Having lived in New Jersey, California, and Kentucky, Sarah Thrasher is in an ideal position to assess not only the Maurer School of Law as an educational institution, but also the benefits of experiencing life in a new environment.
Before coming to the Law School: I graduated from Berkeley in 2007 and worked for a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley for two years. I was part of a client relations team that marketed investment products to foundations, endowments, and pensions. A high point was working with our in-house general counsel on our marketing documents and seeing how he advised us, his clients. That’s partly what motivated me to come to law school.
Why I chose Indiana Law: When I visited Bloomington for Spring Law Day, I saw collegiality in action among the students, professional staff, faculty, and administrators. I also thought our Office of Career and Professional Development was energized and creative. The office organizes spring break networking trips in various cities, and Dean Keller told us about how he made a new employer relationship for these trips while laidover in an airport! I felt re-assured by his proactive approach given the job market. I valued feeling that someone else was looking out for my career in addition to just me. Then in the afternoon I heard about the research Professor Cate and Professor Hughes do on information privacy and security in the digital age, and that got me excited about the research projects going on here.
Favorite courses: Contracts. I like the way Professor Boshkoff highlighted the importance of communication between two negotiating parties and that a contract often allocates different types of risk. Now I’m taking international business transactions with Professor Buxbaum. Every class we start by discussing the morning’s business news and how it might relate to the material we’re learning. Professor Buxbaum worked in a law firm’s German office on mergers and acquisitions so she brings that experience to the cases we’re reading.
Take time to explore: I went to most of the weekly Career Choices lunch series offered by the Office of Career and Professional Development as part of the Legal Professions course. I came back from winter break and wanted to learn as much as I could about different legal practice groups and employers. I got my 1L summer job with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Louisville as a result of introducing myself to one of the speakers. The position was amazing, but I learned litigation might not be for me. This summer I’m switching gears and working at a great AmLaw 200 firm doing transactional work. The law school encourages us to explore, both in our class selection and summer positions.
The Law School has a personality: I call it a collection of moments. If you walk down the hall, you’ll see people at their lockers (yes, we have lockers!) saying hello to each other, holding the door, offering to bring a drink from Starbucks—those human touches that make a real difference. My classmates go to the Mock Trial finals to support their friends and celebrate each other’s successes. And Dean Robel knows the students and calls them by name.
On life in Bloomington: Bloomington offers the cultural opportunities of many large cities, at much lower cost and greater convenience. Meryl Streep just came through as part of Indiana University’s speaker series. Vampire Weekend had a show here, as well as Girl Talk. We have local yoga studios, a variety of charitable running events, a brewery—most of the things I enjoyed doing in San Francisco I do here in Bloomington.
Things to consider: As potential law students, we could use some humility around admitting that we don’t know about what the practice of law is like. Don’t be afraid that people won’t talk to you! Alumni are more than willing to help, and glad to. Also, law school is harder than you might think. It requires enormous discipline and concentration. You owe it to yourself to do whatever you can to optimize your environment by asking yourself which school will best meet your needs. If you want a welcoming and inclusive environment, this is the place.