PUBLISHED:November 14, 2022

Fifth annual diversity networking event offers 1Ls insights and introductions


The event, hosted by the Career and Professional Development Center, brought together 105 1Ls and 78 employer representatives for a reception in Star Commons. 

First-year students with diverse identities had the opportunity to meet with representatives of law firms and legal employers and gain insights on building diverse networks at Sharing Our Affinities: A 1L Diversity Networking Event, which was held Nov. 3 in Star Commons.

The event, hosted for the fifth year by the Career and Professional Development Center, brought together 105 1Ls and 78 employer representatives for a reception in Star Commons. Event sponsors were law firms Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, K&L Gates, Sidley Austin, and Winston & Strawn.

“Sharing Our Affinities is an incredibly meaningful networking event for our diverse first-year students – we’re so pleased to be able to facilitate conversations between the students and diverse attorneys from so many different organizations,” said Ashley Walker, assistant director and senior career counselor.

“The most rewarding feeling is hearing positive feedback from the students about what the event meant to them. We know SOA could be a student’s first time interacting with so many attorneys, so we try our best to make the event a special one for them.”

Photos: Sharing Our Affinities 2022

Sharing Our Affinities returned to an in-person format after two years of taking place virtually due to the pandemic.

Thomas Moy ’25 said the event was an opportunity to learn about a variety of firms and practice areas while practicing his networking skills “in a low-stakes environment.”

“Learning about the experiences of Asians in the legal field is important to me, so this was a great opportunity to do so,” Moy added.

Maia Stephenson ’25 said she appreciated the chance to get to know attorneys and learn about their professional trajectories, including some who had graduated from Duke.

“I enjoyed speaking with numerous Duke Law alums and hearing about the wide-ranging career paths they each have taken,” Stephenson said. 

For Connor Leydecker ’22, returning to Duke Law just months after graduating to represent his law firm at Sharing Our Affinities was a “delight.”

“Meeting so many thoughtful, funny, and smart students was well worth the trip, as was catching up with some former classmates and colleagues,” Leydecker said. “The 1Ls were really prepared – much more than I was at this point in my law school career – enjoyable to talk to, and thoughtfully inquisitive. I hope to see many of them apply to the firm's diversity fellowship and I look forward to seeing their doubtlessly successful careers unfold in the coming years.”