Matt Heldt

My favorite class would have to be Evidence. I learned how to properly write and argue evidentiary motions. That kind of real-world experience has helped me in a subsequent summer job and has made me better prepared for the practice of law.

Matt Heldt JD '23

Degree and Class Year

JD ’23

Program Type

3-year JD (full time)


Appleton, Wisconsin

Undergraduate/Graduate School(s)

Marquette University

Areas of legal interest(s)

Labor and Employment

Brief Background

Before coming to Lewis & Clark, I played college basketball at Marquette University, and I took a gap year between graduating in 2019—with a double major in sociology and criminology and law studies and a minor in political science—and starting law school. After that, I was a legal intern at a public corporation based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Although I no longer play basketball competitively, I still play pickup with a group of fellow law students. Additionally, in my free time I like to read, exercise, write, and explore Oregon.

Why did you choose to attend Lewis & Clark?

I wanted to be in the Pacific Northwest, in a city—preferably Portland—and at a smaller school that was not cutthroat. Lewis & Clark met all of those things. In part because of my team sports background, and also because of stories I’d heard about how competitive law school can be, I wanted to go to a school with an inclusive and collaborative community. Now, as a 3L, I can safely say that Lewis & Clark surpassed my expectations. I have cherished being a member of our law school community.

What is your favorite class you’ve taken at Lewis & Clark and why?

My favorite class would have to be Evidence. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed many of my classes and professors, Evidence takes the cake because of the practical way my professors taught the class. In addition to learning the Federal Rules of Evidence, I learned how to properly write and argue evidentiary motions. That kind of real-world experience has helped me in a subsequent summer job and has made me better prepared for the practice of law after graduation.

List up to three activities you are involved in. Pick the ones most important to you and tell us why.

Three activities I’m involved in are

  1. L&C’s 1L Mentor Network. Lewis & Clark’s 1L Mentor Network pairs small groups of 1Ls with two upper-division mentors. Being a mentor has given me an opportunity to pass on things I wish I knew about sooner and to act as a reference for 1Ls to ask questions. 
  2. Minds Matter Portland. Minds Matter Portland is also a mentoring program, but not through Lewis & Clark. I mentor three high school students from sophomore year through graduation. My mentees are now seniors, and watching them grow into young adults has been a rewarding experience. 
  3. Lewis & Clark Law Review. Law Review is important to me because I’ve drastically improved my writing, citation, and researching skills through the publication process. Also, I’ve made numerous friends, which in turn has contributed to the overall sense of community I feel as a Lewis & Clark law student.

All three are important to me because they have contributed to my sense of community at Lewis & Clark and the greater Portland area.

Do you have any advice for law students making their final law school choices?

Spend some time really thinking about being on campus, in classrooms, and in the community. Scholarships and rankings are important, but a law school experience is made through interactions with the community. I chose Lewis & Clark over two schools that both offered me full-tuition scholarships—Lewis & Clark is not paying my full tuition—because apart from money, Lewis & Clark fit everything on my list. Now as 3L, I could not see myself being anywhere else. I’d choose Lewis & Clark if I did it all over again.

What do you do during the summers?

I spend the majority of my summers in Portland. I visit my parents after finals for about a week before coming back to Portland. While in Portland, my summers consist of a summer job—usually 10 weeks—and spending time with my friends exploring the Pacific Northwest, especially hiking or camping. Summer is usually a much slower pace than the school year, so I try to take as many opportunities to enjoy it as I can.

What externships/clinics have you participated in and what was your favorite part of the externship/clinic?

The summer after my 1L year I externed for a federal judge in Portland. In fall of my 2L year I did the Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC). My favorite part of being a judicial extern was how much I learned in ten weeks. Every day had new lessons in how to be a better writer, researcher, and lawyer; plus, I had the privilege of learning the law from a knowledgeable and experienced group consisting of the judge and his staff. My favorite part of the SBLC was that I did real legal work for real clients. Law school is mostly discussing past cases or closed-world hypotheticals, so doing work that made a real impact in my clients’ lives was extremely rewarding.

Business Law