Early rising, long busy days and equally busy nights sound familiar to many law students. But few manage to pack as much activity into one day as Jacob McDermott, a third-year student at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.
The University of Miami graduate currently juggles a position in the office of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski with full time law school, adding to the mix Triathlete training for an Ironman competition in Florida which includes fundraising for multiple myeloma research.
Tiring? Sure, at times. Nonetheless, “even though my schedule gets a little crazy and as much as I hate jumping into a cold pool at 5 o’clock in the morning, I highly recommend the choices I have made to other students,” says McDermott.
McDermott (at left and below competing in a September triathlon), who plans on a career in communications law, worked at a large D.C. firm for several years. After his second year of law school, he accepted a paid position in the FCC chairman’s office. After successfully completing the summer, they were impressed enough to ask him to return. McDermott first finished a clerkship with Judge John M. Mott at D.C. Superior Court, and then returned to the chairman’s office in January.
“I have been supporting the chairman’s efforts to lead a nationwide dialogue on improving the resilience of our communications infrastructure,” McDermott explains. Other projects he has worked on include regulations affecting political text messaging, FCC jurisdictional disputes, and the FCC’s Stolen Cell Phones Initiative.
McDermott has been equally effective in law school, where among other accomplishments he published an article in the International Journal of Civil Society Law titled Changing Disclosure Laws: Electioneering Expenditures in the Wake of Van Hollen v. FEC.
“Jake is not only a tireless Notes and Comment editor for the CUA Law Review but also as managing editor for the International Journal of Civil Society Law. I have recommended him for several clerkships,” says Professor Karla Simon.
But office and classroom time must compete with workout time. McDermott is readying himself for an endurance-stretching blast of fun known as an Ironman, a 2.4 mile, open-water swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and a full marathon, a 26.2 mile run.
He has raised money for cancer research in earlier physical competitions and is tacking Ironman partly in memory of his aunt, who died from lymphoma at age 26. McDermott hopes to raise $50,000 through his participation.
“I love knowing that lost sleep is for a cause that I care about,” McDermott says. “Understanding the financial situations of most law students, in lieu of a donation I ask my classmates to please circulate that link among their friends and families.”
An exceptionally busy and accomplished law school career will come to a close in May, and McDermott says he wouldn’t change a thing he has chosen to do.
“I have learned from incredible mentors at the FCC. Triathlons have improved my work ethic and taught me to embrace challenges. I have made great friends and been inspired by numerous people I train with. Also, once you’ve run, biked, and swam for 10 straight hours, sitting for a few law school exams doesn’t seem so bad,” McDermott reflects.
Besides, new challenges await. McDermott teamed with his sister and dad in a relay triathlon in Key West in January. They came close to victory in a 35 team competition.
“We’ve already begun strategizing on how to win it all next year,” says McDermott.