School: Law
GGU Law student Justin Reyes
September 23, 2022 |

Scholarship Recipient Overcomes Setbacks to Aim High at GGU Law


GGU Law student Justin Reyes, recipient of the Joseph and Ruth Zukor Memorial Scholarship, always had a passion for law. As a kid, he drafted a contract for his sister to ensure she cleaned her room, and in the 8th grade he devoured John Grisham’s The Firm. Today he wants to use the law to expand representation for people of color within the legal profession. 

At GGU Law, he wrote an article for the Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Justice Law Journal about discrimination faced by people of color working in elite law firms and what obstacles prevent them from attaining certain positions or notice. 

“A friend who graduated from Hastings shared that they didn’t have spaces to discuss first-generation issues and at GGU Law, I’m taking a class on immigration and social justice and it’s all a safe space for collaborating and conversing about those issues,” said Justin. 

Writing for the Journal is one of the many impactful opportunities he’s received at GGU that include clerking for a judge, participating in Moot Court, and receiving the Joseph and Ruth Zukor Memorial Scholarship. 

“This award reflects that I will continue to excel as a law student at Golden Gate University,” said Justin.  

Additionally, the award helps Justin manage the costs of the medicines that are necessary for his survival. As a liver and kidney transplant recipient, Justin takes costly anti-rejection medicines daily.  

“The Medi-Cal Program helps keep those costs low while allowing me to pay for school expenses,” said Justin. “I rely on financial aid, scholarships, and any form of financial assistance to continue lowering those costs and debt from loans after graduation.” 

Justin received a liver transplant at age two due to a rare disease. He later required a kidney transplant—necessary because of the medication he was taking to support his new liver. Anti-rejection medicines are lifesaving, yet very toxic with myriad side effects that include changes to his body chemistry. The impact this has had on his life is hard to overstate.  

But that hasn’t impeded Justin from realizing his ambitions. Outside of his interest in the law, he’s gained entrepreneurship experience. At UCLA, he founded a fraternity, and a Greek life newspaper called The Odyssey. He later created a Yelp-like website for live music.  

Prior to coming to GGU Law, Justin worked for several private law firms as an intake specialist, a case assistant, and an accounts receivable specialist, among other roles. Today, he’s clerking for a judge in Santa Clara with the goal to work in the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office. 

“The Joseph and Ruth Zukor Memorial Scholarship is the springboard I need to build a foundation at Golden Gate University,” said Justin. “I am sincerely grateful to have received this award and will pridefully share this award with our community.” 


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