Meet the Graduates - Class of 2013

Students Chase Cooper Anna Kelly Phillip Williamson Alex Krueger-Wyman Hana Nah Kim Rolla Taylor Tibbitts

Meet the Graduates
Members of the Class of 2013 talk about their experiences at Virginia Law.

Hometown: Columbus, Ind.

Who I was then: I graduated from Indiana University and worked for a great company called Cook Medical before law school.

Amazing law school class: Four-way tie between Corporations with Professor Kevin Kordana, Property with Professor Richard Schragger, Criminal Procedure Survey with Professor Josh Bowers, and Contracts with Dean Paul Mahoney.

Outside class: I was the editor-in-chief of the Virginia Journal of Law & Technology and the president of the Lambda Law Alliance. I also did pro bono work for the Legal Aid Justice Center and the UVA Law Human Rights Program. But the highlight of my extracurricular involvement was probably being the problem author for the semifinal and final rounds of the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition. I wrote a fictional state Supreme Court opinion involving the extent of constitutional religious protections, and the Moot Court competitors argued the case in front of real federal judges as if it were on appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a lot of fun to hear my problem argued by very skilled advocates and to meet some really cool federal judges.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I probably enjoy going out for dinner with friends more than anything else. My favorite Charlottesville restaurants are Bella's, The Local, C&O, and of course, Bellair, for the best sandwiches anywhere. And I go out for frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog on the downtown mall and ice cream at Ben & Jerry's more often than I should. So that means that my second favorite activity has to be going to the gym, and UVA has some really nice fitness facilities. I also like taking my dog jogging around University Main Grounds and the Corner.

Noteworthy summer job: I worked at Thompson Coburn in St. Louis my first summer and at Jones Day in Dallas my second summer. Both were really great experiences.

What's next: I will return to Jones Day in Dallas this fall.

Who I am now: Law school has challenged my thinking in a lot of unexpected ways. Most of us go to law school expecting to learn "the law" (or at least to master a specific area of it), but the most important training I got in my three years here was learning to think about problems in an entirely different way and to question even deeply held assumptions. Most importantly, I met Kent Piacenti '12 at law school, to whom I am engaged to be married in August!

What you should know about Virginia Law: This school offers incredible faculty, administration, opportunities and resources. I really doubt there is any law school that provides more support for its students. I'm very grateful for the excellent legal education I received, as well as the opportunities for personal and professional development and building a network of really great people. If I had it to do over again, I would.


Hometown: Denver, Colo.

Who I was then: As an undergraduate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, I studied international affairs and quickly realized that law school was my next step. Consistently hearing rave reviews about UVA Law and its graduates during an internship at the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado solidified my decision to come to Charlottesville.

Amazing law school class: Among the courses I was able to take with brilliant professors, two stick out in my mind. Taking Civil Procedure with Caleb Nelson my first semester of law school taught me analytical skills and attention to detail that I know will follow me the rest of my career. The Sexuality and Law seminar co-taught by Anne Coughlin and Kerry Abrams left me feeling both empowered to make strong legal arguments and mindful of the impact that those arguments can have on the lives of individuals.

Outside class: Virginia Journal of International Law, Peer Advisor, Dillard Fellow, PILA and giving tours of this fantastic school to prospective students and their families.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: Fridays on Copeley Field attempting to play softball (go Foul Tips!), wine-tasting at vineyards, and sampling every sandwich shop I can find.

Noteworthy summer job(s): My 1L summer I worked at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office in Denver, Colo., and my 2L summer I worked as a summer associate at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C.

What's next: Hogan Lovells, Washington, D.C.

Who I am now: East Coast transplant who still loves Colorado, significantly better at thinking critically and creatively, marginally better at softball.

What you should know about Virginia Law: Whoever told you that law school would be miserable didn’t go to UVA. I have been consistently amazed not only by the brilliance of my classmates, but also by their compassion and good humor. I’ll leave UVA with the analytical skills I expected to gain from a top-tier law school, and some best friends that I didn’t. Thanks for an amazing three years.


Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.

Who I was then: I graduated in 2009 from Princeton University, where I majored in political economy and served as captain on the varsity tennis team. I initially intended to try my hand at professional tennis for a few years, but when two surgeries put an end to that dream, I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps and go to law school. I took one year off after college, and during that time I served as a research assistant at USC, worked as an assistant tennis coach at my high school and met my future wife.

Amazing law school class: It’s a tie between Criminal Investigation with Anne Coughlin and Federal Courts with John C. Jeffries. Both professors are incredible, and they know everything there is to know about these subjects.

Outside class: I was an executive editor on the Virginia Law Review, a Peer Advisor (during my 2L year) and a Dillard Fellow (during my 3L year). I also worked as a research assistant to two professors during my 2L and 3L years. Finally, I am a member of the North Grounds Softball League.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I love getting dinner with my friends at the many amazing restaurants in Charlottesville. I have also made sure to visit plenty of the surrounding vineyards. When I have free time during the day, I love to play tennis and pickup basketball with friends. 

Noteworthy summer job(s): During my 1L summer, I worked as a summer associate for Paul Hastings in San Diego. It was amazing to experience firm life after only my first year of law school, especially with such a great firm. I split my 2L summer between O’Melveny & Myers in Century City, Calif., and Paul Hastings in San Diego. Both were terrific experiences, particularly for anyone who would like to work at a law firm.

What's next: I will be working as an associate in the litigation department at O’Melveny & Myers in Century City, Calif.

Who I am now: I would say that I am the same person I was coming into UVA Law, except that I am now much better equipped to start a professional career. Law school has made me a more analytical thinker and a much better writer, but, most importantly, it has given me confidence that I can actually be the lawyer I wanted to be when I first applied to UVA.

What you should know about Virginia Law: The hype is true. You can get a great job by going to any of the top law schools, but you’re not going to enjoy yourself in law school unless you go to one that actually has a collegial atmosphere, and UVA is at the top of that list. From playing softball with your fellow students to playing tennis and getting drinks with professors, UVA provides an environment that you just won’t find at most law schools. I went to law school wanting to come out of it with a job, and I did, but I also came out of it with new best friends and memories from three of the best years of my life.


Hometown: Syosset, N.Y.

Who I was then: I was an intern with financial services companies during my college years at New York University during 2008 when the financial crisis began. I worked in both the financial and compliance parts of the business and became fascinated by the intersection between law and business.

Amazing law school class: I liked classes that reinforced practical skills. I took Persuasion this past January and that forced me to improve my public speaking skills. I also really enjoyed short courses — one example being the class on Dodd-Frank taught by Citigroup executive Ned Kelly '81.

Outside class: I was vice president of the JD/MBA Society and volunteered with the Volunteer Income Tax Association. I also held memberships with Virginia Law Women and Virginia Tax Review along with various extracurricular activities at Darden.  

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I enjoy different types of exercise depending on what kind of a day I’ve had. There are some great yoga studios around town that really take my mind off of whatever is going on that day. I also belong to ACAC and get a mix of really intensive and relaxing exercise classes. Of course, golfing at some of the courses around town is also a lot of fun when the weather is nice!

Noteworthy summer job(s): I had three summer jobs since I am a JD/MBA. I was lucky enough to work for Paramount Pictures Corp. in their legal department in L.A. during my first summer, followed by summer associate positions at Paul Hastings and Simpson Thacher and Bartlett.

What's next: I will start at Simpson Thacher and Bartlett in New York this fall in their corporate department.

Who I am now: I think my time here has cemented my desire to work in the intersection of law and business. The regulatory environment is rapidly evolving, especially in the financial sector, and I look forward to learning more. As regulations and risk tolerances are changing, deals will be adapting as well. I am sad that my time here in Charlottesville is coming to an end — but am looking forward to all of the changes that are on the horizon.

What you should know about Virginia Law: There have been times when I have struggled with balancing everything — especially attending two different schools [Darden and Law]. The support I got from everyone really helped. The career services team here is also incredible. They are very supportive and I have gotten a lot of personalized advice from them. The people here in general set UVA Law apart. People talk about the collegiality of UVA Law for a reason — it is true.



Hometown: Springfield, Va.

Who I was then: I attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. After graduating I moved to Richmond and hopped on the part-time job circuit, working as a personal trainer, house painter and a barista, among other things. But the work that captivated me most was at a small nonprofit, Housing and Development Advisers, and volunteering as an organizer with a public housing resident association, Residents of Public Housing of Richmond Against Mass Eviction. RePHRAME worked closely with a lawyer at Legal Aid Justice Center in Richmond, and his humble and consistent support of the organization was instrumental in my decision to attend law school.

Amazing law school class: Litigation and Housing Law Clinic. For me the class was perfect; it basically let me start doing my dream job before I even graduated. I had three cases that went to trial throughout the year. The clinic will without a doubt get you into court. And the instructors, John Conover and Brenda Castenada, not only have a wealth of trial advocacy and substantive housing knowledge, but are amazing teachers. They provide the perfect balance of pushing you outside your comfort zone and making sure you feel supported in providing your client the best representation possible.

Outside class: Program in Law and Public Service; Virginia Law Review Editorial Board; co-director of the National Lawyers Guild at UVA; membership and fundraising director of the Public Interest Law Association; Lambda Law Alliance

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: Crossfit Charlottesville. Physical activity is the best stress relief for me. Lots of interesting folks from around town (including law and other graduate students) work out at this gym, so it's also a great place to meet people. I can even see the Blue Ridge Mountains while I'm lifting weights.

Noteworthy summer job(s): Public Benefits Unit, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. I was able to help many individual clients secure benefits. But I was also was able to work on systemic issues, including the preliminary research for a state constitutional challenge to the elimination of Pennsylvania's cash welfare program that is now being litigated. A number of UVA Law graduates work there, and it is a great place to spend the summer if you are interested in legal aid work.

What's next: Powell Fellow, Civil Advocacy Program, Legal Aid Justice Center, Charlottesville. I was incredibly honored to receive the Law School's Powell Fellowship. For the next two years I will defend tenants against eviction actions, ensure local housing conditions comply with the law and work with the Public Housing Association of Residents in Charlottesville, a nationally recognized tenants' organization, on the redevelopment of Charlottesville’s public housing and other critical issues identified by the organization.

Who I am now: I am still committed to housing for all. And I still feel at home in community settings working with those directly affected by problems. But now I feel ready to hit the ground running with another invaluable tool set; I'm on my way to feeling as confident in a courtroom or administrative hearing as at a rally.

What you should know about Virginia Law: Students at UVA Law excel at forging connections across our differences. I learned to respectfully articulate my views on issues I feel passionately about to people who came to the table with very different sets of assumptions. And I found once I could do that, support for my work started emerging from many surprising places. This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned from my time at UVA Law.


Hometown: Salmon, Idaho

Who I was then: A small-town kid who enjoyed sports and the outdoors. After taking two years off following my freshman year of college to serve as a missionary in Taiwan, I learned to love the Chinese culture and to speak Mandarin. I also came back with an interest in business. This led to an accounting degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho and minors in economics and Mandarin. Along the way, I realized that combining my background with a law degree would make me a versatile businessman, and it just felt right. Upon enrolling at UVA, my high school sweetheart and I were three-years married, and our first child was 18 months old.

Amazing law school class: My most useful law school class was Legislation with Professor Caleb Nelson — principles of statutory interpretation that have helped in all of my other law school courses. My favorite class based on topic was either Corporations with Professor Michal Barzuza or Environmental Law and Federalism with Professor Cale Jaffe. Both were interesting and well taught.
Outside class: I served as the managing editor for the Virginia Law Review, was a member of the Rex E. Lee Law Society and captained my section's softball team — a group we proudly kept together through all six semesters at UVA. I also enjoyed doing pro bono work with the Legal Aid Justice Center, Wills for Seniors and a public defender in my hometown.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: My wife and I enjoyed taking our boys (the second came in between my first and second semesters) on walks around the Law School and Main Grounds. We also enjoyed attending UVA sporting events and trying out many of Charlottesville's fantastic eateries.

Noteworthy summer job(s): As a 2L I was a summer associate at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., and as a 1L I was an intern for Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the Federal District of Idaho in Boise. Both summer jobs provided unique, substantive experiences that helped me return to the classroom a better equipped student and attorney-to-be.

What's next: After graduation I will clerk for Judge N. Randy Smith of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pocatello, Idaho. Thereafter, my family and I will settle down in Boise, where I will join an Idaho law firm, Hawley Troxell.

Who I am now: I am a happy husband and father of two looking forward to a bright future. I have a strong network of friends and colleagues that I have met through my law school campaign, and we are all excited about helping each other out and working hard at what we believe in.

What you should know about Virginia Law: Law school does not have to be a painful experience. I look back on my three years at UVA with feelings of community and satisfaction. I have made great friends — classmates, professors, law school administrators and Charlottesville locals — and great memories. Studying the law at UVA was a real pleasure.


Hometown: Batesville, Ark.

Who I was then: A 2010 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, where I studied philosophy, theology and political science. I had an eye on political office. I swore off law school, until one of my professors pointed out it was the best combination of my interests, the go-to qualification for elected office and looked like a natural fit for a debater.

Amazing law school class: Anything with Professor Barb Armacost, but especially Torts and Advanced Topics in the First Amendment (Religion Clauses). She really taught me how to wrestle through legal questions, and more importantly, how to think about the moral and social questions underlying the law.

Outside class: I spend my Thursday nights with the Law Christian Fellowship and Friday nights with the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, and most other nights reviewing articles for the Journal of Law & Politics.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I trek down to Virginia Beach pretty regularly (it's a great getaway). I am also on a lifelong quest to find the perfect bacon cheeseburger. Charlottesville is a great place to quest. 

Noteworthy summer job(s): I spent my 1L summer as a Blackstone Fellow with the Alliance Defending Freedom. I spent six weeks working in the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy office. My co-intern and I had the opportunity to do everything from in-person lobbying to drafting rebuttal memos to the Department of Justice.

What's next: I will be heading back to Arkansas to clerk for Judge Lavenski R. Smith on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Ray Kethledge on the 6th Circuit.

Who I am now: Still a debater at heart, and still in love with politics. UVA has given me a broader perspective on the world, and the tools to make it a better place.

What you should know about Virginia Law: Virginia is a great place to go to law school. The environment is open and supportive. Professors mean it when they say "my door is always open." Charlottesville has something for everyone. The University of Virginia represents more than just a degree; it's an alma mater.

Meet the Graduates: Class of 2012