After earning his B.A. in political science from Stanford University, Julian Dunn ’09 took the path his mother and brother followed, and joined the Peace Corps. Placed by chance in Bulgaria, he helped local community development organizations apply for and receive USAID and EU funding.
“In Bulgaria, I saw a system of law that is weaker and much less transparent,” Dunn says. “You appreciate how powerful the rule of law is in the U.S. when you see how it operates elsewhere.”
At Columbia Law School, Dunn honed his legal and reasoning skills by participating in Frederick Douglass Moot Court competitions. The experience provided him valuable confidence during his first year. By serving as a moot court coach the next year, Dunn passed the favor on to new participants.
“At first, some students are just mortified to give a 90-second speech,” he says. “Three months later, they’re arguing before state supreme court judges.”
Dunn also mentored peers through the California Society, a group the Oakland native co-founded to strengthen professional and social ties among students from and alumni living in California.
Dunn spent his summers at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. The firm sent him back to Bulgaria—since he knew the language—to do human rights work for part of his second summer. He says he felt “much more capable there with two years of law school under my belt.” This past semester, a seminar co-taught by Professors Jack Greenberg and Ted Shaw comparing desegregation in the United States and in Eastern Europe completed an arc he began five years ago.
Following graduation, Dunn returns to Orrick in January as an associate in the San Francisco office, focusing on public finance. In the meantime, he plans to volunteer at nonprofit organizations in the East Bay area. But first, Dunn will take a detour to Guiyang, China, the site of his mother’s second Peace Corps tour, to attend her closing of service graduation ceremony.