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Snapshot of an Almost JD: Alex Tinker

March 10, 2014

“Alex is one of the most intelligent people I know in school.  He is well spoken and well informed.  He always contributes something meaningful to a conversation.  I enjoyed having him in my classes because he could break down something I found impossibly complicated and make it seem simple.  I think everyone in school knows Alex will be a successful lawyer.”


Halah asked Alex the following questions.  Here are his answers:

What’s your educational background?

I attended the University of Oregon where I received a BS, majoring in political science and minoring in economics.

What about your family background?

I was raised by two mothers - my biological mother and her partner, who was a primary parent to me from birth. I have an older brother (my “other” mother’s biological son) and a sister who my biological mother adopted as an infant. My biological father was a friend of the family who lives in Portland. I have a somewhat nontraditional relationship with he and his wife, my stepmother.

Why did you decide to go to law school?

My family and others like it were the subject of controversy when I was a child. In the 1990s, numerous anti-gay ballot measures sharply divided the state of Oregon. My mother ran a nonprofit organization that engaged in advocacy regarding gay- and lesbian-headed families, so we often found ourselves playing a very public role. I was acutely aware of how laws, motivated by peoples’ prejudices, failed to legally recognize our family and denied us the rights of heterosexual-headed households. On the other hand, the fact that our family was multi-racial (my brother and sister are both biracial) wasn’t much of an issue. By then, the civil rights movement had succeeded in abolishing formal/legalized discrimination.

I thus learned from an early age that laws and legal structures can have an enormous impact on peoples’ lives. 

I never worked on civil rights issues, but after college I worked for various nonprofits and for a state legislator. Through my advocacy work and my work in the legislature, I became familiar with the intricacies of various areas of the law, and I found it all fascinating. When I decided to go to law school I had an eye toward public interest law, but I was also ready to pursue a “big firm” position if I had the opportunity.

What is your favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

Just a few steps out of any building on the law school campus can take you into a beautiful, serene forest. That kind of fresh air and open space is priceless to a law student - especially during final exam preparation.

What is your least favorite part about Lewis & Clark?


What are your future job and career goals?

I am excited to join the litigation department at Tonkon Torp, LLP this fall. If things work out as I hope they will, I may well stay there for my whole legal career. 

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

Law school involves a huge volume of intellectually demanding work. It can crush you if you let it. But if you treat it as an opportunity to learn and to push your brain a little harder than you have before, it can actually be a lot of fun. A mentor of mine said the best advice he could give me about law school was to soak it up while you’re there and indulge in the experience, rather than seeing it only as a stepping stone. Sometimes it’s hard, but maintaining that attitude makes all the difference.


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