2L appointed president-elect of YLD law student division
By Jared Misner
Every few years, Allie Menegakis has to explain why she’s dressed like a 10-year-old boy.
Menegakis explains it once more, peppering the story with her infectious laugh. The second-year University of Florida law student played the preteen Patrick in her high school rendition of the musical “Mame,” a role she was initially upset about – until she found out the role gave her a solo song.
Because for Menegakis, life is just a series of starring roles.
“I’ve always had this confidence,” Menegakis said. “I love performing on stage.”
And now, as a law student, that’s how she describes her classes – performances.
“(Life) is just like a play, except,” Menegakis said, “you’re writing your own script.”
After a high school career on stage, Menegakis entered UF as a music major (she plays the piano, trumpet and guitar), but she switched her major to criminology after realizing her career prospects were limited. Here, she knew a future in law would allow her to keep performing and to keep her starring role.
“In music, you’re expressing something. In law, you’re expressing something,” Menegakis said. “I always wanted to perform as a child, and I think this is the perfect mix between the two.”
While growing up dreaming of a life onstage, Menegakis aged in the shadows of the law. Her mom, Patty, went to Nova Southeastern University’s Law Center when Menegakis was in elementary school.
As the younger Menegakis, the granddaughter of Greek immigrants, tells the story, she attended law conferences with her mom across the state only just recently realizing the significance of some of the people she met.
But it was this early involvement with the Florida Bar that would later serve as Menegakis’ audition for her current breakthrough role as president-elect of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Law Student Division.
After entering UF’s law school, Menegakis “jumped” at the opportunity during her first year to be one of only two students in her class to represent the school on the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division.
And in June, Menegakis will take the stage again in a starring role when she’s officially named president of the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Law Students Division, where she will preside over the six law students from each 11 Florida law schools who serve as governors to the division.
“She’s not afraid to be a performer,” said Ryan Gilbert, UF’s other current second-year representative on the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Law Student Division.
In limelight fashion, Madam President Menegakis will be the first Gator to lead this division since its 2007 inception. As president, she’ll be in charge of all Florida Bar-sponsored events at Florida’s 11 law schools.
“I don’t feel like there’s pressure. I have the law school behind me; they’re excited,” Menegakis said before she added, in perfect performer fashion, “I’m excited more than anything!”
While she praises the division’s current president, Florida State’s Lauren Ryan, Menegakis has a pretty solid idea why she was chosen to succeed Ryan.
“I’m a very vocal person,” Menegakis said with a geunine laugh.
In between her new role as president of the division, President-elect Menegakis will intern this summer in the public defender’s office in Florida’s 15th circuit near her hometown of Boca Raton.
“I wanted to do something to help people, something that was fulfilling,” she said. “That was important to me.”
Yet even for a seasoned performer, musician and an intramural tennis champion, shining moments bring stage fright. Every time she would play the trumpet in front of a crowd, no matter if it was a crowd of two or 200, Menegakis said her hands would shake. But the first time she stepped into the advocacy arena in her trial practice class, her hands steadied.
“I’m kind of cheesy, but I do think I found my calling,” Menegakis said. “It’s funny the way things end up.”