South Colonie Alumni Series – Meet Nicole Finn

Class of 2013 graduate Nicole Finn
South Colonie Class of 2013 graduate Nicole Finn at her graduation at Albany Law School.

The South Colonie CSD would like to introduce Class of 2013 graduate Nicole Finn. As part of the district’s Alumni Series, we continue to highlight and share the experiences of alumni and their pathways to success.

Find out how this graduate is impacting the legal field and how her experiences at South Colonie shaped her pathway to becoming an attorney. In May 2020, she graduated magna cum laude from Albany Law School and is currently employed by Solomon Law Firm, PLLC where she assists plaintiffs in litigating employment law issues such as discrimination and sexual harassment claims. 

What classes or specific teachers led you to the direction of your career?

Since I was kid, I always knew I wanted to be an attorney. However, there were definitely some classes which really solidified my goal. One of my favorite classes that I recall from my time at CCHS was AP U.S. History with Mr. Shaffer. While not specifically tailored to law, the class encompassed various elements which prepared me well for law school. Mostly, I remember having to turn in outlines of each chapter of the textbook, perhaps once a month or so, which was a time-intensive feat and required good time management skills. As an AP class, the exams were also more difficult and required more rigorous studying than your average high school course. Despite the challenge, I remember always having a good laugh in class thanks to Mr. Shaffer who always went out of his way to not only teach his students, but ensure they enjoyed the learning experience.

A second CCHS class that I remember fondly was a course that was newly added my senior year. While the name escapes me, it was essentially a full-year course in which the first semester was dedicated to selecting and acquiring a field placement, as well as building a strong resume and interview skills; the second semester required some number of hours actively participating in that field placement. I was placed at the Office of the Town Attorney of Colonie with Michael Maggiulli and staff who took me in with open arms. While I could not do much legal work as a soon-to-be graduate of high school, the office ensured I gained as much experience as possible.

As an attorney, how do you apply what you’ve learned at CCHS and applied it to your profession?

CCHS embodies a wide array of students from various demographic backgrounds as well as students with sparse personalities and interests. Some were handed the greatest resources in life, while others were not as fortunate. Looking back, there was never just one type of student who you could have pointed to at the time and said “this student will be successful one day” or the opposite. While having these resources are clearly advantageous, it is important to remember that it should never define what one is capable of in life and to never judge a book by its cover. My fellow graduates have coined multiple definitions of what it means to be successful – whether that is forming their own businesses, becoming amazing artists, completing a prestigious (under)graduate program, or starting a beautiful family. Attorneys like myself, as well as the clients that are served, come from various backgrounds like those that are a part of the CCHS population and no one has the same story, but that doesn’t make one any less successful than the next. Everyone should be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. 

What are your goals as an attorney? Do you have a specialized field?

Currently, I serve as an Associate Attorney at Solomon Law Firm, PLLC which specializes in the area of employment law. Through my position, I am able to assist my senior colleagues in litigating issues including, but not limited to, discrimination, wrongful termination and other adverse employment actions, and retaliation for engaging in protected activity. Most meaningful to me is assisting litigants in bringing sexual harassment lawsuits against their harassers during the era of the #MeToo movement in which survivors are finally being given the opportunity to get the justice they so very much deserve. 

What pathway would you share with current South Colonie students to be successful?

As I alluded to in a previous response, I don’t believe there is any one successful pathway one can take to greatness. What I would suggest is taking on as many opportunities as possible that CCHS offers – whether that’s participating in a sport, learning how to play an instrument, volunteering in a club, joining an interesting extra-curricular course, or taking as many AP classes for college credit as you can. While study halls might seem tempting now, they will not prepare you for a successful future. Taking on different opportunities, even those you might not initially consider as being of interest, will serve you well. It may open your eyes to a new career possibility, introduce you to a fellow classmate who will change your life forever, or even just give you something interesting to talk about at the next networking event.