Professors find their way into legal education for a number of reasons. Some teach to supplement their research, others to continue their own education. New Georgetown Law Legal Research and Writing professor Jarrod Reich is here because he wants to mentor and make a difference in his student’s lives. This is what drives him.
Reich began his legal education at Brandeis University, where he minored in legal studies. He took several classes that introduced him to legal issues during his sophomore year of college, including one on civil liberties. The classes piqued an interest that he had previously not considered, the idea that law can be a tool to promote the public good and protect individuals.
Inspiration was also found in the namesake of his University. “I learned a lot about Justice Brandeis who, as a lawyer before he served on the bench, really served to introduce the idea of the law as protecting the people,” said Reich.
After finding a passion in legal studies, Reich began to survey the law school landscape. Vanderbilt University stood out for several reasons. The school offered a friendly, collegial atmosphere that appealed to the fresh graduate. Likewise, after 22 years in Boston and New York, the future professor was ready to explore a different part of the country. Finally, the deal was struck when Reich experienced a warm, sunny day during the dead of winter.
“I left a nor’easter [storm] in Boston to go to visiting day at Vanderbilt,” Reich said with a chuckle. “It was 65 degrees and sunny, and that pretty much sealed it for me.”
Professor Reich spent his first eight years after law school working for the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, an experience he credits with much of his success as a professor. “I really learned how to be a rigorous writer and thinker. I really learned how to write by being surrounded by people who were much better than me,” Reich laughed. “I base my teachings not only on the things I learned spending eight years in practice, but most of the things I got yelled at as a young lawyer guide the way I teach.” Reich worked for a number of high profile clients during his time with the firm, including NASCAR and the Atlantis Resort, while also participating in the Hollingsworth v. Perry marriage equality case.
During his time at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, Reich began to teach lawyering skills and legal writing at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He spent four years at the school as an adjunct professor, before eventually leaving for Florida State University College of Law. At Cardozo School of Law, Professor Reich found his true passion. “I really took to mentoring and guiding students and helping them to pursue their dreams of becoming lawyers. It got to the point in my career where I decided to make the change for something I truly love and pursue that long term.”
While he certainly has foundational interests in legal studies, Professor Reich truly spoke passionately when he began to discuss his connection with students. As he stated definitively, his love of mentoring is what drove him to teaching.
Reich’s records indicate nothing less than exceptional care with his students. He received the 2014 Open Door Teaching Award at Florida State University for his dedication to mentoring his students. Reviews from students on Ratemyprofessor.com, a site on which students are far more apt to complain, offer more positive words. “Best professor I have ever had,” wrote one student while the rest offered similarly high praise despite noting how difficult his courses can be.
Professor Reich noted excitement at the opportunity to work with fantastic faculty in the legal writing program at Georgetown Law, one that he stated was perhaps the best in the country. He also remarked about the unique nature of the Law Fellows program, one that has allowed him to connect with six 2L students and to once again serve as a mentor. Law Fellows are second-year students which mentor 1Ls through their year-long Legal Research and Writing experience.
Outside of the Law Center, Reich is still finding his footing in a new city. Like first year students, the life of a new professor can be rigorous and leave little time for leisure. Still, Professor Reich likes to slip out of his professorial role to spend quality time exploring with his partner Meghan, and their dog Roxy in tow. Likewise, he professes to a vast knowledge of useless trivia and popular fiction and plays the guitar. The newest member of Georgetown Law faculty urged students to find and continue their passions outside of class, noting that it is far too easy to get lost within the world of law school.