Political Science Alumnus Lays Down the Law

Jud Pic Peter Strand

UCF Political Science alumnus Peter Strand, ’08, attributes his successful law practices to the instrumental faculty and work ethic acquired during his time at UCF.

When the former army veteran decided to make the move to Florida to take care of a family member, he considered several Florida universities to pursue his degree. Ultimately, UCF’s faculty sparked his attention.

“I took a class called ‘Law and Politics’ that utilizes the Socratic Method for half of the class. Law school is about the Socratic Method and being prepared. In the very least, it woke me up in being prepared for law school.”

Strand also credits the class participation and work ethic he developed at UCF as great preparation that has served him well for preparing his law cases.

Outside of academics, he believes UCF’s value lies within people.

“I come from Rhode Island which is a very homogeneous group of people as a whole. In the military I definitely got some expanded viewpoints,” said Strand. “But it was standing outside of the UCF Psychology building, watching all of these different people from every walk of life that was the most memorable. I got to talk to people with some of the most interesting viewpoints I would have never considered otherwise. I still talk with those people.”

After graduating from UCF with his political science degree and a minor in psychology in 2008, Strand attended the University of Illinois College of Law.

Strand’s dream has always been to represent veterans, teachers, and others who provide valuable services in the community. In 2011, he established  a non-profit firm in Utah, Lawyers for Veterans, First Responders and Educators. Strand believes the best part of his job is the ability to choose.

“As an attorney, my favorite aspect is that I get to choose my clients,” stated Strand. “I work with veterans, first responders, and educators. I really enjoy that I have that freedom to choose and help the people I think help the rest of society.”

There was one case that Strand chose, but not its outcome. He defines this as his most memorable career experience.

“I took on a case of a gentleman with a mold issue who didn’t have the money to prosecute the case or power to get anyone to do anything about his situation,” explained Strand. “I took the case and I did my best, but in the end, there was no way that a young, just starting law firm was going to be able to prosecute that case. Failing that client—that was an experience that was hard to forget. And I have taken it to heart ever since.”

Most recently, Strand began working as a small claims judge in the Salt Lake City Justice Court. Strand also serves on the Board of the Utah Bar’s Young Lawyers Division, heads the Special Projects Committee, serves on the  Recession Response Committee, serves as an investigator and member of the Bar’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, and is an active member of the Bar’s Non-Profit Section.

When asked what advice he would give to current students and alumni, Strand replied with this: “To the students, make connections and stay in touch because the most valuable resource you get out of UCF isn’t just the class material, but also the people that you’re with. To the alumni, truly consider reaching out to those students who are just about to graduate and see if you can help them in some way, even if just once. Help one student move forward, and that will be worth it.”

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