As part of the Community and Transaction Lawyering Clinic, Victor Celis gave presentations on estate planning to local community members and also helped clients start small businesses. Celis, who will graduate on May 24, said his clinical experience underscored the importance of being active in one’s community and “supporting those around us.”
He credited Professors Charles Auffant and Robert Holmes, who oversee the clinic, with influencing his success, “They taught me so much about how to actually practice as a lawyer and how to effectively represent clients.”
After graduation, Celis will began working in the New York office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft as an associate in the firm’s litigation department.
Working in the clinic wasn’t Celis’s only achievement in law school. He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Rutgers Law Review, as a representative of the Student Bar Association, and as President of the Association of Latin American Law Students. He traveled to Cuba to study the Cuban legal system with a class led by Professor Auffant, and he successfully represented a voter, ensuring that person's right to vote in the 2018 election as part of the Voter's Assistance Project.
He said law school is all about what you put into it, “My advice to incoming students is to come to Rutgers Law, get involved in some of the many extra-curricular activities, and prepare to put in the work...If you put in the work for your courses and participate in the academic and social organizations, you’ll be successful in your pursuit of a J.D. and you’ll have a better time doing it.”
Celis, who is from Seattle, is the first person in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree and the first to attend law school. After graduating from Western Washington University, Celis worked for three years as a legal assistant at a law firm in Seattle, assisting clients with estate planning and elder law. That inspired him to pursue a law degree and he said he knew he wanted to go to law school near New York City.“Rutgers' proximity to NYC, combined with the affordability of the school made Rutgers an ideal fit,” he added.
He also said being a member of the Minority Student Program helped him succeed, “My MSP peers have become my family away from home. My peers, mentors, and Dean Bravo-Weber were all so supporting and welcoming and this made my move so much easier. They pushed me to excel academically and encouraged me to give back to our community.”