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Ray Mechmann '17 Earns Prestigious NYPD Fellowship

Thursday, January 26, 2017

When Ray Mechmann starts his NYPD Law Graduate Fellowship this fall, he’ll continue a family tradition of sorts. Mechmann’s mother, St. John’s Law alumna Brenda Vasile Mechmann ’83, and his father, Ray Mechmann, Jr., were both New York City prosecutors, and his grandfather was a police officer in Washington, D.C.

“As a kid, I wanted to be a police officer, but during college I came to love writing and analysis,” Mechmann says. “So I figured that a good way to combine all my interests would be to work on the legal side of law enforcement.” After college, Mechmann worked as a paralegal in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He then enrolled at St. John’s, where he found a wide range of opportunities to pursue his interest in criminal law.

“One of my favorite classes was New York Criminal Practice,” says Mechmann. “I learned how the courts assess police encounters with citizens on the street, which brought home the connections between law enforcement, legal analysis, and legal practice.”

Outside the classroom, Mechmann honed his practical skills hands on as an intern in the Appeals Bureau at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he wrote two briefs to the Appellate Division, Second Department. The experiential learning continued in the Law School’s Prosecution Clinic. On assignment at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, Mechmann regularly interacted with police officers and prosecutors—including a number of ADAs who graduated from St. John’s Law— and saw how their work impacts the criminal prosecution process.

Back on campus, Mechmann worked on his written and oral advocacy as a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, which he now serves as managing director. “Moot Court has been a wonderful experience,” he shares. “I’ve explored the legality of police actions in briefs and in oral arguments, and I’ve gained an understanding of the high standards to which the U.S. Constitution holds police officers.”

Mechmann also serves as student writing editor for the Law School’s Journal of International and Comparative Law and New York International Law Review. His note, “Remedying Eternal ‘Inadequacy’: How Anonymous Juries in the Special Criminal Court Would Preserve Ireland's Jury Trial Right,” recently took first prize in the Albert S. Pergam and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen, and Hamilton LLP International Writing Competition. “I’m extremely excited and grateful to win this competition,” Mechmann says. “But the real reward was crafting the argument. That was great fun.”

All of these experiences at St. John’s Law, Mechmann says, fueled his interest in the NYPD Law Graduate Fellowship and helped him through the rigorous application and interview process this fall. The three-year fellowship program aims to “enhance the understanding of the complex and unique legal challenges presented in law enforcement through the early training and professional development of outstanding law school graduates.” 

As the selected fellow, Mechmann will spend the first year working at the NYPD under the supervision of the deputy commissioner, legal matters and his staff, carrying out a variety of tasks. During the subsequent two post-fellowship years, he will serve as an assistant corporation counsel in the New York City Law Department’s Special Federal Litigation Division.

“Through the fellowship, I’ll have the opportunity to serve the City of New York in a unique and important way,” Mechmann says. “It’s a type of service I’ve envisioned since I was a child and I’m very grateful to my family, friends, professors, and colleagues for helping me make this longtime dream a reality.”