Briefing Room

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1L hopes to use J.D. to bring joy to others

October 24, 2016 | Students

1L Charles V. Thomas, Jr. is a man on a mission. Every morning, he tells himself that he is going to do something that day to make someone smile because he genuinely believes the world   would be a much better place if people focused more on helping the people around them.

“For me, making people happy is very important,” he said. “Being selfless and trying to bring joy to someone’s life, in your own way—asking about their day or even buying them a cookie—just little things to make people feel good.”

Taking care of others is something that comes naturally to Thomas, who grew up in Las Vegas with his mom, a registered nurse, and his younger brother Winston, who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder). Much of Thomas’s spare time was spent helping his brother, whether protecting him from bullying or assisting with his education.

In order to spend more time helping out at home, Thomas left high school at 16 and earned his GED. He attended community college before transferring to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and graduated at age 19 with a degree in social work, with the goal of helping other people like his brother, professionally.

However, upon graduation, he had a change of heart. “Sacrifice is very important,” he said, and “bringing joy to people’s lives is essential. I figured I would be able to make that happen more by becoming a lawyer.”

At the time, his family had relocated to Tempe, Arizona, and he went with his mother to a law school fair at the Arizona State University. Just as they were about to leave the fair, they met then-Assistant Dean Robert L. Solomon II, and connected with him during a lengthy conversation. Thomas left the conversation confident that, despite never having been to Columbus, he wanted to attend The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Thomas looked after his brother full-time while going through the application process, and after his acceptance letter to Moritz arrived, he packed up and moved to the Buckeye State, bringing Winston with him.

“I want my brother to go with me wherever I go,” Thomas said. “I want to try to teach him to be independent, but I care about him a lot and don’t like being away from him. He stays home primarily during the day, and I have him research things like finance and business and then report to me on what he has learned.” He also helps Winston nurture his intense passion for history.

“He’s a huge part of why I work hard—to take care of him,” Thomas said of his brother. Thomas added that he hopes to one day work in the field of disability law.

Moritz, he said, is “an awesome environment to come into. If you are looking for people who want to support you and see you succeed—and will drop everything they are doing to make sure that happens—you should probably come here.”

No matter how stressful law school life can be, Thomas works hard to maintain a positive attitude.

“There are a lot of problems in the world, but the more seconds of your life that you can try to have a positive outlook, the more fulfilling your life will be,” he said. “People work for money to be happy. They do what they do in hopes that it will lead to happiness. I say you can just skip that and make people happy. Care about people.”