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Student Spotlight: Rhianna Wood, 1L

Home Law School News Student Spotlight: Rhianna Wood, 1L

Meet Rhianna Wood, 1L and learn more about her story at South Texas Law in this Student Spotlight by the Career Resource Center. 

Why did you choose to attend South Texas College of Law Houston? 

The alumni community! I had the opportunity to meet several STCL Houston alumni before applying. Every alumnus gushed about their experience at the law school, remarking on how supportive the students and professors were of each other. I wanted to attend a school with a tight-knit student body and professors who understood and cared about their students. Both are true of South Texas Law.

Where are you working this summer?

I will spend the first half of my summer interning for U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton, Southern District of Texas, and the second half interning at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

How did you secure those employment opportunities?

The Career Resources Center sent an email about the internship opportunity in Judge Tipton’s chambers, and I followed up. I interviewed with all four of Judge Tipton’s clerks. My 20-minute interview lasted more than an hour! I got the offer the next morning and excitedly accepted. I applied directly on the Harris County District Attorney’s Office’s website. I was offered the position a couple of days after submitting my application.

How did the Career Resource Center help you successfully navigate the recruitment process? 

My career resources counselor, Marie Garcia, was my guiding hand in my recruitment process. New law students hear so much about Big Law and are often falsely told that law school is only worth it if you pursue Big Law. So, I came into law school intending to go that direction and had a meeting with Marie about the recruitment process. It was clear in that meeting that Big Law was not what I truly wanted to do. I wanted to pursue criminal law. 

I had another meeting with Marie where we went over my employment options in criminal law. I walked out of that meeting on cloud nine! I researched and applied to different District Attorney’s offices, criminal defense firms and federal judge chambers. I refined my resume and cover letters by sending them to Marie and using the guides provided on the CRC website. I attended CRC events. Most importantly, I emailed Marie with every question I had, and she happily responded. 

What are your career goals for the future?

My goal is to be a criminal prosecutor. Upon graduation, I want to clerk for a federal judge before pursuing an assistant district attorney position. 

What advice would you share with law students going through recruitment?

Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s easy to start comparing yourself to your fellow students, but that only fosters anxiety and imposter syndrome. The only career that matters is yours. Congratulate your fellow students when they get offers but remember one student’s success does not take away from your own! 

Which professors have influenced you and or your career path the most?

Professor Ricks, Professor Andresen and Professor Crozier. Professor Ricks was my Contracts I professor. His class was tough but fair. He truly cares about his students’ success, and it is evident in the way he communicates with students. I have never emailed (or texted!) a professor as much as I emailed Professor Ricks. Every response was prompt, thorough and helpful. Professor Ricks’ class taught me how to read difficult cases, synthesize rules so I understand them, and of course a little about Contract law.

Professor Andresen was my Criminal Law professor. She worked for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office before teaching at STCL Houston. She gave me valuable advice about applying to and being successful at the HCDAO. Also, Professor Andresen’s class was fascinating. She brought in several guest speakers that inspired me to follow my passion for criminal law.

Professor Crozier is my Legal Research and Writing II professor. She was my safe place during my recruitment process. She gave me advice on where to buy my first suit, how to effectively interview with a judge, and how to maintain good mental health in law school. She was the first person I told when I was offered the internship with Judge Tipton! Professor Crozier’s class makes objective legal writing fun. You can tell she is passionate about legal writing and wants her students to feel the same way. 

What student organizations have you been involved with?

I have yet to get involved with student orgs. I allowed myself to focus solely on classes my first semester. 

Beyond the CRC,  how has the South Texas Law community supported your growth?

Faculty, staff, and students are quick to congratulate each other on every win. My classmates are generous in sharing their resources and genuinely want everyone to succeed. I’ve made some wonderful friends at STCL Houston that I really value. 

What is something interesting about you that we can’t learn from your resume?

I am an avid weightlifter and a plant and rock lover. I have been weightlifting for nearly five years and have trained for both powerlifting and bodybuilding competitions. In my free time, I often take hikes to look for new rocks and plants to propagate. I recently got my own rock tumbler that polishes all the rocks I find! Amber, jasper and celestite are my most prized rock finds so far.

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