Student Scholar: Cassi Carley ’21

Cassi Carley '21

Fellow, Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network
Fellow, Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy
Center for Cyber Security Scholarship
Maximillian Moss Memorial Scholarship
NYU School of Law Dean's Scholarship

What has been the best surprise about your law school experience?

I had taken several law classes and was pretty sure I loved the law, but I was not sure how I would feel about my fellow students—especially since I worried that being 30, I’d likely be older than a lot of them. However, the best part of law school has been the people. I have also tremendously enjoyed the legal subjects, but it is the conversations with my peers and professors that have made the experience so enjoyable.

What unique opportunities have your fellowships provided?

Both the Cyber Scholars and the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network (BWLN) fellowships have been some of the best opportunities I have had at NYU Law. The BWLN program kicked off by bringing together my small group of 1Ls for a one-week intensive on leadership before our 1L Spring semester, but that was only the start. Through BWLN we have discussed and worked on leadership—sometimes by playing a kazoo and doing jazz improv at Juliard, having guest speakers and workshops, holiday parties with our mentors, or check-ins with the BWLN staff and faculty coordinators. More importantly, from the very beginning, the BWLN program brought our cohort together and gave us the space to share personal stories, fears, and goals with each other. This openness and shared desire to positively impact our communities laid a foundation for us to form really deep connections, ones that I know will continue into the future. I love being a part of this amazing group of women who continue to grow and support each other, and I truly cannot wait to see what they all accomplish!

The Cyber Scholars program has helped to connect me with other like-minded peers who are interested in privacy and cybersecurity—this group included law school students in different years and students from the Tandon School of Engineering. It was great to meet with this group in a structured space and to discuss and learn about each other’s research and projects in the cybersecurity space. I imagine a lasting part of the program will be the connections made and staying in touch, as many of us are going to continue into careers related to cybersecurity—from firms to public interest and government to academia.

The Engelberg fellowship is new this year but has already given me an opportunity to connect with other peers interested in innovation and technology. The program allows us to request specific guest speakers to discuss our interests in a small group environment. Being an Engelberg fellow, we are also included in the broader Engelberg community, and it is fascinating to see the work that different professors and Engelberg members are doing.

What is your favorite law related movie–and why?

It is not a movie, but before I had applied to law school I remember being riveted by the experience of watching the HBO docuseries “The Jinx” while it was originally airing and legal developments in the case against Robert Durst were unfolding. I found myself fascinated, and sometimes perplexed, by how the legal system had worked and the real-world implications it had. By the end of the series, I could not stop imagining what the legal arguments might be regarding the new evidence gained from the TV show.

What do you enjoy about being part of Rights over Tech?

Founding Rights over Tech (R/T) with two of my law school peers, Marc Canellas and Dillon Reisman, has been a tremendous part of my NYU experience. While difficult to start something new, the effort has paid off and it is so great to see our community grow—whether it is the participation in our Primer on AI for law students or a random student stopping me in the hall to tell me how much they appreciate what we are doing. What I love most about R/T is that the students come to it from various backgrounds and viewpoints, but with a shared goal of making technology positive, especially for marginalized groups. I am especially inspired by the number of students with non-technical backgrounds that have taken the lead on projects or are interested in getting involved. Students are increasingly aware of the potential implications that technology can have on civil liberties and it has been great to begin to build a space for student participation in important conversations and projects with other NYU Law students, NYU centers, and local NYC organizations.

Posted February 18, 2021