Empowering Change: A Law School Journey of Advocacy, Inspiration, and Leadership
Kimberly Alli's Path to Becoming a Technology Lawyer, Student Speaker at Commencement, and Champion of Transformation in the Legal Field
Law school was always in the back of Kimberly Alli’s mind. The recent graduate described her road to legal education as all over the place.
Alli, a Los Angeles native, obtained her bachelor’s from San Diego State University. During her undergraduate studies, everything she did was geared towards giving back to the campus and San Diego community. That led her to work for My Name, My Story, an educational organization that empowers changemakers based on the belief that stories inspire empathy and empathy drives change before law school. She loved traveling across the country to inspire middle and high school students.
However, she realized that she wanted to help fix the problems.
"So much of the injustice that exists in our society stems from our relationships - the dynamics between We the people and our government, our law enforcement, and corporations,” Alli said. “If I truly aspire to tackle these problems, which are so embedded within our systems and laws, I first must comprehend them at their core."
She chose to go across the country to WCL because of the history that has unfolded in the nation’s capital and the campus being known as a “campus of changemakers.”
When Alli came to WCL, she was ready to grow and serve. She wanted to take advantage of the opportunities thrown her way, and she did. She was the note and comment editor at for the Administrative Law Review, a Legal Rhetoric Dean's Fellow, an Office of Development and Alumni Relations Dean's Fellow, team director for the Moot Court Honor Society, vice president of the Black Law Students Association, and a teaching fellow for the Marshall Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project.
“To even see the distance from where I started to where I am now and to assure the students who are learning a new language, which is the law, know that they will come out on the other side with more skills, and that they will be sharpened because of it has been meaningful,” Alli said.
Alli had the honor to be the student speaker at commencement this year. She spoke to her classmates along with commencement keynote speaker, The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Alli was grateful for the opportunity to speak along with the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
“I am so grateful and overwhelmed in the best possible way about it,” she said. “When I had first decided to speak, I knew that the moment would mean so much because it's a final culmination of these people I spent three years with. And I think overwhelmed because of how much hope I have about all the change to come because of my peers who are incredible advocates who have such a diverse range of areas of law that they're passionate about.”
“To have Justice Jackson speak at our commencement feels overwhelming because it sets the tone - there is no longer a ceiling,” Alli added. “Everything is possible in this next chapter.”
As she reflects on her time at WCL, Alli says the opportunities she has received have sharpened who she wants to be as a lawyer.
“WCL has actually expanded what I thought was within the realm of what I could impact or the impact that I could have,” she said. “And it's prepared me to be more than a lawyer, but a changemaker as well. And that feels special.”
“The greatest gift that I got from WCL is the gift of my peers who are brilliant and will inevitably create such powerful change within our communities. So, to know that I enter this profession with so many wonderful people is the greatest gift that I'm taking away.”
Alli is pursuing a career in technology law. She became interested in tech law after stumbling across it during the second semester of her 1L year.
“Technology touches every single one of our systems - education, healthcare, criminal justice, finance,” she said. “To practice technology law means giving my communities voice as we design solutions and tackle novel issues as they arise.”
After graduation, Alli will be joining the Telecom, Media and Technology practice at Wiley.
Story by Liz Newton.