NEW YORK - After much hard work and dedication, for the students of New York University School of Law, the time for graduation has arrived.
Many of these graduates will move on to begin a career in their particular field of study, getting a job at a law firm, living their lives day to day; but for one graduate the next chapter in his life is one that very few will ever experience.
“It's important that we highlight 1st Lt. David Leapheart's graduation because this Marine is distinguished at one of the top law schools in the country,” said Captain Anuar Romero, Leapheart’s officer selection officer.
Leapheart was selected by his peers to deliver the student convocation address at the NYU School of Law ceremony on May 22.
“He is the editor-in-chief of the NYU Law review and has done great work to raise awareness on issues affecting veterans at NYU,” said Romero.
Leapheart, grew up in Midland, Mich. and attended collage at University of Michigan where he received his bachelor’s degree in public policy.
“As an undergrad, I knew that I wanted to do something with the Marine Corps, so it was a matter of where the needs of the Marine Corps were and what I was best suited to do there,” said Leapheart. “I had played with the idea of being a ground officer but what the Corps really needed were lawyers, so I took the entrance exam, got the right scores so I decided to go that route.”
In 2011, just three months before orientation at NYU, Leapheart headed out to Quantico, Va., to attend ten weeks at the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School where he was trained and evaluated on physical fitness, leadership and military knowledge.
After earning his commission as a second lieutenant, Leapheart began studying at NYU School of Law to become a Judge Advocate upon graduation.
“The first year in law school was no cake-walk, it was pretty tough but coming out of OCS, having the sergeant instructors in your face 24/7 to becoming a law student was an easy transition,” claimed Leapheart. “Further down the line they made me editor-in-chief of the New York University Law Review and that was a challenge for me because not only do you have to make sure it gets published on time but you have to look out for your staff of 50, making sure they are good.
“I feel that was good training as far as being a leader of Marines because when you’re an officer of Marines, you need to look out for your men and anything they are going through whether it be personal or professional.”
His mother, a lawyer, and father, a chemist, played a big role on making him the man he is today by instilling in him the values of leadership, dedication to learning, and hard work which are all integral to both law school and to the Marine Corps.
“They were two of my greatest influences and I am really lucky to have them as my parents,” says Leapheart.
This summer Leapheart will take the bar exam prior to attending The Basic School located in Quantico, Va. He also decided to work at Skadden law firm this summer before attending the arduous six-month course that teaches all new officers how to be provisional infantry platoon commanders. Following completion of TBS he will receive orders to a follow on school in his military occupational specialty of Judge Advocate or orders to his first unit while awaiting further schooling.
His immediate plans focus on his upcoming marriage to his fiancé, who is graduating today from Columbia University for international affairs and is moving on to work for the Department of Defense.
Leapheart will be returning to active duty with the Marine Corps later this fall.
“This event highlights that the Marine Corps continues to attract those young men and women that possess the highest intellect, moral, and physical standards that will enable them to lead Marines,” says Romero. “This diverse group of young men and women come from all over the country, attend some of the best universities, and want nothing more than to lead Marines.”
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