Rutherford Adames is a second generation American whose family originally came from the Dominican Republic and settled in Brooklyn, New York. When he was 5 years old, Rutherford’s father was sentenced to a 29-year prison term. At 15, he decided to read his father’s case, and this began his interest in the study of law. He wondered about how the proper representation could change the outcome for many, including his father. He made it his mission to become a lawyer to defend immigrants, indigents, and innocent people from injustice.
In 2011, he moved to Jacksonville and in 2014, he began law school at Coastal Law. In deciding to attend Coastal, he was impressed with the school’s diversity, the proximity to the larger cities such as Miami and Atlanta and the lower cost of living Jacksonville offered.
As a lifelong New York resident, he had graduated from City University of New York (Baruch College) and sought the same real-world atmosphere he had experienced there. While New York offered many law school options, the cost of living was extremely high. As Rutherford points out, the Jacksonville climate and warmer winters were also a great benefit.
Rutherford was a student clinician working in Professor Ericka Curran's Immigration and Human Rights Clinic between his 2L and 3L years. Since beginning the Fall 2016 semester, his third year of law school, he has worked as a senior clinician.
“It has given me access to a world of law that I never imagined existed,” reflects Rutherford. “You learn how to listen to someone tell their story. You help translate that story into a legal argument. You learn how to practice in a courtroom, how to work with others on global and national cases and issues affecting the community or the nation. You learn how to research the law to effectively help a client achieve a suitable remedy under his/her circumstances. More importantly, you get to be there for your clients as they are crying because they are so happy that you helped them overcome what seemed like insurmountable obstacles,” he says. “All the experience I have had during my education at Coastal Law has helped instill in me the confidence I needed so that I could practice law after I pass the bar. It has not just been learning the law but also applying the law, and seeing it in action has helped me to see the rainbow at the end of my three year legal education.”
Rutherford is interested in eventually practicing in the field of Immigration, Civil Litigation, Public Defense or Prosecution.