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Alabama Law Graduate Obtains Federal Clerkship & Graduates Without Debt

June 24, 2021

Derrick Loving Headshot

This Fall, Derrick Loving, a 2021 Alabama Law graduate, will begin a federal clerkship with Judge Janet Baer of Chicago, IL where he’ll be working in the field of bankruptcy law.

“I aspire to be a judge someday, so I really look forward to watching her (Judge Baer) closely as I start developing my own judicial philosophy,” Loving said.

Loving discussed the doubt and stress that can come with trying to obtain a highly competitive judicial clerkship and shared how after submitting over 100 applications, he began to doubt the likelihood of obtaining his goal. However, some advice from law professor Ron Krotoszynski turned Loving in the right direction.

“Ron has been very influential. He told me if I was serious about clerking for a judge, I should clerk for a bankruptcy judge first. At the time I didn’t even really know what that would entail, but I expanded my search. Now I will be clerking for a bankruptcy judge in the fall—an area of law I would now definitely consider working in, in the future,” Loving said.

Krotoszynski described seeing potential in Loving early on in his time at the law school.

“Across multiple courses over the last three years, Derrick Loving was a model student in all material respects; indeed, he’s the sort of student who makes teaching at Alabama law both a joy and a privilege. Derrick is going to be a terrific law clerk — and lawyer,” Krotoszynski stated. “In Constitutional Law, I called on Mr. Loving with great frequency (probably more frequently than he wished I would randomly call on him!) — even so, he unfailingly responded to my pointed queries about the cases with good cheer and thoughtful, well-informed answers about often confusing or even misleading judicial decisions involving the Constitution (which is exactly why I involved him so regularly in our classroom Socratic discussions).”

In addition to gaining Professor Krotoszynski’s high regards, Loving has earned a reputation for being an especially hard worker. This reputation stems from him having worked several part-time jobs during each semester while completing law school coursework, participating in one of Alabama Law’s clinics, and being heavily involved on an academic journal. Loving drove for Uber during his first year and clerked for public interest organizations and private law firms throughout his second and third years of law school; these part-time jobs allowed Loving to ultimately graduate law school debt-free, one of his primary goals.

“I’ve been able to juggle working various jobs while attending law school by being really efficient and present in everything I do,” shared Loving.

Loving’s work ethic has carried him far as he has achieved great things at Alabama Law—including winning the Senator Howell T. Heflin Scholarship Foundation essay writing contest as a 2L where he wrote a reflection during the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment focused on what voting means to him.

Loving is passionate about voting rights and first amendment law, and he surmised that the essay judges could sense his passion in the piece.

“I believe voting is an extension of individuality and who you are because you wouldn’t vote about things you don’t care about. The essay was sincere, not something I did for the sake of scholarship money. I imagine that the people reading it could feel that,” Loving said.

And while Loving believes he won the writing contest because of his passion for the topic, he discussed how “tremendously helpful” the essay scholarship money was, paired with the additional scholarship funding he received upon admission, in helping him achieve his lifelong goal of completing his college career without debt.

Discussing the funding he received from the School of Law, Loving shared “I definitely wouldn’t be at Alabama Law had they not been so generous with their scholarship offer. Alabama’s offer and the prestige of their law school really made my decision,” Loving said, while mentioning Claude Reeves Arrington, associate dean of admissions, as a person who helped with his recruitment.

According to Arrington, Loving was a great fit for Alabama Law.

“I was thrilled when Derrick decided to enroll in 2018.  I knew he would be an outstanding law student, and we would be very proud to call him one of our graduates.  Derrick has a strong work ethic, is intelligent and inquisitive, and has passion for helping others. He already has accomplished so much, and I know he has many more achievements ahead,” Arrington stated.

As Loving prepares to take the bar this summer and begin his clerkship this fall, he offered some advice for current law students.

“Focus on your larger objective. You may not see the point in something you’re doing at that second, but it will make for a better tomorrow,” Loving shared.

The graduate also advised that success can be obtained through various avenues.

“There isn’t a particular path you have to follow to be the legal professional you want to be. Don’t feel like you ‘have to do’ or ‘should be doing’ anything in particular. Getting a J.D. in and of itself is a step in the right direction. Do what’s best for you and you can really make it work.”

Although he acknowledges that his own actions and drive helped him accomplish his goals, Loving expressed great appreciation for all the support he received from his friends, the Alabama Law community, employers, and especially his parents and grandparents. Loving highlighted that “without the help of several individuals the past three years, I would not have achieved all that I have.”

Written by: Heather Gann

The University of Alabama School of Law strives to remain neutral on issues of public policy. The Law School’s communications team may facilitate interviews or share opinions expressed by faculty, staff, students, or other individuals regarding policy matters. However, those opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Law School, the University, or affiliated leadership.