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Snapshot of an Almost JD: Jess Kincaid

March 10, 2014

“I got to know Jess through our work on Environmental Law Review and on Ninth Circuit Review.  Jess is an accomplished woman who has managed to work full-time and attend law school.  She somehow also managed to write two capstone papers and be published!  She really does do it all!”


Halah asked Jess the following questions.  Here are her answers:

What’s your educational background?

I have an AS in Energy Management from Lane Community College and a BS in Political Science and Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. 

What about your family background?

I grew up in a small town on the coast of Maine, and I’m the only person in my very large family that doesn’t live there. My grandparents have a huge old farm house from the 1800s – it barely holds everyone.  When I was a kid, we all got together for birthdays and holidays - aunts, uncles, cousins, grandchildren, etc. Because there are so many of us, it seemed like we spent just about every Sunday together.

I’m also married and have my own family here in Portland now. We have a little house and a couple cats.

Why did you decide to go to law school?

I wanted to move up in the field I work in and I knew a graduate degree would be necessary to do it. After talking to many people about options, I narrowed it down to either a JD or a PhD In the end, the JD seemed to open more doors and give me more options.

What is your favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

My classmates. I’m in the evening program and I work full time so, most of the time, I’m half asleep in class. The evening students are like a big extended family who make it possible to juggle a full time job and law school – we have a team mentality that makes it work.

What is your least favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

Exhaustion!  The evening program is do-able, but I long for a decent night’s sleep and a hot meal during the week. I find myself daydreaming about food a lot in class – every once in a while, I find my notes are interspersed with words like “yellow curry” and “guacamole.”

What are your future job and career goals?

I’m fortunate to already have an awesome job as a Senior Policy Analyst for Oregon Department of Energy. I plan to stay there and continue my work in energy policy when I graduate. I’ve always wanted to be an energy regulator, but that goal is many years away.

I also plan to spend more time volunteering with local nonprofits that help people living in poverty. There are a couple in particular that do incredible work with almost no budget.

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

I think every student has a completely different experience – and it’s important to remember that we don’t all have the same goals. Remember why you’re in law school and hold on to that when times are tough.

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

I am the only person in my family that has earned a bachelor’s degree. I’m pretty sure that between my mom and grandpa, everyone in the state of Maine knows that I’m at Lewis & Clark Law.

Law school seems pretty natural to me now, but just under 20 years ago, I barely made ends meet while living in a car and working odd jobs. I never would have imagined back then that I’d go to college. Knowing what it’s like to lose everything makes me a little more determined not to mess this up!


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