Capitol gains

Students make invaluable connections studying in D.C.

3Ls Brett Hallagan, Maleena Patel, Lindsay McQuinn, and The Hon. Tom Reed, former Congressman from New York

For some, navigating law school from Green Hall is enough of a challenge to spur them toward receiving their Juris Doctor. Others welcome the added challenge of navigating their last semester of law school in Washington, D.C. as part of the Sixth Semester in D.C. program.

“The ability to participate in this program is what made me choose KU Law,” said Maleena Patel, 3L. “I knew going into law school I was more interested in the policy than the formal practice and having the opportunity to experience policy work in D.C. would hopefully boost my resume so I can do the work I want to do.”

Patel is one of four KU Law students who spent their final semester in D.C. this spring making connections and working in externships across the city. This program, designed by Professor Jennifer Schmidt, connects current law students with KU Law alumni in the D.C. metro area, opening doors for these students in Washington and beyond.

“I created the program that I wanted when I was a KU Law student, one that makes starting a legal career in Washington, D.C., as easy as starting a career in Kansas,” said Schmidt. “I want to make sure that Midwestern voices are part of the policy debate in D.C. This program is a launching pad to help our graduates get a seat at the national policy-making table.”

Through the networking component, students have meetings with KU law alumni and other lawyers in a wide variety of positions in Washington to expose them to the range of career paths available to them and glean general career wisdom. This year, students received a behind-the-scenes private tour of the U.S. Capitol from former Congressman Tom Reed, met Senator Charles E. Grassley from Iowa, Janet Murguia, L’85, and CEO of UnidosUS and many others.

“I wanted to get as much legal experience as possible before starting my career,” said Lindsay McQuinn, 3L. “I cannot think of a better place to get legal experience and enjoy my last semester of law school than in our nation’s capital.”

3Ls Roman Panickar, Brett Hallagan, Lindsay McQuinn; General Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget, Krisann Pierce, L’95; and Professors Jennifer Schmidt and Becky Weber outside the hearing room for the Committee on the Budget

“D.C. remains a top destination for many KU Law graduates,” said Becky Weber, adjunct professor. “Our program is superior to other law schools’ programs because our students graduate with a substantive legal experience in the nation’s capital and a vast network of experienced D.C. lawyers willing to help them.”

From late January to the end of the semester, students are introduced to more than 25 D.C. lawyers in private meetings and another 30-40 lawyers through recent graduate sessions and young alumni receptions. Professional networking is a necessity for any career, but perhaps especially for young lawyers in D.C.

“I got to network and meet lots of people,” said Patel, “including the White House Chief of Staff, Jeff Zients and Representative Cori Bush, a progressive Member of Congress from Missouri whom I admire.”

“From recent graduates who are just getting their careers started to lifelong friends of Professors Schmidt and Weber, everyone we met was eager to offer career insights and support,” said Brett Halligan, 3L

Preparation for this program has to start early by saving up to live in the D.C. metro area and ensuring students have enough credits to graduate. Students in the Sixth Semester program enroll in a field placement (externship) at government or non-profit organizations for six to nine credit hours. This year, the students did legal internships with the Department of Justice, Federal Communications Commission, The Heritage Foundation and WeAct for Environmental Justice. The semester largely acts as a test drive for a real-world career in D.C.

“You should plan ahead,” said Roman Panickar, 3L. “There are a lot of moving parts to the program, and it is helpful to know what they are and how they may impact you.”

Professors Jennifer Schmidt and Becky Weber (far left); Third-year students Lindsay McQuinn and Roman Panickar (far right); and Greg Jacob, former Solicitor of Labor and former counsel to VP Mike Pence (center)

Despite the intensity in preparing for this program, there is no doubt that the Sixth Semester students graduating this May are walking away with invaluable experience and connections that will make them more desirable in today’s hiring market.

“I chose to participate for a number of reasons,” Hallagan said. “But the deciding factors were the ability to learn about and see in action the many different legal opportunities that exist in our nation’s capital and the success previous participants have experienced finding their ideal D.C. jobs.”

If you are interested in participating in the Sixth Semester in D.C. program, please contact Field Placement Director Glenn Jewell at

– By Emma Herrman

Don’t forget to do these things while in law school!

Four things to remember while in law school

Savannah Lucas, 3L

Next week, my fellow L’23 classmates and I will graduate from KU Law. As I reflected on my time here, I remembered all the little things that kept me motivated and present amid all the stress of my studies.

While in law school, it often feels like your “other life” outside school slows down as you immerse yourself in the KU Law community and your studies. However, becoming a lawyer is about finding a balance between your “legal life” and your “other life.” Your three years at Green Hall will race by, trust me. So, to ensure you can achieve a little balance, check out the list below of things you shouldn’t forget to do while in law school.

Read as much as you can (for fun) during the summer and breaks

During the semester, I find that I don’t have as much time to read for pleasure as I would like. I make sure to prioritize my “fun” reading over the breaks. Give yourself a break from all the case briefings and pick up a non-legal read. As I wrap up finals, I am reaching for Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I have a stack of “to-be-read” books on my nightstand that I reach for as soon as classes wrap up.

Register to Vote!

Make sure your voter registration is up to date before you get busy with classes and assignments. You can check your voter registration here. Register to vote by mail if you are coming to KU Law from out of state. Make sure you vote in every election in your district. Several of my classmates and I even help poll watch during elections. Your vote doesn’t get put on hold while you’re a law student, so make sure to make yours count!

Wear sunscreen!

I’m not kidding! Even if you may be inside studying, you are still exposed to most of the sun’s rays through windows. Putting on sunscreen every day before I leave for class is just one of the little self-care rituals that help me feel my best. Find a self-care ritual that works for you – whether that is making your favorite cup of coffee or putting on sunscreen before you head out the door.

Go for a walk

Don’t forget to move your body and get fresh air – go for a walk! I work out in the mornings, so when I have free time in the evening I like to walk around my neighborhood and up to campus. There are plenty of beautiful spaces to walk on campus and in Lawrence. On the weekends, grab a friend and walk to get your coffee or before you spend time studying. I started doing “Matcha Walks” after my first year of law school as a way to find new spots on campus. You never know what you might discover…like the hidden KPR gardens. Spending time outside really fills my cup. It is so important for your mental and physical health.

Finding balance in law school can seem overwhelming, but when you don’t forget to find small things that matter in your world – the balance happens naturally. Stay grounded, lean in, have fun, and wear sunscreen!

– Savanah Lucas is a 3L KU Law Student Ambassador from Leavenworth, Kansas

Growing through discomfort

Public speaking and litigation for the shy

Doug Bartel, 3L

As my third and final year in law school comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the growth I have had – professionally and personally – since starting my KU Law journey. Although some people perceive me as extroverted, I am naturally, and painfully, introverted. If the thought of grabbing a microphone and speaking to a large room also makes you queasy, you might have written off a career in litigation as impractical. Like anything else in life, however, you can develop and nurture the skills you need to build your confidence when publicly speaking and presenting.

I knew when I came to law school that I wanted to be a family-based immigration attorney – a career that is litigation heavy – so public speaking is something I knew I needed to practice and perfect. While, unfortunately, I have not found a “magic pill” or “secret recipe” for overcoming one’s fear of public speaking, I detail below two experiences I had while at KU Law that helped immensely.

1. Moot Court

As part of my Federal Indian Law course with Professor Watts, we wrote briefs and gave oral arguments. After my first oral argument, Professor Watts asked me to participate in the NNALSA (National Native American Law Students Association) moot court competition. Despite my initial kneejerk reaction – “Absolutely not!” – I accepted. I worked for several months preparing with my partner, a process that required us to regularly give oral arguments to our professors and legal practitioners from around the country. During our final round in the competition, over three hundred people were watching us. Yikes! In this experience, I learned that preparation and practice are the keys to overcoming your nerves. Our hard work paid off, and we took home the national prize for KU Law.

2. Internship at the Johnson County DA’s Office

After your second year in law school, students can be eligible for a provisional license to work for a public interest or government employer. I spent my second year working for the Johnson County DA’s Office where I had a caseload of roughly sixty cases, which were a mix of traffic and misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. This experience was a veritable baptism by fire. After a brief training, you begin covering your own pleas, bench trials, and jury trials. While this level of public presentation took several months for me to acclimate to, the experiences I had were invaluable and affirming. I graduate as one of the few people in my class with this level of practical courtroom experience.

While these are the activities that I feel helped me while at KU Law, this list is not exhaustive. KU Law offers many opportunities that will strengthen your confidence in your public speaking abilities. Above all, I hope this post has reassured you that, with intentional planning, a litigation career is possible for everyone.

– Doug Bartel is a 3L KU Law Student Ambassador from Olathe, Kansas

Lawyering with purpose

Student organizations and campus extracurriculars

Corrinne Yoder-Mulkey, 1L

As my first year of law school is wrapping up, I have reflected on what made my year so great. One of the things that I was excited about coming into law school was the diverse student groups and campus opportunities available to KU Law students. I am involved in the following: joint degree program with the journalism school, KJHK 90.7fm student-run radio, Trans Law Student Association (TLSA), OUTlaws & Allies, Public Interest Legal Society, Ambassadors and the Balance and Well-Being student group. While I participate in leadership roles in TLSA and OUTlas, the rest of my extracurriculars are casual and for fun.

I spearheaded a CLE seminar about queer and trans legal issues, and a clothes donation drive for the campus Trans Closet

You should involve yourself in student organizations while at KU Law. KU Law has many organizations that cover everything from identity to hobby to legal specialty. I am the treasurer of TLSA and the 1L representative for OUTlaws & Allies. I have organized events, promoted fundraisers, and created community through my leadership roles in these organizations. My advocacy for queer people through these organizations brings meaning to my legal education and has opened me up to a career in civil rights. New KU Law students should try out organizations and attend their events. You can make new friends and enrich your learning in the classroom with interest-based resources.

Students also have access to organizations on the main campus of KU. I am a DJ on KJHK 90.7fm every Saturday from 12-3 p.m. as DJ Crush. Being a KJHK DJ has been a lifelong goal of mine, and I feel so lucky that I can contribute to the station and community as a law student. My involvement with KJHK is purely for my own enjoyment and mental health. I love playing music on air – and I usually do my law homework between breaks. KU Law students can choose to join any of the 500+ student organizations open to the general campus. I highly recommend finding one activity outside of the law school that brings you joy. You get a chance to explore the rest of campus and make strong connections to the school and city of Lawrence.

I am pictured here (left) with TLSA Vice President Dahlia Denton (center) and Historian Kas Caton (right)

Students can further pursue non-legal academic interests through one of the 11 joint degree offerings. I am a journalism master’s degree candidate in addition to my legal studies. KU Law also offers a certificate program to facilitate interest specialization. Most professors will allow students to take independent studies with them. Independent studies are another way to hone in on your exact interests and make meaningful connections with faculty who can mentor you.

You can truly make the most out of your three years at KU Law by taking advantage of law student organizations, campus organizations, certificate programs, and joint degree choices. With all of these choices, you definitely have to prioritize your time and value your energy above all things. I have a nice mix of things that bring me energy, things that challenge me, and things that are hard but important work. We can and should get joy from a variety of things because lawyers are humans too. Law school is the best time to start new hobbies, create new habits, and open new doors.

Corrinne Yoder-Mulkey is a 1L KU Law Student Ambassador from Eudora, Kansas

Weekend getaways

Four places within driving distance of Lawrence, KS for you to get away.

Helen Phillips, 3L, KU Law student ambassador

While in law school, you’re bound to spend many weekends in Lawrence preparing for your next midterm or writing a brief. But to make sure I maintained a healthy balance of school AND life, I took several weekend getaways to relax, recharge and reward myself for all the work I’d done.

Here is a list of fun places I’ve gotten to visit during law school that are within a few hours of Lawrence and make for the perfect weekend getaway!

1. Westin Missouri (map and directions)

A one-hour drive north from Lawrence will take you to this small town with a lot to offer. Take a walk down Main Street for cute shops to browse, restaurants to dine, or tasting rooms to indulge. If the latter is more your speed, you can go straight to the source with visits to Holladay Distillery, McCormick Distilling Company, or Pirtle Winery, all of which offer samples of their products. For those still unconvinced, check out Green Dirt Farm, which offers delicious, handcrafted cheese and tours of the cheese-making process.

2. Hermann, Missouri (map and directions)

Herrman, MO

Located on the eastern side of Missouri (and a 3.5-hour drive from Lawrence), Hermann is the destination for all things wine. Relaxing days are easily found visiting any of the nine wineries in the area while gazing upon the picturesque backdrop of rolling hills and the Missouri River. The city’s German roots shine through with multiple restaurants offering traditional German fare of schnitzel and bratwurst. If you still have energy left, hop over to the famous Katy Trail for 240 miles of continuous bike trails.

3. Eureka Springs, Arkansas (map and directions)

Helen in Eureka Springs, AK

Head four hours south to get to the heart of the Ozark Mountains and visit this fun and quirky town. Walk around downtown to experience a vibrant art scene replete with murals and shops. If outdoor adventure is what you seek, Eureka Springs has it in droves. You can mountain bike, cave dive (or merely take a walking tour), hike, bike, kayak, paddleboard, zipline, you name it! And once the sun has set, take a tour through the “most haunted hotel in America,” the Crescent Hotel.

4. Omaha, Nebraska (map and directions)

The largest city on this list, three hours north of Lawrence leads you to this city with a little bit of everything. Not only known for being home to one of the best zoos in the country and the NCAA College World Series, Omaha has amazing microbreweries, waterfront parks, and museums!

– Helen Phillips is a 3L KU Law Student Ambassador from Overland Park, Kansas

Running from the law

Recommendations for running spots in Lawrence

Israel Nelson, a 1L KU Law Student Ambassador

Everyone needs a law school coping mechanism. Some people do yoga. Some people draw or paint. I decided running a weird number of miles on a regular basis was going to be mine. If you also enjoy getting your endorphins from running, here are some of my favorite places at KU and around Lawrence to run! (And if running isn’t your thing, these are still good places to go on a nice walk when you really can’t read another word in your Con Law textbook.)

1. KU Campus

With a number of hills to help you build up your endurance and a lot of people who also enjoy running, the campus itself is a surprisingly fun place to run. Not only that, but there are plenty of other students who enjoy running, so you won’t even be alone!

2. Baker University Wetlands

Located in South Lawrence, this nature reserve is idyllic, and as a nice 2-mile loop you can run around while looking at the marsh and all the neat wildlife the nature preserve is dedicated to conserving. A bonus of the wetlands are the neat signs that explain the wildlife that can be found in the area! It’s educational and pretty! (map and directions)

3. Ambler Fitness Center

Me post a 5k easy run feat. my bluebook relay shirt

Some people love the idea of taking a run in nice, chilly weather. Nothing pumps them up more than the idea of taking a nice run with gloves and a jacket on and feeling the brisk wind on their face.

I am not one of those people.

I loathe any temperature under 50 degrees. When winter hit, I found myself scrambling for a way to still enjoy running. I then was reminded of one of the nice perks of attending KU is free access to Ambler and the indoor track! So, when the cold winter temps it, check out the track inside of Ambler! (map and directions)

4. Fleet Feet/Garry Gribbles

Okay, so technically this is a store. However, every Tuesday evening at 6:20 p.m., they hold a weekly running session with other people around Lawrence. They even have the occasional potluck after a run! Every run is about 3 miles, and you can even walk it if you’d prefer. If you want to make some friends outside of the university and run in a group, this is a great place to do it! (map and directions)

5. Clinton Lake

Last but certainly not least, there are the Clinton Lake trails. There are several of varying lengths, ranging from the North Shore Loop which is 2.8 miles to the Blue and White Trail Loop which is a whopping 6.5 miles! If you’re feeling like getting a little bit outside of the city and getting in touch with nature, Clinton Lake is the perfect place to do it! (map and directions)

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of places to run in Lawrence, and I recommend exploring others! I hope that this post gives you a few ideas if running is your thing! (And if you’re in need of a running buddy, feel free to find me at Green Hall!)

– Israel Nelson is a 1L KU Law Student Ambassador from Gastonia, North Carolina