May 2013 Valedictorian Walter Araujo looks back with pride at his time spent at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. And that’s not surprising when you consider his many achievements as a student, including graduating at the top of his class.
“I’ve been very spoiled here at Thomas Jefferson,” said Araujo. “My first year was great. I was placed in Section Two (best section ever) and had some amazing professors— Susan Bisom-Rapp, Marjorie Cohn, Meera Deo, K.J. Greene and Aaron Schwabach. My first semester, I tried-out for and made the ADR team, which I participated in for three semesters. My second semester, I was invited to join an association in which membership would become my greatest highlight: Law Review.”
Law school had its challenges for Araujo, but those challenges proved worthwhile. “My second year—the ‘work you to death’ year—was very busy and very memorable,” recalled Araujo. “Thanks to the Externship Office here at Thomas Jefferson, I had a lot of great clinical experiences. I worked for a solo practitioner who specialized in education law. I also had two judicial clerkships: one at the Superior Court, Juvenile Division, and the other at the California Court of Appeal. Back at TJSL, Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp honored me by asking me to TA for her Torts I & II class (work as a teaching assistant). It was a lot of work, but I loved working as a TA and wish I could have done it again as a 3L (unfortunately, time would not permit).”
The opportunity to write a Note for the Thomas Jefferson Law Review proved immensely rewarding for Araujo. “Law Review was also huge part of my second year,” said Araujo. “During the first semester of my second year, I wrote my Note (a student scholarly article) on Cyberbullying. I literally spent hundreds of hours outside of class researching and writing on the highly debated topic. It was a great learning experience for me. I got to work with Brian Link (my editor), who is one of the most talented individuals I’ve met here at TJSL. I also got to work closely with Professors Marybeth Herald and Bryan Wildenthal—two brilliant professors who taught me a lot about writing and the Constitution. The following semester, I was honored when the Law Review asked to publish my Note. I spent another 200 hours or so polishing my Note for publication. At the end of my second year, the outgoing Editorial Board bestowed on me the greatest honor of my law school career when they elected me to the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.”
The highlights from his year as Editor-in-Chief of Law Review are simply too many to mention, but Araujo does have a few that stand out. “I truly enjoyed working alongside Travis Davis, Megan Morrissey and Anthony Matson to develop and implement training sessions for our Note writers. Jessica Mulvaney, Justin Abbate, Stephanie Ross and I have great memories reviewing and selecting pieces for publication in the Journal, as well as working together to edit the selected pieces,” noted Araujo. “It’s been great working closely with the TJSL faculty—namely, Professors Rierson, Desai, Slomanson, Guzelian, Deo, Wenger, Schwabach, Cohn, Simon, Caldwell and Semeraro. In my final weeks with the Journal, I enjoyed celebrating the work of everyone who is part of the Law Review at our annual banquet. I’ve also had a great time training the new Editor-in-Chief, Danielle Gilbert, for her next year with the Journal.”
Law Review also has resulted in some highly valued associations for Araujo. “My third year was very special,” explains Araujo. “As part of the Law Review Managing Board, I got to work closely with Travis Davis and Greyson Goody. I couldn’t possibly ask to work with two greater guys. Both are incredibly smart, hard-working, and well-rounded. Both believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Both are destined for greatness. I will forever remember and be proud of the things the three of us accomplished during our year managing the Law Review.”
After graduation, Araujo plans to stay close to home. “I will take the California bar,” he said. “My goal is to find work in or near San Diego. I grew-up here. My friends and family are all here.”
As for what the future may hold, Araujo embraces the possibilities. “I’m very open-minded. I enjoyed most of the subjects I studied, which I think is why I was able to do well. I had internships in the fields of education law and elder abuse, which I really enjoyed. It would be nice to practice in either of those fields.”