Perfection is not a prerequisite of success. An engineering background gave me the tools to thrive in law school and to make the transition from student-hood to aprofessional career."
What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
Document Review; Legal writing and research for judicial purposes and for federal prosecution.
What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
Problem-solving with an eye towards how the solution to the problem on my desk affects the future work of the company (similar mindset how the resolution of one case affects development of an area [or two or three] of the law).
What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
When I was better able to issue-spot. Law term, yes, but applicable to engineering. Issue-spotting questions sound like "when does a problem have a physics component?" and "what type of math will help me solve this equation?". When I knew what to look for, even if it took a long time to figure out the substantive question within, I felt more capable. Issue-spotting helps you to start. Your substantive education helps you to come to a conclusion, to give an answer.
Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
An engineering background has shown me what I can accomplish with hard work and determination. For me, no part of my engineering education, or my legal education, was easily achieved. I worked my butt off (strategically) and made sacrifices, and I thrived. I thrived while still making so many mistakes. Perfection is not a prerequisite of success. An engineering background gave me the tools to thrive in law school and to make the transition from student-hood to aprofessional career.
What would you say to the first-year students currently sitting in your shoes?
Being very eager to jump into the "real world," but still feeling totally scared how I was going to get through my courses. How could I possibly have a career when I was completely stumped by Physics 107? Or Calc 2? The answer is: by using my courses to both 1) learn the substantive material while 2) paying equal attention to how I was learning the material. Did I build relationships with the people who could best teach me (professors, TAs)? Did I develop a strong peer network (study groups)? Did I look for supplemental sources when the textbook wasn't helping? Did I do my best to put myself "out there," and not allow myself to fall for the "I just need to work harder" excuse? Work ethic is important - you need to put in the time - but you also need to do it strategically. E.g., banging my head against my textbook would not make me understand a darn thing, but going to office hours would (or at least a bit better than before - full clarity sometimes takes more than one semester).