Sam Ludington (Photo by Joshua Prezant)
Sam Ludington is a passionate advocate for his clients in the corporate world, in the courtroom, and in the community. The second-year Miami Law student and Miami Scholar is pursuing career opportunities in business litigation, after building an impressive resume in the public interest sector.
"I have developed a good understanding of how government agencies operate and want to use that knowledge and experience to advise clients in the private sector," he said. "Eventually, I would like to move into a public policy role that builds on my understanding of the business world, and the deep needs of our communities."
A HAITIAN-AMERICAN BACKGROUND
Ludington was born in Chicago to a Haitian-American mother and English father. His father died from a heart attack when he was three, and his mother and two maternal aunts moved to Miami when he was four. Two years later, his mother died of lung cancer. Fortunately, his maternal aunt Micheline Cornet, a registered surgical nurse who is now retired, adopted him.
"She is a phenomenal mother, who put raising me as her priority," Ludington said. "She sacrificed so that I could attend private school, and she was there for every baseball practice and home game. She encouraged me to do my homework because she knew that education was a key to achieving success in life."
After high school, Ludington received a scholarship from Northwestern University and returned to the Chicago area. He majored in economics and planned to go to medical school, aiming for a career in the public health sector.
Ludington earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern in 2009 and returned to Miami, where he spent a year studying biomedical sciences at Barry University. In January 2010, he traveled to Haiti as a translator for a volunteer U.S. medical team in the aftermath of the earthquake.
"Haiti has always played a huge part in my identity," Ludington said. "Early in my life, my mom reinforced the importance of community service here and in Haiti. Every year since fourth grade, we have gone back to Haiti to host a Christmas party for children in Carrefour, where my aunt works at an orphanage. For me, it's inspiring to see the resilience of young children who are able to overcome hardship and pain and keep on smiling."
ENTERING THE NON-PROFIT SECTOR
While Ludington volunteered in Haiti, Miami's Haitian-American community began asking him to provide updates on the recovery. One of the leaders on his email list was Pastor Rich Wilkerson at Trinity Church in Miami Gardens. One morning, he called Ludington in Miami and offered him a position as director of the church's social service program, Peacemakers Family Center.
Ludington fell in love with the nonprofit sector, and worked with Peacemakers, identifying the needs of individual children and families, writing grants, and speaking with community leaders. In 2013, he joined the Children of Inmates, a nonprofit that coordinates care and family reunification for Florida children of incarcerated parents.
"At first it was me and the founder," Ludington said. "But we were able to grow the organization in terms of funding, public awareness, and overall impact."
As a rising professional in the community, Ludington was selected for The Miami Foundation's 14-month signature leadership program and joined Class IX of the Miami Fellows. In that role, Ludington also hosted a "My Miami Story" conversation with 12 inmates at the Everglades Re-entry Center, organized by the foundation.
"We talked about post-release employability and the need for additional 21st-century job-readiness training programs in the facilities," he said. "We also discussed the rise of gun violence and the disproportionate impact it has on communities of color."
A CAREER IN LAW
Ludington's experiences in advocacy and leadership convinced him to consider a career in law. "My wife Stefanie was very encouraging, and it was an honor to be accepted by Miami Law," he said.
Although Ludington stepped down from Children of Inmates when he became a student, he volunteered to take part in Miami Law's Exchange for Change service program, advising inmate law clerks at Dade Correctional Institution.
After finishing his first year at Miami Law, Ludington split his summer internship, working with U.S. Southern District Court Judge Kathleen Williams and with Boies Schiller Flexner. "Both were incredible learning experiences that broadened my horizons," he said. "Being a Miami Law student is both challenging and exciting at the same time. I am proud to share our school's deep commitment to public service."