At 41-years old, Juris Doctorate and Florida native, Alexander Concha, is in the process of moving his family to Washington, D.C. to continue his legal education. He will be attending Georgetown University for his Tax LLM. This is the latest step for the former property manager on his journey to a quite different career: tax law. While also adjusting to life as a husband and first-time father, this recent St. Thomas College of Law graduate explains how the path to a law career almost ended at the door of academic probation.
In His Own Words: I graduated from a local university with a Business Management in Finance and Marketing degree in 2003. During the following 15 years, I put my degree to work at my family’s real estate business by running the property management sector. My family established the Concer Foundation in 2017, and in partnership with Helping Hands and Farmshare, we gathered food from local food-related businesses to donate to the homeless each week in downtown Miami, FL.
My work and devotion to helping others is very rewarding. But I always felt I was capable of doing more. So, in 2018, I took a gamble on myself and applied to St. Thomas University’s College of Law. I choose STU not only because it is faith-based, but its mission also reflects the core values I hold dear.
Being on academic probation in his very first semester…
I simply could not believe how hard law school really was when I started failing across the board in my first semester. I was called before Dean Lawson and the Academic Standing Committee to plead my case to be allowed to continue to attend STU’s College of Law. It was a very humbling experience, but I am grateful Dean Lawson and the committee had faith in me to allow me to continue my studies.
Forced him to ‘learn’ how to study law…
This led me to do some real soul-searching to figure out why it was difficult for me to succeed, which also made me want to persevere more than ever. I realized being set in my ways of studying, taking notes, etc., had to be let go in order to accept that the study of law really is a learning experience of trial by fire.
I took advantage of all of the opportunities and listened to the advice of my professors and peers to become a better student of law. Professor Wolff’s Federal Income Tax class helped me grow as a student overall, because he constantly challenges everyone to be the best version of themselves. Professor Blanco, and so many other STU faculty members who truly engage with students, provided invaluable guidance.
Which lead him to being accepted by the 3rd highest ranked law graduate program in the nation…
I went from having lower than a 2.0 GPA in my first semester, to growing it to a 3.3 Tax GPA, graduating May 2021 with a law degree with a tax and admiralty certificate, and being accepted in Georgetown University Law Center’s LLM program to earn my graduate degree in taxation. I would not have been accepted into Georgetown without all the tax law classes STU offers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program at STU offers free tax preparations to the local community, and it allowed me the opportunity to help people with tax preparation for free, even during the pandemic!
And able to give back and provide guidance to current law students.
The hands-on experiences and devoted guidance and encouragement by my professors made me buckle down to succeed beyond my wildest dreams. Access to the Tax Law department and Tax Law Society at STU allowed me to learn about various Tax LLM programs.
I feel incredibly grateful to STU and if I could talk to every law student, I would say:
Do not give up on yourself! Take advantage of every society, the access to professors and hands-on experience you can to grow your knowledge. Find your passion, find the classes that interest you the most and do not be afraid to take them! It was not easy, but I am incredibly blessed and happy to be where I am today and look forward to the future!