Think of it. You are happily married. You’re employed in an upward promotional field by an employee-friendly organization. Between supporting your spouse’s career while on a fast-track advanced career of your own, your life feels like a speed dial of success. Who wouldn’t be satisfied with that type of trajectory in their life?
Most are always curious about how successful we could manage another type of career that interests us for one reason or another. And, to most, it’s a fleeting thought, as we are too involved traveling our present road of accomplishments. But then, this other profession creeps into our thought process every now and then.
We may have taken more than a passing interest and gotten involved with the profession to aid our field of expertise. It is almost like falling in love. The first question in our mind is where you have been all my life.
The curious individuals may find those fields more interesting as they become further involved, using it to their advantage. However, imagine that field of study as highly competitive for the rewards it promises those who reach its pinnacles. It takes a highly motivated person to leave the comforts of success while seeking the same amenities in a brand-new field.
Meet Endeliza Hampton, a third-year law student at the University of Nebraska who has done as described. Or, if you will, taking on a challenge that accepts no failures while pressing its participants to commit themselves to the process of becoming a lawyer.
We have all heard various jokes about the lawyer this and that. Yet when we want to enter a contract, sue someone for non-fulfillment, or seek advice as to what legal information belongs in our last will. Who do we call? It’s always wise to have legal advice while conducting any business. That pretty much sums up the legal profession’s necessity or just plain importance.
Nevertheless, curious minds ask, what was she thinking, drinking, smoking, or tripping on to make such a move? I think, oh well, why don’t you be the judge.
Usually, circumstances cause you to encounter aspects of a different field within your current work processes to catch your attention. In Endeliza’s case, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passage affected her regular duties as a Risk Manager. In her words, requirements for managing employee health insurance became more complex. “I was no longer simply conducting insurance renewals and reviewing contracts and helping with a few compliance matters,” she noted. Almost overnight her daily activities turned to assisting employers with the implementation of the ACA regulatory requirements into their company policies. The next few years brought about new regulations. Thus, routinely she found herself working with her regulatory compliance team.
Again, she said, “These experiences showed me that legal matters were becoming more prevalent in my everyday life.” Her daily involvement in compliance matters provided reasons to consider the legality of their advice to clients. There always was a question of how their input would withstand a legal challenge.
Having dinner with a long-lost friend brought about a surprising suggestion. In contrast, they were discussing all things that happened over the ten years since their last get-together. The friend suggested law school as an option of workable interest to enhance her capabilities. It was a thought that never entered her mind. Nor were the prospects of how knowledge in the legal world could aid her work processes and her private life planted in her thought process.
Life itself can take one in directions they may not have considered beforehand. Although having taken online studies to secure an undergrad degree, Endeliza felt online law subjects would not work for her. Then came shelter-in-place, a workforce confined to working from home. All brought about because of COVID19 governmental or employer directives. But, never one to overlook an opportunity to spend time wisely, she was able to complete several online law school requirements.
One cannot advance without the support of an agreeable spouse. The household tasks, trips to the store, cooking meals, dealing with budget issues, and the everyday management of household duties are performed by the occupants. Therefore, having one supportive enough to cover the students’ share of duties is extremely important to a successful marriage. In Endeliza’s case, her husband is also deeply involved with his career aspirations.
Still, there were decisions, such as whether she should enter law school. Where should she enroll as a student? What other sacrifices would she make to engage in such an intense study program? There is the financial cost, not to think of the emotional charge, to pursue such a lofty goal of becoming a lawyer. They must also weigh other considerations before committing one way or another. The subject of where to attend could mean leaving the Bay Area.
One can gather from the questions noted that THE DECISION was not a “Go for it” exercise. Or, as some might put it, “Just do it.” The methodical examination of where, why, and when reason provides your insight into Endeliza’s personality. As a rule, she is never one to dive into a project without expectations of a successful outcome. That doesn’t mean she is reluctant to make a life-changing decision. Quite the contrary, it shows if there is a change, it will have come after a thorough review of all concerns.
As previously mentioned, she has a supportive husband in all matters of importance. He can be and most certainly was in how we can make this work column. Hence, therefore, making their final decision to proceed with an all-in affair. It speaks to the success of their thirty-year union. Twenty-five is as a married couple as of last August.
Yet leaving the solidly blue state of California, residents of family and friends for the red state of Nebraska? Given the political wills of our subjects, well…to be a fly on the wall during those conversations. Nevertheless, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area’s cost of living, among other concerns, certainly was one of the factors to consider. The bottom line is that they as are their careers are very mobile. They could set up on the moon and still be relevant in whatever they apply themselves.
Choosing the University of Nebraska was not an accident, as evidenced by her words. “I researched a lot of schools before applying to law school. I read how it was a good idea to visit schools before applying because law school is hard enough, so you want to be at a school that you feel good about. Nebraska wasn’t initially on my list, but they kept popping up as a great value Law school. They are a top R&D university. They also have one of the only Space Law programs in the country. So, I decided to visit the school and am very glad I did.”
She goes on to say “I contacted the school, and the admissions team was extremely helpful and supportive. They offered to put me in touch professors and other students. The level of support was more than I expected but exactly what I was looking for in a law school. I wanted a collegial environment with a solid legal foundation. As an older student I also wanted to be able to speak to professors directly. Nebraska offered all of that. It sounds odd to say I wanted to speak to professors, but people aren’t aware that many law school classes are taught by Teacher’s Aides. Students can’t even speak with professors.”
I asked her, looking back on her decision, having become a full-time law student the university. Does she find the enrollment as interesting today as opposed to her first arrival? Once again in her words, “It has been a lot harder than I expected. It takes an emotional and physical toll which I didn’t necessary think about, yet I wouldn’t change my decision at all. It has truly been an experience and I have learned so much about myself about the law and about the people in my life. To answer your question, is it as interesting now as it was before…it is definitely more interesting now.”
“Now, my life is pretty chaotic. It is tough to keep track of everything, and things always take more time than expected so it makes it overwhelming. One of the biggest challenges of law school is the sheer volume of material one consumes. Each class has it’s own set of “laws” and we have a limited amount of time to get through the material so my brain end up pretty overloaded. That means I often forget the simple things, like what day it is, or forget that I had food heating up and then wonder why I’m hungry. LOL.”
“Two things help. One is I’m very lucky to have a supportive husband. I wouldn’t be this close to the finish line without him. He does what he can to help manage the household when he can. He is a wonderful cook and he completely sustained me my first year. He also makes sure to get me to take time off when I can. So while marriage adds another layer to being a law school student, having a supportive partner makes a world of difference. The other thing is my classmates. Seeing them as frazzled as I am oddly helps because most are 15-20 years younger than I am. So, if they are overwhelmed, and so am I when I have all these other balls in the air…I may not be doing as bad as I think I am. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a few with whom I’ve shared multiple classes. We share notes, fill in gaps when one of us going through personal issues and help each other prepare for exams. This is another reason I chose Nebraska. When I talked to students before enrolling, they said the school was a true community.”
My being of a curious mind didn’t want to sound like I was drilling her. It was a genuine question for my daughter-in-law. In short, why law school. I took Business Law in a junior college associate degree program. A month after attending the classes, I thought about becoming a lawyer. The thought of the intense study required, having a wife and two kids, shocked me back to reality. Yet the course of interest was there, albeit psychologist was its competition. Most have selected a field of study before enrolling in a college. One must settle and continue in a specific field of study as a freshman. That doesn’t mean we’re not tempted to change up later in life for practical or other reasons.
Meanwhile, let us all wish Endeliza all the luck and success in the world. She is doing what many can only wonder about in our lives. Since this interview, she graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law in May this year. She looks forward to celebrating her graduation by taking a short break before continuing her journey to become a practicing attorney.
She will take time to recuperate before taking the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) in August 2022. The MPRE is a legal ethics and professional conduct exam required before someone can sit for the Bar exam. After the MPRE, she will then begin studying for the Bar. The Bar is the final exam a person must take to become a licensed attorney. The Bar’s administered over two or three days. It’s designed to test knowledge and skills in seven main law areas: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Property, and others.
Folks, I know that this article is longer than others. However, I felt it extremely important that you get the full interview and comments in one piece. Please join me in congratulating Endeliza on her accomplishments and recent graduation. We wish her all the best as she prepares for the next leg of her journey.
Peace, blessings, stay healthy, vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II Author & Commentator
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