RWU Law has 27 active student groups, including Maritime Law Society, Association for Public Interest Law and Multicultural Law Students Association, which allow students to get involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and hear from speakers on a multitude of topics.
Nagesh Tammara ’04
Nagesh Tammara has made his home in a tropical paradise, serving as an attorney with the firm of Smock & Moorehead and as Leg al Counsel to the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lawyering in the islands carries the expected perks – leisurely sails through crystal-clear waters, for example, is a favorite pastime – but also makes for unpredictable and exciting days at the office. The legal system of the U.S. Virgin Islands is relatively young, so there isn’t much precedent – which means constant evolution and creation of new laws. “When I was a judicial clerk here, I published six opinions that involved very novel issues of first impression.”
Working for the Governor’s Office is similarly full of surprises: “One day I’m advising the governor on something as simple as proclaiming Black History Month; the next, we’re dealing with a $100 million revenue loss; after that, it could be legislation on gang violence. You never know what to expect!”
Tammara tries to look out for people who’ve fallen through cracks in the system. Recently, for example, he assisted an elderly couple who landed in desperate straits after the husband was injured on the job but denied Social Security benefits. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” he says. “We went through six months of correspondence; an investigation involving the FBI – but they’re finally getting their benefits, and they’ll be able to live.”
A participant in the local Make a Wish Foundation, Tammara has granted five wishes so far. Some are easy to coordinate – a shopping trip to Paris, for instance; others require extensive planning, like when a four-year-old boy suffering from leukemia wanted to be a police officer like his dad. “From the swearing-in ceremony, to creating a police car for the boy, to planting a villain for him to arrest – and then getting a medal awarded by Governor himself – it took about a month and a half to plan it all. But we made it a big day for him. We don’t deny a wish.”
Roger Williams University’s first law graduate to stake a career in the Caribbean, Tammara regularly sends job announcements back to his alma mater. “They’re looking for good, intellectual people, so why not? You’re going to learn a lot; it puts our school on the map; people get jobs – I’m all for it!”