Peter F. Donohue: 2016 Best and Brightest

Peter Donahue

Peter F. Donohue

George Mason University School of Law

Hometown: Originally Warner, NH; now Alexandria, VA.

Undergraduate School: Christendom College, Front Royal, VA. Accademia Vivarium Novum, Rome, Italy (Latin and Ancient Greek Immersion Program – non degree granting 1 year program).

Undergraduate Major and Minor: Double Major in Philosophy and Political Science

 

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:

    • ­Civil Rights Law Journal Editor in Chief
    • George Mason Legal Research Writing and Analysis Writing Fellow Coordinator
    • Themis Bar Prep Course Head Student Representative
    • Moot Court Board Judges Committee Member: Advancing Competitor in First Year
    • Intramural competition (Spring 2013) and Upper Class Intramural Competition (Fall 2014).
    •  Jessup Team Member: Jessup International Law White and Case Regional Extramural competitor, Spring 2015 (and registered for 2016).
    • Trial Advocacy Judges Team Member: advancing competitor in Thatcher Trial Advocacy
    • Intramural and second best advocate in preliminary rounds, Fall 2014; Costello
    • Knights of Columbus Member and Volunteer
    • Saint Rita Catholic Competition ghost team member, Spring 2015;
    • ABA Trial Advocacy Extramural Semifinalist, Fall 2015
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society board member, intramural negotiation competition competitor, Tulane University Baseball Arbitration Extramural Competitor.
    • Pro Bono Intake Volunteer for Domestic and Landlord Tenant Issues (1L), and Pro Bono Auction Coordinator Support.]

What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? I will be joining the U.S. Air Force as a JAG Lawyer. Air Force JAGs work in areas such as Military Justice (prosecution and defense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice), Administrative Law, Legal Assistance, Government Contracts, Law of War and many other areas.

Why did you choose to attend law school? I wanted to serve my country as a JAG (military) lawyer, and the first step on that path was becoming a lawyer. I enjoy helping people and having the skills to really be of service to others; I love hard work, public speaking and writing. I knew I could learn how best to put those skills to work for others by going to law school and learning to “think like a lawyer.”

What was your favorite law school class? Torts. It the first class I took in law school, and was also the most truly Socratic class I have taken in in law school.  he give and take of the questions and the complete randomness of the excellent and thoughtful cold call questions (students names were drawn from a deck of cards) made the entire class think and engage deeply throughout the whole semester. The cases were also fascinating.

Which attorney do you most admire? Rafael Madan.  He was my boss at the Department of Justice where heis the General Counsel for the Office of Justice Programs, and he alsotaught me a few classes in college. His ability to think and communicate in a way which pierced to the heart of a legal or philosophical issue, while being incredibly intelligent and well-roundedin many other areas completely unrelated to law was one of the things which inspired me to go to law school.

What have you enjoyed most about law school? I have been fascinated to watch my classmates and I transform froman eclectic group of individuals with different talents and interests, into lawyers. Law school really does give one a completely new toolkit of skills for legal reasoning and analysis; seeing us learn those skills is kind of cool.

What word best describes your professional brand? Cheerful.  I have found that in any organization there will be people who complain.  While complaining may be therapeutic to some, I have found that a positive, hardworking outlook is contagious and will usually pay off in the long run both for the cheerful individual and those around him or her.

If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job: I would buy a pickup truck.”

I knew I wanted to go to law school when… I was standing on top of a three and a half story ladder in the summer of my junior year of college on the side of an historic New England colonial, scraping lead paint, swatting wasps and trying to avoid hitting power lines. I had been thinking about all of the things I was good at and what I ultimately wanted to do.  I have always loved working with both my hands and my brain.  But at that point I realized that I would have to choose to lean more towards my brain and go to law school if I wanted to feel really fulfilled.  Taking Jurisprudence and Constitutional Law in college, as well as being on the debate team and taking two intercollegiate moot court teams to a regional competition also helped.”

“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…a doctor or a pilot.”

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? Being the husband of a loving wife and the father of a beautiful 7 month old daughter.

Fun fact about yourself: I am fluent in Latin.

Favorite book: Perelandra by C.S. Lewis.Favorite movie: Gladiator.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy singing, reading, jogging, boxing, biking, skiing, playing ice hockey, baseball or any pick-up sport, building stone walls and making maple syrup (when in New Hampshire where there are rocks and maple trees everywhere) baking bread and playing with my daughter.

What made Peter such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?“Peter represents the very best of the Mason Law spirit: a smart, hardworking student who is a natural leader. He is genuinely interested in study of law. He has managed to excel in his studies all the while participating in or leading four different student organizations, completing multiple externships, and starting a family. To top it all off, Peter is committed to public service and will be serving our country as a member of the U.S. Air Force JAG.”
Victoria Huber
Associate Dean for Career, Academic & Alumni Services
George Mason University School of Law