James Suzano, Admissions Counselor

James Suzano

Academic Background

J.D., UCLA School of Law
B.A.,University of California, San Diego

Academic Background

James Suzano holds a Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. In law school, James focused his studies on human rights and the law of war, taking classes aimed towards a career in international public law. In his third year, James took part in UCLA’s Asylum Clinic, wherein he represented a client through the entire asylum application process, from intake to a final positive decision. He interned with the UCLA Law Library for his first summer and with the United Nations in Italy for his second.

Work Experience

After law school, James began working in the field of human rights with a small advocacy firm, tackling numerous human rights and humanitarian law-based projects. He successfully petitioned the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to mediate possible business-related human rights violations committed in international commerce, most notably in the case of racing juggernaut Formula 1. He trained Syrian doctors and local human rights defenders how best to lobby the United Nations system for aid, and petitioned for and eventually helped obtain the release of several human rights activists from illegal detention. Among his proudest accomplishments was representing victims of human rights violations at the United Nations in Geneva, where he worked with the Special Procedures of the UN to find redress for victims of false imprisonment and torture.

Presently, James spends his evening hours as an adjunct professor of political science and law in Germany, where he teaches US soldiers how best to engage with their civic duties. He also volunteers with other humanitarian organizations on a part-time basis.

What I like most about being a Stratus Law School Admissions Counselor:

Really, the best part of being a Stratus Admissions Counselor is helping my clients see the big picture. The admissions process is about so much more than just getting into law school – it’s also about preparing for what life is going to be like while you’re actually in law school, and what life is going to be like after law school. The decisions that you make during the application process will affect the rest of your life, but it’s often difficult to see that forest for the more immediate and obvious problems right in front of you, like the personal essays or the LSAT. My job is not just to help you with those immediate and obvious problems, but also to show you the big picture, to help you make the decisions that will set up your future, and then to coach you as you execute those decisions. It’s a really important and exciting time for you, and I’m glad to be a part of it.

One piece of advice I would share with someone who is applying to law school:

The entire law school admissions process is designed to test how you think. At any given point, an admissions officer reviewing your application will ask him or herself, “Is this applicant capable of thinking like an attorney?” They’ll be looking for you to demonstrate the analytical, deductive, and logical reasoning skills necessary to succeed at law school. Applicants that don’t demonstrate those skills are rejected; those that do get a foot in the door.

Responding to that question begins with the LSAT, but it ends with the personal statement. To that end, you need to purposefully write your personal statement as an attorney would. Choose a topic that you can analyze. Describe the situation with clear and concise language, using only facts and leaving out extraneous details. Analyze the situation succinctly and come to a logical conclusion.

The substance of what you’re writing matters less than the manner in which you write it. If you’re already writing like a lawyer, then you’ve already answered the admissions officer’s most important question, and shown them that you can succeed at their school.

Random Fact:

  • I lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean when I was a kid. It was not as adventurous as you’re thinking.
  • At this point, I’ve lived in six different countries and have visited close to 30. Traveling is probably my favorite hobby, and I really enjoy getting to know other cultures.
  • My favorite food is my mother’s sauerkraut and bacon pierogi. It’s a bacon-filled dumpling fried in butter – what’s not to love?
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