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10 Questions with Emily Kennedy

10 Questions Emily Kennedy

3L University of Minnesota Law School
Pro Bono Law Clerk, Taft Stettinius & Hollister

1. In addition to being a 3L, you’re also a Pro Bono Law Clerk, what’s that job like?

It’s far too easy to get caught up in the busy chaos of being a law student and lose sight of the big picture, that the law is a helping profession. Working as a Pro Bono Law Clerk is a great way to remind myself of the fact that I was drawn to this profession because I want to help. At Taft, I get to help people who really need it, work on incredibly interesting cases in a wide variety of practice areas, and learn from amazing attorneys who are dedicated to giving back to their communities.

2. What’s been one memorable experience with pro bono work so far in your career? 
I assisted an attorney who had just been appointed to represent an incarcerated client. The client had attempted to resolve the case on his own without much success. We had our first phone call with him, and he was so grateful to have someone on his side. We continued to work on his case and were able to resolve it in a way that he was really happy about.

3. What inspired you to go to law school?
I attended a presentation about animal welfare litigation and was inspired to pursue a career as an animal law litigator. While completing my undergraduate degree and working as a paralegal, I realized that I love civil litigation generally and decided to branch out and explore different practice areas. So far, my favorite practice areas are insurance law and employment law.

4. How has your experience been going through law school during the COVID pandemic?
Remote classes were a challenge at times. Let’s just say that some professors are more technologically gifted than others. I am glad to be back on campus this semester so that I can see my friends and favorite professors in person. I do miss attending class in my pajamas, though.

5. What’s your ideal job after finishing school?

I want to work on a litigation team at a firm that encourages their associates to do pro bono work so that I can help my clients and help members of the community who need legal assistance as well.

6. Outside of work/school, your favorite way to unwind?
My favorite way to unwind is to drive north about 60 miles to my family’s hobby farm, where I can spend time with my horses, Poco and Lucky. They are such sweet, goofy animals, and it’s impossible to stay wound up around them. 

7. If you could meet anyone notable for lunch, who would you choose to meet up with?

Elena Kagan visited my Con Law class when I was a 1L, and she had such a fun personality. I would love to have lunch with her and learn more about her and life on the Court.

8. You won the “Best Brief” in school, what’s the best piece of advice you received on legal writing?
Read your work out loud to catch mistakes and detect unnatural or confusing language. It’s surprisingly effective. I am currently a Legal Writing student instructor, and the professor and I say this to our group of 1Ls all the time. If you don’t believe me, the master himself, Bryan Garner, recommends this as well. Bryan A. Garner, Legal Writing in Plain English 64 (2d ed. 2013). 

9. If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?
Well, it would be a dream to run my own animal shelter or sanctuary. Realistically, I really love working in the legal field, so I would probably work as a paralegal and just have way too many pets. 

10. Complete this sentence: Everyone who knows me knows I love …

Vinyl records. I have an extensive collection of strange records in almost every color of the rainbow. 

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