Meet the Graduates
Meet the Graduates
Members of the Class of 2019 talk about their experiences at Virginia Law
Charles Condro '19
Who I was then: I graduated from Yale in 2015, where I studied history. I then took a year before coming to Charlottesville to work as a legal assistant in New York.
Amazing law school class: I had the privilege of taking several classes with Professor J. Gordon Hylton before he passed away last spring, but what I enjoyed most about those classes was the opportunity to get to know him outside of the classroom. I had regularly scheduled meetings with him to discuss my paper for the American Legal History seminar. Those supposedly 30-minute meetings would often stretch well over an hour, while the conversation would range far afield from my research. Hylton could make any seemingly mundane topic fascinating, and it was evident that he truly cared about his students.
Outside class: Outside of class I tried to spend as much time as possible with my fiancée, who is graduating from Darden, and our two dogs. When I was not with them, however, I served as the editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law & Business Review, and worked towards a master of arts in legal history.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: Although I’d never run more than four miles in one go, fellow graduate Geneva Torsilieri Hardesty convinced me, along with classmate Elizabeth Joynes, to train for a marathon this past semester. I maintain my distaste for running in general, but training with a group of friends made the whole process enjoyable — especially once we started going to lunch after our long runs. I never would have thought before this year that I could run a marathon, and I don’t think I would have been able to do it without their encouragement.
Noteworthy summer job: While working for a firm this past summer, I tagged along with an associate to a client’s annual meeting. I ended up sitting just a few chairs down from the CEO, and after the meeting we met individually with the CFO to discuss how we could help him and his team file their quarterly reports. It was great to have a chance to meet directly with a client and see how the work I was doing made their jobs easier.
What’s next: After the bar, I will be moving to Philadelphia to work in the Corporate and Business Transactions practice group at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
Who I am now: Hopefully I’m a better person than I was almost three years ago. I think the process of applying to law school can naturally cause people to focus on their own achievements, but the generosity I witnessed from so many of my classmates challenged me to turn my focus outside of myself and see what I could do for my friends.
What you should know about Virginia Law: The school gives you every opportunity to explore your interests. After the first year I took very few traditional, litigation-focused courses, and instead was able to fill my schedule with legal history and transactional classes.
Christopher Macomber '19
Hometown: Westerly, Rhode Island
Who I was then: I graduated from Marymount University in 2014. I spent the next two years working at the Supreme Court.
Amazing law school class: I spent a year in Religious Liberties and the Scholarly Process with Professor [Micah] Schwartzman and Professor [Richard] Schragger. That class pushed me the furthest in terms of understanding a doctrine from scratch and also helped vastly improve my writing. I think that Criminal Procedure with Professor [Rachel] Harmon, Advanced Criminal Law with Professor [Kimberly] Ferzan, and Advanced Issues in Criminal Justice with Professor [Barbara] Armacost and Professor [Anne] Coughlin shaped my view of prosecution the most. The combination of those classes forced me to think critically about the system we have built and ways it should be improved. Additionally, I also enjoyed Native American Law, taught by Professor [Michael] Doran. He was able to mix history and modern law in a way that made understanding an otherwise complex field easy. A nod is also due to Professor [Greg] Mitchell, who taught me Civil Procedure and Evidence, for when he inadvertently made me “cold-call famous” for the first few weeks of 1L.
Outside class: I attended two to three live shows every semester. I think the Jefferson Theater has become one of my favorite music venues of all time. I also am part of an “antiquing crew” that heads out of town about once a semester to rummage around old furniture and books.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: There is a great mix of record stores and coffee shops on the Downtown Mall that I like going to.
Noteworthy summer job: I spent this past summer working in the Homicide Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. I was able to work on a range of cases, including some in the investigation phase, while others were already in trial. One of my mentors from [the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School] once told me that criminal law is “the heart of how we govern ourselves,” and this became very apparent during my summer.
What’s next: Clerking for Judge Craig Iscoe on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Who I am now: From an academic perspective, I am more willing to listen and take time to understand an opposing view than when I enrolled. Part of winning a legal argument is being able to articulate your opponent’s view and respectfully taking it apart. I think this is an important skill for any future litigator. From a personal perspective, I have become even more grateful for the support of my family and friends over the past few years. The opportunities that are ahead of me were frequently made possible by the support of those closest to us. I look forward to repaying many times over the love and support given to me since starting law school.
What you should know about Virginia Law: This is an ideal place to challenge yourself in many different ways. If you fail, you’ll find your friends right there to support you. In my experience, that was coincidentally many of my section friends from 1L. When you succeed, it is made that much sweeter having been built on your other attempts and work put in. The atmosphere of Virginia fosters this. I would do this all again, if I could, which I think is the highest endorsement you can give to an experience like this.
Robbie Pomeroy '19
Hometown: Weston, Florida
Who I was then: I graduated from the University of Florida in 2016 with a degree in criminology. I came straight through to UVA Law.
Amazing law school class: My favorite classes in law school have hands down been my practical experience courses. Clinics and externships can be time-intensive, but they are incredibly worth it. As a 2L, I participated in the Innocence Project Clinic with Jennifer Givens and Deirdre Enright ’92. In the Innocence Clinic, I had the opportunity to investigate cases, interview several witnesses and review tons of FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] documents from the government. The road trips to find witnesses also allowed me to connect more with Jenny and Deirdre, who I think of as mentors. During 3L, I was a student in the Criminal Defense Clinic with Lisa Lorish. In the clinic, you get to see three cases through from start to finish. I was able to try my first case and won! After I took the defense clinic, I completed a part-time externship with Lisa at the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Western District of Virginia. I was able to gain experience in writing motions for federal court, one of which was granted and resulted in an illegal reentry case being dismissed.
Outside class: There are so many student organizations at UVA and participating in them was an incredibly rewarding experience. I was the president of the Latin American Law Organization; co-president of the student board for the Program in Law and Public Service (alongside my friend Spencer Ryan); co-head peer advisor (alongside my friend and roommate Scott Harman-Heath); the assistant managing editor for the Virginia Law Review; co-chair for the admitted students open house (alongside my friend Toccara Nelson); and a senator for the Student Bar Association. I also participated in Lambda Law Alliance, Virginia Law Ambassadors, the Libel Show, and the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program. I found this aspect of student life to be a great way to dive into my passions outside of class and give back to a school that gave me so much.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I love the wineries around Charlottesville. Coming from Florida (which is very, very flat), I got to see the Blue Ridge Mountains while soaking in the sun with friends. Who wouldn't love that?
Noteworthy summer job: I spent both of my summers at state public defender offices. My first summer I was in Louisiana at the Orleans Public Defenders. My second summer I was in New York at The Bronx Defenders. I loved both experiences and relished the opportunity to explore cities I’d never been to.
What’s next: I will be practicing as a criminal defense attorney at Still She Rises in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Still She Rises is a public defender office that exclusively represents mothers in the criminal justice system.
Who I am now: I have grown so much since I started at UVA. Apart from learning to think critically through issues and delving into areas of law that interest me, I have learned what being an advocate truly means, both inside and outside of the courtroom. I am going to take my law degree from this place and use it to create change for as many people as I can.
What you should know about Virginia Law: First, a public service announcement for prospective students interested in public service work: The public interest community here is vibrant and flourishing. There is a ton of support from the school and a first-rate fellowship program with curricular and community components for those dedicated to the cause. Second, and more generally: People love their time at UVA Law. At this place, you will challenge yourself, learn new things, think different ways, and have a blast while doing it. The people make the institution, and from faculty to staff to students, UVA Law has some pretty amazing people.
Amanda Lineberry '19
Who I was then: I grew up outside of Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Richmond in 2014. I majored in American studies and political science. I then worked for UR’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement for two years, assisting faculty with community-based learning projects.
Amazing law school class: This wasn't a traditional class, but I'm very grateful my independent study with Rich Schragger. We connected after I served as a legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild during the Unite the Right rally. Professor Schragger supervised my work on an essay about why the city of Charlottesville should be allowed to remove the Robert E. Lee statue, as well as on a note arguing that racially discriminatory government speech should be found unconstitutional using a framework from Establishment Clause doctrine. Professor Schragger is such a thoughtful and encouraging mentor. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I graduate and can no longer stop by his office whenever I like! I also loved being a member of the Health Law Clinic as a 2L and the Appellate Clinic as a 3L. Both gave me phenomenal opportunities to put my legal education to use for clients that would otherwise not have representation. [MW1]
Outside class: Outside of class, I was a semifinalist in the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition (shoutout to my partner, Dave Goldman!) and served as the competition’s president this past year. It is a great opportunity to learn by doing and made me a more confident writer and oral advocate. I have also been an executive board member of Virginia Law Women, a Peer Advisor for the fabulous 1Ls in Section D, and an editorial board member for the Virginia Law Review.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I’ve really enjoyed having Shenandoah National Park in my backyard. Charlottesville also has no shortage of great places to sit outside and relax — from beautiful wineries to quirky breweries to the Downtown Mall. Mostly, I’ve loved getting to know my classmates. Everyone will tell you it's the people that make UVA Law so great, and they're right.
Noteworthy summer job: My 1L summer at the Legal Aid Justice Center was eye-opening and inspiring. I found great mentors like Kim Rolla ’13, who is perhaps the most dedicated public servant I’ve ever met. Getting to watch Kim and Helen Hardiman ’13, in action on a HUD settlement was a treat. They are both so fierce and talented!
What’s next: I’m very excited to start work at Crowell and Moring in D.C. this fall, and then clerk for Chief Judge Michael Urbanski of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Virginia in the fall of 2020.
Who I am now: I’ve always loved school, but I didn’t know what it meant to work hard and struggle to understand something until law school. I’ve learned to embrace my successes and my failures. We all mostly try to present ourselves as the sum of all our accomplishments, but I’ve come to prefer the full picture, including the times I reached for a goal, missed and kept going. I think the wisdom of Tony Bennett applies well beyond basketball: The joy is in the competition.
What you should know about Virginia Law: The UVA Law Library can’t be beat! The staff is so knowledgeable, helpful and kind. Each semester, staff members stay late one night during finals to make hundreds of grilled cheese sandwiches for the students. They decorate the bust of Arthur J. Morris for different holidays. And they create a display out of books each winter (last year’s was a snowman, this year’s was a fireplace). The little things like that make a huge difference.
Kim Hopkin '19
Who I was then: I graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2013 with degrees in political science and economics. I then worked in Anchorage, Alaska, as a finance officer at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for three years before coming to law school. I actually dyed my hair brown when I got accepted so that people would stop making “Legally Blonde” jokes.
Amazing law school class: Starting from the beginning, Professor Kenneth Abraham’s Torts class changed the way I thought, not only about the law but also about life. I also really enjoyed taking seminar classes and professional skills classes during my time at UVA Law. For instance, I got the opportunity to learn from practicing prosecutors and defense attorneys and build my skills in Federal Criminal Pre-Trial and Trial. I also really love the diverse scholarship at UVA Law, and I branched out by learning Native American Law with one of my favorite professors, Michael Doran.
Outside class: My law school experience could not have been improved when it came to the diversity of student organizations and the caliber of people I’ve met at UVA Law. My favorite experiences have been being on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Weekly and directing the 111th Libel Show. I think the best impact I’ve had on the school has been being a Peer Advisor for two years, though. Meeting and helping the next class of 1Ls join our community has certainly been rewarding. I’ve also loved being a part of Virginia Law Women, Virginia Law Veterans, the Journal of Law & Politics, and softball teams with my sectionmates.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I love going to the beautiful vineyards in Charlottesville, but I think the most stress-relieving activity for me has been joining a local improv troupe in Charlottesville. It has expanded my network of friends as well as given me an outlet to be silly and creative.
Noteworthy summer job: Both summers I interned at base-level legal offices for the Air Force (Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma and Luke Air Force Base in Arizona). I really enjoyed rejoining the military community and jumping in with the practical knowledge I’ve learned here at UVA. Some of the motions I drafted went to military judges and had an impact on the cases, which made me really proud of my education.
What’s next: After sitting for the bar, I’ll be assigned to Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas where I cannot wait to put on my uniform and serve. The deputy staff judge advocate there was actually one of my mentors for the Funded Legal Education Program, and I’m excited to show her how far I’ve come! Of course, I’m already booking tickets to come back for the 112th Libel Show to see all my friends.
Who I am now: I’m more aware of the power and agency I have to become part of the solution whenever I see a problem. Some of that comes from having the technical knowledge I’ve learned in class, but most of it comes from the encouragement I’ve gotten from the professors and administrators to ask myself how I can help and what I want my community and the law to look like. Lawyers have the power to act for change, and I’m proud to become a lawyer.
What you should know about Virginia Law: I’m confident that the people I’ve met here are going to change the world for the better. Coming from a military background, I thought I was going to suffer from not being part of a tight-knit community, but I could not have been more wrong. The women and men I’ve come to call my friends are passionate, dedicated, wise and fundamentally kind people who care more about being in a supportive community than making themselves look good. One time I had to miss class due to illness, and multiple people sent me their notes and checked in on me without me even asking, simply because they hadn’t seen me in class. That’s Virginia Law.
Jeri Brown '19
Who I was then: I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014, where I majored in public policy and double-minored in education and Spanish for the professions. I then taught for two years before entering law school in the fall of 2016.
Amazing law school class: I feel lucky to have had many great professors, but my favorite class has been Advanced Civil Procedure with Professor Ben Spencer. As someone who doesn’t want to litigate, you could not have told me two years ago that I would be voluntarily signing up for more Civil Procedure during my third year of law school. Civil Procedure is certainly one of the more intimidating first-year foundational courses that law students are required to take because of the complex nuances in the rules. However, during my 1L class with him, Professor Spencer did such a fantastic job teaching complex subject matter in an accessible way that I knew that I would take his upper-level course. During Advanced Civil Procedure, I was reminded again of Professor Spencer’s exceptional teaching style. Professor Spencer is one of the leading scholars in his field and even helps to write the Civil Procedure questions for the bar exam. His understanding of the subject matter is so deep that he is able to distill every complex block of procedure into straightforward black-letter law that is easily digestible. I have never felt like I learned more than in one of his classes!
Outside Class: I was a Virginia Law Ambassador during my 2L and 3L years and had the opportunity to interact with dozens of prospective students on tours around the school. I was on the managing board of the Virginia Journal for Social Policy & the Law during my 2L and 3L years, where I helped to plan a symposium on the legal legacy of Loving v. Virginia during the case’s 50th anniversary year. I served as the SBA Diversity Committee co-chair during 2L and helped to plan Diversity Week at the Law School. I have also served as a 3L class agent for the Law School Foundation and a member of the Black Law Students Association and North Grounds Softball League.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: Anyone who has spent time in Charlottesville knows that our access to great wine at beautiful vineyards is second to none, and exploring new vineyards with friends is one of my favorite pastimes. I also love taking fitness classes at the various boutique studios downtown — it’s been a great way to manage stress and also expand my community outside of the Law School. I’m also a huge movie buff and my boyfriend and I are probably at Alamo Drafthouse at least once a month seeing the latest new release!
Noteworthy summer job: I worked at Debevoise and Plimpton’s New York office during my 1L summer and was lucky enough to work there again during my 2L summer. I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work at the same firm both summers. During my 1L summer I was able to build relationships with associates and partners that followed me through my second summer and will hopefully follow me through my journey as an associate at the firm. I also had the opportunity to explore (and rule out!) a lot of my practice group interests during my first summer, which allowed me to focus my interests during my second summer.
What’s next: I will be continuing at Debevoise and Plimpton as a first-year associate in New York.
Who I am now: Going to UVA has humbled me in the best possible way. I have been challenged academically, socially and emotionally in ways that have shaped me into a sharper thinker who is more open to feedback, more resilient, more empathetic and understanding of differences, and more balanced as a person.
What you should know about Virginia law: If you come to UVA, be prepared to be a part of something bigger than yourself. The students here are brilliant and value their education in the same way that they do at every great law school, but they also truly value each other. We don’t just study together: We hike together, support each other during the inevitable ebbs and flows of life, watch sports together, cook together, travel together and play softball together. The students here believe in the value of community and support each other in a way that is so extremely special and honestly hard to explain. I feel extremely grateful to be entering the profession with classmates that I know I can lean on as we face the challenges of practice beyond graduation. I feel even more grateful to be a part of the legacy of well-rounded lawyers that UVA is known for producing.
Aparna Datta '19
Who I was then: I graduated in 2016 from the University of Texas at Austin, where I majored in government and economics with a minor in Arabic.
Amazing law school class: We’re lucky to have so many great professors and classes to choose from! Some of my favorites include U.S. Refugee and Asylum Law with Deena Sharuk, State and Local Government with Molly Brady, Regulation of the Political Process with Michael Gilbert, Religious Liberties with Micah Schwartzman and Property with Michael Doran. I also love anything that Leslie Kendrick teaches because she is a perfect human. For my very first semester (and first class) of law school, Vice Dean Kendrick was my Torts professor. During my last semester of law school, she was my professor for Freedom of Speech and Press. It feels like I’ve come full circle.
Outside class: I was a senator for the Student Bar Association during my 1L and 2L years. I served as co-chair of the SBA Diversity Committee. I was a 2L Peer Advisor, and I was a member and coach for our Extramural Moot Court team. I also served as the managing editor for the Virginia Law Review.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I love movies and television so much. I can binge an entire season of a show in two days. It’s honestly a skill — a terrifying and unhelpful skill — but a skill nonetheless.
Noteworthy summer job: During my 1L summer, I worked at the state prosecutor’s office in my hometown. During my 2L summer, I worked at Williams and Connolly.
Who I am now: I feel like everyone experiences a lot of personal growth during law school. I’ve of course learned how to approach situations through the lens of a lawyer. But I’ve also learned a lot about patience and the importance of recognizing when something is beyond your control.
What you should know about Virginia Law: It is the Disneyland of law schools. That’s just a fact. I could not have asked for a better law school experience. I am so lucky to be a part of this community, and I know that the friendships I’ve made are for life.