Student Spotlight

Changing Direction: Santos ’17 Finds Purpose in New Career Path

Desiree Santos ’17

By Arianna Memoli
View Archives


3L Desiree Santos will probably be the first person to tell you that life doesn’t always go as planned. Santos graduated in 2009 from St. John’s University with a master’s degree in English. Her hope was to find work in New York City as an editor. By 2014, she was working as a writer, but she wasn’t fully satisfied with where she was in her career. That was when Santos took an interest in attending law school.

The Pro Bono Honors student looked at several schools but something about Albany Law School stuck out.

“When I came to visit the school for the first time, it was a bit intimidating because there is a lot of history behind Albany Law School. I saw what the school had to offer and was impressed. From there on out, I knew that Albany Law School was where I wanted to study law,” said Santos.

She was placed at the Attorney General’s Office’s Sex Offender Management Bureau as a 2L. “It was great to meet other lawyers and explore different possibilities in the field of law,” Santos said of her placement experience.

Being a member of the LGBTQ community, Santos took an interest in becoming involved with the Pro Bono LGBT Rights Project, which services the LGBTQ community.

“The overall best aspect of coming to Albany Law School was being able to pursue happiness and a career I really love. ... It gave me hope and a sense of security.”

“I initially became involved with the Pro Bono group by going right up to the table during my 1L year and asking how I could get involved. I helped out at the first LGBT Law Day, then at the end of the year they asked me if I wanted to be vice-director. I accepted and was in that role for my 2L year,” said Santos, who took over as director in her third year. Looking back at her time with the Pro Bono LGBT Rights Project, Santos said, “I never realized how important it is to stand up for what you believe in and be involved. Working with people that have the same values as you is important too.”

In regard to Albany Law School’s support of the LGBTQ community on campus, the 3L feels like things are going great.

“With the gender neutral restroom changes, I felt that was a great step toward more growth and acceptance at Albany Law,” Santos said. “The OUTLaw group on campus is extremely active in making the campus a safe, inclusive, and supported space. Whatever they have done up until now to further enhance Albany Law in terms of making it more open, I have, without a doubt, appreciated individually.”

Since arriving at Albany Law School, Santos feels that so many doors have been opened for her.

“The overall best aspect of coming to Albany Law School was being able to pursue happiness and a career I really love, and I didn’t think that was possible before I came here,” she said. “I was a bit lost. It gave me hope and a sense of security.”

She added: “The intimate, small setting can be advantageous, and the community is unbeatable. Even from the beginning, people like Pershia Wilkins from admissions really helped me during the admissions process, and throughout my time here I have always found support.”

Santos currently sees her future working in entertainment law, doing corporate law and transactions.

“If I could give one bit of advice: keep your personal life separate from your legal, academic life; focus on your goals here at school and everything will follow,” she said.

Desiree Santos