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Joseph Castro (JD ‘22) Selected for Department of Justice Honors Program

Pepperdine Caruso Law alumnus Joseph Castro (JD '22) was recently selected for the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General’s Honors Program ("DOJ Honors”). Castro will be a trial attorney with the Criminal Enforcement Section of the DOJ Tax Division in Washington, D.C. this fall.

“I went to law school with high ideals but little knowledge—I did not even know what the word ‘litigation’ meant as a 1L,” Castro said. He credits the law school’s collegial community and accessible faculty for his professional growth. “I was extremely fortunate to have several mentors who believed in me before I believed in myself.”

Established in 1953, DOJ Honors is the premier entry-level federal attorney recruitment program, attracting candidates from hundreds of law schools across the country. Castro attributes his success to the mentorship of several classmates, professors, and alumni but believes two merit special mention: professors Nancy Hunt and Alexander Robbins.

Professor Hunt, director of the Washington D.C. Program, has been Castro’s mentor since he was a first-year student. Hunt helped him prepare applications for both federal clerkships and DOJ Honors. “Professor Hunt sets the standard for professors who are not only mentors but also sponsors for their students,” he said. Castro is excited to join Caruso Law’s growing network of lawyers in the nation’s capital.

As a third-year student, Castro enrolled in Professor Robbins’s White Collar Crime class. Robbins currently serves as criminal appeals deputy chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California but was formerly a trial attorney at the DOJ Criminal Division. “Professor Robbins figured prominently in my success with DOJ Honors, and he embodies the kind of federal prosecutor I want to become: brilliant, conscientious, and exacting.”

An immigrant from the Philippines, Castro served for eight years as a United States Navy Corpsman before attending Caruso Law in 2019 to pursue public service in the law. “Serving as a trial attorney with the Justice Department is my dream job,” he said. “I can’t wait to represent the United States in the courtroom and hold accountable those who violate our laws from positions of privilege.”

Castro currently serves as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker in Memphis, Tennessee. During his law school career, Castro won both the Parris Institute’s Pepperdine Award for outstanding leadership, and the Pepperdine Law Review’s Sorenson Award for authoring the most outstanding student article. He welcomes the opportunity to mentor law students interested in the DOJ and can be reached through the alumni office.