Student Spotlight: Nelson Benitez, L’24

September 18, 2023

At Richmond Law, we recognize the contributions the Latinx and Hispanic communities have made to our legal system and overall community every day. This year, as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we are shining a spotlight on some of our current JD students who are making history right now.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Nelson Benitez, and I'm a 3L at the University of Richmond School of Law. Originally, I was born in Asuncion, Paraguay, but I feel my hometown is here in Chesterfield, Virginia.

Why did you decide to attend the University of Richmond School of Law?
 The main reason why I chose the University of Richmond for my law school was because I grew up here. Richmond is home to me, and I think there are plenty of opportunities here.

What aspect of your law school experience has surprised you the most?

 One thing that really surprised me was the sense of community that you have here at the Richmond Law. Everyone is collaborative, and professors always make time to meet with students and help. You don't really get anywhere else.  

What are your post-graduate plans or aspirations?
Beyond passing the Virginia Bar Exam, I hope to start working in my field immediately. I’m applying to judicial clerkships and litigation-based firms now. Ultimately, I aspire to become a trial attorney.

What interests you most about the specific field you’re planning to pursue? What sparked your interest?

I had the pleasure of working at a law firm versed in civil litigation. I enjoyed my work and met so many different people, both clients and other attorneys. I liked the prospect of seeing myself not only enjoying the work, but also being able to help people who are injured seek justice. 

What specific class or professor helped you hone in on your interests within the law?
I came to law school set on going into transactional law. But because of the pandemic and how I pictured myself in practice, I realized I wanted to be in the courtroom. Torts class was the first time I realized that. I enjoyed the concepts taught, and my professor was the catalyst that inspired me to consider tort law and civil litigation as a career. Thank you, Professor Crootof! 

What does being a Latinx or Hispanic lawyer mean to you?

I think it means that you are part of a community that is underrepresented. It means that you're part of a generation of people that can now make a difference in the world and that their own contributions are now being seen. I want to be a part of that.