Outstanding Law Student of the Month Award


Paul Garns

Paul Garns

November 2015

The VLP is pleased to announce that Paul Garns has been selected as our Outstanding Law Student Volunteer for the month of November 2015.  Paul is a second year law student at the University of Arizona, and currently participates in the VLP’s family law Service Center Project. 

Paul is from Mesa, Arizona and ran his own business as a remodeling contractor.  After many years in the construction industry, Paul returned to school.  He graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Political Science.  While in undergrad, Paul interned for the Hon. Peter A. Thompson at the Maricopa County Superior Court.  He also spent a semester as a research assistant, researching topics relevant to the Federal Judiciary. 

After graduation, Paul spent several months as Judge Thompson’s Courtroom Bailiff.  He also started planning his law school career.  When asked why he chose to attend the U of A, Paul candidly responded that, in-state tuition made U of A a highly desirable law school to him.  Paul also said, “Since I’ve been [in Tucson,] U of A has suited me more and more.  The laidback vibe, the cool people, and Mt. Lemmon […] have all been pleasant surprises to me.” 

Paul shared that, he decided to become involved with the VLP as “a chance to keep [his] head in the real world.”  According to Paul:

I wasn’t about to get sucked in the law school vortex where all I did was go to
class and waste away in the library.  VLP was a great way to remember that there’s
such a thing as life outside of law school.  Also I get a kick out of helping people,
especially less-privileged folks.  They’re often the ones who need the most help
but too often aren’t able to get it.

Paul spent his 1L summer interning at the Yuma County Legal Defender’s office; and, he admitted that his cynical nature of the legal system hasn’t changed much since starting law school.  He believes that “the little guy has the deck stacked against him.”  But Paul also believes that “there are a lot of great people within the legal profession who are willing to […] go to bat for the little guys and gals, often without compensation.” 

In his free time, Paul loves to “read, mountain bike, ride horses, and be outside.”  Paul also likes “building houses, gardening, and road trips with [his] high school brethren.”  His favorite Tucson restaurant is the universally loved Bobo’s; and, his favorite vacation destination is a family cabin near Sundance, Utah. 

Paul’s dream job is to “make enough money as either a criminal or family law trial lawyer to feed [his] horse obsession on the weekends.”

Thank you, Paul, for being a great volunteer!