January 01, 2013

Usman Mughal

Partner at Green, Howard, & Mughal LLP; Class of ’09
Academic help in the form of out-of-class tutorials supplemented any deficiency I felt with English as a second language. I sincerely believe that hard work and the engaging environment at Lewis & Clark Law School prepared me well for a successful career as an attorney.

Like most Americans, I am an immigrant and a child of immigrants.  My mother moved to Pakistan, from India during the turbulent time of the India and Pakistan partition.  My father was born and raised in Pakistan but moved to Kuwait in his early 20s. I was born in Kuwait where I received my early education but completed my high school in Lahore, Pakistan.  I then moved to North Carolina where I received my Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering and Masters in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.  After joining Intel in Hillsboro Oregon as a design engineer, and working there for over six years, I decided to pursue a career in Patent Law, my ultimate goal.

When researching law schools, I considered many schools in the nation because I was prepared to move anywhere to pursue my goals.  However, leaving my job, incurring student debt, and supporting my family of four made me look locally for the ideal law school.  I started researching Lewis & Clark Law School.  Lewis and Clark offered a unique evening program in which I could attend classes in the evening and continue to work at Intel during the day.  This program allowed me to continue to receive income and receive a high quality education.  The school also offered an array of scholarships that allowed me to incur little debt.  While Lewis & Clark Law School is highly-ranked in the program of Environmental Law, it also offers a superior intellectual property law program also with option to gain a Certificate in Intellectual Property Law.  I attended the mock law school class offered by Lewis & Clark Law School before making my final decision.  The highly engaging and interactive mock class in contract law convinced me that I will have a great learning experience at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Another factor that guided my decision to join Lewis & Clark Law School was its proximity to a thriving local Muslim community.  Being a practicing Muslim, I desired nearby access to a Mosque.  Lewis & Clark College is close to many regional Mosques.  It was imported to me to have the option to easily join traditional night prayers during Ramadan at a nearby Mosque from Law School. 

Since I spent the majority of my academic career in science and engineering disciplines, going to law school was not easy.  English being my second language posed unique challenges also.  I learned that Lewis & Clark Law School provided an intense 10 day law school preparation class to help familiarize prospective students with the law school environment and curriculum.  This class, which is part of the Academic Enhancement Program (AEP), prepared me for the first semester.  I learned how to take notes, how to outline, how to take an exam, and how to prepare for class, etc.  Knowing all this information before the first day of class gave me an advantage over students who did not participate in this program.  The professors who taught the program became my mentors for life, and the students I met there became close colleagues through law school and are now great friends after graduation.  The staff associated with the AEP program remains a great resource even after graduating from law school.

The faculty, staff, and fellow students at the Law School were always available to help me understand the law.  Being a minority student at school, I never felt disadvantaged.  As a Muslim, I pray five times a day, and I prayed my daily prayers at their regular times at Lewis & Clark Law School.  When I joined Law Review, I prayed in the dedicated Law Review room.  Law review members would walk in the room and see me pray, and respected that.  Fellow students knew I fasted during the month of Ramadan and supported me during long fasting days and rigorous academic routine.  The culture of the school is open and welcoming to students of any background.  As more Muslim students join, I am confident that the Law School will be open to having a dedicated prayer room for students of all faith. 

Academic help in the form of out-of-class tutorials supplemented any deficiency I felt with English as a second language.  I graduated Cum Laude and received numerous scholarships while at Law School.  I now work as a Partner with Green, Howard, & Mughal LLP in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  I sincerely believe that hard work and the engaging environment at Lewis & Clark Law School prepared me well for a successful career as an attorney.