Zainabu Rumala (JD 06)

Knows a thing or two about staying focused

By Spencer Solis

By age 12, she was enrolled in college courses, by 18, she’d received a bachelor’s degree and by 22 she’d graduated from law school. In her current position as a law clerk with Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Peggy Quince, Rumala shows few signs of slowing down.

Rumala, who grew up in Hernando County, attributes much of her success to her faith, having a good support system of family and friends and the activities that she participated in while growing up, such as Presidential Classroom, the Florida Senate Page program, the Duke Talent Identification Program and the Thurgood Marshall Achievement Society.

“It was always of utmost importance to my family and I that I pursue higher education, especially being a woman and being a minority,” she said.

Rumala fondly recalls her experience at Hernando Christian Academy, which she attended from first grade through her senior year of high school.

“School was like a second home to me because I became so familiar with the people there,” she said.

At age 16, Rumala enrolled at the University of Florida, where she majored in exercise and sports science. Her parents were comforted by the fact that Gainesville was only an hour-and-a-half away from home.

Nevertheless, Rumala enjoyed the independence that college provided her. As an undergraduate, the age gap between her and other students wasn’t of much concern, she said.

“Although I was taking junior and senior courses, the other students I was living with were 17 and 18.”

Throughout her college career, Rumala made an effort to be well-rounded and pursue activities that she found interesting. While in law school, she became a member of the Journal of Technology and Law Policy (JTLP) and the Justice Campbell Thornal Moot Court Team. She also traveled to Vienna as a member of the International Commercial Arbitration Moot (ICAM) and participated in a study abroad trip to South Africa after her 1L year.

“I believed it was important for me to immerse myself in different environments, not only for the cultural learning aspects, but also to gain an understanding of the interpretation of the law in other countries.”

Rumala has recently completed a two-year clerkship at the Florida Supreme Court with Justice Barbara Pariente. While Rumala’s current position as a staff attorney for Chief Justice Quince is challenging, she loves what she does.

“Our main task is to research and analyze a variety of legal issues and assist in the drafting of opinions and orders for the court,” she said.

Rumala, who received a Master of Science in Business Administration between her undergraduate studies and law school, has considered a future career in public service and commercial litigation.

“With a legal degree, the career possibilities are endless because the law permeates every aspect of our lives,” she said. “I truly enjoy being a member of the legal profession.