Geoffrey Cajigas ’11 vividly recalls the final arguments of the 2009 Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition—an inspiring performance he observed during his first year at the Law School. “I was watching students who hadn’t even started their careers yet, and they had this amazing opportunity to argue in front of someone like Judge Richard Posner,” he says. “I wanted to see if I could do it, so I thought I would give it a try.” Now, as one of the four finalists in the 2010 competition, Cajigas will argue before similarly impressive judges on behalf of the plaintiff, James Madison, who claims that the Marbury School District violated his constitutional right to free expression.
At the Law School, Cajigas, a native New Yorker, has enjoyed learning from faculty members who incorporate lessons from their professional experiences into the classroom. One such professor is Gerard Lynch, the Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law and a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the 2nd Circuit. “He brought the perspectives of both a judge and a lawyer into our Criminal Law class and related current cases in the news to what we were talking about,” says Cajigas, who graduated from Yale University in 2008.
Cajigas spent the summer after his first year at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where he was able to hone the skills he had learned at the Law School. “My assignments at the Civil Liberties Union were very interesting, especially the cases involving First Amendment issues,” he says. “Plus, it was a great opportunity to work on my legal research and writing.”
This summer, Cajigas plans to work at a law firm in New York City. But before that job begins, he will end his spring semester as one of only two second-year students in the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court finals. The other, Evie Spanos, is not only his adversary in the competition, but also a good friend. And both students agree that this should make for an interesting round of final arguments.