Meet the Graduates
Meet the Graduates
Members of the Class of 2021 talk about their experiences at Virginia Law
Ana Tobar '21
Hometown: Haymarket, Virginia (Tobar’s family left El Salvador after an earthquake destroyed their home when she was 5.)
Who I was then: I graduated from George Mason University in 2017 with a dual degree in global affairs and communication. I worked as a community organizer and business development associate before law school.
Amazing law school class: The list was hard to narrow down, but if I had to choose my absolute favorite class, it would be the Employment Law Clinic led by Rachel C. McFarland, Jason Yarashes and Pat Levy-Lavelle [’05], where I advocated for farm workers at the Virginia General Assembly and gained substantial exposure to developing strong client relationships. I also enjoyed taking Topics in Private Company Acquisitions with Thomas Denison, Border Policy and Politics with Kristin Clarens and International Business Negotiation with Kenneth Starling.
Outside class: I was the president of the Latin American Law Organization and a projects editor for the Virginia Journal of International Law. I was a member of Women of Color, Lone Star Lawyers and the Virginia Law Wine Society. During 3L, I was also a teaching assistant (over Zoom!) for the class Race, Protest and the Media, and it was such a cool and unique experience.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: When in Charlottesville, taking advantage of the food scene is a must. Even though it may seem like a small city, it is bursting with so many local restaurants. Some of my favorites are Lampo, Mas Tapas, Ace Biscuit & Barbecue and The Alley Light.
Noteworthy summer job: During my 1L summer, I was a summer associate at Katten as a 1L Leadership Council on Legal Diversity scholar in Washington, D.C. It was truly one of the best summers I have ever had. I had the opportunity to work on extremely challenging and interesting cases, attend client meetings, and work within the different practice areas of the firm. Additionally, as an LCLD scholar I was able to attend the annual summit, where I got to meet other such scholars from all over the country.
What’s next: I will be moving to Houston to join Mayer Brown’s corporate and securities practice group.
Who I am now: Law school reaffirmed the importance of remembering your purpose, staying grounded in your beliefs, uplifting others along your journey and never forgetting where you came from.
What you should know about Virginia Law: Undoubtedly, challenges are inherent to any law school experience, which can lead to competitive environments. However, what makes Virginia Law unique is that you won’t find a person who doesn’t want you to succeed. Your professors and colleagues will share in your happiness and will also be there when you need to be uplifted. Becoming part of the Virginia Law community means being part of something much greater than yourself, and I am so grateful that I will forever be part of such an empowering community.
Arjun Ogale '21
Hometown: I have been lucky to see the world. I spent time in Utah and California, and ended up graduating from high school in India before settling in Texas.
Who I was then: I am an engineer-turned-lawyer. I graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in industrial engineering. Before coming to law school, I spent a few months interning on Capitol Hill, and then the better part of a year working as an engineer for a helicopter manufacturer in Texas.
Amazing law school class: I had the opportunity to take so many fabulous classes that it is difficult to pick just one. I especially enjoyed Criminal Investigation with Professor Anne Coughlin, Federal Courts with Professor Richard Re, both Election Law and Legislation with Professor Michael Gilbert, and Constitutional Law with Dean Risa Goluboff.
But if I had to narrow it down to a single class, my favorite class would be a seminar I took during my third year called The Rule of Law and Threats to It. It was co-taught by professors Charles Barzun and Josh Bowers, both of whom are wonderful teachers and mentors. Substantively, the seminar focused on important questions that are often overlooked in most law school classes, such as: What does it mean to live in a society governed by the rule of law? What is the difference between law and morality? How should values like democracy, individual liberty, equality and fairness shape our understanding of what law is and what it ought to be? Exploring these themes was a highlight of my time in the classroom and certainly gave me ample food for thought that will be valuable for years to come.
More generally, I think everyone should take at least one seminar-format class during law school. They are a great way to interact with classmates and professors in a smaller setting.
Outside class: The social and extracurricular life at UVA Law is incredibly vibrant. During my time here, I was co-president of the South Asian Law Students Association, a Peer Advisor, a participant in the Lile Moot Court competition and a member of the Raven Society. The bulk of my time was occupied by my role as the editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review. I had an active role in selecting each piece that we published, and I read each issue cover-to-cover before it was sent to the printer. Not only did I get to read fascinating legal scholarship about cutting-edge issues, but I also was able to work with incredible people on the journal, many of whom I now count among my best friends.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I chose UVA Law in part because of how much there is to do in and around Charlottesville. I am a big foodie, so I will always treasure the memories I have of eating out at my favorite restaurants in town with friends and loved ones. Mas Tapas, Tavola and Lampo are just a few of my favorites. There are also so many beautiful hikes in the central Virginia region, including Humpback Rocks, McAfee Knob and Old Rag. And the winery scene here is simply stellar. Especially during the pandemic, being able to do so many things outdoors was a blessing.
Noteworthy summer job: I spent last summer at the Washington, D.C., office of Covington & Burling. I worked on a wide variety of assignments, ranging from intellectual property cases to white-collar investigations. And although we worked remotely because of the pandemic, the firm did a wonderful job of making us feel connected and engaged.
Although not a summer job, I had another rewarding professional experience through a semester-long externship at the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Virginia. Representing indigent criminal defendants in the federal system and helping them vindicate their constitutional rights felt incredibly meaningful, and I worked on sentencing, plea bargaining and habeas corpus issues, among others.
What’s next: Later this year, I will begin a clerkship with Judge Gregg Costa on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Houston.
Who I am now: I could count on one hand the number of lawyers I knew before I started law school. So when coming to Charlottesville, I did not know quite what to expect. But UVA Law was everything I could have asked for and more. It challenged me intellectually and personally. It changed the way I thought, argued, and wrote. It introduced me to incredible friends and mentors, and it opened doors that I previously did not even know existed. For those reasons, I will always be thankful for my time here.
What you should know about Virginia Law: Your three years here will pass by sooner than you think – make the most of them while you can.
Avery Rasmussen '21
Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Who I was then: I graduated from UVA in 2016 (go Hoos), where I studied business and political philosophy. After working in Washington, D.C., for two years as a strategy consultant, I was very excited to come back to C’ville!
Amazing law school class: Too many to choose from! Anne Coughlin blew me away with her command of the classroom in Criminal Investigations. Caleb Nelson’s Federal Courts was by far the most challenging — and the most gratifying — class I took. Michael Gilbert’s Legislation, Ashley Deeks’ National Security Law and Dick Howard’s Supreme Court seminar were among other favorites.
Outside class: Any time spent with my classmates was never wasted, whether at Section B’s “Beyond a Reasonable Out” softball games, book clubs, bar reviews, runs on the Rivanna Trail, or even just ScoCo and the library. I also really enjoyed getting to know our many wonderful professors outside of the classroom, especially through working on an article with Saikrishna Prakash and through the Student Bar Association’s lunch program.
Noteworthy summer job: At the end of last summer I interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pensacola. Working through the district’s first in-person felony jury trial since the COVID-19 pandemic was a fascinating and unforgettable learning experience.
What’s next: I’m currently clerking for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III [’72] on the Fourth Circuit. Next year I’ll head to D.C. to clerk for District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich, and then U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh the following year.
Who I am now: I’ve spent the last three years here growing under the kind, generous and enthusiastic mentorship of others who went before me, and now I'm excited to pay that forward!
What you should know about Virginia Law: This place unquestionably prepares each student who passes through its halls to be a great lawyer, but more importantly, it helps him or her achieve balance. It reminds them that school and jobs are important, but not utmost. The community fostered here is like none other: It is a place where professors care deeply about their students and students care deeply about one another. I’m blessed to be a part of it.
Grace Tang '21
Hometown: London, Ontario
Who I was then: I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2016, where I double majored in biotechnology and accounting, and in 2017 with a master’s of accounting. Prior to law school I worked as a senior accountant for Ernst & Young.
Amazing law school class: UVA Law has so many exceptional professors and I am grateful for the opportunity to study with so many distinguished scholars during my three years here. I really loved taking Copyright Law with Dotan Oliar, Federal Income Tax with Andrew Hayashi, Behavioral Decision-Making in the Law with Barbara Spellman, and Mergers and Acquisitions with Cathy Hwang. Whether in person or via Zoom, our professors made classes engaging and always welcomed classroom discussion.
I was fortunate to be a part of UVA Law’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, led by Clare Lewis, Rahul Keshap and Pamela Rosen, where I worked closely with new startup companies. One of my clients was a biotechnology startup, and it was exciting to combine my legal knowledge with my background in biotechnology to help them incorporate, draft corporate documents, and navigate the changing landscape of new laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outside class: At UVA Law, I was on the executive boards of Virginia Law Women; the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association; Law, Innovation, Security & Technology (LIST); and the Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Club. Additionally, I was an editor on the Virginia Tax Review and Virginia Law Weekly, our student run newspaper. I also participated in the Libel Show as an actor and singer.
Favorite outing/activities in Charlottesville: As the lifestyle editor for the Virginia Law Weekly, I had the best job. Every week, I would explore Charlottesville in search of great food and fun things to do, then write about them in the student newspaper. Charlottesville has so much to offer; my favorite activities include alpaca walking at Point of View Alpacas, glassmaking at The Glass Palette, along with the city’s many wineries, restaurants, brunch spots and hiking in Shenandoah National Park.
Noteworthy summer job: During my 1L summer, I interned at the California Department of Justice in San Francisco. I was in the antitrust department and assisted with the Sutter Health trial by drafting motions in limine and preparing for voir dire. Last summer, I was a summer associate at Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C. and worked on a finance project from start to close. My summer experiences have been extremely rewarding. UVA Law gave me the chance to explore vastly different areas in the law from different geographies. I was well prepared for my summer internships thanks to my law school education.
What’s next: After completing the bar, I will be moving to Washington, D.C., to work at Latham & Watkins.
Who I am now: UVA Law has given me the three best years of my life so far. The professors, students and staff here have inspired me to be a better lawyer, friend, mentor and member of the community. It is the people who make Virginia Law so special. During my flight back to Charlottesville for graduation, I ended up sitting next to a UVA Law Alumni from the class of ’69. We immediately bonded over professors, classes, softball, legal issues and pro bono like old friends. When we parted, he told me with a smile, “I’m counting on you and your classmates to make this world a better place. Oh, and don’t forget to go to class reunions!”
What you should know about Virginia Law: UVA Law is a remarkable place. Here at Virginia Law, you will learn from top legal scholars, make lifelong friendships, be supported during your struggles, cheer on the successes of your professors and peers, give back to the community, get involved in clubs and causes that matter to you, land excellent career options and leave as a better lawyer than you ever could have imagined.
Jess Feinberg '21
Hometown: Palo Alto, California
Who I was then: I graduated from Smith College in 2018, where I majored in sociology, and came straight through to UVA Law.
Amazing law school class: I've always chosen classes based more on the professor than the subject matter. For example, I took four classes (Civil Procedure, Evidence, Conflicts of Laws and Civil Rights Litigation) with Michael Collins, who is one of the clearest and most engaging professors I’ve ever had. He also supervised my two-semester independent study. I also loved the more discussion-based classes I was in, including Cause Lawyers in American History with Cynthia Nicoletti and Feminist Jurisprudence with Anne Coughlin, which were both intellectually challenging and personally fulfilling (in no small part because of the wonderful professors leading them). Other favorites included Criminal Investigation with Professor Anne Coughlin, Legislation with Professor Michael Gilbert, and Constitutional Law II: Speech and Press with Professor Leslie Kendrick.
Outside class: Giving back has always been important to me, so I spent a lot of my time on student organizations, working to make the Law School a better place for all students. I was the president of the Lambda Law Alliance, and am very proud of the work I did to make that organization become inclusive and vibrant. I was also the membership and inclusion editor for the Virginia Law Review, which was undoubtedly the position through which I had the biggest impact, through selecting the Virginia Law Review Class of 2022, restructuring the Unified Journal Tryout, and rewriting all of the materials to make that process a little easier on the 1Ls participating. I was also a Peer Advisor during 2L and 3L, co-directed a research project for Virginia Law Women, and participated in the Law and Public Service Program, the Civil Rights Clinic and the Jewish Law Students Association.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: The Carter Mountain Sunset Series is wonderful, and I also loved exploring all of the great food in Charlottesville. During the pandemic, I found a lot of joy in baking and sharing what I made with friends. Half of my camera roll is just pictures from involved baking projects, like cinnamon rolls, a chocolate mousse cake with raspberries, a citrus and strawberry tiramisu, and a blackberry-ginger pie I created during 1L that friends now frequently request.
Noteworthy summer job: I loved both of my summer jobs! After 1L, I worked for the Disability Rights Section within the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. After 2L, I worked with Muslim Advocates, a national nonprofit organization that does great work in a ton of different areas, including immigration, progressive religious liberty, prison conditions and more.
What’s next: I was lucky enough to be chosen as the 2021 Ruff Fellow from UVA for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. I'm extremely excited to start my 1.5-year fellowship in their Civil Rights section in October.
Mihir Khetarpal '21
Hometown: Clarksburg, Maryland
Who I was then: I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in economics, and government and politics, in 2018. I came straight through to law school.
Amazing law school class: It is too hard to pick just one, so I won’t. My 1L year, Professor John Duffy’s Torts class made me feel like a law student. He put up with what in hindsight were unimportant questions, and he has provided great academic advice since. I really enjoyed Religious Liberties with Professor Micah Schwartzman. He presents the doctrine, ever-changing as it is, but also encourages students to think about whether it is correct now or whether it was right in the past. I also enjoyed my independent study with Professor Aditya Bamzai. He knew of some of my interests and helped me come up with an idea that combined them. Evidence with Professor Frederick Schauer was wonderful too. I took Evidence mainly because it’s highly encouraged for those who wish to litigate, but I found a fascinating body of law with a great professor who put up with some oddball questions.
I had the opportunity to take both Administrative Law and Civil Rights Litigation with Professor Ann Woolhandler, who was great at presenting really complicated topics in a clear way. Professor Caleb Nelson is a must-take as well. I took Federal Courts and Legislation with him, and his precision is unmatched. Finally, Professor Michael Gilbert’s Regulation of the Political Process class combined two of my favorite subjects: law and politics. Taking it during the November election was interesting, to say the least, and I will never forget it.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I enjoyed going to breweries and wineries when the weather was nice. Recently, I’ve been going to the Dairy Market a lot (Moo Thru is a must-have!). And around exam time, you could see me out and about for a walk around the Law School.
Noteworthy summer job: Both of my summer jobs were noteworthy and helped shape me into who I am today! Summer after 1L, I worked at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Summer after 2L, I worked at Williams & Connolly.
What’s next: I’ll be headed to Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., for a year before leaving to clerk!
Ronald Beach '21
Who I was then: I graduated from the University of Michigan in December 2014. Between December 2014 and the start of law school, I was employed by the University Career Center at the University of Michigan, worked at Starbucks in Chicago and volunteered with a nonprofit in Chicago.
Amazing law school class: I have a favorite class session, professor and full-length course at UVA Law. My favorite class session was in Negotiation with Professor Benjamin Sachs, when we talked about difficulties that may underlie the Negotiation process for underrepresented minorities or members of historically marginalized groups. My favorite professor was Harry Franks. I probably spent the most time engaging with him in law school during and after the courses — Business Planning, Accounting and Corporate Finance — that I took with him. I appreciated his patience and perspective as someone who spent 30 years working with multinational companies in various capacities before teaching. My favorite full-length course was Constitutional Law with Dean Risa Goluboff. She demonstrated an outstanding ability to lead and cover numerous exciting topics that emanate from Constitutional Law. Both inside and outside of her class for the past three years, I have often found myself thinking that she is an amazing human being who was wisely entrusted to be the dean of UVA Law.
Outside class: I pursued many opportunities at UVA Law. I was a member of the editorial board on the Virginia Tax Review, participated in the Alternative Spring Break Program, and was a member of the Black Law Students Association. My position as a Black Law Students Association member was the most impactful activity that occupied my time at UVA Law. During my second year of law school, with the help of Lillian Childress as the chapter president and the rest of the incredibly talented executive board with her, our chapter won the mid-Atlantic chapter of the year award and the national chapter of the year award. I cannot say enough great things about my experience as a Black Law Students Association member.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I enjoy taking long walks to unwind. One of the best places to walk is The Park at UVA. But, my favorite walk during law school was with some of my classmates around main grounds to celebrate with the UVA community after UVA won the 2019 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament!
Noteworthy summer job: My summer jobs exposed me to work in the public and private sectors. After my first year of law school, I worked in the Chicago office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. After my second year of law school, I worked in the Chicago office of Baker McKenzie. While I enjoyed both experiences, tapping into the UVA Law alumni network in Chicago made those experiences better than I could have ever imagined.
What’s next: After the bar I will be moving home to Chicago, where I will work in the Chicago office of Baker McKenzie.
Who I am now: First and foremost, as I was before law school, I am a proud son with an incredibly supportive mother and younger brother. In addition, law school encouraged me to be someone who appreciates networking more than ever before. I will also say that I am more courageous than I was before law school. I was often struck by how some of my classmates and professors identified opportunities to grow that initially eluded me.
What you should know about Virginia Law: Take the time to develop relationships with people — professors, classmates, custodians, food service workers, faculty members and anyone else you see at UVA Law. Above all else, one should try not to be shy at UVA Law. UVA Law is filled with kind and thoughtful people. Furthermore, other people are almost certainly forming relationships and making connections that the shy person is missing. Some people will be more agreeable to you than others. Being a student at UVA Law is challenging. But, overall, there is a lot to love about UVA Law.