For this edition of Texas Law’s Student Spotlight series, meet 1L John Goodman II, member of the Federalist Society and an Anglican minister in the Rio Grande Valley!

Q: Hi John! Would you tell us a bit about what sorts of activities you’ve been engaged in at the law school?

I joined the Federalist Society and volunteered to be a section representative, but unfortunately was infected by COVID-19 in late September. Since then, I’ve been playing catch up and focusing mostly on classwork, but I have kept in touch with my student mentor from the Federalist Society’s mentoring program. I’m hoping to become involved with the Texas Review of Law & Politics next semester.

I’m also balancing being a 1L and an Anglican minister in the Rio Grande Valley. In August, my congregation committed to homeschooling students from the community from families that weren’t sending children back for in-person learning. I’ve enjoyed passing down material from my Legal Analysis & Communication and Constitutional Law classes to teach AP Government to a middle and high schooler. In addition to helping me learn the material, it’s a rush playing law professor a few hours a week. I think all they need to know about Marbury v. Madison for the AP test is “judicial review,” but thanks to the Socratic method, I’ve got them debating the “counter-majoritarian difficulty.”

Q: What has made you feel part of the Texas Law community?

As a student attending virtually this year, I think the school has gone above and beyond making distance students feel like part of the community. Having COVID-19 and missing a month of classes could have been the end of my semester, but it wasn’t, thanks to Dean Bangs, the graciousness of my professors who offered professional and personal support, and fellow students offering notes and even texting just to make sure I was still alive down here in McAllen!

Q: What made you want to become a lawyer?

I used to watch the news with my grandmother… anytime President Clinton came on, I was glued to the television. I vaguely recall asking her how I could have his job one day, and she told me I needed to be a lawyer.

That’s actually only a half-joke. In my early 20s, I did see the legal field mostly as a stepping stone to politics, but my time in ministry and with Teach For America caused me to think about the job itself as a means of helping those on the margins of society. I worked with undocumented students, students in special education programseven a couple of students who had gotten into legal trouble. Right here are several public interest areas I observed that could complement my ministry, even if only on a pro bono basis.

As I’m being exposed to different fields in my 1L year, I’m considering others: litigation, regulatory, national security, energy, and nonprofit law to name a few. I may end up doing none of these, but at the end of the day, I knew I had a skill set that would be good for law school, and despite all the jokes I hear about trying to be both a lawyer and a priest, I came to law school confident that being an attorney would be a fun way of trying to leave the world better than I found it.

If you’re interested in John’s work on the border, you can check out his congregation at www.ccrio.org, or follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/revjohngoodman.