Damon Thayer and Mahmoud Fadlallah: University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

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Thayer, who is in his third year at the University of Minnesota Law School, is currently the President of the Law Council at the University of Minnesota Law School. He said his favorite part of studying the law is "learning how to view the world from the Ivory Tower."

Thayer first decided to go to law school because he wasn't ready to enter the "real world." Now he is looking forward to graduating and working in St. Louis in the area of commercial litigation. So far, constitutional law has been his favorite course.

"Constitutional law is my favorite course because it is a consistent source of entertainment," he said. "Judges do whatever they want without regard to that silly concept that most of us refer to as 'the law.'"

During his three years in law school, Thayer has interned at a small law office, the public defender's office, a state trial court judge's office, and Bryan Cave, LLP, where he realized he enjoyed commercial litigation.

"Bryan Cave is a large law firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri," he said. "The firm interviewed me through our On-Campus Interview (OCI) program. The experience was amazing, the perfect mix of substantive work and fun activities."

As President of the Law Council, Thayer describes the council's purpose as representing the views of the school's law students and taking action accordingly.

"I oversee all student organizations and, to a lesser extent, law students," Thayer said. "I oversee the distributing of money to student organizations to fund activities and speakers, appointment of students to the various committees of the law school, organization of our orientation activities, organization of our annual 'Malpractice Ball,' and any other matters that come before us."

Thayer said he ran for a representative position on the council after hearing about what a rewarding experience it was.

"It is a great way to stay balanced, meet new people, take on a leadership role, and network with others," he said.

Fadlallah, a 2L at the University of Minnesota Law School, decided on law school after going through a process of elimination.

"In the beginning, I was opposed to pursuing a career in virtually every other field, and law was just the leftover," Fadlallah said. "After studying it and observing it operate in society, I truly developed a passion for it. Although many [...] warned me that the fire for this passion [would] die after the first year of law school, three weeks into my second year it is still burning."

During his 1L year, Fadlallah served as president of the school's Asylum Law Project (ALP), an organization "aimed at providing legal aid to victims of political or religious persecution seeking asylum in the United States." The organization raises money through various events and sends first-year volunteers to work in legal aid clinics in Florida and Texas.

Since it's an organization open only to 1Ls, the group will be electing another president soon.

"I knew that I needed to do some extracurricular activity to maintain my sanity through my first year of law school," Fadlallah said. "I also wanted to do volunteer work to assist people that need help. I found that ALP embodied these two goals in one form—where on the one hand I was gaining practical, extracurricular, real-life legal experience, and on the other hand I was helping those in need."

This past summer, Fadlallah interned at Honeywell International, Inc., in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. While assisting the legal department, he gained experience in contract review work and also got to be a part of an international litigation.

"I enjoyed the experience very much," he said. "As the only legal intern, and the first that Honeywell has hired in awhile, one can imagine how excited the general counsels of the various businesses were to have an intern on board. I found that the people with whom I worked—attorneys and others—were very intelligent and a joy to be around. Additionally, the work that I received was interesting and diverse."

Fadlallah hopes to get an internship at a law firm for the coming summer, so that by his 3L year, he will have gained a wide variety of experiences and will be able to decide exactly what he wants to do with his law degree.

"Deciding what I am most interested in is an ongoing process, and for me, it simply involves gaining as much experience as a law student can in as many fields as possible," he said. "Until now, I have enjoyed everything except family law and criminal law. International fields of study have always interested me, primarily because of my background and experiences. I also feel like this world is becoming increasingly globalized and [that] the importance of this field is only growing stronger."

When asked what his favorite law school memory is so far, Fadlallah said he's living it.

"Seeing the new 1Ls matriculate and begin classes has allowed me to reflect upon this past year and see how much I have truly grown," he said.

University of Minnesota Law School


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