The field of law is one of the most influential in today’s society. Many laws are promoted or decided upon by people in law, and many of today’s politicians have law degrees. As a result, according to Christendom alumni in the field of law, it is a perfect field to enter if one wishes to fulfill Christendom College founder Dr. Warren Carroll’s vision of restoring all things in Christ.
Being a litigation lawyer demands accomplished thinkers who are able to wade through the emotions of a case, think critically about all of the details involved, and communicate an argument well to a judge and jury. A liberal arts education can often be the perfect springboard to success in the field, with the ability to write and think well, among other skills, equaling great success more often than not — something proven by the number of Christendom alumni who now work in the field of law.
From opening their own law offices to working in the United States Justice Department, Christendom alumni are found everywhere the field, using their liberal arts background daily to navigate cases, propagate the truth, and help clients find justice. Matthew Akers ’03 opened his own law firm, McCarthy & Akers, while Daniel McGuire ’03 is an associate in the Corporate Advisory group at McDermott Will & Emery. Mary Patryn ’92 is an attorney in private practice, while Noreen Daly Barrs ’11 is a paralegal. Alumni have been accepted to and attended varied law schools, such as Notre Dame, William & Mary, Antonin Scalia, University of Virginia, Washington & Lee, Georgetown, and elsewhere, always achieving great success in their studies.
Alumni lawyers Donald Goodman ’03 and Joseph Mazzara ’08 are two success stories, with Goodman working as a criminal prosecutor and Mazzara working as a military attorney. Both returned to campus for Christendom’s Life on Tap alumni networking series, speaking with students on how the college’s education helped set them up for their current success.
“We tend to run into people at their very worst moments and we can really be a force for good in their lives,” said Goodman. “That ought to be your motivation if you’re interested in pursuing this field.”
Goodman, while studying history at Christendom, was encouraged to go into law by one of his history professors, who noticed the high quality of his writing, and thought that that would enable him to be a good lawyer. After graduating in 2003, he enrolled in the tier-one law school at William & Mary, and then passing the bar in 2006. He spent time as a criminal prosecutor in Martinsville, Virginia, before taking on the same role in Loudoun Country. Since 2014, he has specialized in domestic violence and sex crimes.
Goodman encouraged students to consider law if they want to really make a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes failure can occur, but great spiritual rewards can come as well, he said.
Mazzara agreed with Goodman’s points, noting the effect Christendom’s education had on his future career path.
“I look back on my classes and the things that I learned every day in my profession,” said Mazzara. “The education you get here, the way you think when you get out of here, will enable you to far outstrip people that you meet. Your engagement with ideas, your desire to learn the truth, will help you, and as long as you can maintain that fire, you will be able to draw people to it too.”
Mazzara’s path to his current role was quite different from Goodman’s. After graduation, Mazzara joined the Marine Corps, serving six years as an artillery officer before attending the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. Now, he serves as a military attorney for the Marine Corps’ National Capital Region as well as for the Marine Corps Reserve.
Mazzara loves being a lawyer and thinks that Christendom students are perfect for the field as well, if that is what they are called to do.
“The whole reason the college was founded was so that you would go into professions like this,” said Mazzara. “Remember, how well you do here will have repercussions on your entire life. That is hugely important, especially in a profession like this. Your grades will determine what kind of school you can get into. Read. Study. Do well.”
To conclude, Mazzara again encouraged students to get everything they can from their Christendom education and use it to excel, impacting the world for the better in the process.
“Think about what you want to do,” said Mazzara. “I would recommend, because of the education you get here and because of the mission of this college, you should absolutely be thinking about a ‘course of honor.’ Because, how else are you going to make change? You have to be excellent. You are perfectly situated to do it as Christendom alums — you just have to have the right mentality.”
Christendom College was built to help students bring back “Christendom,” a civilization founded on the principles of Christ. That means taking the education taught at the school and bringing it into every profession, including law.
Lawyers have the ability to bring the truth to light, if they have the right intentions. Christendom alumni are perfectly suited for that noble task, making them crucial components of fulfilling the vision of the college and truly “restoring all things in Christ.”