LAW SCHOOL: Pepperdine University School of Law


UNDERGRADUATE: Illinois State University, B.S. in Finance

HOME CITY/STATE OR COUNTRY: Bloomingdale, Illinois

Scott Sasser’s service in the U.S. Marine Corps became the key to finding a school that would prepare him for a career as a California attorney. Sasser, a 3L at Pepperdine University School of Law, joined the Marines out of a sense of duty to country as well as an obligation to himself.

“I’d grown up in the Chicago suburbs and wasn’t ready to settle into a desk job in my hometown,” he said in an e-mail and telephone interview. “I wanted a challenge.”

As a junior public affairs officer, he wanted initially to stay in the U.S., preferably on the West Coast. The Corps had other ideas. After nearly a year of training in Virginia and Maryland, Sasser was assigned to Okinawa, Japan. While there, he deployed on civil-military operations missions to both the Philippines and Thailand, and one training mission to mainland Japan. He then completed an operational combat deployment to Afghanistan, where he served as a Tactical Psychological Operations Team Leader.

“I describe it as the ‘best worst’ experience of my life,” he said. “We could see the difference we were making there. It also gave me a healthier perspective on life, on what’s important, and on what situations are actually worth getting stressed about.”  Continue reading


Seattle University School of Law.Photo by Marcus Donner © 2013Annette Clark, dean of the Seattle University School of Law, understands more than most the importance of a good fit in careers and law schools.

Coming from a “medical family,” and interested in the sciences, Clark’s dream was to become a doctor. Then came the third year of medical school and work in clinical and hospital settings. Continue reading



LAW SCHOOL: Indiana University McKinney School of Law; Indianapolis, Indiana

STATUS: LL.M. full time, American Law for Foreign Lawyers, graduating May 2015

LAW DEGREE: LL.B., Mackenzie Presbyterian University; Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2003

OTHER DEGREES: LL.M., Corporate and Contract Law, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, 2008


It was Fernanda Beraldi’s career as an in-house counsel at aircraft-maker Embraer SA that led her to  Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where she’s earning an LL.M.

Beraldi, who knew she wanted a master’s degree in U.S. law, had narrowed her search to Chicago and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then a year ago in February, she came to Indianapolis to meet with a client about the sale of a pre-owned airplane.

“I was very impressed with the lawyers with whom I had to work,” she said in a telephone interview. “They were smart, professional and cooperative while at the same time advocating for their client. They weren’t trying to batter us into submission, but rather with every word were clearly trying to get a fair deal done.”

It turns out that not only were they all Indiana lawyers, but they all had attended the McKinney School of Law. Continue reading


Student Name: Michael TiptonUAKRON Tipton

Law School: University of Akron School of Law

Status: 3L

Undergraduate: B.A.; Religion and Business Management; Ohio Christian University

Other Degrees: Master of Divinity, Wesley Biblical Seminary

Home City/State: Circleville, Ohio

Finding the right fit is how Michael Tipton, a 3L at the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio, describes his first years working at a nonprofit.

“I really liked where I was – executive director of Project SPY, which provides emergency home repairs to families in need in southwest Virginia,” Tipton said in a telephone interview. “But I saw how attorneys could both protect us as needed and improve our effectiveness.” Continue reading


CRRJ: Justice Restored: A Community Effort in Mayflower, Texas |It seems fitting that a lawyer who litigated for the future of civil rights in the U.S. should now be working to remedy civil rights injustices of the past.

“I love law – its complexity, its importance in human life and experience,” said Margaret A. Burnham, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law. “I believe that law students need to develop that sense or else change professions.”

Burnham is the founder and director of the law school’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, which engages students in investigating every racial killing in the Jim Crow South from 1930 through 1970. The goal is to work with victims’ families and communities to bring these cases to a just close. “We want to draw current meaning from this legacy of racial violence, which often involved local officials and the police,” Burnham said in e-mails and a telephone interview. Continue reading



LAW SCHOOL: William Mitchell College of Law

STATUS: 1L, Part-time ABA-approved hybrid (online-on campus) program

UNDERGRADUATE: B.A., Social Science Studies, cum laude, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

OTHER DEGREE: Graduate coursework in History, Sam Houston State University; TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language), St. Cloud State University.

HOME CITY/STATE: Currently in Twin Falls, Idaho; originally from Phoenix, Arizona.

Living outside the U.S. left Colby Jones and his wife, Melissa, with a unique appreciation for the challenges faced by immigrants inside the U.S.

Now, even though they’re no longer abroad, the experience continues to wield an influence. Colby Jones plans to use the law degree he’s obtaining in a singular online-on campus degree program at William Mitchell College of Law to provide community legal training that empowers immigrants and refugees. Continue reading


LOYOLANO LOPEZThe career-turning points for María Pabón López, the dean of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, came in the form of a person and a job.

The person “was an Italian American woman, a lawyer for the teacher’s union who took the time – and had the ability – to explain how the law affects people in their everyday lives,” López said in a telephone interview. This was during her year as a science teacher in New Jersey, right after graduating from Princeton. “I knew right then that I wanted to be that woman,” López said. “So I went to law school.”

The job was as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, for the District of Puerto Rico, where her parents were born and the family’s home for many years. “I was actually prosecuting immigrants for marriage fraud, re-entry after deportation, for a host of immigration-related issues that compelled me to better understand what was going on,” she said. Continue reading


NORTHEASTERN AdamsStudent: Hannah Adams

Law School: Northeastern University School of Law

Status: 3L

Undergraduate: Vassar College, B.A. in Drama and Art History

Home City/State: From Boston, Massachusetts; living in New Orleans, Louisiana 

The ability to think creatively, work cooperatively and use theater as a tool for social change is what drew Hannah Adams, a 3L at Northeastern University School of Law, into the world of stage production and lighting design as an undergraduate. After five years helping with fair housing enforcement in New Orleans, the ability to think creatively, work cooperatively and use law as a tool for social change is what convinced her to pursue a legal career and starting at a school known for its commitment to and connections in public interest law.

What she didn’t expect was the profound effect of a clinic unique to Northeastern, one based on the principle that justice delayed 70 years or more is justice denied to many generations of a family. Continue reading


Golden Gate Law Dean Rachel Van CleaveIf perseverance, selfless service and a can-do approach to personal growth are Rachel Van Cleave’s watchwords – as even brief conversations with the Golden Gate University School of Law dean confirm – then the veterans of the Bay Area and their military values are her touchstones and guides.

“Veterans bring with them a wealth of leadership knowledge, particularly in the face of great adversity,” Van Cleave said in e-mails and a telephone interview. “Through them I’ve come to recognize that mindfulness, humility and grit are what generate true leadership adaptability. Because of them I’m continually working to apply this lesson in my own small way.”

One result? “I’ve learned that we can’t always have the answers, but with the right mindset and an excellent team, we can find some pretty good – maybe even very good – solutions,” she said.

That she has such a team in her faculty, staff and advisers, she said, enables her to see what are arguably troubled times for law schools including Golden Gate as a “transformative opportunity for legal education that can only benefit students.” Continue reading


UTEXAS FarnsworthWard Farnsworth, the dean of the University of Texas School of Law, is a man of distinctive passions and choice words. He devours old movies, barbecue and live music; loves baseball; is expert in and written books about rhetoric and chess, in addition to torts, civil procedure, contracts and admiralty law; and is the author of The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking About the Law, whose tools he teaches students to use effectively across practice areas.

Farnsworth’s path into lawyering and legal academia is less that of a directed careerist and more of a polymath who, unable to decide among his many interests, discovered that he need not choose if he pursued law. “Law school is great for people who want to think about everything,” he said in an e-mail exchange. Continue reading