May 6, 2024
men and women smiling in collage with 'Class of 2024' image in the middle

Rutgers Law School is pleased to introduce eight of our 2024 graduating students. Each of these exceptional legal minds are poised to make their mark in the legal profession. Most have already changed the trajectory of their family legacies by being the first to graduate from college and/or from law school. Join us in celebrating the culmination of their journey and the beginning of their impactful contributions to the world.

man in student with arms folded standing next to art collage

Wilbert Davis
Hometown: West Orange, New Jersey
Fun Fact: Wilbert's brother, Frederick Davis III, is graduating with him and was selected as this year's Rutgers Law School Newark Commencement student speaker. Their f
ather, Frederick Davis Jr., also graduated from Rutgers Law School Newark in 1993.
Plans after graduation: General litigation associate at DLA Piper in the New York office 
Ultimate career goals: To 
use his expertise and resources to help as many people as possible

Graduating from law school feels like a milestone that celebrates the past of countless late nights and early mornings and the future of new beginnings. It's a testament to the power of perseverance, no matter how hard or challenging it gets. Finally, graduating reminds me that choosing this path was one of the best decisions I've ever made. To make it to this point, I thank God, my family, friends, and professors for supporting me throughout my journey!

woman smiling in law school hood and graduation cap

Vanessa Gomez
Hometown: Summit, New Jersey
First-generation American and first in family to receive a juris doctorate
Plans after graduation: Associate at 
Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C.
Ultimate goal: A consistently challenging role that enhances leadership and mentorship skills and provides the opportunity to pay it forward

I owe an immense debt of gratitude to my family and friends, whose encouragement and sacrifices have propelled me forward every step of the way. I am profoundly thankful to Rutgers Law for introducing me to lifelong friends, challenging my thinking, and teaching me invaluable skills. Congratulations to the class of 2024! I eagerly await the journey ahead and am excited to see where our future takes us.

man smiling and standing on Philadelphia street with hood and graduation cap

Andrew Ibarra
Hometown: Pleasant Hill, California
First-generation college and law school graduate
Plans after graduation: Work at family law firm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Ultimate goal: To become either in-house counsel or work in employment relations/compliance for a company

Whenever I would go home for the holidays, everyone would always ask how law school is going. Everytime I would reply, "it is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most fun things I've ever done," and I think that encapsulates my law school experience. I have experienced challenges during and prior to law school that I never thought I would have to face but have overcome them all. Graduating from law school is my proudest accomplishment at this point, and an amazing milestone that will expand my horizon exponentially.

man smiling in suit against blue background

Julio C. Leon II
Hometown: Riverside, California
First-generation college graduate and J.D. recipient

Plans after graduation: Assistant Attorney General at the Delaware Department of Justice
Ultimate goal: Serve on the bench or in public office

“Words can hardly fully express my gratitude for my family, friends, professors, and mentors who have supported me through the years and made my success possible. I never thought the day would come where I could say that I would be graduating from law school, but I certainly could not have made it this far without the constant love and innumerable sacrifices my parents have made over the years to ensure I had a better life than they did. I often think about the moment that my seventh-grade self knew that I wanted to become a prosecutor when I grew up and now that that dream has become a reality, I wish more than anything to give little me a hug and tell him I had the right idea all along. As I enter the next exciting chapter of my life with my loved ones by my side, I’m reminded of [Mexican singer/songwriter] Ramón Ayala’s eternal words: “a mí no me falta nada, la vida es un sueño. [translation: I don’t lack anything, life is a dream.]”

woman smiling

Dhara Patel
Hometown: Lincoln, Rhode Island
First-generation American and first law school graduate

Plans after graduation: Using legal skills to serve in the family business
Ultimate goal: Partner in private practive or at a small-to-mid size law firm

“I plan to take with me memories I would have never made anywhere else, at any other time in my life. I also hope to inspire others who may be starting something scary—be it continuing their education, embarking on parenthood, or both simultaneously—and let them know: it is not easy, but it is possible.”

Read more about Dhara's law school journey here

woman smiling

Madison Schaper
Hometown: Metuchen, New Jersey
Plans after graduation: 
Associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Ultimate goal: (Short-term) To learn as much as possible during the first few years of practice

I am so grateful for my experience at Rutgers Law. I've made wonderful friends and worked with incredible faculty. I'm sad my time in the classroom is coming to an end but feel equipped for and excited about everything to come. Congratulations to the entire class of 2024! 

woman smiling

Alexandra Schoellkopf
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Plans after graduation: Join the 
Debevoise & Plimpton New York office in either the Investment Management or Capital Markets practice groups
Ultimate goal: Make Partner at the firm in addition to clerking or working for a federal agency, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission

“Graduation is a time to recognize and thank those who supported us along the way, ultimately making this achievement possible. Thank you to the professors who encouraged me to continuously challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone—especially Dean [Arthur] Laby. Thank you to my friends, who motivate me each day with their kindness, warmth, and love. And above all, thank you to my family. Mom, thank you for showing me where hard work, dedication, and staying true to oneself can get you. Dad, thank you for gifting me with your argumentative spirit and stubborn adherence to principles. But more importantly, thank you for always being there.”

woman smiling in front of blue backdrop

Nayomi Torres-Velez
Hometown: Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Birthplace: Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

First-generation college and law school graduate
Plans After Graduation: Law Clerk for Honorable Eric Fikry, Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington Vicinage 
Ultimate Goal: To pursue a career as a labor and employment attorney and continue supporting the New Jersey bar associations, including the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

As leaders in our community and aspiring legal professionals, it is our duty to help others succeed alongside us. As the Co-President of ALIANZA, my main objective has been to make it easier for future generations to enter the legal profession and become successful students, in comparison to my own struggles and challenges throughout law school. Creating the Una Esperanza Para El Futuro LSAT Prep Scholarship was just the first step towards achieving this goal. With the support of the New Jersey legal community, including the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, I will continue to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion wherever I go. I am grateful for the guidance and constant support I have received from Dean Rhasheda Douglas, Dean Stacy Hawkins, Dean Louis Thompson, Dean Nancy Rubert, Dean Kimberly Mutcherson, and the many other faculty members who have instilled in me a spirit of resilience. You all have helped raise a generation of future lawyers, and I hope we can all continue to uplift the next generation as you have done with us.

Rutgers Law Media Contact:
Shanida Carter

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