ’24

What are you hoping to learn as a teaching assistant for Professor of Practice Andrew Weissmann and Ryan Goodman, Anne and Joel Ehenkranz Professor of Law, this academic year? 

Cara Day
Cara Day ’24

I took National Security Law with professors Weissmann and Goodman last year, and I’m excited to revisit the readings, lectures, and class discussions this semester as their teaching assistant! Though I have already taken this course, I continue to learn new things listening to the class as a TA because they both know how to lean on their experiences as attorneys to imbue their lectures with new and relevant personal stories each time they teach it. 

Considering the recent uptick in newsworthy classified documents cases, there are certainly a lot of new, entertaining anecdotes for them to share. As a teaching assistant, I also hope to get a glimpse at what it’s like to be a teacher of the law, rather than a student, because teaching is a critical skill in private practice—where one must mentor young attorneys and explain concepts to peers—or if I decide to go into academia later in my career. 

My responsibilities as a teaching assistant include helping select reading to assign for classes, aiding the professors with administrative tasks, engaging with students and answering their questions, sitting in on every class, and later in the semester, holding review sessions for students to prepare for their final. Working as a TA for this course allows me not only to continue to grow my relationship with two stellar professors but also to give back to the NYU Law community by helping students learn and get the most out of the class that I loved so much when I took it.

Tell us about your experience as a research assistant for Helen Hershkoff, Herbert M. and Svetlana Wachtell Professor of Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties. 

Working as Professor Hershkoff’s research assistant taught me how impactful the legal academy can be on the future of substantive law. As her RA, I helped source a forthcoming article and conducted research about broad issues in the United States’ legal system for speeches she gave abroad this summer. I loved being an RA because it gave me a behind-the-scenes look at what makes a piece of academic writing great. My work with Professor Hershkoff has inspired me to start working on my own piece of directed research so that I can try to impact the legal field the way that she and many of my professors continuously strive to with their research and writing. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in law? Any specific career aspirations?

The first time I knew I enjoyed public speaking was in seventh grade when I stood up in front of a room of students to do my solo rendition of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. The love of public speaking that that middle school speech instilled in me soon morphed into a love of public advocacy when I joined my high school’s debate team. I quickly learned that while I played a mean Romeo, my passion for communication could be channeled into something so much more powerful. I could use my voice to change people’s minds about critical issues for the betterment of our society. This realization inspired me to pursue a law degree. 

My law school education and ultimately having a law degree simultaneously provide me a platform to fight for the things about which I am passionate and give me the tools I need to alter the system and help those in need of representation. As law school has progressed, I have had the opportunity to take classes and work in the field of white collar crime, both on the defense side at my summer job at a law firm and on the government side in my clinic at the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. I plan on continuing to explore this area of law in my 3L classes and as I begin my legal career.

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

Moving across the country to New York from Houston, I was nervous about finding my people in a brand-new city. What I’ve found here are countless opportunities to connect with students and the community around me through clubs, clinics, journals, and classes. I’ve been fortunate enough to serve the NYU Law community in leadership positions as a senior executive editor of the NYU Law Review and the treasurer of the Recent College Graduate Mentors. These have been incredibly rewarding positions because they’ve allowed me to have a role in shaping our community, making it more welcoming to all students, and I’ve made lifelong friends of my own in the process!

Favorite way to spend a day in New York City?

I love going to any of New York’s outdoor spaces like Central Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or the West Side Highway piers to escape from the stress of law school for a while. I also love shopping in SoHo and trying new restaurants around the city!

Posted on September 20, 2023