From law enforcement to law school: Student Dan Kavanaugh

Ask former police officer Dan Kavanaugh what inspired him to make the leap from law enforcement to law school, and he explains that it was always part of the long-term plan.

Dan Kavanaugh is a third-year student at Stetson.

Dan Kavanaugh is a third-year student at Stetson.

“Law school was just the next step along my path,” says Dan.

Dan says he wanted to go to law school as a kid, but decided to put college on hold for a while to join the military. He spent three years on active duty and another 13 in the reserve component. Dan deployed overseas twice while assigned to the Florida Army National Guard.

“Most of that time was in the desert,” he says.

Dan describes how serving as a platoon sergeant in Iraq strengthened his skills as a moderator: “Working with American soldiers, coalition force members, and foreign nationals allows you to work with people from different walks of life, backgrounds and cultures,” Dan explains. “You learn to tailor communication and leadership style to the individual.”

In his first year at Stetson University College of Law, Dan started off as a class representative to the Student Bar Association. During that time, he was also working 20 hours per month on reserve status with a local sheriff’s office. In his second year, Dan served as Stetson Law’s American Bar Association Representative.

Today, the third-year student at Stetson Law is president of the Student Bar Association and a member of the Trial Team. He recently completed a Civil Legal Services Clinic at Gulf Coast Legal Services. “I had the opportunity to make my first argument in front of a sitting judge,” says Dan.

In his role with the SBA, Dan says he often finds himself in the role of moderator and referee, helping students find common ground and solutions.

Dan also balances the role of husband to his wife, Courtney.  The couple maintains a home in the Orlando area, as well as one in Tampa Bay.

“Courtney knows the work I do in law school will benefit both of us,” Dan says.

“I like the saying: ‘it’s never too late to be what you might have been’,” says Dan. “If you’ve made the decision to go to law school, instead of taking tentative steps, I’d advise you to just jump right in with both feet.”