Third-Year Law Student David Tierney Anticipates a May 2015 Graduation From UCLA School of Law
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David Tierney a third-year law student at UCLA School of Law and anticipates a May 2015 graduation. Although he has several areas of interest, David is excited to pursue a career in government and regulatory law.
David is an older student. He is married and has an eight-year old boy. His prior career was as a theatre actor and director. He also served five years in the Marine Corps.
David grew up in relative poverty. His parents - neither of whom had a college education - divorced when he was six years old. David and his father moved roughly every two years. Consistent with these conditions, David's grades were poor and he barely graduated from high school. After high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. The bulk of his professional life has been as an actor and director working with theatre companies throughout the country.
David has traveled extensively. The Marine Corps took him to a number of places, including Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. He has also traveled to the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. His theater experience, and his veteran status, gave him the opportunity to perform comedy improvisation with Armed Forces Entertainment for troops in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, and Iraq. Also, as part of his graduate study he did field work in Dublin, Ireland studying nationalism and the St. Patrick's Day Festival.
David is president of the Veteran's Law Society and a member to the Environmental Law Society. He is the Chair of the Veteran's Legal Clinic in UCLA's El Centro Legal and a member of the ABA.
He graduated summa cum laude from National University in 2002 and is a M.A. candidate in Political Science at San Diego State University (degree expected May of 2015). David was inducted into Pinnacle, the non-traditional student honors society. In graduate school, he was inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha and was president of the Graduate Student Association in Political Science.
He has had two summer internships. During his 1L summer, he was a case developer at the Center for Civic Mediation where he was responsible for attempting to interest respondent parties in community mediations by communicating the value of mediation. For his 2L summer, he interned for the Director of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Veterans' Project. During this time he worked on the Tickets & Warrants Clinic. He served as an advocate, and he helped construct the materials used by both the veterans receiving assistance and the advocates helping them. In this role, he assisted dozens of veterans in resolving tickets and related warrants that were preventing them from gaining meaningful employment.
As a president and member of the Veterans Law Society at the UCLA School of Law, he assisted in the creation of a clinical course in veterans' benefits and created the UCLA Veterans Network. This network is the first alumni affinity group for veterans and the first student-initiated alumni affinity group in UCLA's history.
When asked about his hobbies and personal interests, he said, "I am an avid reader of mostly non-fiction and classic literature. I surf, run, camp, hike, and backpack. I love anything to do with the outdoors."
David's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations
Why did David go into law? "When my son was born, I simply wanted a more stable profession than the theatre. I looked into several possibilities and took practice tests for each. My sights were aimed pretty low because of my poor showing in high school, despite what I had achieved as an undergrad. However, when I took my first practice LSAT, I was surprised at how high it was. It meant possibility. It meantI could show my son that achievement is possible even when you have struggled in the past. Plus, it is a profession that is highly regarded and which has a great potential to help others."
What are David's legal aims and aspirations?"I would a position with a state attorney general or with legislative counsel. I would also like to see UCLA VETNET become an organization with widespread effect by raising funds for scholarships, promoting education among enlisted military members, finding quality employment for veterans, ensuring veterans have access to all the care and benefits they have earned, and fighting fraudulent veteran charities."
Many readers are probably wondering how he faces obstacles in his life. "I find it difficult to imagine a life without obstacles. I grew up poor in a 'broken home,' I served in the Marine Corps, I performed improvisation, I was the oldest student accepted into my law school class - I have lived an unusual life and at every turn there were obstacles. The notion of overcoming obstacles has become an integral part of how I define myself. In the past, I had not overcome obstacles in any intentional way, I merely survived them. Through my experiences, however, I have developed an incredibly thick skin and a useful stubbornness. It's something I have come to recognize as perseverance."
Family Matters, Strengths, and Legal Role Models
What motivates David? His son is his main motivation. He is what gives his perseverance purpose, and is also the reason he is attending the UCLA School of Law.
Where did David derive his confidence? "It used to be only my thick skin and stubbornness. Now I am in a better place than I ever have been or, because of my early educational experiences, thought I deserved to be. I am constantly motivated to be a role model to my son. Of course, you can never underestimate the confidence inspired by Marine Corps training. I guess that's been somewhat in the background."
Does he have legal role models?"My legal role models are the lawyers who work in the clinics for the underserved. In my clinical experience I have come across quite a few. Their work brings them no notoriety and little money, but they use their education to better the lives of people in need."
David's main strengths are perseverance and a highly developed sense of humor. He hopes not only to use these strengths through his legal education and career, but also to use them to face any of life's obstacles.
What is David's favorite quote? "They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can't get away from us now!"
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