In August 2011, Denise L. Drake became the first recipient of Zelle Hofmann’s Diversity in Law Scholarship. We posted a spotlight article about Denise’s journey, from growing up in a small, insular town in Texas, to attending Harvard, to becoming a Wall-Street market analyst, to starting her legal career at Stanford Law School. Over a year later, we sat down with Denise again, now a third-year law student, to hear about her newest adventures.
This past summer, Denise worked as a summer associate with Keker & Van Nest, where she had the opportunity to be part of a trial team in a securities case that was tried in the Southern District of New York.
Upon returning from her summer job, she has taken the maximum allowable credits in the fall quarter, while continuing to seize every opportunity to work on a variety of real-world cases. She has particularly enjoyed her participation in the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, which has proven to be a tremendously rewarding experience. She and her team briefed the opposition to certiorari in Alvis v. Espinoza, urging the Court to forgo review of a decision holding that a police officer could be held liable for shooting and killing an unarmed man following an unconstitutional entry into an apartment. They successfully persuaded the Court to deny certiorari in this case in its January 17, 2012 opinion. See Alvis v. Espinoza, 132 S. Ct. 1089 (2012). She also supervised a team in drafting the merits brief in Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, No. 11-626, an admiralty law case which went to oral argument on October 1. Finally, she and her team drafted a petition for certiorari and reply brief in Pickering v. Colorado, No. 11-870, which presented the criminal law issue of whether Due Process requires the prosecution to disprove element-negating defenses. Adding on to her clinical work and curriculum, Denise will be a teaching assistant for an evidence course at Stanford in the winter quarter.
Looking ahead, Denise’s personal and academic excellence has earned her a one-year clerkship with The Honorable Patrick Higginbotham of the Fifth Circuit, in Austin, Texas.
We congratulate Denise on her outstanding achievements which continue to inspire all zealous women to dream big and travel far in their professional journeys.