Kacia Wilson 2L is one of just seven law students nationwide featured in The National Jurist’s “Law Students of the Year.” The list appears in the magazine’s spring 2021 issue.
Wilson, a semi-finalist for the honor, balances her full-time legal studies with a per diem job in the Lenox Hill Hospital Emergency Room. Her always-busy job took a dramatic turn in spring 2020 when COVID-19 struck and Lenox Hill converted most of its facility into COVID units.
Despite the additional challenges, and as she forged ahead in legal studies, Wilson continued to take on ER shifts to give back to her community. NYLS profiled Wilson in the School’s “Rising to the Challenge” series in April 2020, and she was also spotlighted in the New York Daily News and Teen Vogue.
“I am inspired by my amazing coworkers at Lenox Hill and my family members who work in health care and have also been on the front lines of this pandemic, especially my mother,” Wilson said.
At NYLS, Wilson is applying the same drive and purpose to her goal of becoming a public defender. During fall 2020, she externed with New York County Defender Services (NYCDS), attending arraignments, participating in client interviews, and doing research on numerous legal matters, including New York’s recent bail reform measures, which were complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In her time at NYCDS, she also helped prepare testimony on banning solitary confinement, which was given at the New York City Committee on Justice System Oversight Hearing on Ending Solitary Confinement in New York City Jails. She will return to NYCDS in summer 2021.
Wilson also worked with NYLS’s Racial Justice Project in fall 2020 as a volunteer on the Carr v. de Blasio litigation, which has paved the way for a judicial inquiry into the 2014 death of Eric Garner.
Wilson will be the President of the Caribbean and West Indian Law Students Association for the 2021–22 academic year, and she is an ongoing member of the Black Law Students Association. She also sits on panels at her alma maters, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Macaulay Honors College, to answer questions from pre-law students—part of her goal to increase Black and Caribbean representation in the legal field.