Photo of Elyne Vaught

Elyne Vaught

Class of 2014

B.A., Criminal Justice Eastern Washington University

What did you do before law school?

Before law school, I lived on a small pacific Island called Yap Island, which is located in a country called the Federated States of Micronesia. I spent all four years of high school out there and then joined the military shortly after graduating in 2002 in order to pay for my college education. I worked as a military intelligence analyst and spent one year deployed to Iraq. After I got out of the military, I attended college on the GI Bill. I never lost my desire to go to college. I remember during my deployment, I would always keep a college catalog in my rucksack and pretend to choose classes anytime the days just seemed long and dreary. This reinforced my passion to pursue a college education no matter what the obstacle was.

What led you to pursue law school?

An accumulation of experiences over time has drawn me to become a lawyer. From my time in the military, where I had the opportunity to travel the world and witness humankind at its best and at its worst, to my time mentoring incarcerated juveniles during my undergrad years, I have developed a since of public servitude that I believe only a legal education can help me satisfy.

I came to law school because of my passion for public service and my undeniable desire to be involved in the laws that regulate our daily lives. More specifically, my purpose for coming to law school revolves around my passion to help those who cannot speak up for themselves. Growing up, my biological father was in and out of the justice system. I experienced first-hand the repercussions of his behaviors and vowed to never replicate them. During those years, I wished that someone spoke up for me. As a result, I have made it my life’s mission to be a voice for those in similar circumstances.

How has Seattle University School of Law benefited you? What have you found most valuable during your law school experience?

Law school has taught me a lot about taming my emotions and rechanneling them into an effective response that is supported by facts, law, or the like. Every day, my values are questioned through classroom discussions or class hypotheticals. I find these to be extremely beneficial in my growth as a lawyer because not only does it teach me how to answer an exam question, but it also helps me develop an articulate response reflective of my personal values.

Another aspect of the law school experience that I find extremely valuable is the Legal Writing Program. It is by far my most favorite class because it makes me feel as if I am a part of the process from beginning to end.