Updated on September 7, 2018
Caroline Kastor is a woman who wears many hats.
She is an aspiring legal professional, a former professional soccer player, an academic, a wife and a mom.
Kastor is working towards the trifecta of higher education at the University of Kansas. She already has an undergraduate and a graduate degree from KU under her belt. In a few years, Kastor will have her third degree — this time in law.
“KU Law is so reputable and well-loved that deciding to apply was a no-brainer,” Kastor said.
A second-year law student and Wichita native, Kastor spent the summer doing legal research as a law clerk at Stevens & Brand LLP in Lawrence.
“I was able to work on a variety of projects for different attorneys at the firm and learned a ton because of the array of projects that were assigned,” she said. “I was also given opportunities for hands-on experience, like the option to attend client meetings or sit in on client phone calls. It was invaluable.”
Kastor said she gained a better understanding of the practical side of law, learned about the workings of a firm and created valuable relationships with attorneys and staff through her position at Stevens & Brand. The most rewarding part of her role was helping solve problems that arose.
“Being able to find answers that can help a client and really feeling like you made a difference — especially when there is an observable outcome of the work you contributed on someone’s behalf,” Kastor said.
In addition to her work at the law firm this summer, Kastor is also very involved with Kansas Athletics. During her first year of law school, she balanced her classes with a position as a graduate assistant for the women’s soccer team. Kastor’s history as a student athlete at KU and a professional soccer player for the FC Kansas City Blues made her an excellent candidate to work with the athletics department. She enjoys helping student athletes and making a positive impact on the soccer program.
“I know from experience how hard it can be to balance both school and sports,” Kastor said.
Shortly after finishing her summer clerkship at Stevens & Brand, Kastor gave birth to a baby boy. Kastor anticipates that balancing law school and a newborn will be challenging, but she has a great support system.
“I imagine the advice ‘sleep when they sleep’ will be more like ‘read when they sleep’ for a law student,” Kastor joked. “Luckily, I have great immediate support from my amazing husband and two stepdaughters — as well as great support from the community at the law school and where I work.”
For the remainder of her time in law school, Kastor plans to continue working at Kansas Athletics and searching for opportunities to get more legal experience. She is also exploring her interests in the fields of estate planning, elder law and family law.
Kastor hopes to one day practice law in an area that makes a difference as well as energizes and excites her.
— By Ashley Hocking
This post is the tenth in a series highlighting the diverse internships and jobs KU Law students and recent graduates were engaged in over the summer and early in their careers. Check out earlier posts from this series about Omar Husain, James Hampton, Malika Baker, Lindsay Strong, Arturo Garcia, Jessie Pringle, Madeline Heeren, Miranda Luster and Becky Howlett.
Updated on August 31, 2018
Earning a certificate in tribal law was pivotal in Becky Howlett’s legal education.
“Ultimately, my experiences in KU Law’s Tribal Law and Government Center were part of the underlying reason I chose to dedicate my legal career to advocating on behalf of tribal governments and indigenous peoples,” Howlett said.
A member of the Navajo Nation Bar Association, Howlett serves as outside counsel at the tribe’s Department of Justice in Window Rock, Arizona. She assists with public safety priorities, manages a working group undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the Nation’s criminal code, and drafts tribal codes, rules and procedures.
It can be difficult, she said, coordinating with people across departments and divisions.
“Improving public safety on the Nation is a multidisciplinary effort, and getting all the necessary stakeholders together in one place on a regular basis to communicate and collaborate can be a challenge,” Howlett said. “For example, many participants may be located hundreds of miles away from the meeting location or simply be unable to attend due to a general lack of staff and resources.”
Howlett said the most rewarding part of her job is developing long-term relationships and building trust among Navajo partners.
“I have been coming out to the Navajo Reservation for a couple of years now, and there is nothing better than feeling like a member of the community when I travel into Window Rock,” she said. “It warms my heart to be recognized and greeted by not only Navajo Nation Department of Justice staff, but also local hotel and restaurant workers. This small community, seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, has truly become like my second home.”
Howlett was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2011 with bachelor’s degrees in English and journalism. She earned a KU Law degree in 2014. During law school, Howlett worked as a summer associate at two different law firms in Seattle, as well as an intern at the Kansas Native American Affairs Office in Topeka. She was also involved in KU’s Native American Law Students Association, Women in Law and the Environmental Law Society.
Howlett maintains fond memories of participating in the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition — despite almost being stranded in an ice storm on the first night of the competition.
“We somehow were able to get a ride back with some other competitors as opposed to calling Professor Elizabeth Kronk Warner at 2 a.m. to come get us,” Howlett said. “I think we would have walked rather than take the second option, to be honest.”
During her time in Green Hall, Howlett also gained practical experience through her involvement with the Kansas Law Review and the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic.
“During the clinic we drafted laws for a local tribe to enact the Tribal Law and Order Act and the Violence Against Women Act,” she said. “I have drawn upon my familiarity with these two federal laws at all of my jobs since graduation, including a nonprofit organization and a big law firm. Much of my current role is drafting tribal code amendments, so my KU Law experience is directly relevant to the work I do today.”
— By Ashley Hocking
This post is the ninth in a series highlighting the diverse internships and jobs KU Law students and recent graduates were engaged in over the summer and early in their careers. Check out earlier posts from this series about Omar Husain, James Hampton, Malika Baker, Lindsay Strong, Arturo Garcia, Jessie Pringle, Madeline Heeren and Miranda Luster.
Updated on August 28, 2018
This summer was a balancing act for 3L Miranda Luster.
From Monday through Wednesday, she was a legal intern at the Shawnee County Public Defender’s Office and the Capital Appeals and Conflicts Office in Topeka.
On Thursdays and Fridays, she interned for solo practitioner Betsy Mellor in Kansas City, Kansas. Mellor, L’97, practices family, criminal and municipal law in Kansas and Missouri.
At the Public Defender’s Office, Luster wrote motions and did jail intakes. She went to the jail to meet with clients and record their basic information, including health history and whether they are able to make bond.
Through this position, she found the most reward in helping others.
“I know public defenders get a bad rap, but this job is really important,” Luster said. “We help people who don’t have the money to hire an attorney get through a complicated legal system and come out with a result that’s best for rehabilitating the client and the community.”
At her internship with Mellor, she attended court, researched nuanced areas of law, attended client meetings, wrote notices of hearing and appeared in court, if necessary.
“I’m helping people through the complicated court process during a time in their life that’s normally quite a low point,” Luster said.
Through both of her positions, her goal was to gain confidence in her abilities and become comfortable in court.
“I can learn how to write a motion or research at school, but getting comfortable with the real-world practice can only occur outside of school,” she said.
The most challenging part of each of her positions was time management.
“I’m still very new to this field, so I don’t always understand how long something will take,” Luster said. “As I gain more skills, I will be able to help more clients more quickly. But in the meantime, learning that balance has been important but difficult — and often frustrating — when I unknowingly take on too much.”
Luster is originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma. She stayed in her hometown to earn undergraduate degrees in political science and French from Oklahoma State University.
During her junior year of college, she visited Lawrence with a group of friends and fell in love with the community. She sat in on Professor Stephen McAllister’s Torts class.
“I can honestly say that when I walked out of the doors of the law school, I knew in my bones KU was where I was supposed to go,” Luster said. “It probably sounds cheesy, but I believe that what is meant to be will happen.”
Luster was so confident in her decision to go to KU Law that she did not apply to any other law schools.
“I knew KU was where I was meant to be,” she said. “So I rolled the dice and it worked out just fine.”
At KU Law, Luster is a Dean’s Fellow, the staff articles editor for the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy and a student member of the Academic Affairs Committee. She also serves as chief justice of the Student Senate Court of Appeals and is a member of both the Student Conduct and the Sexual Harassment hearing panels run through the Student Affairs office.
Luster hopes to use the experience and knowledge she gained from her internships and extracurricular involvement to launch her career.
“My goal is to join a state public defender’s office in Kansas or Missouri, so I can continue fighting the good fight,” she said.
— By Ashley Hocking
This post is the eighth in a series highlighting the diverse internships and jobs KU Law students and recent graduates were engaged in over the summer and early in their careers. Check out earlier posts from this series about Omar Husain, James Hampton, Malika Baker, Lindsay Strong, Arturo Garcia, Jessie Pringle and Madeline Heeren.
Updated on August 20, 2018
Climate change is a global problem. A University of Kansas energy law scholar recently traveled to India to explore solutions rooted in renewable energy law and policy with Indian students and faculty.
KU Law Professor Uma Outka co-taught a two-week course about renewable energy law and policy in May at the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law in Kharagpur, India. She taught the course alongside Professor Uday Shankar.
“Collaborating on the course deepened our understanding of the context for scaling up renewable energy in the U.S. and India,” Outka said. “Climate change is a global issue, and every country has to approach climate mitigation in ways that work for its unique circumstances.”
The course was funded by the Global Initiative for Academic Networks, an effort by the Indian government to foster international connections through its higher education system. Shankar invited Outka to provide international context for India’s renewable energy law policies and to offer comparative legal perspectives.
“This is a really interesting time for energy law. Virtually every country in the world shares a goal to decarbonize the electricity system and shift to low-carbon sources,” Outka said. “Energy law is an emerging field in India, and Uday Shankar is one of the few professors beginning to regularly teach the subject in Indian law schools. It is exciting to see the field begin to expand in India.”
Outka and Shankar taught their course in an interdisciplinary manner to a mix of students studying law and engineering.
“Some students had never taken a class related to public policy and others were well-versed in legal concepts, so we structured the course to meet the students’ spectrum of preparation,” Outka said. “The feedback from students who had not been exposed previously to law and policy was really enthusiastic.”
One highlight of Outka’s trip was connecting with Dr. Gon Chaudhuri, an Indian expert on renewable energy. “He was instrumental in launching solar energy policy in India,” she said. “He has worked on climate change negotiations and was one of the lecturers in our course.”
Outka appreciated the opportunity to experience higher education in a different county. She stayed in the institute’s guesthouse for visiting faculty during her visit. “I enjoyed being part of university life,” she said. “There, the faculty and staff all live on campus.”
Outka urges students and faculty alike to pursue international exchanges because they enhance understanding of others’ experiences in an increasingly globalized world.
“I think it’s important, whenever anyone has a chance, to visit a country like India,” she said. “It is a strong emerging economy with over a billion people. I plan to maintain these connections and hope to return. Engaging in this kind of cross-cultural work is a great opportunity.”
The University of Kansas School of Law has strong and growing ties to India.
- KU Law Professors Raj Bhala, Uma Outka and John Peck have visited India, delivering major presentations and offering their scholarship and teaching expertise.
- KU Law has hosted several Overseas Visiting Scholars from India, and a number of Indian students have graduated from KU Law’s S.J.D. and Two-Year J.D. programs.
- KU Law has memoranda of understanding (MOU) with four Indian universities. These partnerships encourage interaction, program development and cross-marketing of degree programs:
- National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad.
- Government Law College, Mumbai.
- Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat.
- Indian Law Institute, New Delhi.
- During recent Indian Society of International Law elections, several friends of KU Law won senior leadership positions. The following new officers are now or have been law professors at schools with which KU Law has an MOU or have visited KU Law as scholars:
- Anupam Jha, professor of law, University of Delhi, former KU Law Visiting Scholar, elected executive council member.
- J.L. Kaul, professor of law, University of Delhi, elected executive council member.
- Y.S.R. Murthy, professor of law, Jindal Global Law School, elected vice president.
- Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, professor, Jindal Global Law School, elected treasurer.
- Manoj Kumar Sinha, director, Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, elected vice president.
- KU Law Professor Raj Bhala authors “On Point,” a monthly column in India’s BloombergQuint focusing on international legal and economic affairs.
— By Ashley Hocking
Updated on August 15, 2018
As an international trade compliance specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., Madeline Heeren uses the knowledge she gained in Professor Raj Bhala’s international trade and finance classes every day.
In fact, KU Law’s strong international trade law program and distinguished professors are what drew the Lenexa native to Green Hall. During her time as a law student, she set out to gain as much international law experience as possible and to set herself apart from others.
Heeren, L’15, studied abroad in Istanbul, worked as a summer associate at law firms in both Bangladesh and India, and co-founded a nonprofit organization to help people in least developed countries obtain basic needs. She also served as president of the Student Bar Association, worked as a research assistant for Bhala and earned the International Trade and Finance Certificate.
In addition to her academic achievements, Heeren made lifelong connections during her time at KU Law.
“KU Law has had a huge impact on my life,” she said. “I met my husband in my summer starter class, and the judge I clerked for, Judge Robert Berger, officiated our wedding.”
Her spouse, Aqmar Rahman, also graduated in 2015. He is an international trade attorney in Washington, D.C.
At the Department of Commerce, Heeren leads and manages antidumping cases against large multinational organizations, trains new employees and represents the U.S. government abroad in interactions with foreign governments and multinational organizations.
One of the things Heeren enjoys most about her job is giving American businesses the opportunity to thrive through tariffs put in place by the Commerce Department.
“There has been a lot of news about steel and aluminum produced and sold by various countries at unfair values, either through dumping or subsidies, that are saturating the U.S. market and putting domestic companies out of business,” she said. “It is incredibly rewarding to know that I am helping create an even playing field for American companies to compete.”
One challenge the international trade community faces is a high volume of antidumping and countervailing duty cases by the international trade administration. Heeren said the caseload is higher than it has been in the last several decades.
“The decisions that we make have a huge impact on business abroad and locally, so it is important that even though the work has increased that these decisions are made carefully and correctly,” she said.
Heeren encourages students be as active as possible in law school.
“Participate in student organizations, clerkships and internships,” she said. “Look for opportunities that set you apart from other applicants. Sometimes the best opportunities are not the ones advertised, but ones that you find yourself.”
Even though she is hundreds of miles away from Lawrence, Heeren finds plenty of opportunities to connect with the Jayhawk network.
“KU Law continues to have a great impact on my life in Washington, D.C., where I get to work with fellow Jayhawks,” she said. “During basketball season, all the Jayhawks in the area get together at a local bar to watch all the games.”
— By Ashley Hocking
This post is the seventh in a series highlighting the diverse internships and jobs KU Law students and recent graduates are engaged in over the summer and early in their careers. Check out earlier posts from this series about Omar Husain, James Hampton, Malika Baker, Lindsay Strong, Arturo Garcia and Jessie Pringle.
Updated on August 13, 2018
Through a legal tech fellowship at Kansas Legal Services, Jessie Pringle spent the summer learning how technology can help close the justice gap.
“I am empowering people to navigate the justice system when they can’t afford an attorney or there aren’t enough resources for us to represent them directly,” Pringle said. “Frankly, there’s not enough resources at any legal aid organization to help everyone who applies. My job is to increase the number of people who are receiving help to resolve their legal problems.”
Pringle researches and develops legal answers for projects, researches and develops video content, assists with video production and field testing, researches legal issues, provides assistance to website users, participates in stakeholder meetings for projects and updates online legal forms.
Through her fellowship, Pringle has the opportunity to work closely Marilyn Harp, L’79, executive director of Kansas Legal Services.
“She’s a great role model,” Pringle said. “I’ve learned a lot about leadership and the legal field by working for her.”
Pringle enjoys knowing the projects she is working on now will have long-lasting benefit because people will continue to use them after her fellowship ends.
“We’re seeing thousands of people use the KLS website and access legal forms,” she said. “The volume of people accessing and using what I am working on is rewarding. Making more resources available for self-representing parties is helpful for the entire legal community; it increases judicial efficiency as litigants know what they’re doing.”
Pringle said her fellowship is different from a traditional legal internship because she oscillates between legal and administrative duties.
“It requires so many more skills beyond what are taught in a traditional legal education,” she said. “While I don’t need to know how to code or anything, I do need to be quick and flexible in approaching technology projects as well as gathering and evaluating data that will help identify what clients need when using the resources.”
By the end of her fellowship, Pringle hopes to have learned as much as possible about working on tech projects and then use that knowledge to improve the community.
“I hope to help spread awareness of the impact of using technology to close the justice gap,” she said. “Any attorney can help with that.”
A Chanute native, Pringle earned her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Kansas, where she served as student body president. At KU Law, Pringle is a member of Women in Law and a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions.
When Jessie Pringle graduates from KU Law in May 2019, she will be following in her father’s footsteps. She will graduate from 29 years after her father, R. Kent Pringle, did.
“My father is a KU Law Grad, and I grew up loving KU Law,” she said. “I wanted to follow in his footsteps and pursue a J.D.”
Pringle plans to use her law degree to pursue a career in civil legal aid.
“I also want to be involved with policies that address and help those in poverty,” Pringle said. “My interests include public benefits, elder issues, housing, public health impacts and domestic violence. So many of the legal issues that legal aid clients face exist because of bad policy. I want to help find ways to improve policy for better life outcomes.”
— By Ashley Hocking
This post is the sixth in a series highlighting the diverse internships and jobs KU Law students and recent graduates are engaged in over the summer and early in their careers. Check out earlier posts from this series about Omar Husain, James Hampton, Malika Baker, Lindsay Strong and Arturo Garcia.
Updated on August 8, 2018
Arturo Garcia has many reasons to be passionate about immigration law, and he plans to utilize his law degree to help immigrants.
“As a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, a border-town native and a son of two immigrants, immigration has always been a part of my life,” Garcia said.
Garcia graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in May 2018 and took the bar exam in July. He will soon start his new role as an associate attorney at Escamilla & Poneck LLP in San Antonio, Texas, focusing on business immigration law.
“I hope to better assist members of the immigrant community in obtaining or maintaining their legal status within the United States by serving as an effective counsel and leader in the San Antonio immigrant community,” Garcia said.
Garcia said he is most looking forward to helping immigrants stay in the United States and pursue the American dream.
“My work will allow immigrant families to stay together and prosper within the country,” Garcia said. “It will give me great satisfaction to know that I was a part of that.”
He anticipates that his job will be challenging because he will be monitoring constant changes in immigration law. He also acknowledged that it will be trying to accept that not all of his cases will yield positive results.
Garcia said many immigrants from the Northern Triangle of Central America are arriving at the southern border through Texas, trying to gain lawful status in various ways.
“With this influx, there is a greater demand and need for immigration lawyers to be serving this population,” Garcia said. “Therefore, I intend to be an asset to alleviate this issue.”
Garcia is originally from El Paso, Texas. He received undergraduate degrees in government and sociology from the University of the Incarnate Word. He chose to go to law school in Kansas to get out of his comfort zone and move to a place where he did not know anyone. His favorite part about KU Law was the companionship among students.
“Whether it was hanging out at one of the law school social events or in the informal commons before class, I learned from and enjoyed interacting with these people,” Garcia said. “I am confident that our friendship will persist in future years.”
Garcia is thankful for the time he spent at KU Law and said the experience pushed him to lengths he did not think he could reach.
“Throughout the past three years, I learned more than I learned in my entire undergraduate career,” Garcia said. “Additionally, KU Law has taught me to be a better writer and researcher, which prepared me for my previous summer jobs and externships and will certainly prepare me for my upcoming job.”
— By Ashley Hocking
This post is the fifth in a series highlighting the diverse internships and jobs KU Law students and recent graduates are engaged in over the summer and early in their careers. Check out earlier posts from this series about Omar Husain, James Hampton, Malika Baker and Lindsay Strong.
Updated on August 7, 2018
Green Hall is looking sharp after a spring cleaning that restored the exterior to its original 1978 luster.
Perched on rigging and lifts, crews from Mid-Continental Restoration out of Fort Scott replaced old caulking around joints and windows, power washed the concrete and glass inch by inch and applied a waterproof sealer designed to help the building withstand the elements and continue aging gracefully.
The $175,000 project took eight weeks, wrapping up in June after breaks for final exams and graduation. KU Law applied a portion of the gifts it received on Feb. 20 during One Day. One KU. – KU’s first 24-hour giving campaign – toward the cost of Green Hall’s facelift. The university also provided financial support for the project.
Thank you to everyone who contributed!
Updated on August 15, 2018
Lindsay Strong fondly remembers her final trial as a law student.
During her last semester at KU Law, she spent countless hours strategizing, memorizing and executing skills with her trial advocacy partner, Ellen Rudolph. They were tested on a weekly basis leading up to the final trial.
“We strategized as a team, supported each other and challenged each other,” Strong said. “In the end, we were able to persuade the jury to find our client not guilty. It was a great feeling knowing that our hard work paid off and seeing ourselves grow as advocates.”
Strong is from Lincoln, Nebraska. She initially came to KU to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology and decided to stay for three more years to earn her law degree.
“I was very impressed with the legacy KU Law had in the region,” Strong said. “I attended Admitted Students Weekend and was very impressed with the KU Law staff. The professors seemed genuinely excited to be teaching others about the law, and all had impressive qualifications.”
Strong graduated from KU Law in May 2018. With the bar exam behind her, she is set to begin a clerkship with Justice Caleb Stegall of the Kansas Supreme Court.
After taking Justice Stegall’s Appellate Advocacy class last fall, Strong sought an opportunity to continue to learn from him while serving the state of Kansas.
“I believe that this will be an irreplaceable experience for me,” Strong said. “I will have the opportunity to learn and work with some of the most accomplished individuals in the legal field in the state of Kansas.”
Strong advises current law students to take advantage of every opportunity provided and to not be afraid to branch out to new areas of the law.
“Law school is the best time to explore areas of the law that you wouldn’t necessarily picture yourself in,” Strong said. “Pick the classes that you think will challenge you — these are the classes you will grow the most from. If you get nervous talking in front of people, take as many simulation classes as you can. This is your opportunity to conquer those fears and practice in a safe environment before you have to exercise these skills in real practice.”
Strong said KU Law provided her with unique experiences to develop as a young attorney and exposed her to the local legal community.
“Whether it was taking a class from a Supreme Court justice, conducting expert witness examinations in front of respected attorneys in KU’s Expert Witness Skills Workshop or being in court for Legal Aid, I was able to meet and learn from practicing attorneys,” Strong said.
One of her favorite memories from law school was the final exam for the Appellate Advocacy class, which took place at the Kansas Supreme Court. The exam consisted of completing a two-issue brief and presenting oral arguments in front of a panel of state appellate court judges.
“Although entirely nerve-racking, it was an unforgettable experience,” Strong said. “Most attorneys strive for the experience of arguing in front of these respected judges. As just second-year and third-year law students, we were fortunate enough to already get the experience.”
— By Ashley Hocking
This post is the fourth in a series highlighting the diverse internships and jobs KU Law students and recent graduates are engaged in over the summer and early in their careers. Check out earlier posts from this series about Omar Husain, James Hampton and Malika Baker.
Updated on July 30, 2018
KU Law is among only a handful of law schools offering electronic discovery as a stand-alone class.
Coming from two decades of practice, Professor Amii Castle teaches students how to preserve, ask for, search and produce electronic documents and data. Students learn about advising clients on records retention policies, drafting litigation holds, the Rule 26(f) conference, requesting and producing ESI, search methods, discovery motions, discovery about discovery and requesting electronically stored information (ESI) from third parties.
“Let’s face it: Most young civil litigators spend their first years doing discovery,” Castle said. “In my Electronic Discovery I class, students learn how to conduct discovery in the digital age, and I provide instruction on the best practices in litigating issues involving ESI.”
KU Law also now offers Electronic Discovery II, a second semester of electronic discovery where students put the skills they learn in Electronic Discovery I into practice. Castle strives to present low-stakes opportunities for students to gain practical experience. For example, students conduct a Rule 26(f) conference, draft a planning report and appear before Magistrate Judge Teresa James in a mock Rule 16 conference. Students also draft a motion to compel ESI and then present oral argument on their motions to practicing attorneys. In addition, students in Electronic Discovery II draft requests for production of documents, draft a client letter explaining the duty to preserve and learn the potential arguments surrounding technology-assisted review.
“Employers want young attorneys who are prepared on day one to handle ESI in discovery, and KU’s electronic discovery courses give students that valuable education,” said Castle, who also teaches Business Law at the KU School of Business.
“I think electronic discovery is essential for anyone considering practicing litigation,” said Carly Masenthin, L’18. “Professor Castle is a wealth of information about this subject, and you are guaranteed an edge over competition in the civil litigation workplace after taking her class.”