Leslie Andrew Ridings ’22: Provide Mentorship and Service

Leslie Andrew Ridings shares why he made the switch from a career in media and entertainment to law school and how he hopes he can serve as an example and mentor for other first generation lawyers.

Hometown: Los Angeles

Why the Law: Before law school, Ridings worked in creative media and owned a production company. In his early 30s, he taught undergraduate courses in critical media theory and “found I enjoyed that space immensely. This was paired with the sudden death of my father in 2015, which made me want to be able to provide for my aging mother and a younger brother who had been diagnosed with cancer.” Ridings also began to feel that he “was capable of doing more at a higher level” when he met a lawyer. “Upon talking with them and meeting their lawyer friends, I realized if they could be lawyers, I sure could be too.”

Favorite Law School Moment: “I would have to say coming back to New York City [after classes resumed in person] and reconnecting with all my classmates, and finally being able to relax and enjoy ourselves in 3L has been my favorite episode of the experience.”

Columbia Law Activities: Diversity chair, Columbia Law chapter of the American Constitution Society; 2L representative, First Generation Professionals; brew master, Craft Beer Club; member, Latinx Law Students Association and Native American Law Students Association (NALSA); Immigrant’s Rights Clinic; member, NALSA national champion moot court team. 

After Columbia: Ridings will work at Sidley Austin in Los Angeles.

“One of the most rewarding and unexpected parts of my time in law school was learning that my talent—my desire to craft individual relationships with people, to provide mentorship, provide service that I did in other ways in my life prior to law school—can be a part of, and is in fact an integral part of, being a lawyer.”