April 30, 2015 Articles

The Pioneers Series: An Interview with Justice Rives Kistler of the Supreme Court of Oregon

By Nick Kacprowski

Tell me about your background before going to law school.
I grew up in a small town in North Carolina outside of Greensboro, which was the closest city. After graduating high school in 1967, I went to Williams College in Massachusetts. After college, I lived in Europe for over a year. I spent time hitchhiking for a bit. I worked for the World Health Organization in Geneva, but not in a white collar job. I worked the night shift as a paper cutter, helping to prepare printed materials for daily meetings. 

When did you decide to go to law school?
In college and when I was traveling and living in Europe, I thought I wanted to be an English professor. After coming back from Europe, I enrolled in graduate school. I was not the most focused and ended up taking lengthy breaks from school. For a while, I moved to Washington, D.C., and worked in a bookstore. About seven years out of college, I thought I should do something more serious with my life and begin thinking about a real career. I thought about law school and began applying. At about the same time, I finished up my thesis several years behind schedule. I even worked as a gardener for about six months on large-scale public works projects like state parks and highways. That was after I had been accepted to law school but before I started. 

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