Meet Our Staff: Hayley Durudogan

Each year, Alliance for Justice welcomes two recent law school graduates as Dorot Fellows, whose fellowships are generously supported by the Dorot Foundation. Dorot Fellows provide vital research and capacity to AFJ’s Justice team, helping identify, vet, and support diverse nominees to the federal courts.

This month, current Dorot Fellow Hayley Durudogan shares her experience at AFJ. (Last month, we heard from AFJ’s other Dorot Fellow Brianna Davis).

What drew you to AFJ? 

When it comes to judicial nominations and confirmations work, Alliance for Justice is the place to be! Since the 1970s, AFJ has been at the forefront of progressive efforts to build a stronger, more diverse judiciary; I wanted to be part of an organization with such an incredible history.

Describe a typical day/week of work for you! 

A “typical day at AFJ” is much like a “typical day on the Hill” – it doesn’t exist. This day-to-day variability is perfect for me, however. I love that on Monday I could be finishing up a nominee report, while on Tuesday I could be in Hill meetings, and then on Wednesday I could be writing a blog post. The variability helps me gain new skills and hone old ones, and you can’t ask for much more in a workplace – I enjoy it tremendously.

What do you wish more people understood about your work, and about the judiciary more broadly? 

I wish more people understood how the judicial nominations and confirmations processes work. In school, we learned about presidential and congressional elections, but students are rarely taught how federal judges come to sit on the bench (at least not in great detail). We need School House Rock to create a judiciary remix of “I’m just a bill sitting on Capitol Hill” entitled “I’m just a nominee sitting in Committee.”

What advice do you have for young people considering law school? 

Try not to get too caught up in the various Reddit threads and social media channels dedicated to the applications process. By all means, gather information, but it will do you no good to compare yourself to the thousands of other people applying to law school each year. Trust me when I tell you that my law school friends and I had very different paths to grad school and yet we all wound up in the same place. Put together a strong application, apply to the schools you’re interested in, and wait to see what happens.

Fun question! What are some of your favorite spots in DC that you’ve found during your time here? 

In no particular order, here is my list:

  1. Zaytinya: Zaytinya is, without a doubt, my favorite DC restaurant. The food is fantastic, the atmosphere is delightful, and it’s right in the heart of the city – what more could you ask for? Now, Zaytinya is admittedly a bit pricey, so it’s best saved for special occasions. If you do stop by, I highly recommend the hummus ma lahm.
  2. The National Portrait Gallery: I ADORE this museum! It’s free, easy to navigate, and filled with incredible artwork. The presidential portraits are on the second floor, as is my favorite painting: Among the Sierra Nevada, California by Albert Bierstadt. The gallery is opposite Zaytinya, so I highly recommend booking yourself a dinner reservation and heading over after a few hours at the museum. (2-3 hours is a good amount of time, in my opinion.)
  3. Cava: This may be a controversial pick but bear with me – I just spent three years living in a Cava-less state and let me tell you, I missed the fast-casual dining spot. Well-known to DC-ers, Cava is a great lunch/dinner option, and one that I highly recommend to out-of-towners looking to eat quickly but still try something new.
  4. Aslin Beer Company: Now that we are in Fake Spring™, it is time to talk beer gardens. Aslin Beer Co. on 14th Street has a lovely outdoor seating area, a wide selection of beers, and a mural of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – all things you want in a beer garden! Plus, once you’re finished drinking, you can head across the street to Doi Moi – an amazing Vietnamese-fusion restaurant. (If you do stop by, get the drunken noodles (thank me later).)