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The Mystery-Solver

“I love the critical problem-solving and strategic thinking required to practice law,” she says. “I also enjoy the exciting variability of the workflow, as no two days seem to be the same. Additionally, my goal is to help individuals solve some of the most difficult situations in their lives.”

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Written By: Kirsten Ballard

Hanna Feldman is a lifelong lover of mysteries – which makes a career in law the perfect fit.

“I love the critical problem-solving and strategic thinking required to practice law,” she says. “I also enjoy the exciting variability of the workflow, as no two days seem to be the same. Additionally, my goal is to help individuals solve some of the most difficult situations in their lives.”

Feldman graduated from Fordham University School of Law as a Juris Doctor in 2020 and began her law career during a pandemic. After graduating, she served as a clerk for the Honorable Jack Sabatino, P.J.A.D. in the Superior Court, Appellate Division of New Jersey. She’s about to begin another clerkship with federal magistrate judge James Clark in the District of New Jersey this September.

“I also passed the New York bar in October 2020 and the California bar in February 2021. In other words, I’ve been busy!” she says.

Hanna learned about the George H. Nofer Scholarship for Law and Public Policy as she began law school at Fordham University and was searching for scholarships available for students with disabilities.

“The scholarship was a huge help in paying for my expenses during my 1L summer when I had two unpaid internships and was living in New York, a very expensive city,” she says. “By having this burden eased, I was able to focus better on developing my legal skills and exploring art and entertainment law to ascertain whether those practice areas were right for me.”

Hanna says it has been strange serving as a clerk entirely during a pandemic, with masks adding an extra challenge to work.

“Although I have pretty good language comprehension with my hearing aids, I do rely pretty heavily on reading lips to help with understanding speech, and the past year and change have been really challenging in that aspect,” she says. “To date I have not encountered oral arguments in person, and am unsure how challenging it will be to understand the attorneys and judge in the trial courtroom during my federal clerkship.”

She enjoys the ability to work remotely and uses Bluetooth with her hearing aids via her cell phone to listen to Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls, which she says helps for language comprehension and putting the sound “more in my ear.”

“I have been fortunate that all of my co-workers as well as Judge Sabatino speak loudly and clearly, and I dread working with someone who is a mumbler,” she says. “I also get nervous when I first encounter the phone systems in a new workplace, as I am unsure if they will be compatible with my hearing aids and whether I’ll be able to hear people speaking; unfortunately, this is a huge part of being a lawyer and landlines seem to be one of the least adaptable technologies for hearing aids.”

Her advice for other aspiring lawyers and law students who are deaf and hard of hearing is not to go it alone.

“Do not be afraid to ask for help! Disability services were invaluable during law school and I wish I hadn’t been so stubborn to not use it earlier in my education,” she says.

She also recommends reaching out to the places to which candidates are applying to ask if they will waive their application fees.

“You already have so much on your plate with your disability and shouldn’t have one more cost-prohibitive thing stopping you from achieving your dreams,” Hanna says. “Finally, be open about your disability and embrace it – the legal community needs more diversity and your lack of hearing shouldn’t be something that’s hidden or deemed burdensome to others.”

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Resolvedora de misterios

A Hanna Feldman le han gustado los asuntos misteriosos toda su vida, por lo que una carrera en derecho encaja perfectamente con su personalidad.

«Me encanta la resolución crítica de problemas y el pensamiento estratégico que se requiere para practicar la abogacía», asegura. «También me gusta la interesante variabilidad del flujo de trabajo, ya que no parece que haya dos días iguales. Además, mi objetivo es ayudar a las personas a resolver algunas de las situaciones más difíciles de su vida».

Hanna se graduó en la Facultad de Derecho de la Fordham University como doctora en derecho en 2020 y comenzó su carrera profesional durante la pandemia. Después de graduarse, trabajó como pasante en prácticas del Honorable Jack Sabatino, P.J.A.D. del Tribunal Superior, División de Apelaciones de Nueva Jersey. En septiembre empezará sus prácticas con el juez magistrado federal James Clark en el Distrito de Nueva Jersey.

«También me colegié en el colegio de abogados de Nueva York en octubre de 2020 y en el de California en febrero de 2021. En otras palabras, ¡he estado muy ocupada!», asegura.

Hanna se enteró de la existencia de la beca George H. Nofer para Derecho y Políticas Públicas cuando entró en la Facultad de Derecho de la Fordham University y buscaba becas disponibles para estudiantes con discapacidades.

«La beca fue de gran ayuda para hacer frente a los gastos durante el verano siguiente al primer curso, cuando trabajé en prácticas no remuneradas y residía en Nueva York, una ciudad muy cara», comenta. «Al aliviar esta carga, pude centrarme mejor en el desarrollo de mis habilidades legales y explorar la legislación del arte y el entretenimiento con el fin de averiguar si estas áreas de práctica eran adecuadas para mí».

Hanna asegura que le ha resultado extraño trabajar como pasante en prácticas durante una pandemia, con mascarillas faciales que añaden un reto adicional al trabajo.

«Si bien con los audífonos tengo una comprensión bastante buena del lenguaje, la lectura de los labios me sirve de ayuda para comprender el habla, por lo que el año pasado y el cambio han sido un auténtico reto en este aspecto», apunta. «Hasta la fecha no me he encontrado con alegatos orales en persona y no estoy segura de la dificultad que supondrá entender a los abogados y al juez en la sala del tribunal de primera instancia durante mis prácticas federales».

Disfruta de la capacidad de trabajar de forma remota y utiliza Bluetooth con los audífonos a través del teléfono celular para escuchar las llamadas de Microsoft Teams y Zoom, lo que le ayuda a comprender el lenguaje y aumentar la entrada de sonido.

«He tenido la suerte de que todos mis compañeros de trabajo, así como el juez Sabatino, hablen alto y claro, y me daba pavor trabajar con alguien que hablase entre dientes», señala. «También me pongo nerviosa cuando me encuentro por primera vez con los sistemas telefónicos de un nuevo lugar de trabajo, ya que no estoy segura de si serán compatibles con mis audífonos y si podré oír hablar a las personas; desafortunadamente, representa una gran parte de la profesión de abogado y los teléfonos fijos parecen ser una de las tecnologías menos adaptables para los audífonos».

Su consejo para otros aspirantes a abogados y estudiantes de derecho que tengan sordera e hipoacusia es no tratar de hacerlo todo solos.

«No deben tener miedo de pedir ayuda. Los servicios para personas discapacitadas fueron muy valiosos en la facultad de derecho y ojalá no hubiera sido tan terca como para no usarlos antes en mi educación», añade.

También recomienda ponerse en contacto con las instituciones a las que los candidatos envíen sus solicitudes para preguntarles si les eximirían del pago de la tasa de solicitud.

«Ya tienes bastante con la discapacidad y no deberías tener que enfrentarte a otros obstáculos prohibitivos por su coste que te impidan perseguir tus sueños», dice Hanna. «Finalmente, se debe ser actuar con franqueza acerca de la discapacidad y aceptarlo: la comunidad legal necesita más diversidad y la pérdida auditiva no debe ser algo que se oculte o que se considere una carga para los demás».

Para mas infomación, visite a AG Bell International aquí.

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