Javier Diaz '12
From fighting terrorism in Afghanistan after 9/11 to managing VIP services at a Las Vegas casino, rising 2L takes on a new challenge: law school.
After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1999, Javier joined the United States Marine Corps and led the first independent unit to enter the Afghan city of Kabul following the 9/11 attacks. "We went down to Kabul and took over the embassy and remained there for six months," he said.
There, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for personally leading the rescue of an Army 2-Star General and 14 of his staff members. Afterward, Javier trained marines in Japan, Thailand and San Diego. "I've actually wanted to attend law school since I was six years old, but I wanted to serve my country first," he said.
Javier is the son of first generation immigrants. His mother is from Cuba and his father is from the Dominican Republic. Military service is highly regarded in his family. "My family is very patriotic," he said.
Following his military services, Javier still felt he was not quite ready to take on the challenge of law school. Javier moved to Las Vegas and became a VIP Services Manager for the Palms Hotel and Casino. "Las Vegas is the perfect place to take a year before going to law school," he said.
At 30 years old, with considerable life experience under his belt, Javier began applying to law schools. He was considering Cardozo Law School and the University of North Carolina Law School, but decided to attend a scheduled visit to Seton Hall Law. "I attended one of Professor Franzese's classes and they got me. I fell in love with the place," he said. Javier was awarded the Bob and Margot Meyer God Bless America Scholarship, reflecting his strong academic performance and his distinguished military career.
He feels that his military experience transfers well in the classroom, particularly his leadership skills, discipline and the confidence to speak his mind. Additionally, he found similarities the diversity in the Marine Corps and the diversity at Seton Hall Law School. "We have a really diverse student body at Seton Hall Law School and that's helped me blend with a lot of different groups," he said.
Javier is on the Interscholastic Moot Court team. He described Moot Court as a wonderful learning experience. While he has taught classes to 300 marines, he found a higher level of scrutiny from 3L Moot Court judges. "It's incredibly challenging. It's one of the things I thought law school would be," he said.
Javier is also interested in becoming the Social Chair for the Student Bar Association, hoping to offer his Las Vegas experience to the Law School. "I can throw a mean party," he added.
He is also a member of the Corporate Law Society. This summer, he will be interning at Knight Capital Group in Jersey City. "I'm leaning toward corporate law, but, being a 1L, I want to leave all those avenues open," he said.