Tahir Boykins, J.D. ’12CPS

Tahir Boykin in conference room with long wood table and empty chairs

Destined for a Career in Law

By the time he entered high school, Tahir Boykins, J.D., had good reason to believe he was headed for a career in law. “I was a tenacious arguer,” he recalled. “I would put together all of these examples to defend what I was saying. My parents kept saying, ‘you think like an attorney.’ They turned out to be right.”

Today, Mr. Boykins is an Associate with Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, an international law firm specializing in litigation, regulatory issues, real estate, and corporate and bankruptcy law. “Junior Associates typically do significant background research and drafting, but through pro bono opportunities, I also have participated in hearings before judges, in jury selection, and in taking depositions,” he said. “The work is always interesting.” In 2016, Mr. Boykins won the New York City Trial Lawyers Alliance Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy.

Majoring in Legal Studies at St. John’s, said Mr. Boykins, prepared him well for law school. As a member of the award-winning Mock Trial Team, he was mentored by co-coaches and practicing attorneys: the late Bernard G. Helldorfer, ’77CBA, ’80L, Professor of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security; Oscar Holt III, J.D., ’73Ed, ’76GEd, ’79L, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security; and Kareem R. Vessup, J.D., Adjunct Instructor. Equally helpful was the “law school approach” faculty took in class, including Professors Holt and Mary Noe, J.D. ’87L. Mr. Boykins went on to earn his J.D. degree from Brooklyn Law School in 2016.

As an attorney and a St. John’s graduate, Mr. Boykins strives to “give back” by assisting young people who also aspire to a law career. He participates in the iMentor program, which encourages students in low-income communities to attend college and build careers. He also is a member of the Diversity Pipeline Committee of the New York Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the Pipeline to Practice Foundation, which enhances diversity in the legal profession. “Helping others,” he noted, “is the Vincentian thing to do.”