Prior to law school Christopher Melling, ’22, spent 13 years as an officer, pilot and forward air controller for the United States Marine Corps. Melling’s military service has been an advantage to him in many ways. In addition to the financial support he received while pursuing his law degree, Melling has found that a lot of the skills he developed in the Marines have been helpful in law school. “In the military we train against a thinking enemy so that we are never surprised by anything,” he says. “In the courtroom when a new argument comes up, I deal with it the same way. What’s the problem now? What can I use to solve it? In both cases, it’s important to see both sides and devise a logical, organized solution.”
Melling graduated from the United States Naval Academy and did a lot of research when considering which law school to attend. BYU Law stood out from the crowd. “I visited BYU Law and was very impressed with the professors and students. It felt like a perfect match with my background.”
During law school Melling interned with the Public Counsel Centers for Veterans’ Advancement in Los Angeles, California, supporting veterans with pension claims and case management. In addition, he spent time with the Utah County Public Defenders Association, the Utah County Attorney, and the Department of Justice Federal Programs Branch, which represents the Executive Branch in civil litigation in United States district courts. “Working with veterans and other clients and trying to translate their story is meaningful to me—that’s essentially why I wanted to be a lawyer. I have a strong desire to make sure things are done right; that’s what excites me.” After graduation Melling will clerk for Judge David Barlow on the United States District Court for the District of Utah.