Timothy Graves’ path to law school was anything but traditional. Graves (J.D. ’20) first attended art school, but quickly realized he preferred it to be a passion, rather than a career. Once he decided law school was the right next step, he said Georgia State Law was the obvious choice for where he would pursue his degree in Atlanta.
Graves did not miss any opportunities getting involved during his time at Georgia State Law. He served as president of OUTlaw, the student writing editor for Law Review, vice president of the Public Interest Law Association and was also involved in the PILA Auction and American Constitution Society. Here, he discusses his career shift and what his plans are following graduation.
How did you make the decision to attend law school?
It was around the time of the 2016 presidential election so there was a lot going on politically. Being a member of a minority community, the LGBT community, I felt as though we could use more representation. Particularly with being transgender, there is not a lot of trans representation in the legal community. I knew that even if I didn’t end up going into something that is specifically advocating for LGBT rights, just on the virtue of being a lawyer and being an out trans man, I would be doing some good.
What is most memorable about your involvement with the student organizations?
Being the president of OUTlaw, my most pride-filled achievement was working to get gender-neutral bathrooms available in the law school. When I arrived during my orientation I asked where the gender-neutral restrooms were because I knew from Georgia State’s website there were two in the law building. No one seemed to know where they were. Turns out they were both behind locked doors, so I made it my goal to correct that. When I left they were working on construction of a gender-neutral option on the third floor.
Why is Georgia State Law special?
I think Georgia State is situated in a really great spot being downtown because you’re in the middle of the city with a lot of experiential opportunities right there. For example, my internship after my 1L year was right down the street at Atlanta Legal Aid. I also really loved all the faculty and great library staff. They are always willing to go above and beyond to help, and I think that is something unique you might not find at other law schools.
What are your plans moving forward?
I have a job offer from Eversheds Sutherland, but because of the pandemic the bar exam has been pushed back. Now I will be hopefully starting at the firm in January. I feel grateful to be in a situation where my employer is willing to hold my spot until after we’re able to take the bar. Once I start my career I am hoping to meet the 50 hour a year ABA recommended pro-bono work and I would also like to do my part to make law firms an easier place for minority communities to get into.
Interview by Mara Thompson