Scott Aravena L’26
Originally from New Jersey, Scott graduated from Princeton University in 2021 with a BSE in Computer Science. Though a student of engineering, he realized early in his undergraduate studies that his true passion lay in affirming the fundamental rights and humanity of the accused and incarcerated.
While at Princeton, Scott organized campus events concerning education and the criminal legal system. He also led weekly tutoring sessions at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility for incarcerated students working toward their high school equivalency diploma. During his summers, Scott interned with Legal Services of New Jersey and later with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, where his calling to capital work began to take shape.
Following graduation, Scott moved to Atlanta, where he was an Assistant Paralegal in the Capital Habeas Unit at the Federal Community Defender Office for the Northern District of Georgia. There he was responsible for managing extensive capital habeas corpus case materials, preparing pleadings for filing in federal courts, and investigating the tragic details of his clients’ lives. When the State attempted—unsuccessfully—to resume executions, Scott’s research into the horrid conditions that a client experienced during his nearly 50 years on death row formed the basis of a claim in his clemency petition.
Scott enters Penn Carey Law committed to serving the condemned. Having worked for two years on behalf of individuals on death row, his devotion to the law is inextricably linked to a desire to advocate for those without the ability to make their voices heard before a society that seeks to cast them aside. He intends to use his law degree to fight for these clients while agitating for a legal system that recognizes and unabashedly upholds the inherent dignity of all people.