Over my two and a half years at Lewis & Clark, I have found the culture to be what I expected: collegial and supportive.
Degree and Class Year
Areas of legal interest(s)
I am a current 3L student. Before law school, I supported the business group at a law firm in Portland and have lived in the city for five years. I live with my wife and our energetic golden doodle, Stevie.
What made you decide to go to law school?
Law school just kind of happened. As an undergrad, I majored in English and government. I liked how each major was cross-sectional: in my classes we touched on history, sociology, economics, and gender studies, among other topics. I didn’t know it at the time, but this breadth of study lends itself well to law school.
The first job I got out of college was at a family law office. I found the work interesting and I got along well with my coworkers, but I wanted to explore other areas of the legal industry. When I moved to Portland, I switched to working in business law. I found that I really liked the project-based work and the fact that I would never have to be involved in litigation. Gradually, I warmed up to the idea of a career in law and started studying for the LSAT. A few years later, here I am!
Why did you choose to attend Lewis & Clark?
I had a great experience working in the Portland legal community before law school. I knew I wanted to go to a law school that would give me a good chance to work in Portland after graduation. Lewis & Clark has allowed me to maintain the professional relationships that I began before law school and to meet new attorneys and judges in the Portland area.
I also really connected with the Lewis & Clark campus environment on my visits. When I talked to current law students, they all highlighted the collaborative and supportive culture on campus. Law school can be hard enough on its own. I didn’t want to go to an overly competitive or cut-throat law school. Over my two and a half years at Lewis & Clark, I have found the culture to be what I expected: collegial and supportive.
What is your favorite class that you’ve taken at Lewis & Clark and why?
There are too many to choose from. One of my favorites so far has been Criminal Procedure I with Professor Tung Yin. It is a quintessential law school class where you will learn about all the Constitutional requirements that restrict governmental searches and seizures. The class touches on many topics that you hear about outside of law school, such as Miranda Rights, traffic stops, stop and frisk, and expectations of privacy. Plus, as a bonus, you will get to annoy your friends by pointing out everything the police do wrong in your favorite crime shows.
Do you have any advice for students making their final law school choices?
First, I would recommend talking to as many attorneys, law students, and professors as you can. Most people will be happy to talk about what they liked and didn’t like about their law school experience. You can only find out so much about law schools from the internet. This extra information will help you have a more complete view of how the law school experience can differ based on the school you chose.
More importantly, I would remind you that choosing a law school is a personal decision. You should take time to figure out what factors are the most important to you and those close to you. People value aspects of the law school experience differently. Someone’s advice to you could be based on career opportunities or prestige of a school, but you care more about cost or location of the school. Make sure to choose the school that is the best fit for you, your lifestyle, and your future goals.
What was the hardest thing about adjusting to law school?
During the two years between undergrad and law school, I fully adjusted to the 9-to-5 work schedule. That built-in structure disappeared when I started law school. During 1L, I had to work on creating my own weekly schedule. The free time that law students have during the week can be both a blessing and a curse. I like to have my nights and weekends free when I can. After a couple weeks of reading late at night and over the weekend, I wanted to be more productive during the week. Eventually, I figured out how to create a more normal schedule. Be patient with yourself as you find a schedule that works for your life outside of law school. Make sure to reserve time to see your friends and family, and also take care of your physical and mental health.