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Making His Case

Through internships and leadership positions, a law student and veteran prepares to take on the legal profession.

Ryan Marquette sits at table with laptop and textbooks in Dineen Hall
Ryan Marquette L’22 honed his legal and research skills as an intern with a Syracuse-based law firm and as a research assistant with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

From organizations to internships, Ryan Marquette L’22 has had the chance to explore different areas of law while pursuing a juris doctor at Syracuse University’s College of Law and a master of public administration through the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs—a three-year joint program that combines law and policy. In addition to his rigorous schoolwork, Marquette, a U.S. Army veteran and active member of the Army National Guard, also had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience last summer at the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, the Children’s Rights & Family Law Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic, gaining exposure to three areas of law in which he previously had little experience.

Among his many responsibilities were advocating for people who were deserving of veterans benefits at the Syracuse VA Medical Center, defending clients in criminal defenses, and working on family law matters, all while under the supervision of a practicing attorney. “This experience definitely increased my confidence as a future practitioner of law. It was reassuring to see that I could research, interpret and apply the law in areas in which I had limited familiarity,” Marquette says. Beyond his time in the clinics, Marquette gained valuable experience when he interned as a researcher at Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, a law firm in Syracuse, where he recently accepted employment after graduation.

Because of the amount of support that the University provides, it really facilitated an easy transition from the active-duty military into an advanced education.

—Ryan Marquette L’22

Though there were veteran clinics at other law schools Marquette looked at, he says no other school does it quite like Syracuse. “Their actions meet their words when they say that Syracuse University is the best place for veterans, and I am proud to be part of this community.”

Marquette was recently named the first ever law student representative to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. “I humbly welcome the opportunity to be the voice for my fellow students and serve as their representative throughout the upcoming school year,” he says.

Taking the Lead

Marquette knew he wanted to attend Syracuse University because of its commitment to veterans. Between the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Marquette says Syracuse was the obvious choice. “Because of the amount of support that the University provides, it really facilitated an easy transition from the active-duty military into an advanced education. I simply left my network consisting of fellow service members and joined a new network consisting of military-affiliated students and faculty. I'm truly thankful for all those people that make that support possible.”

Outside of the classroom, Marquette stays busy as president of the College of Law’s Veterans Issues, Support Initiative and Outreach Network, where he brings guest speakers practicing veterans law and military law to campus, provides free legal services for veterans in the community, and hosts professional development opportunities. The group also holds a Veterans Day ceremony that complements the University’s larger ceremony.

This experience definitely increased my confidence as a future practitioner of law. It was reassuring to see that I could research, interpret and apply the law in areas in which I had limited familiarity.

—Ryan Marquette L’22

For his efforts, Marquette was awarded Syracuse University’s 2021 Student Veterans Organization's Best for Vets Award, which is presented to the student-veteran who has done the most to help other student-veterans succeed, both on and off campus, and who has gone far above and beyond for his fellow students.

“I don't expect any recognition for the support I give to the veteran community, but at the same time, it was very well appreciated,” Marquette says. “It confirmed that I was making the community better by supporting our veterans.”

Ryan and Vanessa Marquette pose for picture at study table in Dineen Hall
Marquette says the Best for Vets Award should really go to his wife, Vanessa, the social media specialist for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

He was also president of the National Security Student Association, where he brought in practicing professionals in the field of national security law and policy to discuss emerging threats with students at the College of Law and the Maxwell School.

“One of many reasons why the College of Law is so great is we have the Institute for Security Policy and Law headquartered here and headed by Judge James E. Baker,” says Marquette. “Through his and other faculty members’ experience and connections, we are able to learn from their service in the national security field and bring in guest speakers currently serving in the profession. These opportunities expose students to modern and evolving issues concerning national security as they prepare to enter the workforce.” The institute is a joint effort between the College of Law and the Maxwell School that offers certificates of advanced study in national security and counterterrorism law, security studies, and postconflict reconstruction that prepare graduates to enter the fields of national security, homeland security, intelligence, military law and more.

A Proud Veteran for Life

Marquette recently celebrated 10 years of service in the military. He spent eight years with the U.S. Army and two years with the New York Army National Guard. He started his military career as an undergraduate at Niagara University in the Army ROTC before being commissioned as an infantry officer, deploying twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.

Their actions meet their words when they say that Syracuse University is the best place for veterans, and I am proud to be part of this community.

—Ryan Marquette L’22
Ryan Marquette holds a Syracuse University flag in front of Army National Guard seal.
“I have no intention of leaving the Army National Guard at all,” says Marquette. “I absolutely expect that to part of my life for the majority of my life.”

Marquette, currently ranked a captain, continues to serve in the Army National Guard while in school, and he worked on the COVID-19 response as a member of the 27th Infantry Brigade. As the deputy operations officer, he served as the lead planner on a variety of tasks, from COVID-19 testing support to the distribution of health supplies. He’s grateful for the flexibility being in the Army National Guard provides to balance his schoolwork, job and student organization responsibilities.

As he heads into his final year of law school, Marquette is looking forward to his classes while also preparing for a two-year program called the Command and General Staff College, which he will begin as soon as he earns the rank of major later this year. This program is similar to a graduate school for officers and provides the training and education of a field grade officer in the U.S. Army.

He urges all students to pursue their passions just as he has. “Understand that you are just a snapshot in the history of Syracuse. During that snapshot, embrace all that the University has to offer and pursue every passion that you have and any interest that you have while you're here. Overcommit to things that you’re passionate about, because at the end of the day, if you’re doing what you love, then you’re not actually working.”

Lisa Maresca

This story was published on .


Also of Interest

  • College of Law

    At Syracuse Law, you’ll learn in small classes where you’ll actually get to know the thought leaders who will teach and mentor you. You’ll be part of Syracuse Law’s rich history—one that dates back to 1895—yet you’ll be learning in Dineen Hall, the College of Law’s new home, which is listed among the 50 most impressive law buildings in the world.

  • Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

    The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University’s home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research in the social sciences, public policy, public administration and international relations. It includes America’s #1 ranked graduate program in public affairs, offering highly regarded professional degrees alongside advanced scholarly degrees in the social sciences, and it is home to undergraduate programs across the full spectrum of social sciences.