Long Island, NY native and third-year law student Adam Ramadan Lorenzana had been to Iowa exactly once before arriving for law school. “I was in Iowa City for all of 15 hours. I checked into the hotel at midnight, got to the law school at 9am for a tour and to meet with a few professors, and then left Iowa City at 1pm,” said Lorenzana. “Iowa City and Iowa Law surprised me, but after visiting I knew it was the right law school for me.”
A first-generation student born to immigrant parents, Lorenzana was born and raised in Glen Cove, NY. After graduating from Glen Cove High School, he attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC. There, he was elected student body vice president, became a 1789 Scholar, and a tour guide, where he once (unknowingly) gave Steven Spielberg a campus tour.
“I loved Georgetown. Long Island has a reputation as being this wealthy enclave, and although it definitely has communities that fit into that, it wasn’t the case for me. My hometown was one of the few communities that had a public housing authority and something like half of the students enrolled in my high school received free or reduced lunch. Georgetown was a culture shock, but my experience growing up in Glen Cove prepared me for whatever was next.”
After graduating with a B.S. in Foreign Service, Lorenzana worked at the University for four years as a Business Manager, earning a Master’s along the way. “I didn’t know it at the time, but that job really prepared me for law school. I was part of a small team that managed important contracts, like Coca-Cola, Aramark and ZipCar. The attention to detail that job demanded really paid off in law school.”
Two degrees, one job, and eight years later, Lorenzana was ready to move onto law school, something he had dreamed of since he was a child. “My mom always reminded us that if she hadn’t left Guatemala, she’d have become an attorney. I guess hearing that as often as we did sort of planted the seed in the back of my mind.”
But why Iowa? Adam had spent his entire childhood in New York and eight years in Washington, DC. “My family and friends are all back in New York, and there’s no shortage of law schools there. I knew I was going to return to NY long-term, but I approached law school as an opportunity to immerse myself in my studies and to live in a quintessential college town. Iowa checked all of those boxes and provided me with an opportunity to experience a different part of the country while doing so.”
When it came to applying to jobs, Adam said Iowa Law was a competitive advantage. “Law Hawks look out for one another, and the alums I connected with during the process went out of their way to chat, help, and connect me with any and all opportunities. Knowing that these alums - people I had never met before - were willing go to bat for me, that really meant a lot.”
That job process culminated with Lorenzana spending his first summer at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC and his second summer with the New York office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he accepted an offer to return upon graduation.
Lorenzana was recently awarded the 1st Generation Achievement Award, which honors one first-generation undergraduate student and one first-generation graduate who has pursued and met ambitious educational goals and demonstrated commitment to academic excellence. All of his work prior to law school and his continuous success at Iowa Law lead to him earning this award.
“I’m sure things would have worked out just fine if I went back home for law school, but Iowa Law provided me with a unique experience, great faculty, and opened doors across the country. The whole ‘first Iowa, then anywhere’ saying, it really rings true.”