Read about Dilara Islam ’16 and her journey from Bangladesh to NY law.
From the time she was a child in her native Bangladesh to today, as a full-time trainee at global law firm Latham & Watkins, Dilara Islam ’16 has always believed in the power of education.
“I was born into a culture where, for a lot of women, having dreams, regardless whether big or small, was not very common,” Islam said. “Pursuing them was nearly impossible because of lack of resources and opportunities.”
Islam graduated in May with a B.S. in Mathematics, and a month later became a full-time trainee at global law firm Latham & Watkins through its highly selective Business Services Training Program. She and others in her “class” of trainees perform a wide range of office support tasks and will get placed in ongoing positions as these open up. In her current rotation with the Knowledge Management department, she is part of a team that updates firmwide databases with information on deals in areas such as mergers and acquisitions.
After completing the two-year program, Islam plans to go to law school, after which she hopes to return to Latham. She cited Latham’s “friendly culture. It shows in the type of people the firm hires—people who want to make a difference and extend help to those around them.”
Born in a rural village in Bangladesh, Islam moved with her family to Queens when she was 6. Her father, a former high school principal, relocated the family and worked as a taxi driver so that she and her brother would have better opportunities, she explained. “From the get-go, education was something that we cared about,” she said.
Islam decided on Adelphi after taking a tour. “I liked that student success was important to the faculty and administration,” she said. She served on numerous committees and was a Levermore Global Scholar. After sophomore year, an internship with the New York chapter of the ACLU confirmed Islam’s interest in law.
Through Adelphi connections, she was introduced to Latham COO LeeAnne Black ’83 and was offered an internship that led her to the firm’s Business Services Training Program. Of the 200 or more who apply for the program, about 30 get called back and roughly half are invited to an in-person event. Ultimately, fewer than 10 receive an offer, said Jennifer Murray, Latham’s New York administrator and one of the program’s creators.
“Dilara was poised and demonstrated she was very interested in the position,” Murray said. “She is bright and kind, which is who we like to hire.”
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