There are a lot of good law schools out there, but few foster the genuine altruism you can observe within attorneys that graduated from Lewis & Clark.
Degree and Class Year
Areas of legal interest(s)
Hello! My name is Julia and I am a 1L pursuing a joint JD/LLM degree in environmental law here at Lewis & Clark Law School. Before coming to Oregon, I earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I majored in environmental science but gravitated toward policy and the power of change that it holds. I decided to pursue a minor in political science, join the debate team, and eventually come to law school!
What made you decide to go to law school?
Have you ever seen Julia Roberts in the movie Erin Brockovich? How about Marshall Eriksen in How I Met Your Mother? If so, then you will understand why I want to be an environmental attorney. For those of you who haven’t seen either, I decided to go to law school because I felt knowledge of the law would best equip me to protect vulnerable communities against water pollution. This is an issue I am particularly passionate about because my hometown of Ashland, Massachusetts, was one of the first ten Superfund sites in the country. I grew up hearing stories about how the pollution from the local dye manufacturing plant turned the rain and snow different colors, and that the children who used to play in the multicolored puddles developed rare cancers later in life. With my legal education, I hope to help prevent catastrophes like these from occurring and ensure all communities have access to clean water.
Why did you choose to attend Lewis & Clark?
With my environmental science background and passion for water quality, I knew I wanted to attend a law school that not only had an environmental law program, but was proud of their environmental law program. In that respect, Lewis & Clark is exactly the school I was looking for. The school’s dedication to supporting students pursuing environmental law and public interest law in general is evident in their course offerings, summer externship opportunities, financial aid programs, student-led organizations, and school culture. No matter what area of law you pursue here, there is always a focus on using law for the greater good. There are a lot of good law schools out there, but few foster genuine altruism to the extent that you can observe within attorneys that graduated from Lewis & Clark.
List up to three activities (school-related or not) that you are involved in. Pick the ones that are most important to you and tell us why.
- An extracurricular organization that I am currently involved in is the Water Quality and Environmental Justice divisions of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC)—a group of students, professors, and alumni who complete projects to further ongoing environmental campaigns. As a 1L, I am excited to gain hands-on experience editing legal documents and making suggestions for public comments that impact real-world environmental disputes.
- I also hope to become a 1L representative for the Environmental Law Caucus, a forum for law students to celebrate the environment and promote ecological sustainability. My interest in this caucus stems from my desire to balance my legal efforts to promote sustainability with boots-on-the-ground efforts to preserve natural spaces within my local community.
Whatever goals you wish to achieve during law school, there is certainly a place for you in one of Lewis & Clark’s numerous student organizations.
What was the hardest thing about adjusting to law school?
Since I moved across the country to attend Lewis & Clark, the hardest thing about adjusting to law school for me is that I am not only adjusting to a new school and a new style of learning, but also a new apartment, a new commute, a new part-time job, new geography, new weather, and even a new dialect (Willamette is pronounced Will-AM-Uh-t!). That said, the adjustment has been much less difficult than I anticipated because I have made already made some amazing friends at L&C who have become a great support network. Ultimately, I have found it empowering and eye-opening to make the move across the country, and I would recommend taking the leap of faith to anyone considering attending law school far away from home.
My greatest advice to entering 1Ls is not to be afraid to take advantage of office hours and review sessions. The professors at Lewis & Clark are exemplary. The ones I’ve taken courses with so far are incredibly approachable and are invested in the success of every one of their students. Do not underestimate how valuable a few minutes of discussion one-on-one with the professor can be for your understanding of a difficult concept. In addition, the review sessions are led by 2L and 3L students who have succeeded in the courses you will be taking and often have alternative ways to explain difficult concepts, which are almost always helpful. Best of luck and hope to see you on campus soon!