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Beven Nedumthakady ’23 has always be interested in how things work.
Throughout middle and high school he took every government course he could to see how politics and law interact.
He joined his friends in high school shop class to see how things physically work together. That particular curiosity grew as he studied electrical engineering at Dutchess Community College and SUNY New Paltz.
However, during his final undergraduate semester, he was at a crossroads – keep learning how the physical world interacts or chase that initial interest with law and politics.
He rearranged his final semester to fit in an introduction to constitutional law course, studied for the LSAT, and choose to attend Albany Law School and made that all work during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s wild to be in law school in a time when the legal field is undergoing radical change,” he said. “You come here and you don’t realize how many options you have. It’s sometimes baffling how much I can do with a J.D. and I haven’t even scratched the surface.”
He felt at home at Albany Law right away and wanted to help things work at the school. He joined the Student Bar Association, was elected a 1L Senator, and is in Phi Alpha Delta, the Criminal Law Society, Health Law Society, and the Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA).
“Over the summer, we were locked down all over the United States. It was crazy because we had done Zoom happy hours a number of times and we got really close,” he said of his classmates. “If you’re starting from scratch and you’re entering the Zoom happy hour with a random conversation, it’s actually a great way to meet people. When we got to Orientation, we just picked up where we left off.”
He is also seeing the similarities between how engineering and the law both work.
“When you’re looking at a case, you see what case law you can use and put it all together to make something you can argue,” he said. “In that way, law and engineering are similar because you’re taking all the pieces of the puzzle and putting it together to come out with a final product you can use for your client.”
While Nedumthakady jokes that engineering types aren’t always the best writers, the technical style of writing engineers often need to make things work correctly has been a solid foundation for getting into legal writing.
“When I look at a case, it’s similar in some ways to an engineering report. Get out the main facts, include any background that’s relevant, and keep on topic,” he said. “When you’re reading a prior case, you know the answer by the end of reading it. With engineering, you don’t know the answer—you figure it out. You have to think critically and come up with the answer. Engineering school taught me to think. I learned how to take peripheral knowledge and things that already exist and make an educated guess. That’s kind of like taking past precedent from cases now that I’m studying law.”
Even though he has put in a lot of work to this point, Nedumthakady is looking forward to learning more about different types of law and sharpening his skills. He wants to make things work for people.
“I enjoy helping other people. A big part of my time with SBA is advocating for others. I find that I have no problem listening, speaking up, and bring things up that others are feeling,” he said. “I always tell people, if you have a concern, I’ll raise it.”