Published on September 10, 2020 by Leighton Doores  

Degree/Year: Human Development and Family Science, 2016

Hometown: Tennessee and the San Francisco Bay area

Current Position: Lawyer at Thenell Law Group in Portland, OR

Describe your journey from Samford to your current position: I graduated from Samford in three years so I decided to take a gap year and figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to continue going to school and possibly pursue law, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure yet, so I became a full-time nanny in Santa Barbara, CA. A couple months later after doing some more research, I realized I did want to go to law school so I started studying for the LSAT. I took the LSAT and applied to law school that spring. I attended law school at Lewis & Clarke Law School and gained experience in government and the private sector. I just took the Oregon Bar exam this summer and I’m now a law clerk at Thenell Law Group until I receive the results of my exam.

What do you enjoy most about your work? I like working with individual clients. I like advocating for those clients in these situations that they never thought they’d find themselves in, such as a car accident. It’s a situation that any of us could find ourselves in.

Did you always know this is what you'd like to do? No, I’ve always had an interest in the law, but I’ve been interested in a lot of things so I wanted to explore other options. None of them really felt right and they didn’t really feel like me, so I confirmed my desire to go to law school during my gap year right after graduation.

How did Samford prepare you for your career? I think the human development coursework that I did immensely prepared me to go into the field of law because most of the time you are dealing with people. Everyone you’re dealing with has a background. It is a very adversarial field and because of my background, it is easier for me to remember that there could be something going on in their lives that they’re stressed about and to not just get immediately angry. I would love for people to know they don’t have to have a background in law to go to law school.

What advice do you have for current students? You get out of something what you put into it. Samford offers so many opportunities to invest in people and your area of study. The university does such a great job of setting things up for students to grow spiritually, mentally and relationally. Take advantage of those things. Out of everywhere I have been, Samford did that the best. Everything Samford did was focused on us as students, our experience, and becoming the best students and people we could be.