LAW SCHOOL: William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn.
UNDERGRADUATE: University of Northern Iowa – Economics major, Spanish minor
HOME CITY/STATE: Spirit Lake, Iowa
It seems to have been no contest when it came to choosing the first student to spotlight at William Mitchell College of Law. Faculty members, staff and classmates cited April Bosma for her grit, determination, academic excellence and commitment to serving the community. In her home state of Iowa, she mentored children at a local Boys and Girls Club, and at her law-school’s home base in Minnesota, she’s followed what she calls the “deepest part of my heart” to volunteer at the Secondhand Hounds animal shelter.
“What they see is my small-town Iowa work ethic in action,” Bosma said in a telephone interview. “I was raised knowing that you give 110 percent and nothing less. That’s what’s expected; that’s what you expect of yourself. You work hard so that you can play hard; you work hard so that you can reap the benefits.”
Case in point: Her parents, neither one a college graduate, worked hard and planned well so that she could continue her education unencumbered by loans. “I worked my butt off as an undergraduate,” Bosma said, “so that I qualified for scholarships” and wouldn’t run afoul of the debt that is plaguing many law students today.
In law school, she has ensured that her grades are “great” (around 3.14) and that in this second year she is able to take on a heavy course load. “I want to have the time for an externship or something like it next year,” she explained.
What professors and other students see in Bosma may also be the homegrown gumption of the, well, vertically challenged. “I’m a small woman who looks a lot younger than I am,” she said. “I love just the thought of people not taking me seriously, and then I prove them wrong – very wrong.”
That’s one reason she has long wanted to be a lawyer, she said. “I need to be in a position of power where I can use my brain to help people; where I can think and problem solve, and where the challenges change on a daily basis.”
Watching lawyers in the office where her mother works as a paralegal, she said, showed her that “this profession would make all that I wanted possible.”
Her husband, Jake, a welder and member of the Iowa National Guard, apparently agrees. “He loves the idea of a powerful woman and wife,” Bosma said. “He loves the thought of me being a powerful lawyer.”
LAWDRAGON: What were key factors you used to choose your law school?
APRIL BOSMA: Location and size, experience and availability of professors, opportunities for practical experience and the availability of scholarships. William Mitchell is in an absolutely gorgeous setting, a beautiful neighborhood. And it’s just a law school – compact and homey. We’re one big law family here, with no large four-year university attached. Professors are individually approachable. They are truly happy to meet with students, to help students. Most are absolutely fantastic teachers. The knowledge and wisdom they have to share is amazing. And the school offers what it calls “practical wisdom” – opportunities to get out of the classroom and get real-world experience with externships and the like.
I have to say, too, that I applied to maybe five law schools. But when I visited William Mitchell, it felt right. I never looked at rankings. I wanted the right fit. And this was so clearly right for me.
LD: What do you wish you’d known about law school before enrolling?
AB: That it would probably require a lot more studying than what I was used to from my undergrad days, but that it’s much easier putting in those hours of studying when you know that the knowledge you are gaining is going to help you to be the attorney you want to be.
LD: What has been your most memorable law school experience?
AB: Making connections with some really amazing professors who have so much advice and knowledge to share with their students.
LD: What do you plan to do with your law degree?
AB: I plan to go back to my hometown, hopefully to practice in a small firm that does insurance defense as well as some estate planning and real estate law. I always had an interest in real estate, in being involved in some way with the building and designing of homes. These were my plans when I started here. Attending William Mitchell has simply confirmed my career choice and deepened my resolve to succeed.
Contact Margot Slade at (646) 722-2623 or firstname.lastname@example.org.