Inside USD

Class of 2014: David Barnes

Monday, July 21, 2014

The University of San Diego’s Class of 2014 graduated in late May, but Inside USD is extending the celebration this summer with a series of feature stories highlighting some of our notable graduates.

USD School of Law recent graduate, David Barnes, is no stranger to the complexities of the law, nor to the war on terror. An exceptional student inside and outside of the classroom, Barnes has spent a considerable amount of his time in Cuba at the United States detention facility Guantanamo Bay (commonly referred to as Gitmo), where he served as a translator for a capital criminal defense team and one detainee. Barnes worked with Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) attorneys and civilian specialists who apply military and federal rules to litigate a complex military commission case.

During his 2014 Commencement address, School of Law Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo pointed out Barnes and his work. “Throughout his time in law school, David Barnes has been traveling on a monthly basis back and forth to Guantanamo, Cuba. There he served as a linguist/translator for the Guantanamo detainees, helping and supporting the military justice lawyers at Guantanamo Bay.”

The Class of 2014 leaves behind a remarkable record of service. USD law students are accomplished when they start their legal studies and continue building upon those accomplishments while attending USD School of Law.

“I want people to understand the work our students do while they are enrolled at USD School of Law,” Ferruolo continued. “They win cases. They advocate for clients and the public interest. They help shape the laws of the state of California and the United States, and they do all of this before they graduate.”

Barnes’ work at Guantanamo and at USD has prepared him to enter the legal profession ready to practice and, just as important, ready to give back to his community.

Through USD’s Legal Clinics, law students provided no fewer than 22,000 hours of pro bono legal services to underserved communities in San Diego. At the modest rate of $200 per hour, USD School of Law students provided nearly $4.5 million in free legal services this year.

Barnes shared that his Con Law class at USD was particularly helpful and interesting to him in light of his work at Gitmo. Barnes hopes to enter criminal litigation after passing the bar exam.

— Melissa Wagoner Olesen

Photo courtesy of Luis Garcia

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