Meet the Graduates

Meet the Graduates

Members of the Class of 2020 talk about their experiences at Virginia Law

Kareem Ramadan

Kareem Ramadan

Hometown

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Headed to

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, then Gibson Dunn in D.C.

Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray

Hometown

Brentwood, Tennessee

Headed to

Real Estate practice group at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York

Courtney Davis

Courtney Davis

Hometown

Dallas

Headed to

White & Case in Washington, D.C.

Manal Cheema

Manal Cheema

Hometown

Sharon, Massachusetts

Headed to

U.S. Court of Appeals for Armed Forces in Washington, D.C., then active duty in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps

Eleanora Kaloyeropoulou

Eleanora Kaloyeropoulou

Hometown

Pittsburgh

Headed to

Jones Day in Pittsburgh

Justin Aimonetti

Justin Aimonetti

Hometown

Redwood City, California

Headed to

Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, then Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, then the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Molly Cain

Molly Cain

Hometown

Seaford, Delaware

Headed to

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, then U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Benjamin Bhamdeo

Benjamin Bhamdeo

Hometown

Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Headed to

Corporate and Business Transactions practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Rachel Staub

Hometown

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Headed to

Latham & Watkins in San Diego

 

Rachel Staub '20


Who I was then: I graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in December of 2016 with a degree in political science. I substitute-taught grades K-8 for a semester before law school.

Amazing law school class: I really loved Contracts with Paul Mahoney, Bankruptcy with Steven Walt, Intellectual Property with Dotan Oliar, Behavioral Decision-making in the Law with Barbara Spellman and Legal Issues in Corporate Finance with George Geis (he was amazing even via Zoom!) In all, the courses were great not just for the material, but for the professors who made themselves available, engaging and fun.

Outside class: At UVA Law, I was the Student Bar Association vice president and graduation committee co-chair. I was also on the executive boards of Virginia Law Women and the Virginia Law & Business Review. Additionally, I was the assistant director and choreographer for the Libel Show, and during my 2L year I was a Peer Advisor for LL.M. students. I was also involved with the American Constitution Society and the North Grounds Softball League.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: North Grounds Recreation Center was my go-to place to unwind. Working out is the best way to de-stress! I also loved spending time with friends at the quality Charlottesville wineries and hiking trails.

Noteworthy summer job: Last summer I was a summer associate at Kirkland & Ellis in Houston, and during my 1L summer I was an intern for the Housing and Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. I think these varied experiences prove that UVA Law opens so many doors for students to learn about different areas of the law, explore different cities across the nation and interact with inspiring people within the legal community.

What’s next: I will be working at Latham & Watkins as a first-year associate in San Diego.

Who I am now: Virginia Law has definitely changed me for the better. This community has reinforced in me the desire to make an impact and to encourage others to do the same. I have learned that success can be measured by how you treat others and that it is important to uplift and support those around you because others’ accomplishments do not make you less incredible. In order to make the world a better place, we must all rise together.

What you should know about Virginia Law: Virginia Law is a small community and each student has the opportunity to meet most of the people that make up this community. I would encourage every student to meet these remarkable and passionate people. This is an invaluable resource, not just to expand your network, but to learn from people with vastly different backgrounds and to forge lifelong friendships. 

 
Kareem Ramadan

Kareem Ramadan '20


Who I was then: I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2014 and spent the next three years working in government contracting, specifically business development and strategy.

Amazing law school class: I feel so lucky to have gone to UVA because I’ve had so many outstanding professors over the last three years. As far as favorite classes go, Religious Liberty with Micah Schwartzman had to be at the top of the list. Having had no prior experience in the First Amendment and no philosophy course in my repertoire, it was a really fun thing to dive into, especially from one of the field’s preeminent scholars. Sticking with the constitutional law theme, Michael Gilbert’s Constitutional Law and Economics was an awesome course to take last fall. One of the things UVA Law does so well is teach students to think about problems in different ways. Considering constitutional law from an economics perspective isn’t something most of us had considered, but presents a number of intriguing solutions for us to consider. Finally, my professional skills courses, Hallmarks of Effective Advocacy and Negotiations (both of which I took with  Molly Shadel), were fun and taught me a lot about communicating with others.

Outside class: I co-founded both the Muslim Law Students Association and the Middle Eastern and North Africa Law Students Association. I served as a Peer Advisor during my 2L year for Section H and provided research support to A. E. Dick Howard and Kim Forde-Mazrui. I also served as the managing editor for the Virginia Law Review. A few times a semester I also gave tours and served on student life panels. During my 3L year, I was one of two student representatives on the school’s curriculum committee.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I’m a big foodie and love to explore different restaurants around Charlottesville (shoutout to Thai Fresh.) Aside from that, going out to the vineyards around town is a great move when the weather is nice. In the fall, the thing I enjoyed most may have been Sunday night inner tube water polo with my intramural team.

Noteworthy summer job: During my 1L summer I worked for DOJ’s Office of International Affairs on the Middle East and North Africa team. My main responsibility was to work through extradition requests and write up memos on their sufficiency. It was a cool experience and something that not many people get exposed to. As a 2L, I worked in Washington, D.C., for Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. It was one of the best summers of my life. I was able to meet so many great people through the summer program, and I built relationships with my summer classmates and associates/partners at the firm. Luckily, I had the chance to work within a few different practice areas to help me figure out where I want my career to go.

What’s next: I’ll be clerking for Judge Norman K. Moon in the Western District of Virginia. After that, I will be returning to Gibson Dunn in D.C.

Who I am now: A lot of reflecting goes on during 3L spring, particularly during graduation time. What I’ve learned is that I’ve grown so much over the last three years: not just how to think about legal problems, but also about how to deal with people from different backgrounds or people who have different views than myself.  

What you should know about Virginia Law: I cannot recommend UVA Law enough. It’s a community where you are asked to challenge yourself and your peers to become better lawyers, better thinkers, and — most importantly — better people. If you are struggling, the community here will pick you up. If you are doing well, your friends here will be happy for you too. It’s not the type of ultra-competitive law school that is depicted in movies. What I tell students who are visiting is that if I had to do it all over again at any school, I would choose UVA 10 times out of 10.

 

 
Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray '20


Who I was then: I graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2014 and the University of Virginia in 2015, where I studied finance and accounting. I worked for Ernst & Young’s New York office as a consultant for two years prior to coming back to Charlottesville for law school.

Amazing law school class: I took as many classes with Frederick Schauer as possible. Even though Constitutional Law was a bit intimidating given my finance and accounting background, he pushed me to really embrace nuanced areas of current and historical constitutional doctrine. His attention to doctrinal detail and ability to consider arguments from all sides gave me great insight into how to think like a lawyer.

Outside class: I spent a lot of time fly-fishing in trout streams around the area with friends inside and outside of the UVA Law community. Charlottesville has an amazing amount of access to outdoor activities.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: Some of my best friendships at UVA were built after running a couple miles to blow off the steam of a final or long study session. UVA’s Grounds have truly beautiful running routes and really inspire a sense of academic purpose.

Noteworthy summer job: During the summer after my 1L year, I had the opportunity to work for a local Charlottesville firm. I had an incredible mentor, David Pettit ’77, who let me take the reins on a big transactional project for a local health care group client. It was an invaluable window into the practical world of transactional law.

What’s next: After taking the bar, I’ll be moving back to New York to join Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s real estate practice group.  

Who I am now: You’ll have to ask my wife, but I hope that I’m a more compassionate person who is able to appreciate and validate (even if not accept)the differing opinions of others. I have a clearer understanding that this whole “being a lawyer” thing is a true calling, a vocation allowing me to make a direct impact on others’ lives. 

What you should know about Virginia Law: At UVA Law, you’ll undoubtedly be prepared to be a better lawyer than you could have ever hoped for. More importantly, though, you’ll be supported and encouraged more than you could have ever imagined. You’re going to be joining an endeavor far greater than yourself. By being in a collective environment, you’ll get to continue to understand that people are certainly more important — both during law school and in your future career — than any individual grades or accolade. 

 

 
Justin Aimonetti

Justin Aimonetti '20


Who I was then: I graduated from Columbia University with degrees in political science and history. I came straight through to UVA Law. 

Amazing law school class: I learned a great deal about the process of producing quality academic scholarship in my independent study with Caleb Nelson and in my writing legal history course with Cynthia Nicoletti. I had the privilege of taking Class Actions Litigation and Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties with Scott Ballenger. Professor Ballenger brings a welcomed practitioner's perspective to the classroom setting. Also, if you have the opportunity, you should take a course with Ann Woolhandler. I will never forget the funny jokes she told in administrative law or her kind farewell message in our last Zoom class for Civil Rights Litigation. Some of my other favorite classes included Contracts with Paul Mahoney, Federal Income Tax with Ruth Mason and International Law with Ashley Deeks

Outside class: Outside of class, I was an articles editor on the Virginia Law Review and a member of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. I spent the majority of my spare time either working out at the North Grounds Rec Center or researching and writing

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I have found that reading for pleasure is my favorite way to unwind after a long day with my head in a legal casebook. I also enjoy listening to podcasts while on walks. Fresh air always helps clear my mind. 

Noteworthy summer job: During my 1L summer, I worked for the Department of Justice’s National Courts Section. During my 2L summer, I worked for Kirkland & Ellis and for Kellogg Hansen. 

What’s next: I will be working for the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel this summer. In August, I will begin a clerkship with Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The following year, I will be clerking for Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Who I am now: From an academic perspective, I am a clearer thinker and a better writer. From a personal perspective, I am an improved listener and a more acute observer. Most importantly though, I leave UVA Law with many friends and a treasure trove of memories. 

What you should know about Virginia Law: What distinguishes law schools from one another is the people. At UVA Law, the students are friendly and outgoing. The faculty is brilliant. But most of all, the staff is second to none. I will especially miss [Courts & Commerce bookstore Assistant Director] Diane Chamberlain’s inviting smile every time I stepped foot in the bookstore, Faculty Assistant Lisa Napier’s lunchtime stroll through the halls, Associate Director of Admissions Emily Cockrell’s exciting stories to share, and [Aramark cashier] Mandy Brock’s early morning energy.

 
Courtney Davis

Courtney Davis '20


Who I was then: I graduated from Baylor University in 2016, where I studied psychology and statistics. I took a year before beginning law school, and during that time, I interned in the Budget & Policy Division of the Office of the Texas Governor, and then I worked for a local nonprofit in Dallas.

Amazing law school class: I took a lot of amazing courses at UVA, but a few particularly stand out. Critical Race Theory with Timothy Lovelacewas one of the best classes I have ever taken. I learned more legal history in this class than I had in any other course. Not only was I introduced to unfamiliar case law, but I was able to revisit, and get a more robust picture of, cases I had previously encountered in other courses. I also acquired the vocabulary to discuss the relationship between race and the law in a way that I did not have before taking that course. Trial Advocacy with Jean Hudson, a local assistant U.S. attorney, was also an amazing class because I was able to simulate the trial process, practice advocating on my feet, and use what I learned in Evidence. Also, as a legal writing fellow with Ruth Buck, I reviewed and gave feedback on 1L writing assignments, which made me a better writer and helped me pinpoint alternative ways to write effectively and make strong arguments.

Outside class: Outside of class, I was very involved with the Black Law Students Association, participating in the organization in various ways throughout my law school career (i.e. moot court team member, education chair and mentor.) I was also a legal writing fellow and was able to work with first-year students on their written assignments and helped judge their oral arguments in the spring. I also participated in the Libel Show every year.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: My friends and I discovered that we are big karaoke fans, so we began having at-home karaoke parties. Sometimes they were planned; sometimes they were impromptu; sometimes they were themed; sometimes we just sang our favorite hits — regardless, they were always a lot of fun. We also went to the local Pizza Hut a few times, which held karaoke every Thursday, and that was a blast. I also enjoyed visiting the local vineyards and enjoying the stunning views there

Noteworthy summer job: During my 1L summer, I interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, and was assigned to a trial team. In addition to researching case law and statutes for trial motions, I was able to attend witness interviews and trial prep meetings and help prepare exhibit binders, and I created a demonstrative exhibit that was used during the trial.

I also attended the pretrial hearings and observed the entire six-day trial. It was an invaluable experience to be embedded in a trial team for six weeks and see all the work that goes into preparing for a trial and to be able to observe the whole trial itself and see the lawyers on their feet. During my 2L summer, I worked at White & Case in D.C. They gave us actual work assignments, as opposed to busywork, which allowed me to get a feel of the kind of work the office does and what I might actually work on as an associate.

What’s next: After the bar, I will be moving to Washington, D.C., to work at White & Case.

Who I am now: After three years of law school — three years of learning so much about legal structures and concepts that constrain our society, but also three years of being exposed to all kinds of people and their viewpoints — I am a kinder, more empathetic and more patient person. I no longer look for or accept easy answers or explanations to difficult questions. I am also better equipped and more motivated to tackle these hard questions.

What you should know about Virginia Law: UVA Law is a place where you will be challenged and will experience setbacks, but you will also experience a lot of high notes. Through all of it, you will be supported by your colleagues and professors, and you will leave a stronger, sharper and better person.

 
Eleanora Kaloyeropoulou

Eleanora Kaloyeropoulou '20


Who I was then: I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 with a degree in history, and took one year to work at an environmental nonprofit before law school.

Amazing law school class: The professors here are what make the school special. They care a lot and want us to be our best. Anne Coughlin’s Feminist Jurisprudence course stands out to me because she put her heart and soul into the class, and cultivated a classroom environment where we felt comfortable being vulnerable and learning from each other. I will also always remember my work in the Child Advocacy Clinic led by two UVA Law alums, Amy Walters ’09 and Mario Salas ’14, where I got to work with young clients in the juvenile justice system or as they navigated special-education resources in the Charlottesville school district.

I also had the chance to take two unique short courses. In Art Law, with Dotan Oliar and William Charron ’98, we learned about the important work of returning art stolen by the Nazis. In Israeli Business and Innovation Law, held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during the January term, Dotan Oliar and Michal Barzuza painted a comprehensive picture of what makes Israel’s startup culture so successful. We visited numerous startups, met with renowned business leaders and heard from some of the leading Israeli business scholars.

Outside class: I got to be involved in lots of different groups across the law school. During my 2L year, I was the president of the Lambda Law Alliance, the LGBTQ+ affinity group. It was an honor to serve such a resilient group of people. I was an editorial board member of the Virginia Law Review and was able to participate in editing cutting-edge legal scholarship. I was also a member of the Tri-Sector Fellowship with students from the Darden School of Business and the Batten School of Public Policy, a Peer Advisor and a Virginia Law Ambassador who welcomed students to the school.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I love the Saturday morning Charlottesville farmers market on the Downtown Mall. Fresh produce, friendly people and new food stalls to try each week. I looked forward to it every weekend.

Noteworthy summer job: I fell in love with my 1L summer law firm and jumped at the chance to work there again. Working at the same firm two summers in a row really let me get my footing, and I’m looking forward to starting in the fall. I’m proud of myself for how I’ve grown over the two summers — I’m more efficient, more confident, better at asserting myself and better at networking.

What’s next: I will be working at Jones Day in Pittsburgh, an office with a strong UVA Law contingent.

Who I am now: I am ready for the challenges that lie ahead. The professors here challenged me and held me to a high standard. But I was able to work hard, learn the material and rise to the occasion. The satisfaction that comes with hard work can’t be beat, and I’m more confident in my abilities than ever before. Whatever course my legal career takes, I know I am prepared to excel.

What you should know about Virginia Law: We value hard work but we also value balance, exploring your interest outside of the classroom and having fun with your classmates. We have a reputation for being social for a reason —  it’s so important because having balance makes you better in all areas of your life. Nature, music, fitness, good food and even Netflix-binging all have a place here. And we get better and grow stronger as a school when students share their skills and interests with others.

 

 
Manal Cheema

Manal Cheema '20


Who I was then: I graduated from Tufts University in 2017, where I studied political science, cognitive and brain sciences, and ethics.

Amazing law school class: I took Rule of Law and Threats to It with Josh Bowers and Charles Barzun in my 3L fall, in part because I realized that I had yet to take a proper seminar class. I absolutely loved it. The class was a refreshing change from my doctrinal courses, as I was able to engage in a lively discussion in each meeting with my classmates and professors. I created an independent study in my 3L spring that built on some of the course’s themes with the support of Professor Bowers and Barzun. They both are incredible mentors, and I’m grateful for their continuing support. I also enjoyed taking Legislation and Federal Courts with Professor Caleb Nelson. He’s one of the best professors here, and I am forever grateful for how he made extraordinarily technical and difficult areas of law so accessible.

Outside class: I spent a lot of my time participating in various student organizations, both pursuing leadership roles that allowed me to give back to UVA Law and enjoying the outstanding programming developed by my peers. As for leadership roles, I was the president of Virginia Law Women, a 2L Peer Advisor, a submissions review editor for the Virginia Journal of International Law, and on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. I served on the boards of the Program in Law and Public Service, Minority Rights Coalition and the South Asian Law Students Association. I also was a member of the UVA Law Trial Advocacy Team; the Muslim Law Students Association; Law, Innovation, Security & Technology; and Women of Color.

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I enjoyed going on runs with some of my friends, as I got to explore a lot of Charlottesville’s beautiful scenery. I also spent a lot of evenings drawing portraits of my peers and taking on other art commissions in exchange for donations to various charities, like the Public Interest Law Association.

Noteworthy summer job: For my 2L summer, I got to intern in the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. It was an honor and privilege to work in that section, and I loved my intern cohort, as we became close and still chat today. I also appreciated that I took Criminal Procedure with Rachel Harmon and Evidence with Greg Mitchell during my second year, as those classes were extraordinarily helpful.

What’s next: I will clerk for Judge Kevin A. Ohlson ’85 on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. Then I will enter active duty in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, an arm of the military concerned with military justice and military law.

Who I am now: If anything, I now better understand Frederick Schauer’s concept of “thinking like a lawyer.” My experiences here challenged me to become a sharper and more thoughtful thinker, as well as a better advocate. My time at UVA Law also reaffirmed the importance of paying it forward and supporting others. When I look at what I have accomplished, what comes to mind first are the people who opened those doors for me or gave me the strength to kick down those doors so that I could walk through them. I remember all the chats, calls and email conversations I had with others and how generous people were with their time and support to help me reach my goals. I hope always to pay that kindness forward.

What you should know about Virginia Law: I am always struck by how good our community can be. Throughout my time here, I watched my peers invest so much time into planning time-honored events, from the softball tournament to the Libel Show, preparing for competitions, representing UVA Law at conferences, running student organizations with events scheduled to the last day of the semester and more.

But this past semester, my peers saw many of those activities indefinitely postponed or canceled because of the pandemic. It was heartbreaking, as I know how much these things meant. Community is one of the things that makes UVA Law so great. I would be remiss not to say that pandemic undoubtedly colored the end of my time at UVA Law. We were separated from friends and our community, our loved ones’ health was and continues to be at risk, and our lives and routines were upended. As 3Ls, we lost the chance to study in Scott Commons one more time, say goodbye to some of our classmates, or enjoy time-honored traditions we dedicated our final year to planning.

Still, as we reconciled our new reality, I saw and continue to see so many of my peers looking outward: They asked themselves and each other how do we support those at risk? How do we support our friends? How do we support our community in this time of emergency? Whatever drove my peers to dedicate their time to building community at UVA Law pushed them to take actions to support our communities within and outside this law school.

I saw my peers and the faculty raise and donate money to those in need, such as through the Scott Commons fundraiser, the Lawhoos Eat Local program, and the NGSL’s ReadyKids fundraiser. I saw them volunteer at food banks and through the UVA CARES Project, get groceries for those who couldn’t leave their apartments, and reach out to comfort friends. I saw them move online certain events that make this Law School so wonderful. One constant light for me is that my peers are true citizen-lawyers. I know that, even when it is easy to be selfish or insular, part of being a UVA Law lawyer is the relentless pursuit to make a difference for the better. It is this attitude that makes UVA Law so great and makes me so grateful to be a part of this community.

 

 
Molly Cain

Molly Cain '20


Who I was then: I went to Stanford University, where I majored in economics and public policy. I then spent two years before law school at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., doing policy research and rapid response work. 

Amazing law school class: There are so many to choose from! I loved Law of the Police with Rachel Harmon and recommend it to everyone. It's an eye-opening class on an area of law rarely talked about in law school that has huge impacts on the lives of many, and Professor Harmon is the expert on the subject! Definitely take at least one class with Michael Gilbert. I loved both his Legislation and Regulation of the Political Process (aka Election Law) classes. Election Law is particularly critical now the coronavirus era, so take that class! Evidence with Gregory Mitchell was the most entertaining class I took in law school. And take clinics — they are wonderful ways to serve people with your legal skills and to meet some incredible lawyers. I loved the Civil Rights Clinic at the Legal Aid Justice Center, where I was able to visit clients in prison and help with an Eighth Amendment class action. And the Appellate Litigation Clinic with Scott Ballenger is just a dream — I was able to advocate for an incarcerated client's constitutional rights while being supervised by one of the top appellate lawyers in the country, and it is an opportunity I will never forget. 

Outside class: A lot of my time was spent with the Peer Advisor Program, where I was a Peer Advisor as a 2L (go F-Bombers) and the head PA, along with Ben Elron, as a 3L. I was also the co-director of the National Lawyers Guild (with my friend Kaitlin Cottle ’20), a quarterfinalist (shoutout to my Lile partner Read Mills ’20) in and board member on the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition, vice president of voter protection for the Virginia Law Democrats (sign up to do voter protection everyone, it’s super important) and a fellow in the Program in Law and Public Service. I also was a legal observer at protests and other events in Charlottesville with the Central Virginia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. 

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I know it’s cliche, but I loved all the softball at UVA Law. I think it's an incredible way to see your classmates and talk about something other than school. Some of my fondest memories in 1L include hanging in the outfield with sectionmates while my section did batting practice before games, and I’ve made some great friends from softball. In 3L, I umped a lot of 1L games and loved meeting the new law students. Even despite the concussion I got the day before the MPRE (it was an accident, and I passed the MPRE!), I'd recommend spending some time at the softball field, even if it’s just to cheer. 

Noteworthy summer job: I spent both my summers at incredible civil rights organizations. My first summer, I was at the ACLU of Virginia, which was a life-changing experience that got me very interested in First Amendment issues and the constitutional rights of incarcerated people. My second summer, I was able to work at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which was a dream of mine and a wonderful experience where I focused on policing discrimination and death penalty issues. 

What’s next: I am so excited to clerk for Judge Carlton W. Reeves ’89, in Jackson, Mississippi, and then for Judge Henry Floyd on the Fourth Circuit in South Carolina. And then, after that, I hope to be a civil rights attorney focused on the constitutional rights of those impacted by the criminal justice system.  

Who I am now: My three years at UVA Law have definitely changed me for the better and I am so grateful for my time here. I have learned so much and have been given so many wonderful opportunities to meet incredible friends and mentors, to intern at places I dreamed about and to gain skills to advocate for my future clients. I am a University of Virginia School of Law grad who will use this degree to fight for the rights of others and to do the work of justice. 

What you should know about Virginia Law: First, that you belong here. Imposter syndrome and crises of confidence are issues I and many others battled during law school. You are not alone if you feel the same way. Reach out to your Peer Advisors, friends and professors if you need the pep talks to keep you going. I definitely needed a lot of them. Second, get to know your professors! They want to get to know you, I promise. Third, don’t be afraid to have tough conversations about issues and causes you believe in. UVA Law’s spirit of collegiality is wonderful and there is plenty of room within that culture to speak your mind. It makes us all better lawyers and advocates. And fourth, get involved in the public interest community and routinely ask yourself what you will do with the privilege of a UVA legal education to make things better for those who need it most. 

 

 
Benjamin Bhamdeo

Benjamin Bhamdeo '20


Who I was then: I graduated from Rutgers, where I studied classics, in 2013. I worked for four years before law school as a music teacher, finance recruiter and legal assistant.

Amazing law school class: I took Roman Law with Michael Doran as a 3L. It was great to take a break from the doctrinal and practical courses that are certainly important to take in law school and study a unique area of legal history. As an ancient historian by training, I must admit I was already likely to enjoy the subject, but Professor Doran made it very fun and interesting — as he does with his all classes. He is a marvelous instructor, and not only did I learn a great deal of Roman history and law, but a surprising amount of modern law in the process.

Outside class: I was a Virginia Law Ambassador, a member of the Virginia Law and Business Review, where I helped to plan a symposium during my 2L year, served as a mentor through various different organizations, and a Peer Advisor during my 2L and 3L years to two pretty amazing groups of students — shoutout to Sections D (’21) and I (’22).

Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I try to stay active, so I’d always find time to get the gym and work out. I also love to cook, so I would often be cooking and baking new recipes I would come across. But even when I’m not cooking, my friends and I would often explore Charlottesville’s many coffee shops and restaurants. As a 3L I was also the drummer in a band with some fellow law students and we would play shows pretty much once a week around Charlottesville, even being hired by the University a few times to play, which was an absolute blast. 

Noteworthy summer job: I worked on a pro bono transaction for a great nonprofit as a summer associate. The partner I worked with is a UVA alum, and the client too has UVA roots, so it was a particularly familial assignment. I pretty much did everything. Not only did I compile the work product, but I was the point of contact for our client’s chief operating officer and our counterparty. By the end of the summer, I felt like I had known the client for ages. To this day, I am proud to have worked on that assignment for that client.

What’s next: After the bar, I am moving to New York City to join the corporate and business transactions practice at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

Who I am now: I came to UVA because I felt I would get not only an exceptional legal education but the opportunity to grow as a well-rounded, thoughtful and mature person. I can say I have received exceptional training, and I can only hope I am a more well-rounded, thoughtful and mature person than I was when I arrived.

What you should know about Virginia Law: There are so many ways to be involved in the Law School community and so many interesting people to get to know and befriend — faculty, staff, students, alumni — you name it. If you engage them, a panorama of experiences will open to you.