Alicia Iwema, Class of 2022

1. Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in New Jersey, in a textbook blue-collar, Jersey-Italian family. I attended college in New York state, where I studied vocal performance, linguistics, Spanish, French, and intercultural studies. I moved to Texas in 2014 to pursue an MA in applied linguistics. While in Dallas, I met my now-husband, and eleven weeks ago, he and I welcomed our first two children into the world!

2. Why did you decide to come to SMU Law?
When I decided to apply to law school, I had no idea that SMU Law existed. I had strong ties to Dallas because I was really involved in my church community and was dating my now-husband and singing semi-professionally. I didn’t want to leave, but I also wanted to attend a law school with a reputation for academic excellence in both transactional and litigation work. When I discovered that SMU Law would provide me with an excellent legal education while allowing me to stay near my community, I didn’t want to go anywhere else.

3. What has been your favorite class and why?
I absolutely loved taking Evidence with Prof. Hillel Bavli (although Principles of Antitrust with Prof. Paul Rogers and Advanced Contracts Drafting Workshop with Prof. Glen West are close runners-up). The course seemed to rest at the intersection of law, linguistics, and psychology, and I found that fascinating; it was satisfying to participate in a course that simultaneously challenged both my intuitive side and my analytical side. I also appreciated Prof. Bavli’s teaching style.

4. When you are not in school or studying, what do you do for fun?
I love spending quality time with my family and friends, studying the Bible, singing, traveling, learning languages, and playing in the ocean.

5. What extracurricular activities have you enjoyed most and why? (ROTC, SBA, moot court, etc.)
I really enjoyed serving as a Lead Articles Editor on the SMU Law Review. The position exposed me to tons of interesting legal scholarship, and I enjoyed learning to distinguish well-crafted arguments from faulty arguments and effective writing from weak writing. I also liked thinking strategically about which articles our journal should accept.

6. How has law school challenged you most?
Law school has forced me to learn how to prioritize my time and effort. I’ve had to work to find the appropriate balance between career and family, and I’ve also had to learn to structure my time well when I’m working so that I’m giving the appropriate degree of attention to each task.

7. What has been your most memorable law school moment so far?
I’ll never forget the time I emailed one of my professors asking for advice and he called me on a Friday night, talked through the problem with me for about an hour, then put far more energy into solving it than I anticipated, even though he was extremely busy at the time.

8. What do you plan to do post-graduation?
I’ve accepted clerkships with Hon. Thomas Barber on the District Court for the Middle District of Florida and Hon. Cory Wilson on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. I’ve also accepted a position in Weil, Gotshal & Manges’s Dallas office.

9. Have you had any important mentors during law school? If so, who?
I’ve benefited from exceptional mentorship throughout my time at SMU. I don’t know where I’d be right now without the encouragement and guidance I’ve received from professors like Paul Rogers, Julie Rogers, Natalie Nanasi, Jeffrey Kahn, Heather Stobaugh, and, especially, Hillel Bavli.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
This question is difficult to answer, because everything about my trajectory has surprised me so far—the classes I’ve liked, the clerkships I’ve been offered, the fact that I plan to work in a large firm. I imagine that in five years, I’ll be acquiring specialized expertise in bankruptcy, appellate briefing, or evidentiary issues, and I’ll be starting to adopt leadership roles at my firm in Dallas. In ten years, I may be trying to make partner. I think I’d eventually like to be a judge, though.