Expected graduation: May 2011
Degree objective: J.D.
Other degrees: B.B.A. in finance, UGA
University highlights, achievements and awards:
Upon entering law school, I received a Law School Association scholarship and the Mike Sharp Scholarship. After my first year of law school, I was selected to serve as a member of the Georgia Law Review. My note - A Bridge Too Far? Directive 1344.10 and the Military's Inroads on Core Political Speech in Campaign Media - was published in the Georgia Law Review this past spring. In the note, I argued that a current Department of Defense regulation prohibiting military members from wearing their uniforms as the primary graphic representation of campaign media violates those members’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech. I am currently serving as our executive articles editor. In this position, I am the primary contact and editor for each professor whose article we are publishing in this year’s volume.
Outside of my work with the law review, I have received an award for the highest grade in several courses, as well as for the highest academic average in my class to this point. I also received the Attorney’s Title Fund Award for the best research paper in real property for an article I wrote about the potential effects of alcohol regulation on restaurant development, using Watkinsville and Oconee County, Georgia as a case study. I have also assisted two professors with research on various legal topics.
Finally, I am a member of SCOTUS, an informal discussion group comprised of law students and led by Professor Christian Turner. We meet around every two weeks to discuss recent Supreme Court decisions over dinner (sounds fun, right?). I am also a member of a law school intramural flag football and softball team.
During my undergraduate career at the University of Georgia, I was active in intramural sports, church and my social fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, where I served in various officer roles, including treasurer and president. I also volunteered for two years as a tutor at Bethe Community Center in downtown Athens. I received several scholarships and was inducted into both the Order of Omega and Phi Kappa Phi. I graduated as a First Honor Graduate with Highest Honors.
High School: Briarwood Academy
Hometown: Watkinsville, Ga.
Family ties: My mom (Debbie Pinson) and dad (Ed Pinson) both attended UGA for undergrad and vet school. My sister just graduated from UGA with a master’s degree in public administration. My wife graduated from UGA in 2008 with degrees in avian biology and biological sciences. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D in poultry science.
I chose to attend UGA because...
... I felt I could receive an exceptional education at a great value, stay close to family, and still pursue my career and personal goals. It just didn't make sense for me to go out of state when I had an institution of Georgia Law’s caliber in my backyard.
My favorite thing to do on campus is...
... attend Georgia football games. I am obsessed with Georgia football and everything that comes with it. It's hard to beat the game day experience in the fall. I especially enjoy the walk down to the stadium from our tailgating spot, whether it be down Baxter or through North Campus...my heart starts beating a little faster as I imagine the sweet taste of victory that is sure to come that day.
I also enjoy relaxing or throwing a Frisbee or football in one of the many green spaces on campus in the spring—the Myers quad when I was a freshman and Herty Field as my classes started moving to North Campus.
When I have free time, I like...
…playing any and all sports, reading a good book, or taking in a movie with my wife and friends.
The craziest thing I’ve done is...
…SCUBA diving for the first time ever on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Fortunately they didn’t take us anywhere too deep, but breathing underwater for the first time in a place as magical as the Barrier Reef was an unreal experience.
My favorite place to study is...
... two places, actually: For everyday studying, I like to be home. I'm on campus enough as it is with classes and other law school work, so I like to be home with my wife and dogs when I can. For serious, no-distractions studying, I put on some headphones and head to Jittery Joe's, though not necessarily in that order.
My favorite professor is:
…Can I have two again? They are law school professors Bo Rutledge and Dan Coenen. I had Professor Rutledge for first-year civil procedure and helped him with some research. I've had a lot of great professors in undergrad and particularly in law school, but Professor Rutledge epitomizes the combination of mentor and teacher that makes a great professor. As a teacher, he finds creative ways to engage the class and really gets to the heart of what's important about a topic, and as a mentor, he always seems to have the answers. I have taken Professor Coenen for contracts and two constitutional law courses, and I have assisted with some of his research as well. Professor Coenen uses the Socratic method with the best of them while in class, but at the same time manages to convey a deep sense of caring for his students and their intellectual and personal growth. I particularly enjoy talking shop with him outside of class—sometimes about law, but mostly about fantasy football.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
... Ronald Reagan. I can't think of a more interesting person with whom to spend an afternoon, not only for his political beliefs, but for who he was as a person.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
... buy a lottery ticket? No, seriously, I would try to play Major League Baseball. Pitching was my first passion, and had I not topped out at 5'7", I might have pursued a career in baseball more seriously. I'm really happy with where I am in life now, but give me 6" and I'd have to give it a shot.
After graduation, I plan to...
... clerk for judge on a U.S. Court of Appeals and then hopefully for a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. After that, I plan to practice law at Jones Day, an international law firm. Down the road, I would like to add a couple more to my family, which currently includes my wife, Sara Beth, and two dogs, Bailey and Icey.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
... studying abroad in Australia. The country's natural beauty was stunning, and I learned so much more by being a part of UGA's program than I could have if I had gone alone. I got to eat kangaroo, make a boomerang, swim with sea turtles and sharks and thousands of beautiful fish, hike around and into a dormant volcano, and get class credit for it...what's not to love?