DyTiesha Dunson finds a home at Moritz following decorated basketball career
By: James Grega
Her entire life, 2L DyTiesha Dunson called either Georgia or Florida home. The all-time assists leader in Florida Gulf Coast University Women’s Basketball history currently resides in Columbus, where she is pursuing her JD at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Dunson’s experiences in the classroom have led her to find a particular interest in tax law, specifically in an effort to assist minorities with taxes.
A 2018 study by Prosperity Now found that Latino and African Americans will receive $186 billion less in tax cuts that were signed into law in October than white Americans. With the education she has received at Moritz, Dunson’s interest in tax law heightened.
“I wanted to pursue a practice area in the transactional field that I could also use to help minorities,” she said. “Doing legal work in tax and taking tax classes increased my interest. I realized that tax greatly influences society. Outside of that, I honestly love being confronted with a concept that is so complex, but simple if you take the time to understand it.”
The challenges that Dunson faced in undergrad, both as a student and Div. 1 athlete, have helped prepare her for the complexities of law school.
“Playing a college sport, you have practice, class and then you might have another workout. But you still want to have a [social] life, and you still have to do your work,” she said. “You get in a routine where you’re very disciplined and get things done.”
In addition, she compared getting recruited as a student-athlete to applying for jobs and how finding the right fit is an important part of any process.
Dunson has learned these lessons on the hardwood and at Moritz. If there’s any advice she would give to incoming 1Ls or those considering law school it would be, “it’s OK to not be OK.”
“It’s OK to be confused. It’s OK to not know what area of law you want to practice in. It’s OK to need help,” she said. “Your first year will be the toughest mentally because you are encountering something new. But at the end of the day, everything will work itself out.”
Not only is Dunson the all-time assists leader at FGCU (454), she also led the Eagles to plenty of team success from 2012-16. She started 96 of her 132 career games played, leading the Eagles to a 117-24 overall record during her time on campus. That run included four regular season Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN) titles, two ASUN Tournament titles and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2014, 2015).
As a senior, Dunson led the Eagles to 33 wins, a record for the program since joining the Div. 1 ranks in 2007-08. That campaign ended with a runner-up finish in the 2016 Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). She graduated from FGCU in 2016 with a BS in criminal justice.
While basketball is no longer a prominent part of her life outside of the Moritz rec league, Dunson serves as the treasurer of the Black Law Students Association and has already completed a clerkship [Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP] in Atlanta. She also served as a summer associate at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus last year and will be returning this summer with the goal to get a job offer from the same firm after graduation.
Even if the job offer comes through, Dunson said she still hasn’t completely disregarded the idea of returning to school again to pursue an LLM degree.
“I know that many tax attorneys haven’t pursued an LLM and have been very successful in the field,” she said. “However, as a person with no business background, I believe spending a year engulfed in tax classes would greatly help my learning of the subject.”
No matter what her next step is, Dunson said that her experience at Moritz, combined with the lessons learned in undergrad, have prepared her for it.
“There are a lot of opportunities I have at Ohio State and Moritz. You have professors like Professor [Katherine] Kelly and people like Cybele [Smith], [Director of Public Service and Public Interest Programs], that look out for you and as soon as you come in and talk to them, they are helping you put things in perspective to go toward your career,” Dunson said. “The community surrounding Moritz is the one thing that has helped me go farther in my career.”