UM Carey Law student Haya Appel-Fishman and alumna Avery Blank ’11 were among those chosen as "20 in Their 20s" by The Daily Record, which annually honors Maryland’s up-and-coming young professionals.
Blank, a law and policy analyst at the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security, is on the Board of Editors for the American Bar Association’s (ABA) "The Public Lawyer;" presented in the ABA’s Career Advice Live webinar; and has published several articles plus a chapter in Law and Leadership: Integrating Leadership Studies into the Law School Curriculum, edited by UM Carey Law Professor Paula Monopoli. In 2011, she won the Outstanding Law Student Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Blank was drawn to UM Carey Law because of its Women, Leadership, and Equality (WLE) Program, where she was a Rose Zetzer Fellow. "I had always been interested in women’s issues," she says, "but particularly women professionals and helping to advocate for them in the workplace. I knew that if I were a fellow in the [WLE] Program that I would not only know how to better advocate for myself but how to better advocate for women in society at-large."
Like Blank, Haya Appel-Fishman, a third-year evening student, has long been interested in advocating for women. At age 16, she founded a network of fine-arts summer programs for girls, for which she supervised a staff of 17 and managed a budget of approximately $250,000. Today, she is the founder and president of The Jewish Woman Entrepreneur (JWE), a national nonprofit that provides business education, professional training, and financial support to observant Jewish women who are starting or running their own businesses. Appel-Fishman founded the JWE in 2011, when she was 22 years old. She began her studies at UM Carey Law just one year later.
Although Blank initially thought she would become a lawyer in a firm, that changed after she interned for the Executive Office of the President at the White House; the president of the Baltimore City Council; and the Maryland Commission for Women and discovered she enjoyed policy work. "Don’t think that going to law school means that you have to be a lawyer," she tells new law students. Instead, "think that going to law school means that you are being trained with legal skills that will allow you to be successful at many roles."
Appel-Fishman credits her business experience with teaching her the time management skills that have helped her to balance work, family, and law school, citing Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s edict to "ruthlessly prioritize." This summer, she will add an internship at Miles & Stockbridge to that list, showing that "evening students who work in other jobs can have the same opportunities" as their day program peers if they manage their time efficiently.
Starting a business also taught her a skill many new law students lack: how to deal constructively with failure. "When you start a business," she explains, "you have to become somewhat comfortable with accepting what you are and what you’re not, and at the same time you have to have this persistence and this fire to get it right and to learn and to grow."
Appel-Fishman’s advice to new students: "Form alliances with people, because you are going to rely very heavily on them. Be generous with your materials because what goes around comes around. Be supportive of others and they will be supportive of you back."
She and Blank agree that it is vital for law students to develop and maintain relationships with their professors, fellow students, and potential employers. "It takes work," says Blank, "but they are absolutely key" to success after law school.