To fulfill his first-year moot court requirement, Philip Gary ’10 joined a group of first-year students who participated in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court. Second- and third-year Law School students served as the team’s coaches, helping their peers write briefs and practice oral arguments. Gary’s coach was 2009 Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court finalist Melanie Cristol ’09, and although the pairing was mere coincidence, it now seems more like a premonition.
Following in Cristol’s footsteps, Gary has ascended to the finals of the 2010 Harlan Fiske Stone competition. He will defend the Marbury School District’s position that its suspension of plaintiff James Madison was not an act of gender discrimination.
Gary graduated from Columbia College in 2005 and spent the next two years working as a trial preparation assistant in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. “I knew I wanted a career connected to public service,” he says. “By working in a DA’s office, I realized my love of the law and the process of arguing the law.”
That newfound interest led Gary to the Law School, where he interned with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York during the summer after his first year. And following his graduation in May, Gary will return home to Washington, D.C., to clerk for Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Although the courses and internship opportunities at the Law School prepared him well, Gary notes that a host of talented faculty members have added tremendous value to his legal education. His professors emphasized the traditional, academic aspects of the law, Gary explains, while incorporating lessons from their extensive practical experience.
In addition to a focus on practicality, he has also encountered a sense of collegiality across the faculty. “The professors are interested in you as a person,” Gary says. “They are supportive throughout your academic career and are incredible resources as you begin your legal career.”