April 27, 2023
April 2023: Joey Vettiankal
Joey Vettiankal (he/him)
Vanderbilt Law School ‘24
As the son of immigrants in rural Kentucky, my first exposure to the legal profession was not from anyone I knew but from my love of comic books and the Marvel Comics character, Daredevil. Inspired by Daredevil to personally live out these values, my own life experience, education, and community involvement quickly demonstrated to me the reality of constant inequality and hardships faced by the marginalized in our communities. When many of our country’s leaders focused on building walls to divide us, I wanted to be one to build bridges so that everyone had a seat at the decision-making table. I wanted to dedicate my life to being an advocate for others through the law as the first in my family to go to law school.
My time at Vanderbilt Law School has allowed me to work in a collegial environment with the incredible leaders both in and outside of ACS at the law school. My immediate involvement with ACS during my 1L year gave me a community of support and friends who shared the same values of inclusivity, accessibility, and justice as me. After my first year, I knew that I wanted to serve as President of the Vanderbilt chapter to ensure future students would have an even stronger community that I did when I began law school. I am proud of our chapter’s work to put on numerous, quality events spanning a wide variety of issues like voting rights, reproductive rights, and court reform as well as our chapter tripling its membership since the start of the year. My time with the Vanderbilt ACS chapter has allowed me to develop my leadership skills and be a part of a larger coalition of progressive students at the law school.
ACS has also shown me that folks with my background or those who look like me can be the oral advocates arguing before our nation’s highest courts as litigators. My involvement with ACS has allowed me to live out my personal values of advocating for others and lifting up marginalized voices. This organization also showed me my passion for both written and oral advocacy.
To me, being a leader means being involved in the betterment of my community both in and out of the courtroom. As a future attorney, ACS has enabled me to continue to live my values and lay a foundation for a successful career centered in advocacy.