A powerful instrument for helping people

Moein Khawaja, JD’15

Why law school? My job prior to law school was working for a civil rights non-profit organization. I saw first-hand how the law can be a powerful instrument for helping people, and that a good argument is a good argument no matter who your opponent is. More important, I wanted a career that was more than just a means for paying bills, but an opportunity for me to contribute to democracy. As a lawyer, every case you work on, whether it involves individual rights, a business dispute, or a criminal matter, can have significant impact beyond your client. It can reshape public policy, change a trend in case law, or highlight an important issue.

Why the Maurer School? As a Midwesterner, I knew I wanted to return to this part of the country. My family is still in Springfield and I ultimately wish to settle around here. When I came for Spring Law Day, I was impressed by the honesty of the recruiting and career development staff. The school recognizes that the legal profession is going through major and permanent changes, and it has moved quickly to adapt the school and curriculum to reflect these changes, rather than continue business-as-usual.

Surprises? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit occasionally hears oral arguments in the Law School’s Moot Court Room, which gives students the opportunity to observe a panel federal judges. I had the opportunity just six weeks into my first year, and it was amazing to see my classmates and me not only follow the arguments of the attorneys, but anticipate rebuttals and questions.

We were able to do this because of the incredible amount of information your mind must absorb in a short time while at law school. The core first year courses are foundational, and you must know the material not just to be a good student, but eventually a good attorney. It is immensely gratifying to see that you have it in you right from the start.

Advice for students looking at law schools: Come visit and see if it interests you and fits with where you want to go. If you don’t find a day of sitting in on classes invigorating, then law school maybe isn’t for you. Classes are always interesting, relevant, and eye opening.

If you’re intimidated about law school or are worried about “figuring out the system,” Maurer has a great program in which they pair you up with a practice group advisor – someone who serves as a mentor and guidance counselor all in one. The program levels the field between students who know how to navigate law school and those who need some help.