Where are you from? How have your experiences here, or throughout your upbringing, influenced your passions and aspirations today?
I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago. From seventh grade on, I wanted to study journalism. Learning about people’s stories and researching new topics has always fascinated me. As a result, I pursued a journalism degree at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. I reported for a number of media affiliates in college, including the local NPR station. After taking a First Amendment course and covering stories about greenwashing, trademark issues, and more, I made the decision to attend law school. I remain passionate about protecting First Amendment rights, including, of course, the freedom of the press. Seventh-grade Kaitlin would be delighted that I am now working to ensure a free press through strong anti-SLAPP legislation.
What drives you?
Engaging in meaningful and challenging work, contributing to a hard-working team, and striving to be a positive role model for my young daughter.
What does social justice mean to you?
Social justice means providing equal access to the tools and resources one needs to live a safe, healthy, and dignified life.
What do you feel is the greatest challenge to social justice today?
Greed, hyper-partisanship, and a lack of empathy for others.
What is a piece of advice to give law students and young lawyers that want to make a meaningful impact on civil rights and social justice in today’s world?
I would say to think outside the box when it comes to pursuing internships and jobs—you may find fulfilment in an unexpected place! I stumbled into an externship my third year of law school in the bill drafting office of my state legislature and it opened up a whole new potential career path for me—the legislative process and advocacy—that I had not considered before. Get involved in ABA sections and committees and other networking organizations to meet people doing the work you want to do. Ask them about their career path. Seek out opportunities to volunteer for the specific causes you care about.
What CRSJ project(s) are you working on? Or, what have you undertaken in CRSJ that you found most rewarding to have worked on? Are there any upcoming events or projects you want us all to know about?
One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far in CRSJ has been seeing our first-ever Economic Justice Summit come to fruition this spring. It was such an inspiring, motivating event. It was one of those experiences that reminds you why you do what you do! I also served as one of the primary drafters of the basic income resolution approved by the House of Delegates at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Working on that project was a great way to get more involved in the Economic Justice Committee’s work and to gain a better understanding of the ABA’s policy development process overall.
What do you do to relax in your spare time?
I spend time with my family, run, read, and garden.
What is one thing most people do not know about you that you feel they should?
One fun fact is that I have visited an archaeological excavation site.