Throughout the fall semester of my senior year at the University of Cincinnati, for no reason I could pinpoint, I began to feel directionless.
I knew I wanted to attend law school, but I had lost sight of why I wanted to pursue law, and the idea of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life after graduation seemed impossibly daunting. Instead of being excited for my future, I felt scared of it – until I attended PLEN: Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy in October of 2018.
I found PLEN completely by chance in my university’s pre-professional advising center newsletter. Under events of interest for pre-law students, they had a short blurb about a legal seminar for women in Washington, DC put on by the Public Education Leadership Network. Since DC had always been on my list of cities I’d considered attending law school in, I was intrigued and applied for a scholarship to the seminar without really expecting anything to come of it. I was incredibly fortunate to receive that scholarship, and off to DC I went.
All throughout the seminar, again and again, I found my passion for law reignited by listening to the inspiring women leaders PLEN brought in to speak with us. I learned about topics I knew little about, like election and immigration law. I learned professional development skills like networking and salary negotiation which will assist me immensely entering the workforce. I was inspired by our keynote speaker Krish Vignarajah, the former Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama, to get out and make a difference in a world severely lacking women in leadership positions. I discovered countless career paths that I had never even known existed prior to PLEN and was finally able to put a name to the field I want to pursue: policy.
In addition to the speakers and PLEN mentors, I met so many amazing women my age who will be the next generation of women in the legal sector. If their ambition and drive is any indication, I believe we have a bright future ahead of us indeed.
The portion of the seminar I enjoyed the most was our visit to the Supreme Court of the United States, where we had the chance to do a round table discussion with a group of female law clerks to the Justices of the Supreme Court. Since this is my dream job and I plan to become a judge one day, this experience was especially profound for me. Not only were the clerks inspirational to hear from, but they were also incredibly kind and willing to spend time with us. When it came time to break into small group discussions, we were assigned to one of the law clerks, and serendipitously, I was assigned to the law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an idol of mine and a great champion for women’s rights. Being able to speak with someone who works with her everyday was an experience I will never forget.
All of these experiences during PLEN helped me refocus on my goals and begin actively planning for the future. They reminded me why I wanted to enter the legal sector in the first place, which was something I had lost sight of as I fell into the rut of doing the same thing year after year.
My experience at PLEN taught me many things, but most importantly it taught me that Washington, DC is the place for me. It is my plan now to attend Georgetown University Law Center after taking a gap year after graduation. Currently, I am researching and applying for internships in the city as well. PLEN: Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy cemented the path I want to pursue after graduation and opened up a world of opportunity for me for which I will be forever grateful.
Thanks to PLEN, I’m a woman with a PLAN.
Erin Glossop attended the Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy Seminar in October 2018 with a scholarship sponsored by Elizabeth Bartz. She will graduate from the University of Cincinnati in Spring 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in Business Economics.