Attacks on Catholic beliefs continue to grow in the culture. As Catholics work hard to stand up for pro-life causes and other key issues, there can be a growing concern over how the tide against Catholic moral principles can possibly be turned. One of the key ways, though, is at the judicial level, through better Catholic lawyers — such as alumna Sydney Dominguez (’18). A second-year law student at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, Dominguez is aiming to follow Scalia’s legacy and defend Catholic beliefs after law school, making a profound difference in the culture as a result.
Dominguez, who earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2018, initially worked at Christendom as a member of the college’s Admissions team. She felt a strong tug towards the legal profession as time went on and ultimately applied (and was accepted) to nearby George Mason. Since arriving, she’s become only more passionate about her desire to make a difference in today’s culture.
“The world needs solid Catholic lawyers,” says Dominguez. “I had many people discourage me from going into law, but people need to remember that law, like politics, is always going to be a huge attraction for people, and there are only so many jobs to go around. If Catholics run away from the law, who will be there to curb people that attack our Faith who inevitably will rise to power in solid Catholics’ absence?”
Dominguez is joining a proud line of Christendom graduates who have gone into the law profession after graduation, all with a similar goal in mind: to help people, and society at large, through the lens of Catholic morality. Studying at Christendom first has already proven to be highly advantageous to her, thanks to her grounding in the Faith.
“Christendom really enforced in me the importance of going to Mass and Confession regularly, and that helps ground you in law school so much,” relates Dominguez. “Law school is very tough and can be a very toxic environment if you let it consume all of your life. I have several classmates who don’t have something, like the Faith, outside of law grounding them in reality and it’s really scary to see their breakdowns. If you don’t have some greater purpose in life than your next class, or your next exam, or your next client, the legal profession is going to tear you apart — Christendom’s enrichment of my Faith equipped me to face this kind of environment.”
Dominguez’s background in the liberal arts has helped her as well. According to her, legal writing and analysis requires pulling apart facts and arguments, finding the relevant issues, and laying them out for an audience — all things she first learned how to do in her mathematics classes.
“Additionally, my theology classes helped me analyze the ethical and moral dilemmas we encounter in law,” says Dominguez. “My grasp of theology, especially from Dr. Matthew Tsakanikas’ Moral Theology class, helps me to make sense of issues and decide what issues are those to fight for in my own future practice of the law.”
Dominguez is not the only Christendom graduate currently studying at George Mason, with Aidan Wenzel (’17) and Jensen Hoernig (’18) studying with her as well. The fact that they are all studying at a school named after one of the great Catholic lawyers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is not lost on Dominguez as well. In fact, his legacy is a daily inspiration to her and her fellow Christendom classmates, as they all aim to emulate his constitutional interpretation, his sense of humor, and his commitment to his Faith.
Dominguez is in her second year of the Patent Law Track and the Tax Law Concentration, but she’s already found success before even leaving law school. This past year, she was elected president of the campus’s chapter of the Federalist Society, a national organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers. As part of the Federalist Society, Dominguez has been able to meet two Supreme Court Justices, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, have internships in Congress and the Judiciary, and interview and host some of the sharpest legal minds from around the country at George Mason for debates on issues like same-sex adoption, abortion, and presidential authority.
Additionally, Dominguez is an editor on one of George Mason’s law journals, is a member of moot court, and the event coordinator of the Thomas More Society, an organization for Catholic law students. She also works as a research assistant and as an intern for one of President Trump’s first judges nominated to the Court of Federal Claims.
Looking ahead, Dominguez will be working at a boutique patent and intellectual property law firm this summer, before continuing on towards the end of her law school studies. After graduation, she is planning on clerking for a year, before hopefully working as a patent prosecutor, helping inventors protect their creations, or as a tax attorney while doing pro-bono pro-life work on the side. Her long-term goal? To do pro-life work for an organization like the St. Thomas More Society.
Catholics may be facing many challenges in today’s society, but Dominguez does believe that the tide can be turned. More good Catholic lawyers will be needed, however, but thankfully a number of other alumni are in law school currently as well, including Grace Mooney (’17) at University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Katherine Williams Wiegand (’18) at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Together, this growing group of alumni in law can make a difference, ultimately leading to a more moral society.
“Attorneys rise into government and those are the people who make the rules that govern the country,” concludes Dominguez. “If we don’t step up and fill those spots, we’ll eventually lose our seat in the public square and have no one to ensure that we can practice our Faith in a public way. Law is hard, but I encourage every student who has a talent for solid arguments, a sense of duty to your country, and the ability to stand firm and speak out to consider the legal profession.”