‘Introduction to Justice and Law’ class sets alumna Rute Mendes Caetano on path to a law degree
Attorney Rute Mendes Caetano is living proof that anything is possible and that sometimes serendipity leads you to your future. Caetano, who was born in Portugal and arrived in Danbury at age 9, is now a partner at Danbury civil litigation firm Ventura Law.
“My days consist of speaking with my clients to ensure they understand their cases and the process within the legal system,” Caetano explained. “I get to use my Portuguese and Spanish language skills on a daily basis to communicate directly with the clients I advocate for.”
As a first-generation college student, Caetano attended Western Connecticut State University after graduating from Danbury High School, in part because it was close to home and being the first in her family to attend college, looking into other schools was not really an option as WCSU was in town. She enrolled with the intention to pursue a career in Information Technology, but after a taking an Introduction to Justice and Law Administration class, “the rest is history,” she said.
Once she decided to commit to studying justice and law, Caetano became involved in WCSU’s JLA club and participated in all of their activities, including the trips the club took to Washington, D.C., which also helped solidify a future career in the law.
“The JLA program was a great preparation for law school,” Caetano said. “I knew what briefing a case meant, and had a great general understanding of underlying legal concepts from the classes WCSU offered me. All of that, I think, is a testament to the caliber of WCSU’s JLA Division and its professors, which allows for a lot of student connections.”
Caetano added that she would encourage anyone interested in following in her footsteps to pursue an internship, or even a volunteer opportunity, with a law firm or attorney in the area that intrigues them. “I, myself, volunteered and worked at the Danbury Courthouse while attending WCSU, which shed a lot of light on criminal law and its process,” she said.
When the time came, Caetano applied to several law schools in the New York metro area, and ultimately attended New England School of Law — now known as New England Law at Boston. After receiving her Juris Doctor, she was admitted to the Massachusetts and Connecticut Bar.
According to the Ventura Law website, Caetano’s practice is “dedicated to representing personal injury victims. In addition, she frequently represents victims in sexual assault cases in the local criminal courts. Caetano received a Pro Bono Award from the Danbury Bar Association for her work representing victims of crime.”
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