Shiva Logarajah ’17
Although Shiva Logarajah ’17 was born in Dallas, he traces his initial interest in the law to Sri Lanka, where his parents lived until the early 1980s, when ethnic rioting erupted. “A lot of families left Sri Lanka because of conflicts and injustice, which is why studying law had always been in the back of my mind,” he says.
After earning a B.A. in international relations and politics from the University of Toronto, Logarajah studied at the London School of Economics, where he wrote his thesis on anti-corruption policy in the Baltics, which crystallized his interest in criminal law. During his three years at Columbia Law School, Logarajah gained extensive hands-on criminal law training while working for public service lawyers. “One of the greatest features of Columbia is being in New York and meeting so many people in practice,” he says.
Logarajah spent the summer after his 1L year in Washington, D.C., serving as a clerk in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. The following fall, he was an extern at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. “It confirmed my sense that federal prosecutors are entrepreneurial and that you can do a lot of good,” he says. “In the Southern District, and the DOJ generally, people worked hard to do the right thing.”
For the fall semester of his 3L year, Logarajah was a prosecution intern at the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, where he saw a similar dynamic at play. “There was a focus on working with the county to bring crime down,” he says, which led to a determination not to dismiss cases.
A senior editor of the Columbia Law Review, Logarajah has also been active in the Law School’s chapter of the Federalist Society. He served as a co-president of the group as a 2L, and, then, in his third year, he was chairman of its National Student Symposium, which brought 600 students to campus for two days of lectures and panels. Logarajah’s strong belief in a limited role for the judiciary and strict interpretation of the Constitution grew out of seeing his family’s experiences in Sri Lanka. There, he says, “the constitution and the rule of law meant nothing, and the government was able to act with impunity.”
After graduation, Logarajah will clerk for Judge Bobby E. Shepherd of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. “I wouldn’t have gotten this clerkship without the help of many professors who offered a lot of guidance,” he says. In the fall of 2018, he is set to clerk for New York State Appeals Court Associate Judge Michael Garcia. “Jennifer Rodgers, who runs the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, pointed me to Judge Garcia,” Logarajah adds. “She worked with him when he was a prosecutor, but without her, I would have never thought to apply.”
And for 2019? Logarajah is sure of one thing: His Columbia connections will prove invaluable in whatever position he lands. “I’ve gotten to meet people from around the world while I’ve been here,” he says, “and I now have the network and training to go out and practice.”