What do you do in your current role?
My job is to provide legal research, legal advice and policy analysis to the Senate Minority Leader and Caucus by analyzing and summarizing all bills in assigned committees; initiating and negotiating amendments and legislation with majority and minority committee members, majority and minority staff and lobbyists; and managing outside counsel and negotiating congressional redistricting and legislative reapportionment, ensuing litigation and legislative reform for the Minority Caucus. I also advise senators and staff on ethics, public records, parliamentary procedure, constitutional law and legal questions.
What is something that SLU LAW does right in order to prepare students for success on the job market?
SLU LAW has excellent opportunities for internships, externships and clinical legal education. If you truly take advantage of these opportunities, you will have significant practical experience before you even enter the job market. Additionally, students who want to litigate should look into the moot court and trial advocacy offerings. I sometimes joke that by the time I graduated law school I had more trial experience than some of my professors.
What was your most valuable experience at SLU LAW and how has this experience helped you in your career path?
One of the many community activities that SLU LAW engages in is Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, where students help provide legal assistance for homeless vets under the direction of faculty. Participating in that event and interacting with the homeless veteran population had a profound effect on me and my career. Since law school, I have continued to work on issues in the military and veteran communities both in my career and in the community. My legislative portfolio has always included veterans’ issues and I believe that experience was an important factor in my decision to join the U.S. Army Reserve as a Judge Advocate.
What advice would you give to students beginning their legal career at SLU LAW?
Focus on relationships. Any time that you can, attend networking events and find ways to engage with other lawyers in the city. Relationships are critical in all careers, but especially so in the legal field for client referrals and job opportunities. That said, also develop and maintain relationships with your classmates and the second- and third-year students. Law school is intense but rewarding and building lifelong friendships has been one of my greatest rewards.