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David Thompson: Recent Stanford Law School Graduate
[By Heather Jung] “When I was little, my dad and I played a game of debating hard questions when we had long car trips together,” David Thompson said. “It was our way of spending quality time and for him to pass the time while driving. I kept playing that game long after the car trips ended and, sure enough, eventually found myself enrolled in law school.”

Thompson, who recently completed his law school career at Stanford, said his favorite aspect of studying law is the ability to “debate the hard questions with incredibly intelligent people who come from wildly diverse perspectives, philosophies, and political backgrounds.” He feels that Stanford allowed him to dialogue, respectfully, with people holding varying views. “There aren’t many places in life where people with such opposite views on a difficult issue can treat each other with respect and dignity. Stanford happened to be one of them,” Thompson said. Prior to attending Stanford Law School, Thompson graduated from Yale University in 2002 with a degree in economics, specifically public policy, and computer science. “After four years in the bucolic sunshine of New Haven, I was ready for a move to the gritty, gray streets of Palo Alto,” said Thompson.

admires for his passion for the law and teaching, as well as his devotion to his family. “He showed up on the first day in an impeccable suit and his trademark bowtie. He immediately began addressing students by their last names, having spent the week
Q. What do you do for fun? A. Play ice hockey. It’s a great full-contact way to let all the stress out and meet a lot of people whom I otherwise would not meet. Q. What CD is in your CD player right now? A. The last thing I put on my iPod was “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That” by Robert Randolph & The Family Band. They have an awesome funk/dance/jam sound going on that just gives you energy; I don’t think it’s possible to not dance if you really crank it up. The organ break (yes, an organ break) is brilliant. Q. What is the last magazine you read? A. Not the ABA Journal, I can tell you that. Q. What is your favorite TV show? A. Easy one-House. Q. Who is your role model? A. I don’t think there’s one person, but it’s more about picking pieces from individuals whom I really respect. Q. What is something most people don’t know about you? A. Embarrassing factoid: I’m a sucker for cheesy mid-90s pop/rock, especially Counting Crows.

prior to school memorizing each and every one of our names and faces. His passion for teaching was incredible; he let students work through each and every Socratic problem without telling the answer but gently guided discussion so that we heard and appreciated all sides. On a daily basis, he would do things like leaping on top of a podium to demonstrate a point of contract law or wearing a Steelers jersey for the day to demonstrate how the numbering system is a formality,” Thompson said of Cole. During his time at Stanford, Thompson kept himself busy. In addition to his rigorous studies, he was extremely active in several student organizations, including, but not limited to, the Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto/Volunteer Attorney Program; the Stanford Journal of Law, Business

& Finance; the Stanford Law and Policy
Society; the Stanford Entertainment and Sports Law Association; and the Stanford intercollegiate ice hockey team, on which he played left wing. “Student groups are a great way to meet people and explore different interests,” Thompson said. “Here at Stanford, we had groups ranging from the political (ACS and the Federalist Society) to the personal (the Older and Wiser Law Students Association). Each organization allows students to express a different side of their personal, professional, or political life. Getting involved is also a great way to gain a lot of the skills that employers will look for, from
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Thompson said that the person who most influenced him during law school was Professor Marcus Cole, whom Thompson


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teamwork to a mastery of the Bluebook to knowing how to navigate your school’s bureaucracy.”

stands 9,340 feet above sea level. Since the climb was made at night, Thompson and his fellow climbers had to endure freezing temperatures and the inability to see more than the outline of the mountain in the pitch black of night. They also had to deal with quickly decreasing oxygen levels; they started out taking breaks after three steps, then after two, and finally had to lean on their poles after every step taken. “I think the climbing bug may have bit me,” said Thompson. “A lot of people on Kili spoke very highly of the Annapurna Circuit [in Nepal] route, as well as some amazing trips in New Zealand. It’s hard not to want to “Finally, after what felt like 0 hours, the sun started to break the horizon, and we could see the vast swath of Africa stretched out below us, with the icy glaciers of the summit on either side of us. The guides let out a whooping song saluting the rise of the sun, and a group of Irishmen ahead of us began their own victory song,” Thompson said. “Finally, we had done it. The views from the top were well worth the climb up, and the view of the famous sign was made that much sweeter by knowing that we had earned it with our own sweat and tears.” Thompson said that he is not entirely sure if he will end up climbing again, although he has a great desire to. During his climb, he met people whose stories about their amazing trips caught his attention. Mt. Kilimanjaro tanzania/accommodation/N/T65-kilimanjaro/ 00a.htm?gclid=CIq63YS8oowCFQxuYAodeHtag Stanford Law School David Thompson In the meantime, Thompson will begin his foray into legal practice as a clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On The neT recapture that experience.”

In December 2006, Thompson and several of his friends who live in London climbed Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro. He said that he pulled an all-nighter in order to finish his work and dropped off his final paper en route to the airport. He said the climb was “the ultimate way to get away from law school.” “It’s hard to worry about work and stress and all the hectic stuff about day-to-day life in law school when you are on a trail heading up a mountain,” Thompson said. “There is something very relaxing about climbing. Each day brings a new challenge, but it is a very well-defined problem that can be solved by just putting one foot in front of the other.” He said that the hardest part of the climb was the summit night. Starting at 4,000 feet at midnight, the climbers ascended another 5,340 feet to reach the summit, which


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