Class of 2014
University of Washington
What did you do before law school, and what led you to pursue a law degree?
I was a Client Services Life Insurance Representative answering life insurance policy inquiries for clients. I found that because many clients did not understand the conditions of their policies, they were not making the decisions that could help sustain their policy. Encountering the frustration that clients faced reiterated the importance of strong communication skills demanded by fiduciary relationships. This led me to pursue a position as a sales associate, where I educated life insurance agents on the company’s insurance products. By thoroughly educating agents on the intricacies of insurance products, I helped ensure that clients understood the benefits and drawbacks of insurance options and were in a position to make smart choices. I then transitioned to a portfolio management firm, where I became a client relations liaison. In this role, I worked with investment advisors, operations specialists, portfolio managers, and traders to resolve discrepancies concerning high net-worth client accounts.
What led me to pursue a law degree was volunteering at low income medical clinics as an undergraduate. While participating in a summer pre-medical program, I had to write a paper on whether health care was a right or a privilege. Arguing that health care was a right and seeing the hardships faced by many who could not afford to pay the cost of care is what encouraged me to attend law school and study health law. I felt that as a lawyer I could make a larger difference in health care because the law impacts many aspects of health care delivery.
Was there a defining moment or experience that confirmed your decision to become a lawyer?
In my role as a Client Services Representative in the life insurance department for a corporation, I received a phone call from a policy holder who was unable to obtain coverage from other companies due to his cancer. Because of his illness, he faced the daunting decision to either pay an exorbitant amount to continue coverage or allow his policy to terminate and pay an equally expensive rate. Unfortunately, I was unable to help him in the way he needed because of the mechanism of how his policy worked. The conversation ended in tears on the client’s end and frustration on mine. While I felt that the client should have been tracking his policy more carefully, I also felt it was the insurance company’s obligation to educate clients more thoroughly on its products. This experience along with others was the “enough is enough” point and pushed me to go to law school. In the future, I hope to help companies take a holistic view and create policies that are efficient and client-centered.
What are your professional and personal goals after law school?
At this point, I am still deciding on the field I want to pursue. After taking classes in Business Entities and Health Law, I have a strong interest in corporate law with an emphasis on health care. I am also interested in prosecution and will be interning with the King County Prosecutor’s Office this summer.
What have you found most valuable during your law school experience?
Being a part of the Academic Resource Center family has made my educational experience at Seattle University School of Law a unique one. The ARC program equipped me with the skills I needed to be successful in my first year of law school by teaching me different ways to prepare for classes and encouraging me to find a study method that works for me. The legal writing component of the program enabled me to ease into Legal Writing 1, where I was able to focus more on the nuances of legal writing. This in turn made me a stronger writer, and helped me gain the skills I needed to be a staff member on The Seattle Journal for Social Justice.
Additionally, learning in the supportive environment that ARC provides me made me feel more comfortable speaking in class during my first year, and helped me build strong bonds with my classmates. The ARC family has become my rock in times of discouragement and frustration, and I know that I can always turn to anyone of my classmates from the program and ARC faculty when I need advice.