Director of Public Service Adds to Counseling Staff

Leah Gould Served as Federal Prosecutor, Navy Intelligence Officer
Leah Gould and UVA Law School

Leah Gould was previously an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. Contributed photo/Illustration by Warren Craghead

October 7, 2020

Leah Gould has joined the University of Virginia School of Law as director of public service.

Gould will work under the direction of Assistant Dean for Public Service Annie Kim ’99, who now leads both the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center and Program in Law and Public Service. Gould’s role adds a new position to the counseling staff that also includes Senior Director of Public Service W. Lawton Tufts and Director of Public Service Amanda Yale.

“We’re so fortunate to have Leah join our Public Service Center team,” Kim said. “She’s incredibly accomplished as a former DOJ trial attorney and AUSA. But beyond that, Leah knows exactly what it means to carve out your public service path as a law student, keep your eyes on the prize and believe in yourself. Her positivity is contagious in the best possible way — and her grassroots work with the reproductive justice nonprofit she helped found shows us how you can be involved in many different types of public service causes.”

Gould, a former Navy lieutenant, previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, prosecuting criminal cases such as firearms, Hobbs Act robberies, narcotics, trafficking, child exploitation and white-collar crimes. She was also a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division through the Attorney General’s Honors Program.

But it was her experience as an intelligence officer and mentor in the military that nurtured her interest in leading others to achieve their goals and inspired her to make the leap to academia.

“I was getting to the point in my career where I was looking to make a change,” Gould said, “and I saw this opportunity and it really jumped out at me because it reminded me how much I loved working with people to help guide them.”

She said she is especially motivated to help law students who want to enter public service but have financial concerns.

The Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center guides and supports the next generation of UVA Law’s public service attorneys through highly individualized counseling, programs that expose students to public service practice and financial resources.

Public service has rewards that can’t be quantified in terms of money, Gould said. And yet an entrepreneurial spirit isn’t solely for the private sector, she added: “You can create things that didn’t already exist, like a nonprofit.”

Gould herself was a founding board member of the nonprofit The Brigid Alliance.  

“If you are really mission-driven and you want to be excited about what you’re doing every day and proud of your work every day, then that’s where public service comes in,” she said.

Gould clerked for U.S. Judge Reed C. O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas. She earned a J.D. from the University of Colorado Law School and a bachelor’s in international affairs from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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