As an undergraduate at Denison University in her home state of Ohio, Julie Rooney captained her school’s women’s softball team and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, winning the President’s medal. Rooney found the discipline that enabled her to excel academically and athletically in college extremely useful in law school, enabling her to join the staff of the Law Review and the Moot Court Board while challenging herself with classes such as Federal Courts with Professor Brian Fitzpatrick and Public Governance with Professor Kevin Stack.
Rooney majored in philosophy and international studies planning to pursue a career in law but knowing little about the work lawyers did. “I came to Vanderbilt intending to do social justice work almost exclusively,” she recalled. “I’ve kept up that passion here, but taking classes like Corporations and Private Equities enhanced my interest in corporate practice.”
Participating in Moot Court as a 2L–Rooney was a quarter-finalist in the Bass Berry & Sims Moot Court Competition–confirmed her interest in litigation. As a 3L, Rooney served on the Moot Court Board as senior problem editor. “Moot Court allowed me not only to hone my oral argument skills, but also to dust off some creative writing skills while learning how to write a judicial opinion,” she said.
She also believes the legal writing, editing and collaborative work experience she gained through her work on the Vanderbilt Law Review will be “a valuable professional asset.” Rooney’s Law Review Note, which describes a longstanding government surveillance program administered by the U.S. Postal Service that she believes violates most Americans’ Fourth Amendment Privacy, won the 2018 Scribes Law-Review Award, which recognizes the best student writing in a law review or journal, as well as Vanderbilt’s Morgan Prize for the outstanding Law Review Note.
Rooney also volunteered as a teacher and served as co-director of the Re-Entry Entrepreneurship Program through Project Return, a Nashville nonprofit that helps men and women returning to the community following incarceration start their own businesses. As a fellow in Vanderbilt University’s Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions, Rooney attended a leadership retreat and worked with students from across the university. “Both programs allowed me to gain a stronger connection to the Nashville community and reminded me why I came to law school in the first place: to help others,” she said.
After her 1L year, she worked in the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General and as a legal intern at the Vera Institute of Justice’s Guardianship Project in Brooklyn, New York. She spent her 2L summer at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison in New York and plans to join the firm as an associate after graduation. “I feel as prepared as I can be for legal practice,” she says. “I’m confident that my legal research and writing skills are where they need to be for me to be successful, and thanks to my classes at VLS, I feel good about my ability to spot, problem-solve and articulate clear solutions to complex legal concerns.”