Duquesne University School of Law

Nicole Prieto

Hometown: 
Peoria, Arizona
Graduation Year: 
2018

Undergraduate Degree

University of Arizona, 2015
B.A., English and B.S., Molecular and Cellular Biology

Why did you choose Duquesne University School of Law?

Duquesne was one of the first law schools to reach out to me, and its Legal Research and Writing Program was on my radar early on. After spending five years at a larger state university, I also found its smaller program appealing. I was convinced it was a great fit when I visited in 2015 during my spring break. Some of the biggest draws were the school’s downtown location and the availability of on-campus housing for graduate students; as someone who was unfamiliar with the area, the latter was an important consideration for me. What stood out most, however, was how immediately welcomed I felt when I first arrived, and that has not changed.  

What is your favorite law school class or professor?

Legal Research and Writing with Professor Tara Willke was one of my favorite courses as a 1L. 

What are your practice-area interests?

I have found intellectual property law and employment law interesting. 

What work experiences have you had so far?

I was the 2016 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 1L Scholar for Reed Smith’s Pittsburgh office. In the LCLD program, Reed Smith partnered with PNC, so I had the opportunity to work as a summer associate at the firm and intern with PNC’s in-house counsel. 

Which law student organizations and/or publications are you involved with?

Currently, I am secretary of the Duquesne Intellectual Property Law Association and secretary-treasurer of the Black Law Students Association. I am also a member of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and the Education Initiative for Individual Diversity. 

Among the law school’s publications, I am a junior staff editor for Duquesne Law Review and the web editor for Juris magazine. 

What advice would you give to incoming law students?

Make your first-year grades your top priority during both semesters, especially if you intend to do on-campus interviews around the start of your second year. That being said, do not get too wrapped up in the competition. Early on, I was told that my classmates would be my peers, co-workers, or employers someday. Being goal-driven is perfectly fine, but a cutthroat attitude is not something people remember fondly.

What might people be surprised to know about you?

Generally, people are surprised to learn that I came to Pittsburgh all the way from Arizona — though I have met several people here with ties to Arizona or the Southwest.