Please tell me a little about yourself generally and specifically what compelled you to go to law school.
A lot of who I am is this pathway to becoming a lawyer and what compelled me to go to law school in the first place. I planned out my life when I was 11 years old. I was thinking about all the different options I could pursue as my career. My aunt always called me “LW” for “Last Word” because I had to have the last word in arguments. I asked myself, “How can I use this knack for arguing to the benefit of others? . . . I’ll go into law!” I started doing research about how to get into colleges and how to get into the legal field, because I did not have any lawyers in my family. At 18, I knew that I wanted to be a successful lawyer and that I could study anything in college before going to law school.
Thus, I studied psychology and French studies. I did a study abroad program in Paris, France, for my entire junior year of college, and there I had a change of heart. I concluded that I absolutely did not want to be an attorney. I did not want to sit in front of a computer all day and write, read, and research. I tried to create a romantic life for myself in Paris. I thought maybe I would teach English as a second language, join the Peace Corps, or do public relations, communications, or entertainment journalism.
As I was looking at all of these possibilities over the next year, I kept coming back to the law. My senior year of college I said to myself, “I have loved the law this long already, and I keep coming back to it. I am going to apply to law school and graduate school and let the fates determine where I am supposed to go.” I applied to joint degree programs that required that I be accepted to the law school and the graduate school at the institution. I kept getting accepted to one or the other, but not both. It occurred to me that I absolutely needed to have a law degree in order to practice law, but I did not have to have a graduate degree if I wanted to get into public relations, communications, or journalism. That is when I decided to focus on law school. I took a year to refocus, get my LSAT scores up, and get better letters of recommendation, and I joined AmeriCorps. I got accepted to Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law. The opening line to my law school admittance essay was, “All of my plans failed.” I feel then and now that it is a blessing when all your plans fail, because it puts you on the path to where you need to be.