February 21, 2023 Category: What's New? Partnerships

Celebrating Black Excellence in Law

“Going to law school and being a lawyer does not mean you are checking off boxes to fit in. Law welcomes diverse experiences and encourages you to cultivate your passions to discover how it can translate into law,” – Licha Nyiendo 

In celebration of Black History Month, The Fresh Air Fund hosted its third annual Black Excellence in Law event in partnership with Winston & Strawn LLP. It was an exciting event that provided a space for Fresh Air teens to broaden their horizons and learn about the legal profession.  

A big Fresh Air thank you to our moderator, an Assistant Corporation Counsel at NYC Law Department, Luxon. I Glor, and our incredible panelists:  

  • Angela Smedley – Partner, Winston and Strawn LLP  
  • Licha Nyiendo – Chief Legal Counsel, Human Rights First  
  • Brent R. Drenon – Associate, Winston and Strawn LLP 

Students asked our panelists some of their own questions and panelists shared inspiring words and great advice.  


Panelists emphasized the importance of building meaningful connections and that whether you are in high school, college or starting your career – who you know can be as important as what you know. When you surround yourself with professionals or peers with similar interests, you have an opportunity to learn from each other – for example, joining mock trials in school or speaking with lawyers from different specialized fields.  

Licha Nyiendo, Chief Legal Counsel at Human Rights First shares her experiences working in the legal profession with Fresh Air student, Audrey.


“Every day is a learning experience and the ability to make change inspires me. Also, it is important to give yourself that opportunity to try it.” – Brent R. Drenon  

 Law has a breadth of specialized fields including family, corporate and entertainment law. Remember that it is okay to have multiple interests and explore them to help you find your passion.  


“Work ethic is really important – perform as well as you can in whatever you are doing.” – Angela Smedley  

Our students learned that there’s really no magic way or one path to follow. There will be challenges on any professional journey but what differentiates success is how you choose to handle each challenge – and why it’s important to learn to play your strengths and build your support system. This helps increase your confidence and allows you to learn more about yourself.