As an attorney at the nonpartisan Wyoming Legislative Service Office, Tamara Rivale partners directly with senators and representatives of the Wyoming Legislature to draft bills and resolutions as well as provide legislative legal advice. She credits much of her success to the Colorado Legislative Fellowship Program, resources provided by the Career Development Office, and Colorado Law’s focus on experiential learning.
Tell us a little about your work. What do you do, and what might a “typical” work day look like?
As an attorney at the nonpartisan Wyoming Legislative Service Office, my typical day varies greatly depending on the time of the year. During the months leading up to the legislative sessions that begin annually in January or February, I work directly with individual senators and representatives of the Wyoming Legislature to draft bills and resolutions as well as provide legal advice on areas of law they wish to legislate. On a typical day, I might counsel legislators on constitutional law, provide information on other states' laws, or advise legislators how a court may decide a particular issue. My days during the interim months are also filled with reviewing rules adopted by state agencies and attending legislative committee meetings. As a member of a small team of talented attorneys, I often get to work on a new area of law every few days.
Once the legislative session convenes, my office physically relocates to an area situated directly next to the floor of the Wyoming House of Representatives—an area commonly referred to as the "attorney bull pen." While bills are read, debated, and voted on, the majority of my day is filled with drafting amendments or counseling legislators, often in real time as a bill is being considered.
How did you find your job?
During law school, I had the opportunity to complete the Colorado Legislative Fellowship Program for credit and it inspired me to focus my career in the public sector. After law school, I began my career at the National Conference of State Legislatures and transitioned to the Wyoming Legislature when the opportunity arose.
How did Colorado Law help you in your job search?
From the very beginning of my job search, the Colorado Law Career Development Office was there to aid me and provide résumé and cover letter feedback, notify me of potential openings, and serve as a sounding board as I explored potential career options.
What skills do you utilize on a daily basis and how did your experiences or courses at Colorado Law help you develop these skills?
My experience in the Colorado Legislative Fellowship Program was pivotal and I credit Colorado Law's focus on experiential learning as providing me with that opportunity. The fellowship taught me about the legislative process and helped me learn how to advise and interact with legislators. On a more practical level, I use the skills I honed in legal writing every day.
Please talk a little about “people skills” and networking specifically. How has your professional network made a difference in your career?
As with any career, networking has helped me achieve my current position. I found success in selecting the career I wanted to pursue and working in the field making connections and learning about the work until I ultimately landed in my current role as an attorney at the Wyoming Legislature.
What advice would you give to current students with respect to finding a job?
I would advise students to be open to working in a range of geographic areas. This is especially convenient in light of the Uniform Bar Exam.
If you were to recommend Colorado Law to a potential law student, what would you say?
Colorado Law is a highly respected institution filled with professionals who care about your success in school, your career, and in life.
Why did you choose Colorado Law?
I chose Colorado Law because I valued its reputation as an exceptional law school. I knew I wanted to attend a school in the West and I found it to offer the best return on investment.