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Antonio Mazzaro, '09: SBA President & Advocate

Mazzaro for President
In the midst of political chatter, UC Law students know there is one president who always has their interests in mind. Antonio Mazzaro, Class of 2009 and Student Bar Association (SBA) President, is a major presence at the law school. Taking over the position during the last months of the 2007-2008 academic year, Mazzaro swung into action to improve life as we know it at the law school.

All work…and some play
As students returned to classes nearly two months ago, they were welcomed by a new recreation room and an outdoor seating area equipped with picnic tables next to the sliding glass door entrance. Mazzaro helped to bring these projects to fruition. Over the past three years he has worked tirelessly in numerous student organizations, complementing his legal education. His first year, Mazzaro served as his 1L section SBA representative in addition to checking cites for the Human Rights Quarterly publication and serving as Vice President of the Law Democrats student group. His second year, Mazzaro joined the Moot Court Honor Board and won Best Advocate at the 2007 ABA Dallas Regional competition while he served as SBA’s 2L class representative. In addition to those responsibilities, he also served as President of the Law Democrats and as an officer for the Immigrant Community Legal Assistance Program, the Environmental Law Society, and the American Civil Liberties Union groups at the law school. With a passion for the issues, he added work as a member of the Freedom Center Journal to his resume during his second year.

Now that he has graduated to “senior” status, Mazzaro is focusing on his responsibilities as SBA President in addition to his work with the Moot Court Honor Board and the Freedom Center Journal. Truly, he has quite a divergent resume for a man who dreamt of a life in TV. Underneath the titles and all that he’s done for students at UC Law is a man who just wants to make a difference. In fact, his 10 year plan includes returning to his home state of Kentucky to work in politics.

College for Mazzaro meant taking classes in broadcast journalism and TV directing at Northern Kentucky University. His goal was to work in television or film production following graduation. Things changed, however, when he graduated and decided he wanted to remain close to home.

“Family stuff came up so I wanted to stay in the area. The only options for using my degree in the area were limited to working at television stations,” he said.

Mazzaro, instead, pursued a career working with The Kroger Co. in the risk management department handling consumer claims. Serving as the initial point of contact for people with claims against Kroger, he investigated claims and gathered information to determine whether a claim was legitimate. If it warranted damages or settlement, Mazzaro was directly involved. It was here that Mazzaro gained valuable mediation and client counseling skills that aid him today.

“I worked with people from all walks of life. It could have been the CEO of a company with 300 employees and he and his wife bought some ice cream and found a piece of metal in it. It could have been a guy raising three children in a trailer who bought fried chicken and got sick,” he explained. “I had to identify people’s needs and how they expressed them; then, I had to find a common ground,” he added. “The goal was that at the end of the day we would all be on the same page or at least reading the same book.”

From working at Kroger, Mazzaro’s passion turned to advocacy. “I wanted to advocate for those people who had legitimate problems,” he said. He realized this work could be done best after attaining a law degree. “My mother is a lawyer but she was sour on the practice of law,” he said. “I thought I should see what it was all about for myself before I made a decision to attend law school.” After browsing the newspaper, Mazzaro applied for and took a job with the Hammond Law Group working in the area of immigration law. He liked what he saw. So the decision to apply to UC Law was a natural one. In addition to UC Law’s reputation, he wanted to stay close to home following his father’s death in early 2001. Mazzaro has two younger brothers, aged 19 and 26, and is very close to his family.

Giving back…
Throughout his life, Mazzaro has been actively involved in politics and served as the state communications coordinator for Students for Obama from January to August 2007. “It’s difficult to manage my time,” Mazzaro admits. “If the work with the campaign weren’t rewarding emotionally and spiritually, it might be much more taxing. But some people watch TV or work out to decompress. What makes my soul happy is working on campaigns.” Due to obligations with school and SBA, Mazzaro has scaled back his involvement with the campaign to focus on those responsibilities.

The beauty of technology…
In his free time, Mazzaro enjoys utilizing his favorite innovation, TIVO. “TIVO is my best friend… other than my actual best friends,” said Mazzaro. “I think TIVO is the saving grace of any law student because it allows you to watch what you want, when you want to watch it and to compress your viewing time.” His favorite shows? Naturally, Mazzaro enjoys political “talking-head” shows such as Countdown with Keith Olberman on MSNBC and Bill Moyers on PBS; however, his guilty pleasures include Lost, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Boston Legal. Mazzaro isn’t a couch potato though; he loves to play sports in the fall when the weather is “just right for football.” He also can be seen “manning” the grill at many SBA events.

Ten Years from Now
Down the road Mazzaro sees himself involved in politics in his home state of Kentucky and paying off his school loans. Although he admits that it has been hard to stay motivated this year with the end of school so close in sight, his excitement about his SBA involvement has kept him on track.

“I’m very excited about what I’m doing right now for the student body,” he said. He also wanted to learn more. “I came to law school not necessarily with the intention of being a lawyer but I wanted to help craft laws and influence the policies of the government,” he explained. “I watched my father, as a social worker, put band-aids on tumors. I watched my mother, as a lawyer, throw water balloons on house fires for the same people my father was trying to help. They wanted to get people blankets when they didn’t have homes or homes when they couldn’t find jobs.” In the spirit of helping others, Mazzaro’s goal is to work with public policy upon graduation, carrying on his parents’ work. But who knows? With his drive and determination, perhaps we’ll see Mazzaro running for state or national office—one day.

Story by Amanda Shoemaker, Staff Writer