Fields’ future is taking flight

Malika FieldsPacking cargo aircraft and studying for Constitutional Law was all in a day's work for Malika Fields L'22. For the past three years, she simultaneously worked her job in the Air Force Reserves and attended Duquesne Law, recently graduating in May.

"It was very strange having this experience; it was so much different than everyone else's. When other students had a week off for vacation or to catch up on life, I had career training for my Air Force job or was helping with humanitarian aid or cargo missions. It was completely rewarding, though," Fields said.

Choosing to study law was not one of Fields' first aspirations. Broadcast journalism interested her, but she ultimately decided she wanted to make a lifelong career in a different field. After graduating with her bachelor's degree, Fields took a gap year. That is when she joined the Air Force Reserves and decided to pursue law.

Fields grew up in Pittsburgh and chose to stay in the city she calls home to study law. She selected Duquesne Law because of the sense of community. "Duquesne felt like family to me; a place where they care about students," she said.

Wanting to be successful at achieving her bigger goals, other factors played into Fields' decision. "The Bar exam pass rate was important to me. I knew it would be hard being first generation, but I also knew Duquesne Law would provide the resources to set me up for success," she said.

Beyond resources, the faculty at Duquesne Law were supportive of Fields' Air Force duties. "I love my job in the Air Force, which is different than law school. It was a weird merging of two worlds, but my professors helped me make it happen. It was a lot of work and balancing," she said.

Fields found the time to be involved at Duquesne Law beyond her studies, in BLSA, Moot Court, and the Military Law Society. She also served as a cheerleading coach to a local team in her spare time. While her experience during law school was a hectic one, it was also marked by the emergence of a global pandemic, something Fields addressed in her Commencement speech, having been chosen to serve as this year's class speaker.

"We went through so much as a class and I hope this experience is unifying to us instead of divisive. It [the pandemic and law school] is a shared experience regardless of whatever happens. No graduating class can repeat that. I hope we keep this unified spirit in our careers and help each other grow in our respective practices," Fields said.

She again credits Duquesne Law professors for their unending encouragement to her and her class as they piloted the pandemic and law school.

"Our faculty members were amazing. They really helped us transition and kept us close. You could tell they wanted to make sure no one fell by the wayside. They put in that extra effort into us, and we really appreciated it," said Fields.

She acknowledges there are many other special people who helped make law school possible for herself and her classmates and said, "There is no way anyone can do this alone. Everybody aided and helped us. It is important I acknowledge that."

Post-graduation, Fields will work at Atencio Hall, PLLC in Pittsburgh, where she clerked. She additionally will continue her work in the Air Force Reserves.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

It's time for bigger goals
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