3L Joey Sandres knew he wanted to be a lawyer ever since he was 13 years old, though he did consider pursuing a PhD in psychology during his undergraduate years. Once he started at S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2021, he realized his passion for an unexpected hobby helped to determine his career path within law.
“I began learning about, buying, selling, and trading NFTs (digital assets) and noticed that the legal field surrounding digital assets was wild,” Joey recalls. “I was fortunate to land a summer internship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and it opened my eyes even more to securities laws and where digital assets lie.”
Joey is currently completing a field placement at the Salt Lake regional SEC office, where he conducts investigative research and contributes to digital asset and security enforcement projects.
“What I find most rewarding about my field placement is the opportunity to actively contribute to the enforcement of federal securities laws. This plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of our financial markets, especially here in Utah, where fraud is so rampant,” he says. “I thoroughly enjoy working for the SEC because I feel more like an investigative agent than I do a lawyer, which is an interesting change since most of my classes have focused on litigation skills.”
Previously, Joey served as the president of the Minority Law Caucus, which allowed him to actively contribute to creating a more inclusive legal community.
“We brought back the traditional end-of-the-year MLC auction after several years of not having it. It was a wonderful event that sparked the return of the MLC scholarships that are under works,” Joey recalls. “I also had the privilege of serving as a panelist on two separate occasions where I shared my experiences, both good and bad, and advice to prospective law students.”
The most rewarding part of being part of the SJQ community is the ease of fostering relationships with faculty and staff, Joey says.
“I’m a people person and care about the interactions I make with professors and administration,” he expresses. “I’ve been able to find mentors and friends in them, and this is more special to me as I inch closer to graduating.”
Since convocation is now on his horizon, Joey is continuing his interest in the intersection of law and emerging technologies, particularly blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and digital assets.
“These innovative areas present unique legal challenges and opportunities. I am deeply committed to staying at the forefront of these developments and actively contributing to the legal frameworks that govern them,” Joey says. “I am eager to continue working in this field and hope to eventually work for the SEC to contribute to the fair and transparent functioning of our securities markets.”