“Indiana Law has a close-knit community, something that I don’t think exists at other schools. Many of my best friends today are from my law school days.”
—Amanda Raad, JD’05
Shaun (JD’07) and Amanda (JD’05) Raad have chosen very different practice settings. But both of them credit the Law School for giving them the intellectual and practical tools they’ve needed to be successful.
“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I was still very young,” Amanda said. “While I was an undergrad at IU, I worked at a children’s mental health facility and at a group home. I learned early on that social workers’ hands are often tied, and thought a law degree would help.”
Amanda's story. At Indiana Law, Amanda participated in just about every clinical opportunity available, including the family and children mediation clinic; the disability and mental health clinic, and the protective order project. She was also a Moot Court finalist and wrote for the Federal Communications Law Journal. “Working with real clients and real deadlines turned out to be a big help in building client relationships once I started practicing,” she said.
Amanda’s interest in litigation and the justice system led to her current position at the Chicago office of Ropes & Gray, a 1,000-lawyer global firm, where she practices white-collar defense law. She finds her experiences at Indiana Law have made her a better practitioner in several ways. “I don’t know of any other lawyers who built such strong relationships with faculty while they were in law school,” she observed. “Indiana Law is known for this in the Chicago legal community.” She added that learning to build relationships with faculty while in law school gave her a blueprint for doing so with clients and other attorneys.
Shaun's story. Shaun's interest in law also began when he was young. “I worked for Kathleen Zellner, a phenomenal attorney in Chicago when I was an undergrad at IU,” he explained. “I saw wrongfully convicted clients released from life sentences through DNA testing. It was almost like everything I’d seen on TV!” After graduation, Shaun worked for two years as a paralegal at a firm in Bloomington, his hometown, specializing in asbestos litigation. “I applied to the Law School and didn’t get in, then applied again the next year and was wait-listed. I’d already moved to another state to attend law school when I got a call saying I was accepted at IU. I packed up immediately and moved back to Bloomington.”
Shaun’s work experience before law school confirmed that he wanted to be a hands-on trial lawyer, an opportunity not always available at large firms. “So I joined LaBarge Campbell & Lyon in Chicago, which has about a dozen lawyers. I was sworn in on a Thursday and appeared in court the following Monday.”
A supportive community. Despite their differing career paths, Shaun and Amanda had similar observations about their experience at Indiana Law. “I was amazed at how friendly and supportive the students were,” Shaun recalled. “I'd seen The Paper Chase, and I’d heard that I wouldn’t have many friends in law school. But just the opposite proved to be true. My classmates were competitive, but always willing to share outlines and notes—and we had fun!”
Amanda agreed. “Indiana Law has a close-knit community, something that I don’t think exists at other schools. Many of my best friends today are from my law school days.” In fact, the couple counted at least nine faculty members who attended their wedding. One of them was even in the wedding party. “The Indiana Law community created a bonding experience, which helped me build confidence as I started my career,” she said.
Things to consider. “Think long-term,” Amanda said. “Law school is a means to an end. Ask yourself what you want out of your career, and find a school that will help you with what you think is important. If you’re planning on starting a family, as Shaun and I are, be sure to think about a career that offers work-life balance.”
Shaun agreed. “Make sure you really want to use your law degree,” he suggested. “It’s a lot of work, and some people start out in law school and say, ‘Whoa! This isn’t what I want.’ I’ve been blessed because I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, and Indiana Law was the ideal setting for me.”
Both Shaun and Amanda praised the Law School’s admissions staff and the Office of Career and Professional Development for their coaching and mentoring of students. “We are incredibly grateful to the Maurer School of Law,” they said. “We are honored to be alums.”