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Tiana Sarto

Tiana Sarto

As NIU Law’s first 3+3 student, Tiana Sarto was able to save time and money by completing her undergraduate degree and her first year of law school simultaneously. She can now begin practicing and influencing her community even sooner. Ms. Sarto credits the law school community with making her transition from the undergraduate world to the legal world a smooth one, even at a young age. Ms. Sarto did not take the usual route for summer employment. Instead of following her peers to law firms, judges’ chambers, and state’s attorneys’ offices, she played an integral role in transitioning her family’s burgeoning business into its first store front.

What was your experience as a first-year student like? As a first-year student, I was challenged and introduced to new ways of thinking. I met so many brilliant people and professors and learned through every single one of them. It was just as challenging as they say, but it was much more rewarding than I anticipated it would be.

Please sum up your first year in one sentence. Read, sleep, repeat!

What was the most rewarding part of your first year? The most rewarding part of my first year was seeing the major improvement I made from my first semester to my second semester. I changed my study habits and pushed myself harder in my second semester, and the results definitely reflected that.

What was the most challenging part of your first year? The most challenging part of my first year was figuring out how best to manage my time to keep a balanced lifestyle. It took some time, but I got there.

Why are you thankful you chose NIU Law? I love the close-knit community, small class sizes and brilliant professors. If anyone needs help with anything, at any time, a professor or faculty member is literally a few steps away and ready to help.

What was your experience in the 3+3 program like? Entering NIU Law as the first 3+3 student was a little intimidating, but everyone welcomed me with open arms and was there to help make the transition a smooth one. Most of the time I would completely forget I was still technically an undergraduate, because I was in full 1L mode. I also enjoyed having my undergraduate mentors and professors as a nearby support system.

Why are you happy that you chose to enter law school as a 3+3 student? I am thankful I chose the 3+3 route because of the time and money I saved. While my undergraduate friends took senior year classes, I was already working on the difficult journey to earning a J.D. Saving an entire year’s worth of law tuition was a huge plus, and I really enjoyed graduating with my B.A. knowing I had already faced and conquered the intimidating first year of law school.

What activities are you involved in (inside and outside of law school)? Inside the law school, I am currently the service and events chair of the NIU Law chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. Outside of the law school, I am a bowler, a photographer, and an animal rights advocate.

What advice would you give to incoming first-year students? I would say to be ready to step outside of your comfort zone. Law school is way more rewarding when you try new things and challenge yourself, even though it may be intimidating at first. Additionally, find a balance and maintain that balance; make time for the people and activities you enjoy while also keeping schoolwork a priority.

What is your goal after law school? My goal after law school is to practice in a few different areas of civil law before opening a small, boutique civil practice firm (hopefully) in Florida.

This interview was conducted in Summer 2016. 

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Undergraduate Institution:
Northern Illinois University

Undergraduate Major: Political Science

Hometown: Genoa, Illinois

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