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Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD)

New Albany, Indiana
Previous Education:
BA’08 psychology, Indiana University Bloomington

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Current Student Profiles

'The People Are Just Phenomenal'
Abbey Stemler, JD’11

Staying local for law school: I decided to go to law school really late. I took the LSAT in February with intentions of beginning school that summer. It was such a last-minute thing, and I wouldn’t recommend jumping in so fast. But I was really interested in social entrepreneurship, and using the tools of capitalism to do good outside of the market economy. Because there is no graduate program in social entrepreneurship, most of the people I talked to told me that a law degree would provide me with the tools to make the arguments necessary to create positive change. I’m now going for my JD-MBA, which will take four years.

When I walked into my first class: It was terrifying. You get the sense that everyone in the room is smarter than you. That they were a political science major, paralegal, or Supreme Court historian before they came to law school. I’d read a ton of reviews from previous 1Ls about their first year, but I discovered most of them were totally wrong. Law school has been a lot more doable than I ever imagined. It’s been mentally challenging and stressful, but it’s a great experience. I really kind of enjoy the new way of learning and thinking about the world.

The people: The people are just phenomenal. I’ve made a group of friends that I know I’ll be close to for the rest of my life. I did the Law School’s Summer Start program, so I had one course to get my feet wet and learn how to be a law student. I’d recommend that program anyone who’s going to go to IU law.

Hiring my own teachers: I’m serving on the faculty selection committee for our entry-level faculty candidates. It’s been a really great experience. I’ve enjoyed working with our faculty and meeting with my future professors. It’s been an eye-opening experience talking to people who attended different law schools and who have worked for organizations, practiced law, or taught. We’ve got five great new professors, and it’s exciting to have had a hand in that.

Favorite professor: Hannah Buxbaum. I’ll never forget my first five minutes of law school because of her. She walked into the classroom with everyone’s name memorized and immediately called on a friend of mine and had him state the facts of the case. Not only is she extremely smart, but she cares so much about teaching the material so that we understand. Talking to her during office hours is fascinating. And she’s very well-dressed!

Study secrets: I’m known to my friends as the supplement queen. Though some say supplements should be avoided at all cost, they really helped me look at the things I’m studying from a different perspective. Supplements highlight what you’re learning, and give you a different angle. That’s the best way I’ve studied. I’ve also learned that I can’t study at home. Home is the place I go to chill out and try not to do too much work there. You have to mentally separate yourself from where you relax and where you work. I generally study at the library during the week and usually on Saturdays. I normally try to take Sundays and after 7 p.m. on the weekdays off.

Best advice received: Reserving time for myself. Most law students have the type of personality where when they have a task, they throw all their energy into it. I’ve realized that you can’t know everything, and you’ve got to strike a balance between studying and not studying. You’ll be much more focused if you eat well and sleep well. That first year is kind of like an initiation; like hazing. . To have classmates going through that exact same experience really bonds you all together.

Career focus: I had a great summer job at Bose McKinney & Evans in Indianapolis. They have an entrepreneurial service division, so I helped entrepreneurs start up their companies. I also had the opportunity to work in a variety of practice areas — everything from litigation to banking. I hope by the time I’m finished with school I’ll have figured out what I’d like to focus on, but if not, I’ll just keep exploring.

Life in Bloomington: Bloomington is unlike any other town in Indiana. I love the farmer’s market, the beauty of the campus, the restaurants. I’m a big fan of the Fourth Street restaurants, which are packed full of anything and everything from around the world. I live off-campus, in a quiet, wooded area. You can have your city life here and still really enjoy the quiet, pretty side of it. There are also a ton of entertainers that come through and I try to go to as many shows as I can. I’ve seen David Sedaris, Mama Mia!, and Stomp, among others. Also, our music school provides us with the best performers in the country. You’ll be thoroughly entertained!