Law Students

Cole Leonard Didn’t Get to Go to Mars, But Law School Is a Good Consolation Prize
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Texas 20-something torn between law school and Mars

Summary: Cole Leonard, a second year law student, didn’t get to go to Mars, but it sounds like he’s got a bright future.


Cole Leonard, now a 28-year-old law student, almost got to go to Mars.

In 2014, he applied to the Mars One mission. He made it pretty far in the selection process, into the final 600, before getting cut. It was an impressive feat for a normal kid who had no background in science or engineering.

But the Mars story is old news. Cole is now in his second year of law school at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

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I talked to him over video chat. As soon as he answered, I could tell that that he was a totally crushable, likable, normal guy. We made small talk for a little bit. I noted that he didn’t have a Texas accent. “I don’t,” he said, in a deep Texas drawl. “but I can do one for you if you want.”

And then I asked him how law school was going.

“I mean, I know law school can be kind of awful,” I said, but Cole disagreed.

“I love it,” he said. “I’ve never had as much fun being unemployed in my life.”

I laughed.

“It’s not fun, necessarily,” he continued. “But I really enjoy it.”

Cole wants to be a criminal defense attorney. He spent some time interning for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office – “I want to get the trial experience,” Cole said.

And how about Mars One? Is he disappointed he couldn’t go?

“I’d go to Mars in a minute,” Cole said, “but law school is great, too.”

“Lubbock is a lot like Mars. It’s this dry, dead landscape, and there’s not too many people around.”

Despite the disappointment of the Mars trip falling through, Cole definitely seems to be enjoying himself in Texas. And did I mention that he is absolutely adorable?

Cole lives with his two dogs, Maris, a “cold and evil” Chihuahua named after Niles’s wife from the classic sitcom Frasier, and Josie, an 18-year-old dachshund.

And law isn’t his only interest, either. Cole loves Harry Potter (The Order of the Phoenix is his favorite book, for the record). He’s also an aspiring screenwriter, and he loves to sing karaoke. His favorite karaoke bar is called Adolph’s, a “dive bar behind a Dollar Tree.”

“If you’re ever in Lubbock,” Cole said, “I’ll take you there.”

And I’d happily take him up on it. Cole is a smart, likable guy with a bright future in law ahead of him. NASA missed out – Mars One or not, Cole Leonard is definitely a catch.


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