LSJ Alums Return to Campus


Kirsten Longaker speaks with current LSJ student Nicole Roberts

Encounters between the alumni and current students of the Law, Societies, and Justice Program are exciting and compelling. That has been clear at several events this year organized by LSJ Student Association.

Last December, LSJ Alums Kirsten Longaker and Lauren Gotchy, both currently defense attorneys working in Seattle, 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.

Last March, LSJ Alum Keith Hiatt spoke to students about the choices available to students after college, the process of getting into law school or a PhD program, and the importance of living a balanced life.

Hiatt, a 2004 LSJ graduate, is a law school graduate and Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently serving as a judicial law clerk for a judge on the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.

Hiatt spoke to students about the difficulty of choosing what path to take after graduating from the University of Washington.

“The good news is that there are a lot of possibilities and… a lot of opportunities that I had being a graduate from such a great university,” said Hiatt. “The ‘bad’ news is that there are a lot of opportunities and it may be hard for you to choose what path you want to go on.”

Hiatt struggled with the decision of whether to pursue a Ph.D. or to go to law school and after much internal debate, he decided to pursue both.

Last February, The Rev. Shalom Agtarap an LSJ graduate spoke to students at the “Policing of Immigration: Ellensburg and Beyond” event about the recent immigration raids and the impacts of politics and policies on a small community like Ellensburg.

Agtarap spoke about how the church has formed a local group to continue to support affected families and her ongoing role in educating and informing people about the need for comprehensive immigration reform because of the strain that current policies have on families.

“I was privileged to be part of the panel because it brought me back to a campus I love and [it gave me] the opportunity to give back even in the smallest sense…to a program that formed my sense of justice and critical thinking,” said Agtarap. “I would highly recommend LSJ and other departments continue to offer events like this that provide the necessary perspective that accompany academic learning.”

Professor and LSJ Director Steve Herbert said that he was excited to see distinguished alums and students brought together 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 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. “It is terrific to see LSJ alums doing such significant work.”

This article was composed by Charlotte Anthony.