Clinical Professor of Law
Please tell us about a piece of your scholarship or your teaching that you are passionate about and that is related to public service.
I am very motived and passionate about the work I do in my Criminal Defense Clinic. My students and I represent people who are indigent and charged with misdemeanor crimes in Boulder County and City Court. I think it is exciting to help students with their first cases. I feel like I always get the very best students in the law school. The students in my clinic are passionate, fun, funny and most importantly devoted to doing the very best for their clients. I clearly remember my very first jury trial and what a big deal that was for me and my client. As a clinical law professor, I get to assist in that experience for students every semester. On top of that, we are helping clients receive excellent representation. Clinic is a great experience because students have time to go that extra mile for clients. Clinic is also powerful because it is small. I have an opportunity to work with students on an individual
What motivated you to become involved in public service work?
I have always loved a great story. I began working with homeless folks when I was in high school. I really enjoyed listening to their stories when they came to the shelter. Those experiences got me involved with an unusual community theater troupe when I was in college. Our troupe would go places like homeless shelters, jails and prisons and help the people living in those facilities write their own stories into theater pieces that they and we would perform. I also started working at a group home for mentally ill adults. Learning about the injustices that these groups of people faced on a daily basis encouraged me to go to law school. After graduating from law school, I became a Colorado State Public Defender. As a public defender, I always felt like I was still telling people's stories. I just had a different audience. Sometimes my audience was a District Attorney, a Judge and often juries. Helping people in power see each "defendant' as an individual with their own story remains what motives me in our representation and with my students.
Did you have any experiences in law school that influenced your interest in public service?
I had two experiences in law school that shaped my interest in public service. During law school I continued to volunteer at a homeless center for youth. While I was there I worked with a legal center to start a homeless advocacy program in the shelter and helped getting it funded. Second was clinic. I took at criminal defense clinic while I was in law school and did my first jury trial. That experience was amazing. I saw so many of my interests come together. Criminal defense combined my passion for working with indigent people, law and theater. I was hooked.
What advice do you have for our students who are interested in public service?
My advice is try everything. Law school is a time to figure out exactly what you like and what you don't like. Practicing law is not easy and you will spend lots of hours each day doing it when you graduate. It really helps to love what you are doing. The only way to know is do it.