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Embracing New Beginnings

Third-Year Law Student Discovers Career Path by Leaning into Opportunities

Growing up in Bruneau — a rural Southern Idaho town with limited resources and a population of just over 500 people — motivated Cruz Araujo to fully embrace opportunities that would help his community prosper. This commitment began at a young age when he’d travel with non-English speaking community members to their legal and medical appointments to provide translation services.

“During those meetings, I was always eager to have a stronger understanding of the information that was discussed,” Araujo said.

Those experiences along with his dream of pursuing a higher education degree led Araujo to attend University of Idaho on the Moscow campus as a first-generation college student. Araujo soon discovered his life experiences combined with his determination and perseverance would set him on the path to continue his education.

“For me, school always felt like a safe place,” Araujo said. “I think it’s because it is so much bigger than me, and I can see how it goes directly to the needs of those around me.”

In 2016, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from U of I with a plan to pursue a career in the medical field. In the years after graduation, Araujo obtained his master’s degree and attended medical school for two years. It wasn’t until he decided to take a calculated risk and switch to a career as a legal assistant, that he’d confirm his interest in law.

“Making the jump from a science background to the legal field was a tough decision,” Araujo said. “But I had a strong conviction and could see the vision of making this happen. Overall, it was a great experience and helped solidify that law school would be the right fit.”

Student standing outside of law building in Boise smiling at the camera.

Giving Back

Cruz began a J.D. degree program in 2021 at the U of I College of Law in Boise. While earning his degree, Cruz has continued to support others, positively impacting his law student community and the Treasure Valley community.

For the past year, he has served as a clinical intern for the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic (ELC) at U of I, which provides free legal services to entrepreneurs and small-business owners throughout Idaho. Under the direction of the ELC director, legal services are provided by third-year law students with limited licenses to practice law in Idaho.

“The ability to see yourself and hear yourself working with actual clients is invaluable,” Araujo said. “It really helped me understand the practice of business law and gave me a greater sense of what it implied.”

Cruz also serves as the president of two student organizations — the Business Law Society and the Latino Law Caucus.

For me, school always felt like a safe place. I think it’s because it is so much bigger than me, and I can see how it goes directly to the needs of those around me. Cruz Araujo, third-year law student in Boise

Through the Latino Law Caucus, he helped create and present a workshop to Canyon County community members called “Know Your Rights.” The workshop consisted of informational lectures to help individuals understand their rights as tenants and during traffic stops.

“Cruz has excelled at building bridges among diverse students and attorneys,” said Wendy Couture, James E. Wilson distinguished professor of law in Boise. “He is universally respected and valued, and he has already built a strong reputation within the larger legal community.”

The roles have allowed him to develop meaningful relationships throughout the U of I Boise law student community and provide guidance to incoming students. Couture has seen firsthand the impact Cruz has had on his law student community.

“Just as one example of Cruz’s impact on the law school, as President of the Business Law Society, he inspired students who might have otherwise been intimidated by business law to consider this career path,” Couture said. “Under his leadership, the society’s membership more than quadrupled.”

Wendy Gerwick Couture

James E. Wilson Distinguished Professor of Law

Front St. 332


Location: Boise
Courses Taught: Business Associations, Property Security, Securities Regulation, White Collar Crime

View Wendy Couture's profile

Crossing the Finish Line

Cruz will graduate this spring with his J.D. degree with an emphasis in Business Law and Entrepreneurship. He’s currently using the spring to train for a marathon in May.

“I always knew I was going to do a marathon at some point,” Araujo said. “Yet I think all these things are connected because I’ll get through this marathon and then I’ll start another — studying for the Bar exam.”

Although studying for the Bar exam will be a priority in the next couple of months, Araujo can’t help but look toward his future as an attorney. Initially, Araujo was set on starting his law career at a firm but has since included the possibility of beginning with a clerkship. This change in direction was in large part due to him landing an American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Diversity Clerkship during Summer 2023.

“It was a unique experience because it allowed me to understand what it is like in a courtroom,” Araujo said. “I received constant support from all the staff and gained a deeper understanding of the type of attorney I want to be.”

The clerkship was with the Eighth Judicial District in Las Vegas, and the program only awards business law clerkship placements to four qualified diverse second-year students across the nation each year.

Araujo is interested in pursuing a clerkship at the district level and is primarily looking at positions in Idaho or Nevada.

“I didn’t comprehend at the time what all of my past experiences meant,” Araujo said. “But I can see now how all those moments connect and I understand how it has set me on this path to becoming an attorney.”

Student standing in front of library shelves reading a book.

Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119