Treasurer, Student Bar Association
Class of 2021
Hometown: Austin, TX
Undergrad: Texas State University
Majors/Minors: B.S. Microbiology, Minor in Political Science and B.A. Political Science, Minor in Biology
Graduate: Texas State University
Major: M.A. Political Science
What did you do prior to coming to the University of Maine School of Law?
While obtaining my M.A., I taught Introduction to American Government at Texas State University. After graduation, I worked as an academic advisor for the College of Science and Engineering at Texas State University. During undergrad, I was on the Texas State Quidditch Team, and I worked in Campus Recreation. Later, I served as the faculty (then staff) advisor for the Quidditch Team, and the Vietnamese Student Association.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?
I chose Maine Law because I knew I wanted to do something in the intersection of technology and law. While researching schools, I learned about the top ranked Information Privacy Program and the Privacy Law Certificate at Maine Law. When I saw the course offerings at Maine Law included intellectual property and technology law courses I was hooked. By coming to Maine Law, I could focus in both. Also, I really enjoyed the prospect of coming to a small school after attending such a large one.
What has been most helpful to you in making the adjustment to the life of a Maine Law student?
Adjusting to life in Maine was a big change for me. I had never lived outside of the I-35 corridor (Austin to San Antonio), so Maine was totally new to me. Coming to a state without any personal network was hard. Meeting new people at orientation and having a great group around me 1L year was integral to adjusting to law school life. The small class size allowed me to make close connections with a lot of people in my class, and my professors. I also highly recommend going to teaching fellow sessions your 1L year, and don’t be afraid to talk to professors about difficult legal concepts from class.
How would you describe your experience at Maine Law?
My first semester was rocky because of homesickness, but it has gotten a lot better since then. Maine Law has a great community of students, faculty, and staff. There is a sense of camaraderie among the students which really helped me through 1L year. After 1L spring I finally got to take the Information Privacy Summer Institute, and I loved it! Last year I really enjoyed my experience on the Lefkowitz Trademark Moot Court Team. While Moot Court was a lot of work, I really enjoyed learning more Trademark Law.
What is one thing that has surprised you about Maine Law?
The Snow!! One of the first things I did in Maine at the Admitted Students’ Day was to take a picture next to a snow pile in the Hannaford’s parking lot. I think some Mainers laughed, but I had never seen so much! On a more serious note, I was very surprised by how well-connected Maine Law is with the U.S. and International Privacy Law community. In my privacy classes, we have had privacy industry leaders as guest speakers, and they are all Maine Law alumni! Not to mention the founder of the IAPP, Trevor Hughes is a Maine Law alum, and he teaches at the Law School. Students have the chance to extern in privacy related areas like the IAPP, and the Network Advertising Initiative. We even have had recruiters from EY and KPMG seek out students for summer internships, and quite a few recent alumni have gone into privacy consulting.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?
I’m the treasurer for the Student Bar Association (SBA), founder and president of the Maine Law Information Privacy Association (MLIPA), and member of the Lefkowitz Moot Court Team. SBA is on campus and general meetings take place during the lunch hour. SBA helps fund student organizations, help foster lunch time speakers, and it organizes events like the Law School Follies and Barristers Ball. I created MLIPA as a way to get speakers to come to campus for presentations, for students to network with professionals, and as a way for students to network and talk about privacy issues. Out first speaker was State Senator Shenna Bellows and I am extremely grateful for her conversation. Moot Court is both something you get academic credit for, and it is extracurricular. Our competition took a lot of work over winter break, but it was exciting to argue in front of TTAB and Federal Circuit Judges in New York City.
When you are not at school, how do you like to spend your time?
I like to joke that I live at the library. I am usually one of the last cars to leave the parking lot at night. When I’m not at school you can find me at home playing dungeons & dragons over Zoom with friends from Texas and Louisiana, cooking some Pho, or making some tomatillo salsa to bring to a friend’s house. I enjoy taking our golden retriever for walks through the Fore River Sanctuary or Capisic Pond Park. Mackworth Island is my favorite park close to Portland with a great trail around it. When I get the chance, I love to travel around the state. So far, Jonesport has been my favorite!
What do you like best about Portland?
I like how close nature is to Portland. Its really easy to find a park to go to if you want some fresh air. I love that there’s no traffic. Compared to Austin, Portland is a breeze at 5 pm! There’s also a ton of food and drink options in Portland, so there’s a lot to try! I love that each season has its own distinct feel in Maine.
Portland has a reputation for its vast array of food options. Do you have any favorite restaurants or grocery stores?
I love the Pho at Huong’s Vietnamese. You have to try it! The Banh Mi at Sun’s Vietnamese is another favorite of mine. When I’m on campus, going down the street to Vientiane for Pad Thai is quick and tasty, and I’ve ran into professors there plenty of times. Otto’s is a great spot to get a whole pizza or some slices. I’m not a beer person, but if you are, Portland is the city for you! As for a grocery store, Veranda Asian Market is great when I need to pick up international ingredients that I can’t get at Hannaford’s or Shaw’s, plus they have homemade Do Chua – an essential part of Banh Mi!
If you could tell a prospective student one thing about Maine Law, what would it be?
Make connections, and find balance. Maine has a small legal community, and many of the state government leaders are Maine Law alumni. You never know if one of your classmates will be the next governor, senator, congressperson, or sitting on the bench. Even if you end up leaving Maine, many of the faculty have lived and practiced outside of the state, and can offer valuable perspectives on working in different areas of the law, and in different capacities. Find balance between being a law student and what you loved to do before school. Becoming a 24/7 law student can be difficult on your mental health. Don’t forget to still have fun!