Columbia Law School 2023 Selection Day

Selection Day for Columbia Law School took place on September 9 and was a joyful reunion of old friends and classmates and a celebration of our newest Fellows. 

This year, the Fellowship congratulates Maryam Asenuga, Josef Danczu, and Simeon Toronto, who graduated in 2023 from Columbia Law School and have been designated as Tony Patiño Fellows. Click here to see photos from Selection Day celebrations. 

From Maryam Asenuga’s speech:

“As a child of immigrants with no direct ties to the legal world, I grew up with a narrow perception of what it means to be a lawyer. Through my research and conversations with other Fellows, I now know that what you can do with a JD is limitless. This understanding pushed me to expand my dreams in relation to becoming a lawyer. For over 15 years, whenever asked what I want to be, I’d always respond with confidence, “I want to be a lawyer,” but my rationale was a bit finite and not very fleshed out. Now, when I’m asked about my choice of career, I still give similar answers, but my rationale is fuller, more concrete, nuanced, and more insightful. This fuller picture that I now have for my career is related in part to the Fellowship and lessons that I’ve learned over these three years – not only how to be a great lawyer, but also people in this room have taught me how to be a great person when someone else is in need.” 


From Josef Danczuk’s speech:

“The Fellow-Elect experience over the last three years has been a cornerstone of my law school experience. Something unique about the Fellowship is not just meeting other students, but meeting other practicing attorneys – and not just from New York or Chicago or even California, but to see where Tony Patiño fellows have ended up across the country and the globe. It’s been really interesting. I’ve been truly honored to get to meet and learn and work with Tony Patiño fellows. They pop up in some of the most interesting places – at interviews for on-campus positions, at firms and elsewhere. And every time I’ve gotten to meet a Tony Patiño Fellow, it’s been a wonderful experience. It’s been great to be a part of this community, and I am hopeful that this is really just the start of my involvement with the Tony Patiño Fellowship.


From Simeon Toronto’s speech:

“The Tony Patiño Fellowship encourages each of us as Fellows to demonstrate good moral character, ethical conduct, good citizenship, motivation, initiative, and sound judgment. The instruction and support of the Fellowship helps each of us find within ourselves and develop this character so that when the moment calls and history watches, we will be ready. The founder of this fellowship, Mrs. Francesca Turner, intended that the title, Tony Patiño Fellow, should not be lightly bestowed, nor should it be, I think, lightly taken. It was her desire that the designation of Fellow would indicate the highest standard of ethics and behavior in legal service. I offer to her, and those that stand before me today, this commitment: I will serve those that are on the margins, those searching for acceptance and compassion. I will stand for truth and justice even in moments when it is most difficult. Finally, I commit by accepting this designation that I in turn will support future Fellowship members and Fellows in the years to come.

Click here to see more photos