ATTORNEY HEATHER HAN STUDIED ENGLISH AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY’S ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTITUTE BUT LEARNED FAR MORE THAN THE LANGUAGE.
Job: Attorney at Sher Tremonte LLP
What she does
“I litigate on behalf of corporations and individuals in criminal defense and commercial litigation matters in both state and federal courts. Contrary to popular belief, litigators don't spend all their time in the courtroom. Most of my day-to-day work involves researching and writing, or talking to my clients and opponents. From time to time, I appear in court for conferences and hearings. That's always exhilarating, but there is a lot of pressure, too. Even a two-minute oral presentation sometimes requires hours of preparation. Once in a while, I get to play detective and go check out a crime scene. That's usually when I feel like a TV lawyer.”
“The most rewarding part of being a lawyer is being able to help my clients achieve favorable results, whether it is through negotiations or adversary proceedings. Clients come to us when the stakes are high, and there is nothing better than to meet, or even to exceed, their expectations.”
The best part of her studies
When asked what was the best part of studying English at New York University’s English Language Institute (NYU ELI), Heather said, “The best part is the quality of teachers. I was fortunate enough to be a student of Priscilla Karant and Mary Ritter. They taught me so much more than the language itself; their classes were a window into American cultures and customs. Even though it's been many years, and I've had many rich life experiences since, I continue to benefit from what I learned in their classes. Priscilla and Mary are the best kind of teachers you'll ever meet anywhere — not only do they understand your weaknesses and strengths as a non-native speaker, they go out of their ways to understand what you do, where you are in your life and career, and take a personalized approach that best suits your professional and personal goals. I felt that personalized approach in every aspect of their teaching, from the detailed comments they provided to every assignment I turned in, to the fellow student they paired me with for class discussions. They are also experts on using icebreakers, humor, and sometimes personal stories to make the class a fun, relaxing environment that encouraged participation — both in and outside of the classroom — to the utmost extent.”
“I will continue to hone my legal skills and to serve my clients to the best of my ability.”
Advice for current students
“Keep an open mind. English is not just about vocabulary and grammar and pronunciation. In many ways, speaking a language other than your native tongue requires you to step out of your comfort zone and temporarily let go of your customary speaking and thought patterns to make room for new ones. An open mind will make it that much easier.”
Established in 1945, the NYU English Language Institute (ELI) provides the English language skills needed to communicate effectively in academic, professional, and social settings and to engage fully in our interconnected global society.