Derek Johnson ’04
Derek Johnson ’04 graduated from the Boston College Law School in 2007 after majoring in English and philosophy at Cornell.
In 2005-06, Johnson was one of 10 Boston College Law School students chosen to participate in its London Program. He studied international and European Union law at King’s College London for a semester and worked with JUSTICE, one of England’s leading human rights organizations.
“Everything I did at Cornell prepared me in some way for law school,” he said. “That I majored in English and philosophy was extremely beneficial. Learning how to question, analyze and then articulate your thoughts gives you an edge. It’s a question of perspective, of how you’re trained to approach things — whether it’s a poem or a statute or the fact-pattern of a lawsuit.”
Johnson said he was also well prepared for the demands of law school by the fast-pace and intensity of the block plan. And he came to Boston College with a wide array of time management, communication, and leadership skills from roles beyond class such as co-editor-in-chief of The Cornellian, appropriations chair of the Student Senate, and more.
“I was able to really figure myself out [at Cornell], which I think is a critical prerequisite to law school,” he said.
He advises students considering law to “take every advantage of Cornell’s unique opportunities. It isn’t everywhere you can take a full course load and still have time to be involved all across the spectrum of campus life,” he said.
After law school, worked as a civil litigator for Casner and Edwards, LLP in Boston. In 2009, Johnson became a consultant for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He now splits his time between Chicago and Boston managing research and writing intensive projects related to international issues and interreligious cooperation.
Johnson is one of many legal professionals who are giving back to Cornell as a pre-law mentor.