Student Highlight: Student Argues before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals


On Friday, November 16th, third-year law student Jada Garofalo argued a criminal case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of her internship with the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne.

Garofalo interned with the office during the summer of 2018 and spent a substantial amount of time in the courtroom and working on various criminal cases, often appearing before Federal District Court Judges in Wyoming. While she gained a wealth of knowledge and skills, her biggest project during the internship was to prepare an appellate brief for one of the attorneys in the office. After she completed her final draft, the attorney described her as a “rock star.”

Garofalo worked closely with U.S. Attorneys Thomas Szott (J.D. ’13) and Stuart S. Healy III, who served as her primary supervising attorneys. They were very complimentary of her work.

“We really enjoyed having Jada as an [intern] in our office over the summer,” says Szott.  “She has many good qualities, but her work ethic and professionalism are especially noteworthy.”

Garofalo continued to work on the case well into the fall semester of her final year of law school, preparing the oral argument scheduled to appear before Tenth Circuit with dedication and fervor. While preparing for the oral argument, she demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the record and issues, and represented the United States skillfully before the Court.


Healy, who was supervising Jada during her appellate argument, had this to say about her:  “We knew after our moot court experience with Jada that she was going to do an outstanding job before the Tenth Circuit Court judges.  And, sure enough, she acquitted herself just as we predicted.  Under tough questioning from the panel, she responded with poise and with a comprehensive grasp of the facts and law.  After her argument, the presiding judge even quipped, ‘Ms. Garofalo, you did not introduce yourself as a student intern.  But we know you must be a student based on the kind of respect you showed this court!’”

“Arguing before the Tenth Circuit was amazing,” says Garofalo. “It was such a significant and humbling way to conclude what was such a valuable experience with the Department of Justice.”

“I am so grateful for the experience and everything I learned from Mr. Szott and Mr. Healy,” she adds. “They were such good mentors – very kind and professional. Their guidance and knowledge will continue to influence me throughout my professional career.”

Hot off the heels of the College of Law’s Summer Trial Institute in Anchorage, Alaska, Garofalo began her internship with confidence in her abilities and a passion for the courtroom. Being able to immediately apply her advocacy skills in a professional setting was energizing and she was also grateful for the opportunity to cultivate her legal writing abilities.  

A native of Colorado, Garofalo graduated in 2010 from Colorado State University with a degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. She earned her Master’s Degree in Climate Science and Policy from Bard College in 2014 and later worked as a Climate and Policy fellow for the Center for Disease Control in Fort Collins, Colorado. While in law school, she has been active in the Energy, Environmental  & Natural Resources curriculum (EENR), including the EENR Clinic. In addition to serving as student director for the Center for Law and Energy Resources in the Rockies (CLERR), she has authored an article she is currently endeavoring to publish that advocates for holistic recovery planning for the four ESA-protected fishes endemic to the Upper Colorado River Basin.

With a passion for litigation and natural resources work, Garofalo hopes to continue to dazzle in the courtroom with her preparedness and competence. The College of Law is extremely proud of all that Garofalo has accomplished and looks forward to all that she will accomplish. In final praise of Garofalo, Szott remarks, “Jada has been a great teammate, and she is going to be an outstanding lawyer.”


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