Jaharis Scholar Jeffrey Boucher recalls a moment when the importance of carefully applying the law really hit home.
Fresh from law school study-abroad experiences in Europe and China, he took a position in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the felony courts at 26th and California. Witnessing, firsthand, the ability to affect another’s fate put things in perspective.
"You realize how important it is to conduct the legal process with integrity and consistency and while faithfully applying rules of evidence,” Boucher said.
“Someone’s freedom is at stake.”
A graduate of Vernon Hills High School in suburban Chicago and Wittenberg University in Ohio, Boucher says he came to DePaul because its law school has a “great academic reputation, and because it balances a global perspective with a strong presence in the Chicago legal community.”
Entering law school, he was interested in the way law and business were evolving to become more global in nature, and he notes that the law school provided opportunities for him to study abroad in China, Spain and Belgium.
“I’ve been able to have wide-ranging experiences that I might not have been able to pursue without the scholarship.”
“These experiences helped me to see that the law is constantly evolving and subject to new circumstances and situations,” he said. “They also helped me gain confidence in dealing with communication and cultural barriers—the law is really, above anything, about clear and credible communication between human beings.”
For Boucher, receiving the Jaharis Scholarship has made it possible to focus on his studies and clinical and internship opportunities without having to worry excessively about financing his legal studies. “DePaul offers a rigorous legal education, and so many avenues for gaining practical application and exposure to the law,” he said. “I’ve been able to have wide-ranging experiences that I might not have been able to pursue without the scholarship.”
Boucher says he has found a sense of community that he thinks will last throughout his career and beyond. He has been involved with the Student Bar Association (SBA), served as a Dean’s Advisory Council representative, and is currently SBA secretary.
“The people here make DePaul a great law school. The students and faculty are down to earth. They are competitive but not cutthroat. We push each other to be better.” Boucher recalls another formative moment at DePaul. “On my first day of orientation, the leader asked us to look at the people on our right and left. I thought he was going to say ‘next year, they might not be here,’” he laughed. “But what he said was, ‘These people will very likely become lifelong friends.’ Three years later, I have no doubt about that.”