Meet Outsanding 1L Student Joshua Zanze
Joshua Zanze is a 1L in this year's Rutgers Law class in Newark. A native of California, Zanze spent the last 10 years in a totally different career - earning his living as an opera singer. Though his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were both lawyers, Zanze initially followed in the footsteps of his mother, who is a musician and music teacher. A graduate of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins, Zanze's music career took him all over the the United States and Europe. Zanze said he became more aware of the unrest in communities following police-involved deaths which greatly inspired his decision to go to law school and work towards social justice.
What made you decide to go to law school?
I reached a point in my life where I realized if I wanted to change the world in a permanent, positive way, in a way that would make a real difference, I would need to get much more involved in our country’s legal process. I was living in Baltimore and performing around there in 2015, when Freddie Gray was murdered. There were protests and (near) riots. It really shook me up and motivated me to begin studying law.
What were you doing before law school?
I was working full-time as a freelance opera singer and concert artist, singing with opera companies, choirs, festivals and symphonies around the USA and in Europe. After I finished my Bachelors in music at California State University Stanislaus, I moved to Baltimore in 2011 to do my Masters at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. All the while I was performing, giving voice lessons, and auditioning up and down the East Coast and beyond.
How did you pick Rutgers?
Rutgers has such an impressive track record of being on the right side of history and for setting an example the rest of our country can follow. I wanted to become a part of that long, respected tradition. Rutgers is progressive and ahead of their time when it comes to American social problems and seeing the future of what we should do.
Where is your hometown? What are your hobbies?
Most of my life I lived in Redding, CA, which is considered "Northern California" near where all the redwoods are, close to Mount Shasta. For fun I like to hike and listen to music, nothing too extreme.
What are your future goals?
I’m interested in Intellectual Property law because I’d like the chance to protect the work of artists and other creative types. With the advent of the internet and digital music, as digital property law gets more fleshed out, independent artists need more protection. Artists don’t think about the law, but they need lawyers.