As our profession is inseparably intermingled with politics, particularly in our state where judges are elected, I have found that it does not diminish civility. More often elections for the legal roles are choices between awesome candidates, and this time I’m excited that I know many of them personally.
But it tugs at my heart to have to make a choice come election day, when a few of them are running for the same role. I want them all to succeed, just as they have encouraged my own career. I could easily go on and on regarding their intellect, warmth, compassion, experience, judgment, and other qualities which the various roles they seek require. The candidates I know are all dedicated public servants with amazing backgrounds that show they merit the roles they seek.
Being at L&C has put me in touch with these great people who are now candidates for AG, Supreme Court roles, etc. Though their particular styles vary widely, there is no question each has what it takes to be effective, plus they’re just good and decent folks who are a pleasure to talk to–which they did despite the little amount of time they have, not because it was a chore, but because it was part of being who they are. A couple of them even take the time to come to campus on a regular basis to teach.
So, why am I writing about these candidates? Because I wanted to remind our law school applicants that the law school provides so many opportunities to become linked, engaged, and invested in the legal community. It’s a happy thing to feel connected, to have an increasing sense of belonging as you work hard and productively toward your own goals.
But as I’ve said a million times before (count ’em, lol), the profession is about people. Despite the times your heart will be pulled in different directions to support all the new friends you will make, it’s still a joy to know that in the end someone you support and enjoy knowing will be leading the legal community in a new way. And even the person who isn’t elected will continue being amazing and will just find a new way to do great things. In short, they will continue to be great examples for all of us to follow, and hopefully give us ideas about how we will tread our own path with confidence.
So, I hope I haven’t been too political here, but I hope in the future I’ll get to see some of my peers run and be elected to these roles. It’s not uncommon to see L&C grads on those rosters of candidates, and they do get elected.
Photo: Historic Pioneer Courthouse in downtown PDX
In the last two weeks, I have had the chance to participate in some interesting extra-curricular activities. Most of my days are focused on school, studying, and making sure the five of us are fed, clean and clothed, so I’ve enjoyed the change of pace in mingling with my soon-to-be peers in the legal world. Since I plan to practice here in Oregon, it is exciting to start making those connections in the community.
First was the inaugural reception for the newly created Lewis & Clark Family Law Society, hosted by local firm Gevurtz Menashe. Since this is an area of the law that I’m very interested in, I appreciated having the chance to learn what the day-to-day of a family law practice is really like. It’s especially good to know that a family law practice will definitely intersect with property law, business, etc., so you aren’t only focused on divorces or custody issues. I really hope that in my professional life I can work in all of these areas, so this was really good to hear.
The next day, I met with my mentor, Ken Mitchell-Phillips. If you have the chance to participate in this program, I highly recommend it. We try to meet about once a month, and discuss whatever comes up: school, grades, life/work balance.
I really appreciate the practical advice and perspective I’m getting from him.
Ken reinforced two big ideas: 1) I have time to decide where I ultimately want to focus on, and I should explore all my options, and 2) even when I do make that decision, I will still need to have solid knowledge of other areas of the law in order to be really useful to my clients — especially in knowing enough to know when I need to refer them to someone else!
Career Services has set up a series of receptions at various legal employers in the city. This week, I attended a talk by the staff of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. There were about 20 DDAs present, and each of them gave a quick talk about their backgrounds and what brought them to the district attorney’s office. It was quite interesting to learn what brought each of them to the office, and more than one person had no interest in working there before they started. But everyone talked about how much they love what they do, despite always having to do “more with less,” and the difference that they make in the community, and the depth of experience and the independence they’ve had from day one. It was great to see such passion and commitment from people who play a huge part in keeping Portland and its environs safe.
Finally, I volunteered to be a witness in the regional rounds for the National Trial Competition. It was an absolute blast. (I don’t think I mentioned this before, but I have a minor in theater.) Mock trial was a great opportunity to dust off those skills, put on a Southern accent and have some fun. It was also nice to get to watch the competition with no pressure. Our contracts professor has strongly encouraged us to do mock trial, and getting to participate a little bit has me seriously considering it.
Photo: Multnomah County Courthouse, SW 4th & Main
PS I did get my grades, and true to my expectations (95% of them, anyway), I did not flunk. Whee!