From the Football Field to the Justice Field
The camaraderie that started in Selby Stadium continues in law school.
As many Ohio Wesleyan stories go, their friendship is unlike any other. Friends Dom Wilson ’16 and Eugene Coleman ’17 played football for the Battling Bishops and were brought together ultimately by playing on special teams for football.
Dom, a Politics and Government and Spanish major, played nose guard, and Eugene, also a P&G and Pre-Law major played wide receiver for the football team.
Their laughs and smiles as they reflect on football and college memories are infectious. “I think I was making fun of Eugene and he was not having any of it — even though he’s younger than me, he’s so mature. We immediately clicked,” Dom said about their first time meeting each other at practice.
While catching up on life after graduation, Eugene and Dom discovered they were both studying for the LSAT. Although Dom was a law student at Loyal University New Orleans College of Law in Louisiana, and Eugene at University of Miami School of Law in Florida, study sessions crossed all state lines. “We’d share [LSAT] materials and test each other. Sometimes, we’d be on the phone for three hours studying and explaining concepts to each other. We really held each other accountable and that’s where our bond really grew,” Eugene said.
“We were close in college, but as we went through law school together, I know [Eugene] is a forever friend in life,” Dom said.
Though they shared an interest in law school, Dom and Eugene both had unique Ohio Wesleyan experiences that shaped them as law students.
A member of the football, basketball, and track and field teams, Eugene was on a tight schedule. “Maintaining a schedule, putting my phone away, and staying on top of assignments, helped me in my legal work. — Law became a passion of mine because it didn’t become something I didn’t want to do. Yes, this case might be 40 pages long, but dedicating time will help set me apart,” Eugene said.
Dom believes the rigor of a liberal arts education, staying busy with football, and the people at OWU prepared him the most for law school. “OWU taught me it’s not about what you read, but the analysis. It’s the opportunity to critique and go beyond the standards,” Dom said. Former football coach, Keith Rucker, OWU class of 1992, and Coach Pat Delaney pushed, encouraged, and mentored Dom. “No one wants to run outside when it’s hot and you’re wearing 60 pounds of gear, but you have to do it in order to excel.”
“I would not have been in law school if it weren’t for the late Dr. Sean Kay. Within a week’s notice, he wrote my letter of recommendation and dropped everything. He’s the reason I’m here. I had a good rapport with him,” Dom said. “At the end of the day, OWU has geared and empowered me to be successful in the real world. It’s really about the people that are there — the students and the professors,” Dom said.
While law school students, Dom and Eugene took on the challenge of learning during a pandemic, but are they have not let the unprecedented circumstances deter them from their success. Even though African Americans make up 13 percent of the population, the American Bar Association says only five percent of its lawyers are black.
“As a person of color, you have to naturally be an advocate for yourself. I think people of color get discouraged by the idea of pursuing law just on the idea of a language barrier or whatever the case may be, but at the end of the day, the sole skills like problem-solving, analytical skills, being observant – all those skills are inherent to someone of color because we are faced with so many adversities and conflict,” Dom said.
“I knew law school was for me when I lived at the House of Black Culture. I and others pushed for the home to be restored due to previous conditions. From this movement, it lighted me up that other students were with me and were amazing litigators who came together to advocate for themselves,” Dom said.
“To incoming students, I would tell them to reach out and ask questions. Growing up in a place where you don’t see many lawyers, you don’t think it’s possible. — [P&G] Professor Michael Esler is awesome and he understands the options that are possible. I didn’t have the best LSAT score but I’m graduating from a very prestigious university and I didn’t do it alone. At OWU, I learned people really want to help and I can’t credit everyone enough for their help and support.” Eugene said.
Best of luck to Dom and Eugene as they take on the bar exam later this summer.