Mary Nicoletta spent the year after she graduated from the University of Arizona traveling the country as a Collegiate Development Consultant for her sorority, Delta Gamma. As one of 9 recent graduates hired to work with local chapters on leadership development, group dynamics and compliance with academic and other standards, Nicoletta visited 25 college campuses in less than a year. One was Vanderbilt’s. “My job enabled me to see universities all over the country, and my visit to Vanderbilt was the reason I applied to VLS,” she said. “I fell in love with Vanderbilt when I visited.”
Nicoletta’s job with Delta Gamma “was 24/7,” she acknowledges. “I thought I was going to study for the LSAT while I was traveling, and I quickly realized that was not going to happen.” After the year-long appointment ended, she took a three-month break to visit extended family in Argentina and prepare for the LSAT, and then spent the remainder of the year working for a Tucson law firm, which reaffirmed her desire to study law. “It was nice to have the opportunity to immerse myself in the practice of law as I prepared to begin classes at Vanderbilt,” she said.
Nicoletta originally thought she would pursue a career in litigation, but as a 2L, she found her Corporations class with Professor Morgan Ricks interesting and consequently chose to take his class in banking regulation, Regulating Financial Institutions, the following semester. “I’d always pictured myself as a litigator, but these classes made me realize I might enjoy a transactional law practice,” she said. “Professor Ricks is a former investment banker, and his class has been a wonderful opportunity to gain practical knowledge.”
She also enjoyed her first-year Regulatory State class with Professor Ganesh Sitaraman. “His syllabus said he employed the ‘heavy Socratic Method,’ and we were all a little nervous at first,” she recalled. “He called on us every day in class, but it was more of a conversation. You knew he was coming to you, and I felt very engaged throughout every class.” Nicoletta worked as a research assistant for Professor Sitaraman during her second year.
In addition to her work on Vanderbilt Law Review—as Executive Editor, Nicoletta and the Editor-in-Chief oversee most aspects of the journal—she is president of the Women Law Students Association. “Working on the Law Review and being a part of WLSA have been an integral part of my law school experience,” she said.
Raised in Tucson, Nicoletta moved to Nashville with her fiancé, Andrew, and the couple married during her spring break this year. “He’s from New Jersey, so Tennessee was quasi between our home towns,” she said. “We both love Nashville, and our guests were really excited about coming here for the wedding.”
Nicoletta ultimately hopes to practice in California, and she will work at Latham & Watkins in San Diego during summer 2014. “I like the fact that you are unassigned for the summer and during the first two years to give you an opportunity to explore different aspects of the profession,” she said. “Throughout the interview process, almost every interviewer told me they changed their mind about what they wanted to do.”