SLS Student Veteran Reflects on Military Service and Legal Education

SLS Student Veteran Reflects on Military Service and Legal Education

As a veteran, attending Stanford Law School has afforded me the tremendous opportunity to continue my pursuit of service. While preparing to transition out of the Army, I initially struggled to find a new career path that would be both inspiring and fulfilling for me. As I took stock of what made my time in the military rewarding, it occurred to me that my fondest experiences and proudest moments all centered on advocating for others. One of the most gratifying aspects of my time spent in Afghanistan was seeing the local populace in my area of operations, initially oppressed and despondent, regain hope as they realized we were there to fight for them; the pride I felt in being able to provide that confidence was something I wanted to be able to emulate in my civilian life. As my career search progressed, it became apparent to me that no profession could better satisfy my desire to meaningfully benefit others than the legal occupation. Much as the indigenous people I encountered in Afghanistan viewed the insurgent population as a constant ominous threat waiting to subjugate them, it occurred to me that many Americans feel the same way about the law. Such an expansive and intricate body of work, legal codes are often perceived as a net waiting to entangle those who could not hope to understand them. However, I felt that with a strong grasp on how to interpret and navigate our laws, I could give a voice to people who needed one.

SLS Student Veteran Reflects on Military Service and Legal Education 1

Once I had set my sights on a career as a lawyer, I resolved to attend the institution that would best prepare me for this endeavor. Upon earning my commission as an Infantry officer, I spent over a year at Fort Benning attending every training course possible with the goal of being optimally ready for my time in service. I took the same approach with my law school search; looked for the place where I would leave best equipped to be an effective attorney, and quickly realized that Stanford was without peer. Stanford Law School alumni are ubiquitous on the forefront of every field of law. The faculty is renowned for being innovative, inspiring, and influential in their areas of expertise. Most importantly to me, the students at SLS are a diverse, motivated, and aspirational body that I count myself lucky to now interact and share ideas with on a daily basis. I can be sure that Stanford Law School is the place where I will be best prepared to pursue a career of service to others, and for that I remain eternally grateful.

This career trajectory is not unique to me, and Stanford Law School has given me to opportunity to connect with an inspiring group of men and women with whom I share a history of military duty. What makes my fellow veterans so impressive is that they don’t merely sit and reminisce about the glory days spent in the service, but they take the lessons they learned and apply them to their legal education and interactions with the law school community. It has been refreshing and motivating to be around upperclassmen who have made a positive and productive transition to civilian life, and they serve as role models for how I hope to continue my evolution from service member to lawyer.

Sean Rosenberg, SLS ’18, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer from 2010-2015.