September 7, 2021
Laura Ryan RLAW '24 used to work with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio. Now, she's a mom to Massimo, pictured on the left.

Talk about your journey to Rutgers Law School

Before Rutgers, I had been working in hospitality for the last ten years, doing marketing, public relations, communications and social media for some of the best chefs and restaurants in the country. The pandemic upended the entire industry, and coincidentally, I had my son Massimo in March 2020, so my life has changed drastically in a very short time. I loved advocating for chefs and small businesses and sharing their stories, and along the way I was able to work within many different parts of the industry -- from business development, to real estate, to employment and labor -- almost all of which have a legal component. I already know the language of restaurants, now I am hoping to learn the language of law and apply it to an industry in which I already have deep roots. 

What appealed to you about Rutgers Law? 

I am entering law school not just as an older student, but as a mom. Rutgers was the one school that recognized that, but also didn't make me feel as though I didn't belong. Rutgers also has a long history of female graduates who were either career changers or moms - or both - most notably Senator Elizabeth Warren!

Talk about yourself and your background

I grew up in Princeton and was raised by an exceptionally supportive family, and after graduating from Georgetown University, I moved to NYC where I worked a number of different jobs but found my passion in food and restaurants. I worked for chef, Top Chef host and activist Tom Colicchio for many years, with whom I had the opportunity to help build, open and operate restaurants and to see how the world of food television worked. Prior to working for Tom I went to culinary school in Italy, but I would never call myself a chef. I'm lucky to be married to one, though.

What are your goals and hopes for your post-law school career?

I am hoping that by the time I graduate, there has been some trajectory towards a more equitable and sustainable hospitality industry, and that I can use what I've learned to help chefs, restaurants and small businesses grow and thrive. I am also excited for my son to experience my journey through school with me so that he can see first-hand that anything is possible with hard work and the support of your family and friends. And coffee - a lot of coffee. 

Rutgers Law Media Contacts:
Mike Sepanic (Camden); Elizabeth Moore (Newark)

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