Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
When I was considering which law school to attend, I knew that my future career as an attorney would center on practicing in the Indianapolis area. The Robert H. McKinney School of Law is 100% plugged into the local legal community and offers great connections to practicing attorneys. Additionally, the flexibility of the part-time program offered me the ability to craft a curriculum that sets me up for success while continuing to work full time.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
This past spring, I was a part of the IU McKinney Wrongful Conviction Clinic with Professor Fran Watson. During the semester, our small team was able to work real cases for two people in Indiana who are incarcerated and fighting for post-conviction relief. We uncovered promising new facts and insights for their cases that could lead to their eventual exoneration and release.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
The Indianapolis area offers a great balance of size and small-town feel. I also appreciate the ways diversity and inclusion are becoming a stronger focus for the community. There are also so many hidden treasures in the surrounding neighborhoods and communities to enjoy local foods, beers, and spirits.
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
My decision to attend law school has both professional and personal aspects. In my career, I have worked in a legal setting for many years and I am currently the Chief of Staff for my company’s Chief Legal Officer. We are a $2B company in 17 countries with over 100,000 employees, so…yes…we have legal issues every day! By achieving my law degree from IU McKinney, I will be able to shift my career from “playing” lawyer to actually being a lawyer.
In my service life, I volunteer on a prison ministry team with Kairos Prison Ministry International. We are a non-denominational Christian organization that works with men, women, and youths to support their ability to build meaningful relationships, founded in faith, both while they are incarcerated and after their release into the community. During my time with Kairos over the past seven years, I’ve seen firsthand the often-disheartening challenges of receiving good legal support to address innocence, post-conviction relief, sentence modification, or just navigating the criminal justice and corrections system.
Once I pass the Indiana Bar Exam next year, I plan to work pro bono with the incarcerated and their families to support their needs for equal access to justice. My biggest inspiration in this area is Bryan Stevenson and his book “Just Mercy.” His work in death row inmate advocacy and the equal protection issues surrounding the death penalty is fundamentally important to delivering justice. I am excited about using my law degree from IU McKinney in this way as well after I graduate.