Karol Corbin Walker
Karol Corbin Walker is used to hearing the word "first" associated with her name. The partner with St. John & Wayne law firm in Newark is the first black woman attorney to ever earn partner status in a major New Jersey firm and the first black woman president of the New Jersey Bar Association, which she presided over in 2003 and 2004.
Walker is proud of those accomplishments, but, as she recently told a crowd of women business owners in Trenton, they don't define her. "Being the first at things is not the badge of honor that I wear," says Walker, who graduated from Henry Snyder High School, Jersey City University and Seton Hall Law School in West Orange. "I grew up in a very urban setting in Jersey City. I wear that as a badge of honor. Despite all of my accomplishments, the best thing I ever did was graduate college with my mother in 1980. We both graduated together from Jersey City University. She went to school at night and did whatever she had to do to graduate someday. I learned so much from her. Success is something different for everyone. Your measure for success should be based on your own experiences. You need to achieve it for yourself. It's up to you to have enough faith, fortitude and perseverance to make it happen. That's how I got to Seton Hall Law School. People ask me all the time why I chose Seton Hall. Why did I choose it? Seton Hall Law School is the only school that chose me! I share that with you because people see you now. They don't see what you have to go through to get to where you are. It was not easy, but it was something that I did because I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. If you have a dream, pursue it in the best manner that you believe you can. When there are things you don't know, ask for help." Additional advice from Karol Corbin Walker: "It's OK if you don't yet know what you want to do with your life. It took me a while to figure it out. When I was a senior in high school I wrote in my yearbook that I wanted to be either a lawyer or a doctor. Soon after high school I realized I had a low tolerance for blood. So, after a few years, I decided to pursue a legal career. I believe the only limitations that anyone has are those they place on themselves. It's very important to set goals. Once you set your goal, do not become distracted by minor obstacles which, if you stay the course, you will overcome."
"I have always had to deal with people who underestimate my abilities. For me, I think it's a plus. Because of my faith in God and in myself I have been able to overcome. I'm not afraid of anything. Has it ever been hard? I think the question should be: has it ever been easy? The answer to that is a resounding NO. It has been really difficult to achieve each and every thing I've achieved. Historically, I did not do well with standardized testing. I was able to do well in school because I can write. My LSATs [exams to get into law school] were awful. Some would think, why even apply to law school? Because I had a goal and nothing was going to stop me. Having an education and setting goals will enable you to reach your highest potential."