Ashley Scott wanted to go to law school in a major city, and was thrilled to find Columbia’s tree-graced campus in the middle of New York. She attended several Black Law Students Association (BLSA) events while visiting and they sealed her decision to attend.
“Immediately I knew this was something I wanted to be part of,” Ashley said. It was important that the law school she picked have a strong minority presence, she said. For her undergraduate degree, she had attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a historically black college in Tallahassee.
Ashley joined BLSA as a 1L and chaired the organization her second year. The annual Paul Robeson Conference is the culminating academic event for BLSA, and during Ashley’s year as chairperson, the conference focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit her home state three weeks into her time at Columbia.
“The Robeson Conference helps remind us of our role as lawyers,” Ashley said. “I have this voice, and I’m using it to gather other voices.”
Courses that made a significant impression on Ashley were the Mediation Clinic and the Negotiations Workshop, which explore alternatives to litigation. The techniques she learned, such as uninterrupted listening and asking open-ended questions, “have really changed the way I communicate,” Ashley said. “I’m also much more aware of how people are communicating with me.”
Ashley will join Sullivan & Cromwell as a litigation associate. She notes the firm’s strength in arbitration and mediation, and hopes to employ those same skills that she honed at Columbia Law School.