LSJ Alums Speak with Students


Kirsten Longaker speaks with current LSJ student Nicole Roberts.

The Law, Societies and Justice Student Association invited two former alums to speak to a group of about twenty LSJ students.

The alums, Kirsten Longaker and Lauren Gotchy, are both defense attorneys working in the greater Seattle area.

Longaker spoke about her desires to become a criminal lawyer while studying LSJ and how her experiences working with youth advocacy clinics and her time at Seattle University Law School led to her career working as a public defender for the Associated Council for the Accused (ACA).

Longaker spoke about the process of applying to law school and her decision to go to Seattle University Law School because of its emphasis on social justice.

“You never pick a major [in law school], you just have an area of interest and it’s amazing how many people change from they were in undergrad,” said Longaker, who graduated in 2004 with a double major in LSJ and sociology.

Longaker spoke about the importance of taking classes that gave a broad overview of law before going to law school, and the importance of internships which help students gain real world experiences.

Lauren Gotchy who graduated in 2004 with a degree in LSJ and philosophy, spoke about the use of the Socratic method in law school and the need for students to be prepared.

“Professors ask you questions and you have to be prepared. It’s a whole different way of studying and its different than undergrad,” said Gotchy. “Law school is filled with high achievers and no one realizes what they need to do, you have to develop your own method.”

Longaker and Gotchy spoke to students about their experiences after law school including their heavy caseload and their experiences working with clients. For each of them, being a defense attorney provides a set of satisfying and important challenges to ensure that their clients receive the full weight of protections provided to them under the law.

For Lauren Cronin, a senior studying LSJ and interning for the Prosecuting Attorney Office, the event was interesting because she was able to see the other side of the case. Cronin said she gained a different perspective because we often think of their clients as the criminal and we are doing justice prosecuting them.

“I think [events] like these are a great way to see what you can do with your major, and it illustrates some potential pathways and internship opportunities,” said Cronin.

Professor Steve Herbert, LSJ director, said that he was very pleased with the event and was excited to see distinguished alums and students brought together. Herbert said that there will be events such as these in the future because it is helpful to showcase some of the work that LSJ alums do and to inspire students to continue their hard work.

“It was especially gratifying to see two alums who are so dedicated to the pursuit of justice speak so eloquently about their work, and to take such evident interest in our current students,” Herbert said.

For their part, the students were appreciative.

“I thought the event went really well and the LSJ alums were fantastic! I left the social feeling excited for my future journey ahead,” said Riley Bundy, one of the leaders of the LSJ Student Association. “I truly appreciated both women’s insight and enthusiasm for what they are doing.”

This article was composed by Charlotte Anthony.