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What’s it like being a law student? Anthony Scarpati, Jr., came to law school so he could serve his country through the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). This is his story.

Anthony Scarpati ’17 is no stranger to international exploration. After college he spent two years teaching English in a small province in southern Spain, not far from Granada. “I fell in love with the region during study abroad,” he says, “so I was thrilled to have the chance to go back and teach.” But he knew that teaching English wouldn’t be enough to satisfy his desire for more knowledge—and the chance to have a bigger impact. “I always knew I would come home and go to law school.”

When he did return to the U.S., Scarpati set to work managing at a restaurant and interning with the Brooklyn District Attorney while he prepared to take the LSAT. One night he struck up a conversation with a patron who worked in the legal field. As they talked about Scarpati’s passion for law and love for travel, the patron introduced him to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), the military’s legal branch. “I started to do my own research and saw that JAG was truly a unique opportunity that would tie in with my interest in criminal law,” Scarpati explains.

A few months (and one successful LSAT) later, he was accepted to New England Law and found himself at a table with Professor Victor Hansen at the merit scholarship reception. In learning about Professor Hansen’s twenty-year career as an Army lawyer, Scarpati recognized that New England Law was the place for him. With encouragement and support from Professor Hansen over the past few years, Anthony has interned with the New England Innocence Project and the Suffolk County DA’s office, gaining hands-on experience and further developing his dual interest in criminal and military law.

One of Scarpati’s key interests over his last year at New England Law was the creation of the Massachusetts Future Jurists Program, a mock trial training program for adolescent youth that creates opportunities for past juvenile offenders to gain a greater appreciation for the law. While he knew this would be a boon for his resume, he was drawn to the work for more altruistic reasons: “It illustrated to me that legal work is intrinsically beneficial. It gives you an opportunity to help and educate others.” Out of the five participants in the first session, four had their sentences commuted.

While it was originally conceived as a passion project in collaboration with two other classmates, the Future Jurists Program quickly gained traction with the broader community. New England Law is continuing the program under the supervision of Professor Barbara Dortch-Okara, Professor David Siegel, and student representatives, furthering the powerful work begun by Scarpati and his peers.

As graduation neared, he turned his eyes toward the future. “I was actually pursuing two routes: one was a position with the Bronx DA and the other was with JAG,” he says. Scarpati felt compelled to keep his options open due to the notorious competition for entry-level JAG placements. “I found out I was accepted for JAG over email a few minutes after walking out of my final interview with the Bronx DA,” he says. “It was such an obvious choice for me. The opportunity to learn military discipline and travel all over the world is incredibly exciting.” Now he’s prepared to set out to into the world once more. “I’m excited to serve,” Scarpati says. “I don’t know where I’ll be stationed yet, but I’m ready to help our soldiers and my country.”

You can meet more law school students and alumni hereThis article originally appeared in the fall 2017 edition of New England Law's alumni magazine, The Bridge