Through passion, hard work and an enterprising spirit, Travis Nembhard ’13 forged a remarkable career path that led him to become the youngest judge in the District of Columbia. He currently serves as an administrative law judge for the DC Department of For-Hire Vehicles, an agency which primarily regulates Uber, Lyft, taxicabs, black cars, and other forms of vehicles-for-hire.
Nembhard’s path to a career in public service and policy started at Villanova Law, where he participated in externships at the White House and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“My externships were vital to giving me perspective about what I wanted out of my career, what to expect in the real world of legal practice, and how important it is to be proactive in seeking out the kind of work you are interested in doing.”
Nembhard worked in the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. He later went on to investigate white-collar crime with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Inspired by his work with FINRA, Nembhard decided to seek out more policy-driven opportunities.
He got his chance when he joined the Council for the District of Columbia’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment as Legislative Counsel for the Chairwoman of the Committee.
“I had no transportation or environmental law experience going into this role. I turned my breadth of experience in fields ranging from civil rights to securities law into a strength. I was able to successfully switch from cases involving racial discrimination to ones involving securities law investigations.”
It was in this position that he helped draft a bill which created the agency where he now works, the DC Department of For-Hire Vehicles.
“I was worried at first about jumping into an area of law which I knew nothing about, but I’m so glad I took that leap of faith. Had I not, I probably would not be sitting here today as the youngest judge in DC. Do what matters to you!”
For students looking to find their path, Nembhard advises them to follow their interests.
“If you enjoy what you do, the rest will fall into place. Doors you could not have imagined will open up for you along the way, and you shouldn’t be afraid to take those opportunities,” he explained.