Year of Graduation: 2014
Major(s): Theology and Peace Studies
Current Position: Law Student, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
I am currently I second-year law student at the University of St. Thomas (I will forever be a Johnnies fan). Even though I am not a full-time employee, I do speak on a national level to educators and business professionals about the importance of inclusion for people with disabilities.
I also interned this past summer at Microsoft in their Corporate External Legal Affairs department. There, I researched and advised clients on legal issues involving the internet and assistive technology for people with disabilities.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
I wasn't satisfied at my former job because I wasn't challenged enough. When I was speaking at the White House about being passionate about people with disabilities, a guest urged me to seek a career in law because I could be involved with real change. After much reflection, I decided a career in law would be a perfect way to combine challenging work with my passion to promote inclusion for people with disabilities.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Be able to communicate with compassion and read - LOTS! In order to be a good advocate you need to be able to communicate to your audience in a way they understand. You need to convey passion to change something while not shaming the audience of that they are doing something "bad." Similarly, as an attorney you have a duty to zealously represent your client. You need to convey to them that you are an advocate they can trust and rely upon.
You should also read. Even if it's Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, reading will enhance your vocabulary and writing skills. As a law student, you write a lot, but you have to write in a way that you paint your client's picture to the court. I have found the more I read, the more this skill improves.
What skills are important in your field?
Writing, researching and communicating. During my internship, and in law school, I did a lot of research. It is impossible to know all the laws, so you have to know how to research the law with efficiency. If there are no laws, or the laws are gray, you have to become creative and determine which laws could apply. You also need to be able to write in a concise manner, so your colleagues and the court can quickly know and understand your argument. Finally, you have to be able to communicate clearly with the court, your client, and the opposing party, your argument, and intentions.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
My theology classes. Even though the law is very logical, there are instances that you have to think very philosophical to construct your argument. My theology classes taught me how to apply an abstract idea to real life. I also had the chance to form a student club, which helped me further develop clear communication skills.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Helping your clients achieve their vision and dream. At Microsoft, I was able to help computer engineers make sure their device was compliant with all the regulations. To see the joy that an idea of theirs can be marketed to the public, was amazing!