Snapshot of an Almost J.D.: Aaron Lindenbaum
March 10, 2014
“Whenever Aaron comes to mind, I always think about his geniality. He makes people feel good. Talking to him is always incredibly calming. Although Aaron is smart, motivated, and hardworking like almost everyone else in school, I think his demeanor and positive attitude make him someone to admire.”
Halah asked Aaron the following questions. Here are his answers:
What’s your educational background?
I attended Sarah Lawrence College just outside New York City where I received a liberal arts education and a BA. In my first years, I concentrated on creative writing, especially poetry. However, I became enamored with the incredible social science curriculum at Sarah Lawrence, and, in later years, focused on social justice issues, including environmental studies.
I then moved to Boston where I worked and lived for 3 years prior to moving to Portland and attending Lewis & Clark. I worked at a public relations and lobbying firm with a team that developed media campaigns for energy and technology companies. Learning how to truly live on my own and succeed in a fast-paced work environment has proven instrumental to my success at law school.
What about your family background?
My mom was born in South Africa, while my dad was born in Kansas. Go figure! My two sisters and I grew up in the Kansas City area.
Why did you decide to go to law school?
I wanted to be a lawyer so that I could be more of a decision-maker. I was the penultimate generalist and I thought: “If I can nail down a specialty in law, I can become an indispensable person in a business setting.” Also, I have a strong interest in energy and the environment, and the companies operating in this space are often highly regulated, so mastering the law seemed like a good idea.
What is your favorite part about Lewis & Clark?
The fact that the law school sits on the edge of a state park is just amazing. Whether it’s the serene view from the library, or the ability to take a walk in the middle of the day, being inside of a forest is just too cool! Also, I love that you can set your own schedule. It’s a luxury that I try not to take for granted because I know it will not last forever.
What is your least favorite part about Lewis & Clark?
There are very few private places on campus to work, and I get very shoddy cell phone reception. There are some great study rooms in Wood Hall, but there only about 8 or so, and you need to sign up with a partner in order to use them. Quite often, I have to be on a phone call, and there’s nowhere to go! (Tip: Gantenbein has 2 “interview rooms” with landlines. These rooms are frequently open and available if you want some peace and quiet and Wood Hall is filled up.)
What are your future job and career goals?
I could see myself in a number of places: in-house counsel, government attorney, or a more typical law firm attorney. I really value a work-life balance (perhaps more than other of my crazy law school friends), so I am trying to be very conscious of that need in my job search.
What do you think prospective students should know about law school?
Everyone comes to law school for different reasons, and everyone learns at a different pace.
What is an interesting part about your background? Or in other words, how do you contribute to the diversity of Lewis & Clark?
I am Jewish and have lived in Israel. The complexity of the political situation between the Israelis and Palestinians has always made me uncomfortable and ambivalent. The fact that there are so many different issues in the conflict, and also so few solutions that have been achieved, may actually have prepared me in some ways for law school. Learning to “think like a lawyer” requires you to accept that certain situations are complex and difficult, but to always believe there is a way out of a quagmire through logic and reasoning. Further, I think my background as a Jew in the heartland has taught me to be comfortable “around the edges.” A lawyer usually does its work at places of uncertainty, and I think my background really helped me develop the skill of being comfortable working in the margins.
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