From real estate to post-conviction relief: Learn more about 3L David Ostrowski’s path to law school

Aug 11, 2023 | Belonging & Access

by Lindsay Wilcox

David Ostrowski, a middle-aged bald man with olive skin wearing a navy blue polo shirtWhen 3L David Ostrowski started his career in secondary education, teaching French and Italian at middle and high schools in Pennsylvania for six years, he had an unexpected opportunity to try a new job path in a brand-new state.

“In 2001, my husband and I moved to Maryland, where he took a job with the Department of Defense. I didn’t want to teach anymore and decided to start a career in real estate,” David recalls. “I had often thought about going to law school with the intention of pursuing real estate law but never did. I was comfortable in my career and doing well and didn’t want to make any drastic changes.”

Then, after 20 years of work in residential real estate, David decided the time was right for law school.

“Several years ago, my husband got the opportunity to change locations for work. I decided that if we were going to move to a new city, that would be the perfect time to make a career change as well,” David says.

Now about to start his final year of law school at S.J. Quinney, David spent his summer working at the Utah Indigent Defense Commission (IDC), an organization that protects constitutionally guaranteed liberties throughout Utah. David’s work at IDC centered on helping attorneys who handle petitions for post-conviction relief.

“The area of post-conviction relief in Utah is somewhat new and not always well understood. As a result, there is a lot of educating to do on all levels, and that’s exciting,” David says. “It’s also exciting to be involved with efforts to shape the law so that it will better serve those who need assistance in this area. Part of what I do involves researching how post-conviction relief is handled in other states. This is necessary and very helpful when it comes to evaluating Utah’s process.”

David is also happy to be back at S.J. Quinney soon for his last year and says he loves the size of the program.

“It is easier to get to know other students, professors and administration, and even with a small program, I have been impressed with the variety of courses offered,” he says. “I think it’s important that there is a variety of choices so students can explore the multiple areas of law. SJQ provides that.”

While David says he is still keeping his career options after law school open at this point, he continues to be interested in real estate law and in continuing the work from his summer field placement.

“I think my biggest accomplishments so far are having proved to myself that I can enter a rigorous program such as this one later in life and be successful and that I can say that I have made some great friends along the way that will be in my life going forward,” David expresses. “I want to make a difference in people’s lives, even on a small scale.”

Get to know more about David by watching his video spotlight below.