Brief Background: Before law school, I worked in various areas of the UK government, and then in Portland, I worked in HR/recruitment in the nonprofit sector. I took a career break following my second child, got my master’s degree in Public Administration, and now am following through on that lawyer dream.
Activities I’m Involved In:
I am an SBA Evening Student Rep (2020-21). Advocating for and representing students like myself on campus is important to me. I encourage everyone to represent their school in some way during their law school career, whether it be in the SBA or in another affinity group. I am also a youth mentor, volunteer at my children’s school, and try and find time to volunteer in the community in various ways. I am also a member of OWLS, APALSA, and OTLA. These kinds of organizations help you build networks and relationships that support you through law school.
My Favorite Class
Criminal Procedure with Professor Susan Mandiberg was one of my favorites. Professor Mandiberg is a wealth of information on criminal law and her style of teaching forces you to think on your feet. She approaches difficult subjects with tact and openness while challenging you to come out of your comfort zone and expand your view. Wish I could take that class again!
Meaningful Academic Experience
My most favorite experience by far has been my time as a law clerk in the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic. This is real lawyering working with real people. The clinical experience has given me the opportunity to learn from Professor Kaplan, an amazing professor and mentor, the CJRC’s amazing staff attorney’s and fellow clinic students. I work in the Ramos Project and am lucky to be working on such an important constitutional issue. I have learned more in the clinic than I could ever have imagined.
Why law school?
I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was a child but a lack of confidence always stopped me short of following through. I finally decided to go to law school because I wanted to prove myself wrong! I love the law and I love advocacy, so why was I letting my negativity get in my way? Watching my two girls line up their dreams and passions, I decided I needed to line up mine as well, so I applied and here I am!
Hardest thing about adjusting to law school
As a parent, adjusting to law school is a unique challenge because you are not the only one adjusting. Having a strong support system is important for you and your family. There will be times when you think you are losing at everything and you will need that support system to get you out of your head. Being a working parent and law student is hard but also extremely empowering. I am 100% satisfied with my decision to go to law school. 100%.
Bijal Patel, 3L, Evening
London, UK and Portland (13 years + counting)
London Metropolitan University - LLB Law (Honors)
Graduate - Portland State University - Executive Masters in Public Administration
Children: Two - 9 and 7
Criminal Law/Trial & Litigation