Cooley Dean’s Fellow Colby Weron: Helping people and advocating for the right things
Cooley Dean’s Fellow Colby Weron has been thinking about law school ever since he was a freshman in high school. He was debating between going into law enforcement, like his mother, or becoming the first attorney in his family. Seeing his mother’s struggles with his father as a young boy tipped the scales on the side of a legal career.
“My mother had a hard time with my father growing up, and that’s what triggered me to look into a law degree,” shared Weron. “I’ve never met him, in fact, there’s a lifetime restraining order against him to protect me and my mom, but I saw the value of the law at a very young age; the way the law is designed to help innocent people when they need it the most. I think lawyers have a unique opportunity to do that.”
Coming from a German and Italian culture, Weron feels blessed to have been raised by his mother, grandfather, and grandmother. He feels their influences have been an advantage for him as a future attorney.
“I can be calm, cool, and collected, but I also can utilize the playfulness of an Italian family to my benefit, without going over the top. That’s something that I’ve learned throughout my time here at Cooley – attorneys need to know the law, but they also need to be good on their feet and relate to people in a convincing way.”
JOURNEY OF CULTURE
Weron’s family culture has informed his journey to attorney in many ways, but his travels have shaped him as well. He grew up in Boston, slowly migrated to Florida, then returned out east for college.
“I ended up going back to Boston to get my undergraduate degree in international economics and political science from Suffolk University. I was able to do an internship with the house minority leader there, then a position in the Governor’s Office in his legal department. Those experiences were eye-opening.”
After college, Weron settled in the Boston area for abour seven year, working and getting a paralegal certificate from Boston University.
Then the pandemic hit, and he started to take stock in what he wanted to do, including his dream of becoming a lawyer.
“When I took the LSAT and had to start thinking about where I wanted to apply to law school, I had to dig down deep to figure out my priorities and what was important to me. I realized that what I really wanted was to be closer to my family.”
Weron started looking in the south Florida region, which included Cooley Law School's Tampa Bay campus near his family. Looking closer at Cooley, he was impressed with the law school's program and was especially moved by the work being done by the Cooley Innocence Project. That did it. He chose to attend Cooley's Tampa Bay campus; a decision he is glad he made.
“I didn’t really know what to expect on this journey, but I know that everything I have learned has given me even more confidence in my abilities and my future as an attorney. There have been so many people who have helped me along the way, but I want to give a shout out to Professor Joseline Hardrick who has been such an inspiration. She pushed me beyond what I saw as my limits, including helping me get an internship over the summer with U.S. District Court Judge William Jung. I am so thankful.”
Weron took the summer semester off to do his internship with Judge Jung, and that dedicated time and experience was well worth it.
“I feel like I’m 10 times better at legal writing now,” declared Weron. “I walk with a different level of confidence. I’m not afraid to speak up or ask questions to judges, other interns, or law clerks. Cooley has been that force to help me build my network and legal community."
Building community has taken on a whole new meaning for Weron as he looks ahead to his time in law school and beyond.
“Next week I’ll be going to a luncheon at the U.S. Middle District again, just to see familiar faces and keep in contact,” shared Weron. “I think that’s how we get to be better attorneys, by making your community a priority in your life. I left my summer internship understanding that.”
The impact of the pandemic is one that nobody will forget. Transitioning back to in-person classes hasn't been seamless either.
“It’s been a long haul to get to where we are today,” said Weron. “That sense of community and gathering together is slowly happening, but I want to do more to build back community.”
One of the ways Weron is building a sense of community is as a Dean’s Fellow.
“I think that’s the most important thing we can do as student leaders here; just make sure every student knows that they’re heard, they’re cared for, and there’s always help and avenues for them to pursue. That’s what Dean’s Fellows can do to help their fellow classmates and to build community.”
Weron explained that creating community through academics extends beyond understanding the materials and testing. He finds helping fellow students is enriching and confidence building for everyone involved.
“Something I help students do first is to understand the material, then we talk about ways to apply the material so we can get to the overall big picture. Once you feel confident that you understand and can easily apply the material, that’s where the your sense of confidence takes over the fears and nerves.”
As a 2L, there are many opportunities on the horizon, and Weron is still sorting out his interests, but he is looking forward to being the Student Bar Association President at Cooley starting January 2024 and figuring out the many career options in front of him.
“Politics is something that interests me, but I don’t necessarily know if it’s something I’d pursue right now. It seems too personal, and I want to help and advocate for all people. It's something I hold near and dear to my heart,” says Weron.
He is looking at the possibility of working as general counsel in an AG’s office or for a house of representatives. Something behind the scenes where he can advocate and accomplish things on behalf of people. Although Weron is leaning into criminal and constitutional law and making a difference in the courtroom.
Outside of the classroom and courtroom, Weron has his own guidelines to live by.
“It all boils down to three pillars for me,” states Weron. “I love working out and going to the gym; I always say that’s my therapist, the gym. I go to clear my head, clear my mind, and just reset. No matter what goes on in my day, I feel better after exercise. The second thing is cooking. I love cooking! It’s something I do to de-stress. I’m not even cooking to eat; I’m doing it because I enjoy cooking (Not the cleaning, but the cooking itself). The third thing is to surround myself with friends. We can go out to dinner, go to the beach, hang out by the pool, anything, I’m a people person. I like being around people. It lifts me up; you can lift them up. I like jokes and comedy. So those are the three things I like to do outside of school."