Jonathan Goldman: From military service to law school

Jonathan Goldman, JD candidate '21 served in the Marine Corps Reserves before deciding to pursue a legal career.

  • Hometown: Brookline, MA
  • Internship: Fall River District Attorney's Office
  • Student organization: Student Veterans Law Association

Serving his country

“I was a junior in high school in 2001. I had flirted with the idea of enlisting previously, but after 9/11, I knew I wanted to serve my country and do my part," Jonathan Goldman said. "The invasion of Iraq was during my senior year. You knew that if you enlisted you were going to Iraq. It was a risk."

Jonathan served in the Marine Corps Reserves while pursuing his undergraduate degree at UMass Amherst until he graduated in 2010. His unit was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006, where he served alongside UMass Law alumnus Ryan Arsenault, JD '16.

“My military occupational specialty was machine gunner. I was part of the Weapons Company within 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.”

As part of his marine service, Jonathan was able to travel around the world, including Norway, Kuwait, Ireland, and across the U.S. "I got outside of my comfort zone and met people from all walks of life." 

Pursuing a law degree

“I’ve always wanted to go to law school, but I took a long break after graduating,” he said.

His first job out of college and the Marines was with a marketing firm for a year. "I realized I was too young to be miserable, so I left. I ended up teaching English for a year in Thailand. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. When I came home I was in the same predicament of not knowing what I should do. I got my real estate license and worked on and off for five years.

"I knew I wanted to go back to school via law school or graduate school. I spent a while looking for grad programs, but nothing appealed. When I decided it was time for law school, my dad told me about the significance of the UMass system having a law school."

For Jonathan, it was his campus tour at UMass Law that convinced him it was the right place for him.

"It was very flattering to get the whole red carpet experience. I felt welcome. No other school made me feel that way," he said.

Supportive faculty and staff

“Having passed the halfway point of the first semester of my second year, I can say that while it is hard work, it’s something you can do. It makes a difference to have faculty and staff who are here to help you and work for you. They’re happy you’re here and go the extra mile to see how you’re doing.

“It’s nice to have that personal touch. The dean and the dean of students know my name. When I see professors between classes, they stop and talk to me.”

He called the Law Enrollment Center’s Nancy Moniz an “unsung hero on campus” for her work as a certifying official.

“When I had issues with whether or not a scholarship would cover a summer course, Nancy helped me figure it out and made sure I didn’t give up,” he said.

Fall River District Attorney's Office internship

During the summer after his 1L year, Jonathan interned in the District Attorney's Office, where he worked on behalf of the commonwealth conducting legal research and drafting and filing motions and summonses.

“After graduation, I’d like to either go back to work for the Fall River District Attorney’s Office or look into the prospect of private practice. My family has a small law practice in marine insurance litigation.”


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