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SkyHawk Spotlight – Zach Pohlman ’14

ZACH POHLMAN ’14, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, NOTRE DAME LAW REVIEW

 

Zach Pohlman ‘14 says he pretty much always wanted to be a lawyer.

“In seventh grade I even chose St. Thomas More to be my confirmation saint because he is the patron saint of lawyers,” Zach said.

“With law school almost over, I can confirm, based on how much I’ve enjoyed law school, that I made the right decision,” he continued.

Zach is a third-year law student at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he serves as Editor-in-Chief of Volume 96 of the Notre Dame Law Review.

AS A SKYHAWK

Zach spent his high school years involved in tennis, basketball, speech, theater and show choir. His senior year, he earned the school’s highest award, the V.J. Skutt Award, given to the most outstanding male graduate.

It was also at Skutt Catholic that Zach met his future wife, Julia Faltin ‘14. The friends went to homecoming together as sophomores but Zach says it wasn’t until they were seniors that Julia decided to give him a chance. They were married on December 29, 2018 and welcomed their first child, Quinten Thomas (named after St. Thomas Aquinas), on August 13, 2020. Julia is currently an occupational therapist at the South Bend School Corporation.

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE

Zach graduated summa cum laude with a degree a B.A. in economics, philosophy and theology from Rockhurst University in 2018, where he served as student senate president. He was the president’s gold medal recipient for the highest GPA among graduating undergraduate students. Zach and his wife Julia actually tied for the honor so they both received the award.

ON NOTRE DAME…

Zach says it’s hard not to fall in love when visiting Notre Dame’s campus.

“The Gold Dome, the grotto, Touchdown Jesus, the basilica, and of course the law school all draw you in,” he said.

“I wanted to go to a top-notch law school, but I also wanted a place where I could foster my faith and integrate that part of my life into my law studies,” Zach continued. “In both respects, Notre Dame has been the perfect fit.”

AFTER GRADUATION

After graduation, Zach will clerk for Judge Steven M. Colloton on the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Des Moines, Iowa. His research interests are in law and religion, state court judicial process, federal courts, and statutory interpretation.

Following his clerkship, Zach plans to practice law at Husch Blackwell LLP in Omaha in their Commercial Litigation Practice Specialty Center.

Zach says he’s still discerning his long-term career goals, but thinks he’d like to be a law professor someday.

 

 


Q & A WITH ZACH POHLMAN

WHY LAW AS A PROFESSION? WHAT ABOUT IT APPEALS TO YOU?

I enjoy problem solving, and lawyers are essentially professional problem solvers. As a litigator, I’ll get to work on legal questions that don’t (yet) have definite answers. Researching and writing and arguing about these gaps in the law–all to help a client achieve some real-world goal–keep legal practice fresh and exciting. There’s always something to learn and another problem to solve.

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A LAWYER?

I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a lawyer. In seventh grade I chose St. Thomas More to be my confirmation saint because he is the patron saint of lawyers. (Sidenote: If you haven’t already, everyone reading this should read and/or watch Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons,” which depicts the life of St. Thomas More.)

WHAT KIND OF LAW DO YOU INTEND TO PRACTICE?

I intend to be a litigator. Litigators are the lawyers who represent clients in court, though most of a litigator’s work involves research and writing. I’m particularly interested in public law litigation, which covers lawsuits involving the government.

ABOUT THE NOTRE DAME LAW REVIEW…

As Editor-in-Chief of the Notre Dame Law Review, I oversee a 52 person team that selects, edits, and publishes legal scholarship, most of which is written by law professors. Unlike most academic disciplines, for law, the top legal journals are student edited, not peer edited. Our audience includes academics, practitioners, students, and judges (and sometimes the Supreme Court even cites our articles!). I’ll serve one year as Editor-in-Chief, during which time the Notre Dame Law Review will publish five issues totaling approximately 2,200 pages. It’s fair to say that editing the journal is a full-time job in itself. The Notre Dame Law Review is currently the eighth ranked legal publication in the country.

YOU HAVE TAKEN CLASS WITH OUR NEW SUPREME COURT JUSTICE – AMY CONEY BARRETT. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

I was in Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s Statutory Interpretation class this past semester. The class had only 15 students, and the seats filled up quickly, so I was fortunate to get a spot.

Class with then-Judge Barrett was a blast. Ours was a seminar-style class, so my classmates and I got to interact with Justice Barrett in our class discussions every week. As I’m sure people learned watching her confirmation hearings, Justice Barrett is a brilliant jurist. Being in her class and learning from her is definitely a highlight of my time in law school. Indeed, not many people can say that their teacher had to leave halfway through the semester to join the Supreme Court!

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

Three saints: St. Joseph, who is the “model of workmen” and “pillar of families”; St. Thomas More, who died “the King’s good servant, but God’s first”; and St. Thomas Aquinas, whose Summa Theologiae (and the treatise on law in particular) inform much of how I think about law, religion, morality and how those things ought to interact.

HOW DID SKUTT CATHOLIC PREPARE YOU FOR COLLEGE? YOUR CAREER? LIFE?

Skutt Catholic’s rigorous academic curriculum prepared me well for my college classes. But even beyond the books, through participation in sports, speech, and theater, Skutt Catholic taught me how to manage my time responsibly. I make it a point, as I did in high school, to work hard on my academic studies and extracurriculars but also to spend plenty of quality time with my family. And most importantly, Skutt Catholic instilled in me the importance of grounding my life in the faith. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without God’s grace and the intercession of the saints.

HOW WILL YOUR CAREER ALLOW YOU TO LIVE OUR SC MISSION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

As a lawyer, clients will trust me with their real-world problems. I can make a difference by giving them the best legal representation I’m capable of giving. And given my privileged position as a lawyer, I can empower others, promote justice, and initiate change by offering my legal services pro bono to those most in need of legal representation.

FAVORITE TEACHER?

Mrs. Hoye! (A fellow Notre Dame grad!)

FAVORITE MEMORY?

Performing in Les Misérables as Jean Valjean alongside all four of my siblings. (Note: All of the Pohlman siblings are Skutt Catholic alumni — Zach ‘14, Katie ‘15, Matthew ‘16, Amanda ‘17 and Clara ‘19.)

ANY ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO OUR CURRENT STUDENTS?

Work hard at everything you do, but don’t take yourself too seriously. And always go to Mass on Sunday.

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