It wasn’t until an experience while pursuing a degree in public relations that Kayla Watkins (J.D. ’21) thought about becoming a lawyer. During an internship with Turner Broadcasting, she had the opportunity to meet some of Turner’s legal team. She realized then becoming an attorney could be the perfect avenue to help her combine her creative side with her love for writing, problem-solving and research to help others.
She’s now heading into her final year at Georgia State Law, where Watkins has excelled not only in the classroom, but also as the president of the Black Law Students Association and a member of the Moot Court Competition Team. Here, she talks about her experience so far and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected her plans.
What stands out to you looking back on your first two years of law school?
The most impactful classes have been Constitutional Law 1 and 2. With all the social justice issues going on in the world, those classes have helped me put things into perspective and understand exactly why certain things are happening. Overall, I would say one thing that I’ve learned throughout law school is to be willing to learn and try new things. Law school seems overwhelming and you think that you can’t always get through it, but as long as you have a good attitude about it and you’re willing to ask questions and to learn, it will always work out.
Why is being president of the Black Law Students Association important to you?
BLSA is near and dear to my heart just because we strive to provide wonderful opportunities and good exposure for our Black law students. We want to connect them with attorneys in the Atlanta area that are doing great work that the students aspire to do once they graduate. That really drew me to see this community of people that look like me doing great things, not only in the law school but within the community. I want to continue building a platform and allowing other students a safe space to share their experiences and see other people that look like them succeeding as lawyers.
How did COVID-19 impact your summer plans?
I originally had a summer associate position but it was canceled because of COVID-19. I was fortunate to be connected with a program set up through the Georgia Latino Law Foundation that was created to help students in my position. Instead, I did a virtual judicial clerkship with Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner for the Middle District of Georgia. It’s drawn me out of my comfort zone because it’s put me in a position where I have to be extremely objective. I’ve gotten a lot of good writing experience from it and it’s been a great experience overall.
Interview by Mara Thompson