Law Students of the Year: Danielle Desaulniers, University of Virginia Law School

According to the University of Virginia Law School, Danielle Desaulniers goes "above and beyond" in everything she does — then goes one step further.

Desaulniers is completing her time as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review, upholding the publication's reputation for quality as the final say on all content. 

Checking every line in and of itself would be the main focus for most students, because of the time commitment. However, Desaulniers also oversaw the revamp of the law review's website, which included beefed-up content and an improved look. 

"You have a set group of things you have to do, and then anything you go above and beyond and do in addition to that, it's because you want to, because you think it's valuable," she said. 

Danielle strove to improve morale on the publication; has worked to broaden relationships with alumni who are former journal members; and is currently among student leaders exploring if the journal tryout process can be made more equitable for the purposes of diversity.

Desaulniers is also a member of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, which allows students to work on all aspects of current U.S. Supreme Court practice through live cases. Entry into the clinic is highly competitive. The professors look for strategic legal minds as well as personalities that collaborate well.
"Danielle is a star," said professor Toby Heytens, who co-teaches the clinic. "She is brilliant and exceptionally talented, but she also happily volunteers for more than her share of work and unglamorous tasks that others would seek to avoid. Danielle knows what she thinks and she is excellent at arguing for it. But she also is a team player, doesn't take herself too seriously, and has a great sense of humor."

As an aspiring appellate attorney, she also pours herself into is mock and moot court competitions. She is currently a semifinalist in UVA Law’s William Minor Lile Moot Court competition.

Among her other involvements over the past three years, she has consistently participated as a Law School ambassador and mentored first-years through Virginia Law Women.

Finally, one of Desaulniers’ biggest supporters is the dean of UVA Law herself, Risa Goluboff.

"Danielle represents the best of UVA Law School," Goluboff said. "She combines stellar academic credentials, remarkable leadership skills and astonishing poise. She is at once confident and modest, open and decisive, capable and personable. That Danielle’s incredible success never leads to resentment from her peers is testament to her grace, warmth and true kindness. In other words, Danielle is both a superstar and a wonderful person. Hers is a career I plan to watch closely. “

Desaulniers is one of 25 future lawyers honored in the National Jurist’s 2017 “Law Student of the Year” feature. Find more honorees here

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