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Dayton Docket

Leading With Your Best

By Carole Judge

“My best.”

That was the answer Simeon Lyons parents required of him every day when they dropped their only child off at school and asked, “What are you going to do today?”

Honoring that obligation to do his best, Lyons ‘19 is not only a law school graduate, but a member of the highly selective Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps of the United State Army. Founded by General George Washington in 1775, the JAG Corps provides principled counsel and premier legal services, as committed members and leaders in the legal and Army professions.

After commissioning in August of 2021, Lyons completed 4 months of training at Ft. Benning and the Army JAG School on the campus of University of Virginia. He is now stationed at Ft. Knox, near Louisville, Kentucky, where he serves as a Special Victims’ Counsel.

“I represent the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the Army’s military criminal justice system. While this field of law is heavy, it affords me the opportunity to be the voice and advocate,” explained Lyons, the first lawyer in his family, who finds strength in “faith, family, friends, food, and fitness” as he navigates a career that gives him purpose yet doesn’t come without discomfort.

“The Army is a people-first organization. In all areas, they seek to make this experience in JAG as worthwhile as possible. From training to my day-to-day work, I am interacting with people who are experts in their field and are willing to share their knowledge and skills,” he added.

Lyons found similar connections in the Dayton Law community and now counts them among his closest friends – relationships he hopes to maintain for a lifetime, including the Honorable Judge Michael Newman, United States District Judge, who he interned with during his 1L summer. 

“He became my professor and then a mentor who I keep in contact with to this day. He has been an amazing resource and a person who has helped me navigate my career,” explained Lyons who credits Dayton Law’s scholarship opportunities as one reason he chose to attend law school so far from home.

“I was sold on a school that wanted to invest in me,” said the Florida native who studied Political Science at Atlanta’s Morehouse College. 

“Initially, I wanted to be in big law. The money was attractive and it seemed like the thing to do. However, I realized my passions to serve and advocate were better utilized elsewhere. It was not until my last semester of 3L year that becoming a Judge Advocate in the military crossed my mind. Once it did, it just made sense,” admitted Lyons who applied to the Army JAG Corps one year after practicing as a public defender after returning to Florida.

During his three years at Dayton Law, Lyons was everywhere in Keller Hall, serving as a board member on Moot Court, as a member of the Diversity Committee, as an official Student Ambassador, and eventually being elected president of the Black Law Student Association during his 3L year. He also helped create an on-going program that allows students to gain experience interviewing for legal jobs and serves as a catalyst for students to get hired by a diverse pool of employers.

“Knowing that students I have not even met are still keeping this program alive and are getting hired from it is an amazing thing,” reflected Lyons who, looking back, suggests students stay determined.

“You didn’t come this far, to just come this far. Use your contacts at UD. We have alumni all over the country doing all kinds of law or career paths where they have used their law degree,” he advised. 

At his commencement in 2019, Lyons was presented with the Brother Raymond Fitz Student Leader for Justice Award given to someone who has enriched the community by “promoting community service and social justice and actively seeking ways to better the world.”

Lyons humbly continues to follow this path.

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