“My time at Adelphi set the foundation for me to become a litigator and give back to my community.”

Member of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10

Associate, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

“My time at Adelphi set the foundation for me to become a litigator and give back to my community.”

Born and raised in California, TaLona Holbert ’13 transferred from San Francisco State University to attend Adelphi and live in New York. In addition to the challenges that came with living 3,000 miles from where she grew up, Holbert faced other hardships as she pursued her bachelor’s degree. She came to Adelphi after facing personal struggles having grown up in foster care. During her Adelphi education, she had to drop out of school several times to work due to financial struggles. But Holbert said she found an incredible support system at Adelphi.

“Adelphi changed my life because the faculty refused to let me give up on my dreams,” said Holbert, who cites her political science Professors Maggie Gray and Traci Levy as nurturing mentors. “I was surrounded by faculty who were invested in my success and encouraged me to finish my degree through adversity.”

Holbert can still recall sitting in a political science class when she had a life-changing revelation. “I realized that it wasn’t far-fetched for me, a former foster child, to become a lawyer and change the world. Those classes inspired me to pursue bigger dreams and create a concrete plan to accomplish them,” she said.

She graduated from Adelphi with her degree in political science in 2013, and was accepted into Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law with a full scholarship. As a member of Cardozo’s Moot Court Honor Society, she won New York University Law School’s Immigration Law Moot Court competition, which led to her interest in litigation. At graduation, Holbert was awarded the Jacob Burns Medal of Honor for exceptional professional and academic accomplishments. 

During law school, she worked as a summer associate in Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s litigation department. Holbert was asked to return to the firm as a litigator after graduation, a role that has given her the opportunity to work on complex commercial litigation matters and pro bono cases.

At Stroock, she has been elected to the Associates’ Committee, a leadership group that strives to improve Stroock’s culture and empower attorneys to succeed. She also serves on the board of Stroock’s Attorneys of Color Affinity Group, through which she has organized programs and events that foster diversity, inclusion, and mutual understanding at the firm. 

Holbert is entering her second term as a committee member of both the Housing and Urban Development Committee and Minorities in the Profession Committee at the New York City Bar Association. “Both committees strive to use legal expertise and volunteerism to improve our community through professional panels, community educational events, legal training, and more,” she said.

Holbert is motivated and proud to use her passion, education, and experience to help others. She said she considers her greatest professional accomplishments thus far to be her involvement with her firm’s Legal Outreach Program in which they host several interns from high schools in underserved communities, and her work through Her Justice, a nonprofit organization that partners disadvantaged women with law firms for pro bono legal representation.

She credits Adelphi with helping her get to where she is today. “If I didn’t have Adelphi faculty in my life during those hard times, I’m not sure I ever would have finished my degree, which was the catalyst to my accomplishments thus far,” she said.

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Todd Wilson
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