23 October 2014

Snapshot of an almost JD: Amy Jesse

Meet Amy Jesse, almost a J.D. (graduating this winter). A crocodile is also eating her.

Amy and I sit across from each other every other morning to distract ourselves from our reading. It is our time to unwind in the morning before we "hustle and bustle" for the rest of the day. I met her my first year and we connected over our love of football (go Niners!). What I like about Amy is that she is not your traditional student. Most of us want to become an attorney and be in a courtroom. Amy, however, wants to work in the legislative arena. At the end of the day, how do you want to advocate? Well, here's a little bit about Amy, after surviving being eaten by a crocodile.

What's your educational background?

I have a bachelor's degree in Journalism and in History from the University of Iowa, and a master's degree in Media Research from the University of Colorado. I first thought I wanted to be a Journalist, then thought I wanted to study media, and then totally changed my focus and decided to go to law school to study Animal Law. 

What about your family background?

My family is from Chicago, and my parents along with lots of extended family still live in Chicago. My dad graduated from the University of Illinois and currently owns a commercial real estate business in Chicago. My mom graduated from Northern Illinois University and is a special education teacher. My brother went to the University of Colorado, Boulder and has never left. He is currently a civil engineer at a large engineering firm in Denver. There were no lawyers in my family until this past August when my cousin married one. 

 Why did you decide to go to law school?

One year into the master's program I was in, a friend of mine told me about the reality of factory farming in this country. I was appalled, and as any good student would do I researched the crap out of the issue. About a week later, I decided I had to dedicate my life to doing something about that system, mainly for the sake of the animals. The thing I found most disturbing was that the way animals in agriculture are treated is totally legal. I knew I had to try to do something about that. Law school was the obvious place to start. I didn't even think it was possible to study Animal Law, but after my first google search, I realized that it was possible at a school in Portland that I had never even hear of! 

What is your favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

My favorite part about L&C is that most students are here to make a difference. I think that's really rare for a law school. It affects the culture of the school in a huge way. Also, I would not be here if it weren't for the animal law program, so I have to put that at the top of the list too. 

What is your least favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

As a top ranked school for both animal and environmental law, I expected more classes and extracurriculars in each of those areas, and I expected the school as a whole to be more supportive of those areas. So, there's been some disappointment there. 

What are your future job and career goals?

I graduate in December, so this is a question I am getting good at answering. I want to do legislative and policy work that is connected to animal welfare, environmental, and food safety issues. I want to help draft and pass laws on both federal and state levels that regulate factory farming from all of the aforementioned angles. 

What do you think prospective students should know about law school?

Make sure law school is what you really want and is something you really need to get where you want to be because it is hard, and expensive. The best advice I could give to law students is to use all your externship credits. You can only learn so much in a classroom. 

What is an interesting part about your background?  Or in other words, how do you contribute to the diversity of Lewis & Clark?

I'm not sure I contribute to the diversity of Lewis and Clark. In most schools it would be rare that I am vegan, but that's pretty normal here. Perhaps my media background and my desire to do legislative work separates me. I also don't plan on staying Oregon after school, and most people here do. 

16 September 2014

The Summer Experience

 This summer, I went back home to San Francisco, California. Is there any other San Francisco? Probably not, but law school has trained me to be as concise and precise as possible. Fortunately, blogging gives me the freedom to add my own style on how I want to write.

I was able to go back to the bay area thanks to the American Bar Association’s litigation department. There was a program called the Judicial Internship Opportunity Program (JIOP), which placed applicants all across America with participating state or federal judges. I am open to sharing my application experience and summer experience to anyone who would like to know more.

I spent this summer clerking for the Honorable Newton J. Lam of San Francisco Superior Court. It sounds very majestic and final with the word “superior” in the title. However, there is also the California Courts of Appeal, and the real final decision maker, the California Supreme Court. Nonetheless, I biked to the Civic Center courthouse when I could and drove to the Juvenile Justice Center because I was too much of a wimp to bike up the hill towards Twin Peaks. I did not have any trial court experience before this and finally got to peer behind the curtains.

On my first day, I felt eager, nervous, and excited. I observed jury selection of a personal injury case. I then read a tentative opinion of a complex litigation matter. As the days went on, I did a variety of research on case law on the issues that arose during trial. I put my little appellate experience to use and made some recommendations on the opinion. Our department was then given a juvenile homicide after the personal injury trial. We still worked on a variety of civil matters as parties sent in their motions, but focused primarily on the many legal issues around the juvenile homicide. It felt great.

There was more than just the work during this internship. JIOP had its former interns who were now attorneys mentor us. It was a “what you make of it” type of program. I tried to make of it what I could in the short ten weeks but my heart was yearning to be back in Oregon. I enjoyed the 56-degree weather and fog on most days. I loved being back with family and friends. I ate so much food that I could not get in Oregon. However, I also missed my family of attorneys and judges in Oregon. While I feel fortunate I was able to do a “last hoorah” in my hometown, I am ready to embark on my personal journey in Portland, Oregon and grow into a successful attorney. 

*I apologize for no pictures. 

31 May 2014

What does it feel like to graduate?

Although my last post was my official last post. . . I must report that graduating from law school feels great.

You work hard, struggle, and live in law school land for 3 years.  Then, suddenly, you taste the sweetness of freedom.

It is worth it.  Good luck to all of you future JDs!

With some of the best people I know.

14 April 2014

Halah's Thank You Post

Dear Readers,

I always dreamed of giving a thank you speech.  That probably isn't realistic at this point, but I am happy to have one last post to share my thanks.

Thank you to Lewis & Clark College (my undergraduate school), Steve Hunt (my first college debate coach), and Bjorn Stillion Southard (my last college debate coach)  for encouraging me to accomplish my goals.  Thank you for helping me decide to go to law school.

Thank you to my Lakeridge High School debate team for teaching me responsibility as an 18/19 year old coach.  All of you mean so incredibly much to me.  I hope to see all of you achieve your goals in life.

Thank you to Dan Rohlf, Karen Smith Geon, Craig Johnston, and everyone at Earthrise for showing me how wonderful law school can be.  Spending my last year of college with you was the last push I needed to choose Lewis & Clark as my law school.

Thank you to my past supervisor at the Oregon State Bar, George Wolff, for encouraging me through my first year of law school. Your guidance and support was very helpful, especially as I struggled to figure out the "system."

Thank you to Toni Berres Paul, my favorite professor in school.  You made law school worth it in so many ways.  I appreciated all of your guidance and honesty over the last three years.  I am so lucky to have had you for Legal Analysis & Writing and Advanced Legal Writing.  I am even more thrilled to be able to spend my last semester with you as your TA.  You have been wonderful.

Thank you to Erin Ryan, the best Negotiations professor I know.  You taught me how to be more assertive and have higher goals.  You taught me how to be more confident.  These lessons have made me a stronger person.  I cannot thank you enough.

Thank you to Sandy Patrick, Daniel Barnett, my Purple Pod students last year, and the Legal Analysis & Writing Department.  Serving as your TA was a fun and rewarding experience.  All of you taught me how much I love working with people.  Perhaps, one day, I will be back. ;)

Thank you to the OSB Diversity & Inclusion program, Judge Darleen Ortega, J.B. Kim, and the Lewis & Clark Academic Enhancement Program.  Your constant support has helped me and many others make it to the end.  I hope to one day see more diversity in the Oregon legal community.  I have every intention to give back.

Thank you to Meredith Price, a recent graduate, who inspired me, pushed me to work hard, and encouraged me to never give up.

Thank you to the best job ever.  I am so thankful for the opportunity and I am so excited to continue on as a trial attorney this fall.

Thank you to Orange Pod for being the best podmates during 1L year.  I had a blast with all of you. A special thanks to my 1L study and car ride buddies, Kate Shumway and Erin Williams.  Also, a special shout out to my 1L lunch-time buddies, James Henry and Alex Coberly -- thank you for making me feel like I am funny.

Thank you to my law school desi friends.  It was so wonderful to have a small community this year. Also, thank you to my best law school friend and support, Sandy Dhesa.  You made 3L year so much better.

Thank you to all of the other amazing professors, classmates, and friends in school with me too.  So many of you have encouraged, supported, helped, and befriended me.  I appreciate it more than you know.  I am excited to work with many of you in the future and see all of you succeed.

Thank you for the best moments during the start of 3L year.  It felt like a dream too good to be true.

Thank you to the incredible students who let me blog about them in my "Snapshots of a J.D."  You all have inspiring stories and I am thankful you were willing to share.  

Thank you to my fellow bloggers and Admissions for keeping this blog alive.  I loved being able to represent the school.  I hope to see more posts from other amazing students in the future.

Thank you to Dean Klonoff and Associate Dean Spence.  Every year, you both successfully made Lewis & Clark even better. 

Thank you to my family and non law school friends.  I couldn't have done it without you.

Last, thank you to all of the readers.  I hope that one of these posts made an impact on someone at some point.  That would mean the world.

All the best,

09 April 2014

Environmental Law Advocate of the Year

The 2nd Annual Environmental Law Advocate of the Year competition happened today.

Congratulations to Laura Kerr!

Daniel Rottenberg and Ben Saver are amazing advocates as well. Ultimately, Professor Craig Johnston and Lewis & Clark's Environmental Law Program rock!

01 April 2014

Snapshot of an Almost J.D.: Tiffany Greaves

Meet Tiffany Greaves, an almost J.D.

Tiffany is a community builder.  Unlike many law school students, Tiffany is more than a “talker.” She volunteers in the community and is unafraid of hard work.  I admire Tiffany because she is strong, poised, and determined.

I asked Tiffany the following questions.  Here are her answers:

What's your educational background?

I received a B.S. in Public Affairs from Indiana University (Indianapolis campus). Unlike most of my classmates, I did not have a traditional undergraduate experience since I both worked and attended school full-time. As a result, I have tried to make up for lost time while in law school by studying abroad and getting involved with student groups and on-campus activities.

What about your family background?

My mother was born and raised in Montreal, and my father was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in Queens, New York. My mom and I lived in Montreal for six years before moving to Southwest Michigan.  My family is scattered all over the world, but my closest family members still live in Canada.

 Why did you decide to go to law school?

Opportunity. In Southwest Michigan, where I grew up, there are few options for young people looking to start a career. I figured out early on that law school would open up many doors in my life, give me an opportunity to improve my social status, and allow me to use my degree to help people in my community. Law school has been a great experience and I look forward to see where my law degree will take me next.

What is your favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

The people. The faculty and staff at Lewis & Clark truly care about the school and its students. Everyone is down to earth, helpful, passionate, smart, and extremely committed to maintaining and improving Lewis & Clark’s reputation and the legal profession. The people at Lewis & Clark don’t just talk-the-talk, they also walk-the-walk!

What is your least favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

Lack of racial diversity. Portland lacks racial diversity and as a result, so does Lewis & Clark. I have had a wonderful experience at Lewis & Clark and I believe other students of color can have the same. Increasing the racial diversity at Lewis & Clark will only add to the wonderful things this school has to offer. Additionally, it will provide for a more well-rounded legal education and better prepare students for the practice of law.

What are your future job and career goals?

Corporate law. I never thought I would want to practice in this area but I am fascinated by the various laws governing corporations. However, most of my career aspirations go beyond the practice of corporate law. I am fully committed to community development and want to help small business owners realize their dreams. I plan on actively providing pro bono services to minority small business owners. Small business owners are some of the most passionate and dedicated individuals in our society, and I want to help them succeed.

What do you think prospective students should know about law school?

I think prospective students should know that law school is more than just academically challenging. In addition to academic stress, law school will put a strain on one’s personal life (relationships, personal growth/development, etc.). Life still goes on, and most students find it difficult to manage their personal lives while in law school.

What is an interesting part about your background?  Or in other words, how do you contribute to the diversity of Lewis & Clark?

I am proud to say that my family is of Caribbean heritage—my paternal and maternal grand-parents are from the Dominican Republic and Barbados, respectively. The Caribbean culture values community, volunteering, and personal relationships. Since I am a reflection of my heritage, I hold the same values and do my best to stay true to them. I only hope my cultural perspective brings positivity to Lewis & Clark!