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Career Paths: Ryan Mastro ’24L After graduation, Ryan Mastro will work for the Manhattan District Attorney as an Assistant District Attorney.

ryanmastro-800x533 Career Paths: Ryan Mastro '24LRyan Mastro ’24L

Ryan Mastro is from New York, New York. He attended Florida State University where he majored in Political Science and International Affairs. After college, he worked as a headhunter for finance professionals in New York City. At W&L, Ryan worked as a Student Prosecutor in the Rockbridge County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys cooking and spending time with his fiancée Tessa and their rescue mutt Yogi. 

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?

I will be working for the Manhattan District Attorney as an Assistant District Attorney.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to be a prosecutor?

I knew that I wanted to be a trial attorney, but I wasn’t sure what specific area that I wanted to work in. It wasn’t until my 1L summer that I realized that criminal law, and specifically prosecution, was where I wanted to work.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?

In my 1L summer I had the opportunity to work at the Staten Island District Attorney in their Trials Bureau. My first day coincided with the beginning of a months-long trial where the defendant was accused of murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping. As I watched the ADAs work throughout the trial, I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do.

What classes do you think are helpful to prepare for this job?

Evidence, Trial Advocacy, and Criminal Procedure are all incredibly important for anyone interested in criminal law. Federal Criminal Law and White Collar Crime with Professor DiBiagio were also incredibly helpful not only for the subject matter, but for understanding the real world implications of a prosecutor’s decisions. Additionally, any actual practice course where you have to speak in front of a judge or jury will give you an incredible advantage over your peers when it comes time to interview for jobs.

Can you describe the job search process?

I had the most success working on my own. I applied to the Staten Island District Attorney cold and received an offer without any interview. I believe part of that is because Staten Island is an almost impossible commute from anywhere except Staten Island. Regardless, it was a great experience to build on for my 2L job search.

For my 2L summer, my plan was to start applying directly with the Manhattan DA (who had the earliest application deadline) and then focus on other offices afterwards. Fortunately, I received an invitation to interview about a week later. After a Zoom interview, I received an offer to join the office as a summer law fellow.

Towards the end of the summer, I was invited to participate in a panel interview with three senior ADAs from different divisions. There were a few legal questions, but most of the time was spent on ethical hypotheticals and discussing how to deal with the more difficult aspects of prosecution. A few months later, I finally received an invitation for a final round interview with District Attorney Bragg where he extended me a formal offer to be an Assistant District Attorney.

What are you most looking forward to about this job?

I’m excited to get out of an academic environment and into the courtroom.

Outside Law School


Cooking, mostly Italian food

Favorite Location in Lexington/W&L Campus


Advice for Prospective Law Students

Ignore what everyone else is doing. Don’t chase a job or a career path because you think it’s something that you’re supposed to do, or something that looks prestigious. Find something that you can see yourself doing every day.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Very few people naturally enjoy public speaking or being cold called. Learn to be OK with that sinking feeling in your stomach and realize that you’ll be OK. Law is an adversarial profession, and that can be incredibly uncomfortable. Learn to embrace the conflict without letting your fears or emotions control your decisions.

Something/Someone you will miss at W&L Law

I’ll miss the friends that I’ve made here, especially my fellow criminal law professionals.