Overcoming Adversity in
Pursuit of Justice



Release Date January 23, 2025


About the


“I’m going to be an attorney.”
At ten years old, that’s what Shakierah Smith told herself.
And she meant it.
So, she set out on a journey to accomplish that goal. And despite being the product of a severely dysfunctional family, despite the hardships of financial restraints, despite the barriers and boundaries placed on her just because she was born Black and female, despite domestic violence, despite depression, despite every trial and tribulation being firmly set against her, Shakierah defeated the enormity of her odds and did just that.
She became an attorney!
A first-generation Big Law attorney working at a prestigious law firm in the city that never sleeps, and where dreams are truly made of; New York City.
And then she wrote a book, providing readers with a pinkprint of exactly how she did it!
So, take a seat in the jury box and follow along as Shakierah skillfully cross-examines her past, proudly defends her present, and passionately advocates for a better future.

Meet the


Shakierah Smith was born and raised in Rochester, NY and graduated from School Without Walls in 2014. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication and criminal justice (Class of 2018) and a master’s degree in criminal justice (Class of 2019), both of which she received from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). On May 14, 2022, she graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Law with her Juris Doctor. During law school, Shakierah founded the First-Generation Law Students Association (FGLSA), was the first Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Editor of the Buffalo Law Review, a Faculty Research Scholar, Peer-to-Peer Advocate, Student Ambassador, Admitted Student Mentor, and a general member of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). She also interned for the United States Attorney’s Office and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which is the second highest court in the U.S. In October of 2022, Shakierah passed the New York State bar exam, on her first try, with a score high enough to practice in any UBE jurisdiction. She has since moved to New York City and now practices commercial real estate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, a big law firm nationally known for its prestigious Real Estate practice group. Her ultimate goal is to become a judge and help others similar to herself reach their professional goals.


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