Law Student Diaries
Several Seattle University School of Law students are participating in our online student journals. Since the school year began, they have been gathering their thoughts and reflections about what it means to be a law student here: from classroom experiences to juggling commitments to making the most of their legal educations.
We invite you to travel through the year with the students as they share not only their confidences and anxieties but also their accomplishments and success strategies. Hear what it's like to be an Seattle University law student, as they candidly express views about not only law school, but also the law generally, and their professional aspirations.
New entries will be available approximately every few weeks as students find time to squeeze their updates into their busy lives.
Mayra Rangel, 1L
My name is Mayra Rangel. I first became interested in law through high school courses and my personal interest in politics. After high school I attended the University of Washington-Seattle and studied Political Science and Latin American Studies. Before coming to law school, I worked at a domestic violence agency and a women's health clinic in Seattle. I intend to explore different areas of law during my time here at Seattle U, but I am very passionate about public interest work. I feel fortunate for the opportunity to pursue my professional goals here in my home state and Seattle, which I love! In my free time I like to do outdoor activities, follow Seattle sports and enjoy art, especially music.
Thomas Just, 1L
Hello, my name is Thomas Just. I grew up in Indianapolis as a national gymnast. After high school I joined the U.S. Air Force and traveled the world as an intelligence analyst for six years. Then I took off the uniform and studied Philosophy and Government as a Longhorn at the University of Texas at Austin. During my undergraduate studies I became heavily involved in politics and was fortunate enough to become a Congressional Aide. During that time I became fascinated with the process of law. Though the decision to go to law school can be daunting it became clear to me that Seattle University School of Law is where I belong. When I am not studying I enjoy photography and playing competitive chess.
Matthew Chin, 1L
Hello! My name is Matthew Chin. I'm originally from Hingham, Massachusetts, a small coastal town just south of Boston, but moved out to Seattle to pursue my dream of working in sports law. I graduated in 2011 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY) with a double major in Political Science and Public Policy, and then spent two years working in investment banking in downtown Boston. Moving to Seattle was the boldest thing that I have ever done in my life. Law school in its own is a major adjustment, but studying in a city where I didn't initially know anyone has been especially eye-opening. While it has certainly taken me out of my comfort zone, I have loved every part of my time in the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not studying, you can find me exploring the streets of Seattle, finding any excuse to try out one of the many ethnic restaurants, or looking for the best pickup basketball game at the SU Fitness Center.
Brittany Molnar, 1L
Hello, my name is Brittany Molnar. I was born and raised in Arizona and attended Arizona State University majoring in political science with an emphasis in international studies and a minor in sociology. After graduation I went on to work in a small boutique estate planning/administration, probate and civil litigation law firm. While working at my law firm I went on to earn a certificate in paralegal studies. After spending 23 years in Arizona, I knew I wanted to experience something different and am so happy to have moved to Seattle for law school. When I am not in school I enjoy sporting events, mainly football (Go Sun Devils!), traveling, and reading.
Javier Ortiz, 1L
My name is Javier Ortiz, or Javi if you prefer. I'm originally from Southern California, where I got my permanent tan, as well as my B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. After graduating in 2012, I explored the West Coast and fell in love with Seattle and its rain. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I first heard of the Supreme Court when I was about 11. My dreams were further cemented when I joined Amnesty International during my undergraduate years. Being a human rights activist opened my eyes to the world of social justice and the need to help undocumented labor workers and seek immigration reform. That is what led me to Seattle University as the place where I wanted to study law and further my career. I am very excited to start as a 1L here with a community that is so welcoming and helpful in every way. Outside of law school, you can find me around Seattle finding places to work on my fiction short stories, camping, or getting some good use out of my PS3.
Patricia Bredlau, 2L
Hello, my name is Patricia Bredlau. I am originally from Virginia but moved to Washington from Alabama. I studied at James Madison University in Virginia majoring in history and secondary education. After graduating I married my amazing husband, Jason. We then moved to Fort Rucker, Alabama so he could pursue his Army Aviation career by attending flight school. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer but the timing to attend law school never seemed quite right until being stationed here at Joint Base Lewis McChord. I hope to pursue a career as a JAG officer and serve the military community that I love. When I'm not studying I enjoy crafting, exploring the outdoors, and playing with my Siberian Husky, Kojo.
Jonathan Nichols, 3L
My name is Jonathan Nichols and I am thrilled to be moving through my second year of law school. I was raised in the large, urban, border community of El Paso, TX. I didn't move far from home when I went to college and earned my BA in Economics at New Mexico State University. Since I lived my entire life in the same region, I wanted to explore the country after graduating and took a job as an educational consultant in higher education. This experience taught me a lot about myself and I was able to visit 41 states over three years. Once of the places I visited was Seattle, WA, and I thought the city was absolutely beautiful. When it was time to make a change I decided to move to Seattle and it has been the best decision I have ever made. I worked for three years in Seattle before starting law school and I am proud to call the city home. Law school has been a challenging and rewarding experience. While school keeps me really busy, I do make time to do some other activities. In my free time I work out, practice my Spanish, find new restaurants or volunteer with LGBT advocacy groups.
Kristina Markosova, 3L
I was born in Russia and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota at the age of six. After spending a large part of my childhood there, I moved to the Seattle suburbs and attended high school in Redmond. I pursued my undergraduate degree in Economics and International Relations at Boston University. During my time in Boston, I took advantage of every opportunity to travel along the east coast as well as abroad. I spent a semester of my junior year living in Madrid, Spain working at a non-profit and exploring the region. These experiences helped develop my interest in international law, which I hope to incorporate into my legal career. I moved back to Seattle after graduation and came straight into law school. During my free time, I enjoy running, reading, and finding new restaurants to try around the city.
Tamara Howie, 3L
My name is Tamara Howie. I got my first taste of law at Central Washington University, where I studied Law and Justice as an undergraduate. Prior coming to law school, I worked as a paralegal at a small law firm downtown Seattle. This position further solidified my interest in law, and three years later here I am. I am happy to be a 1L here at Seattle U. While I came to law school with specific interests, being exposed to so many areas of law has convinced me to do more exploring. Currently, I would have to say that Legal Writing is the hardest but most rewarding class. Luckily we have the best Professors around to teach us. Having been born and raised in the heart of Seattle, I know this area very well. From restaurants, to coffee shops, there are plenty of places for me to plant myself and get deep into my studies. When I am not studying, you can find me enjoying my beautiful city through food, and arts.
Chris Larsen, 3L
Hello, my name is Christopher (Chris) Larsen. I am a lifelong Washington State resident, spending most of my time in the Seattle area, with a few years in Ellensburg at Central Washington University. At CWU I received a B.A. in both Psychology and Law & Justice (specializing in pre-law). I decided during my senior year that I wanted to go to law school, but after a disappointing LSAT attempt, I opted to get a few years of work experience. After my wife and I moved back to the Seattle area, I began working at ABC Legal Services. During the span of three years I worked in various departments and gained experience in many areas of process service. This was my first professional experience in the legal industry and it increased my desire to attend law school and take on more responsibility. Outside of law school, I am a huge Seattle sports fan and I attend Seahawks' and Sounders' games when I find time. I also enjoy hiking and backpacking with my wife up in the Cascades and out on the Olympic Peninsula.
Chris Wieting, 3L
My name is Chris Wieting. I was born and raised in the Seattle area, so I decided to head north for undergrad, where I attended Western Washington University, majoring in History and German. Upon graduating, I jumped right into law school. Having finished my first year, I am now more convinced than ever that this was the right choice. Law school has been a completely different experience than I could have prepared for, but also much more fulfilling. WHen I'm not on campus, I can often be found spending time with my fiancé Jacky. Otherwise, I look forward to both meeting new people and to learning more about the legal field.
Abra Conitz, 3L
Hello, I'm Abra and I just started my second year at Seattle University! Before coming to law school, I taught elementary school for five years in Washington and Arizona. I am interested in child advocacy, but am unsure if I want to focus on special education laws or being a guardian ad litem.
I live in Tacoma and commute to school on the bus or train. Commuting is nice because of the built in study time (or nap time) every day! In my free time, I play an instrument called the viola de gamba (think of a cello and a guitar morphed into one instrument) with a group in Seattle, read, and spend time with friends.
Leandra Ebreo, 2L
My name is Leandra Ebreo. I am originally from the Seattle area and very proud to be a local. In 2012, I graduated from Santa Clara University near San Francisco, California. I majored in Political Science with an emphasis in Pre-Law. While I loved the sun and warm weather in California, I am very happy to be back in Seattle! I first became interested in law after watching famous criminal trials on TV with my grandmother. This interest has followed me since then and ultimately led me to law school. I am so blessed to say that I am a 1L at Seattle University. Even though the first year is just as challenging as people warned me, the professors at SU are amazing and have made the transition from undergrad a smooth one. Keeping an open mind, I am looking forward to learning about the different areas of law and finding one that suits me best. I love swimming, art, and especially food!