On a 400-acre dairy farm east of Pittsburgh is where Lindsey Harties spent the first 18 years of her life.
With four years at Franklin & Marshall College—including nine months studying at Oxford—combined with a variety of activities in between, Harteis is now a 3L at the Temple University–James E. Beasley School of Law. She expects to graduate this May.
“I was in a family that milked 80 cows three times a day and did all of that stuff,” Harteis says. “[It’s] very different from the big-law world in Philadelphia. I don’t think you get much further apart from the life that I used to have to now.”
A law degree, however, has not always been Harteis’s goal. While growing up working in the fields and barns, she once thought of pursuing a career as a veterinarian.
“Eventually, [I] just kind of realized there were bigger problems going on in policy, and that a lifetime of sutures is never going to cure the problems that I was seeing,” she says. “At that juncture I just kind of decided law school is probably where I would end up. That’s how I ended up at Franklin Marshall.”
Harteis graduated magna cum laude with a BA in government in 2007. She then took a job with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, where she worked for two years as a trade and workforce development specialist.
Her office was connected to the Secretary of Agriculture’s office, and Harteis says there weren’t many things that came through the office she didn’t get to see. There was also the benefit of getting to meet a lot of people and make connections.
“I knew I had an interest in policy. I knew I had an interest in government,” she says. “At one point, the governor’s chief of staff and a couple other people were around and we were at a bar one night and he basically sketched a campaign plan for me and suggested that I run for state house on a cocktail napkin.”
All of that happened at the time Harteis was pondering attending law school. She was left with the choice of running for office or going back to school.
“At the time, I decided running for office would be a bigger danger,” Harteis says. “Now, actually, I think law school was a bigger risk to take at 23 years old.”
Law school—despite any risk associated with it—turned out to be a good decision. Harteis says she did not expect to like it in the way she has.
While a student at Temple, Harteis spent her first summer as an intern in the criminal division at the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and works as a legal intern for US District Judge Cynthia Rufe.
Harteis’s second summer was spent as an intern at the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith LLP, and she has accepted a full-time position with the firm.
“One of my goals going into law school was I didn’t just want to be limited to an agriculture background anymore; I wanted to learn about different industries,” she says.
But that doesn’t mean Harteis is losing that agricultural background ingrained in her after years on the dairy farm.
“I’m always going to have tremendous respect for the US agriculture industry,” Harteis says. “I will always do what I can for them because I actually feel like rural Americans are struggling the most right now out of any group.
“I saw some limitations that if I just worked in agriculture, I actually might not be able to help people in agriculture as much as if I had a broader pool of knowledge and was working on a broader section of issues.”
Lindsey After Class
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