How one UC Law student plans to make a difference
Helping students chase their passions
Sanjaly Geevarghese, ’23, arrived at UC with a mission. She had seen survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault — people she cared about — struggle within the legal system. “I wanted to be part of changing that,” Geevarghese says. “I want to advocate as an attorney for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, specifically for the South Asian community.”
Geevarghese, who is from Nashville, Tennessee, has launched herself onto that career path through UC Law’s extensive experiential learning opportunities in family law. As a second-year student, she worked in the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic, which operates in conjunction with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, and she will do so again this year. She also has worked at the Hamilton County Municipal Court’s Help Center.
“Through the Domestic Violence Clinic, I’ve had the opportunity to work firsthand with survivors of domestic violence and abuse, doing interviews, doing trial preparation, and helping individuals get the justice they deserve within our justice system — a process that is incredibly traumatizing and difficult,” Geevarghese says. “Being able to work at the clinic was a first step in developing the practical skills I need for a career in this field.”
At the Help Center, Geevarghese worked with individuals who were unable to hire their own private attorneys. She provided legal assistance related to landlords, evictions, debt and domestic violence.
At the same time, Geevarghese has emerged as a student leader. She is president of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and a representative of the Anti-Racist Committee and the Student Legal Education Committee. She has also served on the Academic Policy and Curriculum Committee.
Preparing students for excellence
As a scholarship recipient, Geevarghese is grateful to the donors who made it possible. “I would thank them very genuinely for their gift and for all the opportunities it created: opportunities to be part of experiential learning, externships, clinics. As a result, I will graduate from law school as a much better attorney.”
UC Law is set apart from other law schools, Geevarghese says, by its collaborative culture. “When people think of law school, they typically envision a competitive environment,” she says. “That was something I was concerned about when I entered law school but UC Law is truly a community. The students, the professors, the administrators—everybody truly wants to see you and everyone else succeed.”
“I will graduate with amazing people who are going to go on into many different careers,” she adds. “To be able to work and grow in an environment like that and collaborate with people from so many different backgrounds and circumstances, with so many different passions, has been incredible.”
Following graduation, Geevarghese intends to remain part of the city’s small, tight-knit legal community, where “everyone knows everyone.” Such an interconnected legal community, she says, allows people “to get the best help that they need and deserve.”
Her goals remain the same as when she first arrived at UC: to advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. “In the long run I want always to be working as an advocate for those around me, doing my best to make my community here in Cincinnati and beyond a better place.”