Leaving Her Heel Print in Miami for Law School

From the classrooms of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to the mock courts at the University of Miami School of Law, first-generation law student Emily Gafcovich is finding her life passion and preparing to take on the world.
Leaving Her Heel Print in Miami for Law School
Emily Gafcovich (left) poses with her partner at the Octo-final round of the John T. Guabatz Moot Court Competition. 

Emily Gafcovich’s journey to becoming a lawyer started at the University of North Carolina, but she was able to truly blossom at Miami Law. She not only was closer to her family, but connected with a supportive community and opportunities that guided her to her future in law. 

Gafcovich, who is originally from Florida, said she chose UNC-Chapel Hill as her temporary four-year home due to the strong programs offered for both of her majors of psychology and political science and to experience a new city outside her home state. 

Studying psychology was always on Gafcovich’s path due to her interest in the subject, and she added political science later because she enjoyed the classes within the major. Gafcovich said she could never get enough of the content, specifically of the political science course “Constitution of the US” and others. This combination of majors at UNC is a common path for future lawyers and is what sparked Gafcovich’s decision to continue her studies and attend law school.

“Figuring out what you want to do as a lawyer is a great thing to do while still in school,” said Gafcovich. “There are a lot of opportunities to test out different areas of concentration.” 

Another key experience that inspired Gafcovich’s journey to law was her position within the student government office. During her shifts, she met graduate students studying law at UNC and heard stories about their journeys to law school. Through their testimonies, she decided law school was the perfect next step in her career. 

After graduating from UNC, Gafcovich set her sights on many law schools across the U.S. Still, her roots in Miami were calling her name, and so was the illustrious law program at the University of Miami. She knew Miami’s law program would offer everything she needed to become a successful lawyer: the amazing learning opportunities and the chance to be closer to home. 

“I would not be able to succeed as a lawyer without the support of my family,” Gafcovich said. 

As a first-generation law student, Gafcovich began her law school career without a specific focus of study. Through experiences such as working in Miami’s state attorney human trafficking unit and Miami Law’s Immigration Clinic, she has honed different specialties of law. She also actively participates on the Charles C. Papy, Jr. Moot Court Board, a student-run organization that teaches students how to litigate a case in a real-time court scenario.

When thinking about what’s next for her, Gafcovich plans to stay in the Miami area to be with her family. Although she has much to decide before graduation, she is leaning towards immigration law, as this is where she has found her passion through different rotations and classes at Miami Law.

Along with her passion for law, Gafcovich has also found her community at Miami Law with fellow law students and faculty, making her experience even more impactful as she prepares for her future. 

“My time at Miami Law has been exceptionally rewarding thanks to the warm and supportive community. The sense of belonging and camaraderie among students has made my journey enjoyable,” Gafcovich said. “Additionally, the wealth of opportunities within and outside the campus has allowed me to explore, learn and grow, making this experience truly great.”

Read about the 18 areas of study at Miami Law.