BA, Northwestern University
JD, Northeastern University
Four Questions for Professor Shah
What did you like about being a lawyer?
My favorite part was the clients. I learned a great deal from clients who had been through the ringer and were resilient and positive. It was so amazing to meet them and a privilege to be able to help them when I could. I also loved figuring out creative legal arguments. I once spent two weeks trying to figure out how to stop a litigious landlord from bringing her 7th eviction claim against my client. I stayed in the office after everyone left so I could pore over cases, guidances, whatever I could get my hands on. I finally found something and it ended up working in court.
How do you bring your practical experience into your work with students?
I try to bring clients and strategic thinking into my non-clinical classes. One of my typical questions after we've read a string of cases is, “A client walks in with XYZ. How do you use these cases to advise them?” Or I will ask students to think about how they would craft the argument differently. What is their ethical role? Because I know that as a lawyer you have to know substance, procedure, ethics and you have build a relationship. I try to model that in my work with students.
What does Suffolk Law do well?
Suffolk provides the best of both worlds-breadth and depth. Students often remark that they feel like they are at a smaller school because the faculty and administration are so attentive. There is a real "students first" ethic that drives things and you can feel that in the air. Our students are real trailblazers. Many are the first in their families to go to graduate school. You see their determination to succeed in class, hear about what they are doing to put themselves through school and it is truly inspiring.
How should students prepare for a career in law?
The best preparation to be a lawyer is think about it as problem solving. That is what we do for clients. Whether it is a multi-million deal or helping a family fight eviction, you have to be able to listen to what the client wants and bring your understanding of the law, procedure, ethical rules and persuasiveness to solving their problem. If you think about how you solve your own problems or your friend's or family's, that is the best way to tell if this is for you.