Erin Owens was working as a corporate recruiter for Volkswagen
of America when she met the company's in-house counsel, who told
her that law school was within her reach. She used $50 extra in her
checking account to apply. "I loved the atmosphere at Dartmouth. I
wanted a more relaxed environment to study in." After meeting with
staff, she decided the school was a good fit, and she was
When Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick visited the school on
March 10, Owens shared a story about a project she is working on -
a proclamation of innocence for Charles Cuffee, a teenager who 150
years ago was charged with the murder of a neighbor, interrogated
by police without benefit of counsel or contact with family
members, and convicted. He died two years later in Charles Street
Jail. Owens is working on a declaration of innocence for Cuffee,
since exoneration cannot occur posthumously, and expects to present
it to the governor.
Owens is the first generation in her family to attend law
school. The first year of law school was a lot of work, and
second-year is more, she says. "But I know how to handle it. It's
No "passing the bar" jokes, please. Shannon Grindrod tends bar
at night and commutes from East Providence to SNESL during the day
on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, while raising two young children
- Patrick, 2, and Bridget, 4. She commends the school's sense of
community and camaraderie.
"Most of the faculty know about what's going on in our lives,"
she says. "It's about finishing what we've started," she says of
the faculty's tremendous support for students, and the students'
support of each other.
Grindrod had considered becoming a paralegal, but she had always
wanted to be a lawyer, and SNESL provided the opportunity. For her
classmates who have made similar decisions as their lives branch
out, "This is our second chance," she says.
James Chisholm got his first taste of the legal profession as a
junior officer in the Navy, where one of his collateral duties was
acting as the legal officer for his command. In that role, he
was able to talk with many outstanding lawyers who served as an
inspiration. As a child, being a lawyer had not
been an option, but with the opportunity to come to New England,
with some of the best law schools in the country, "I decided
it's now or never."
Chisholm is a lieutenant commander in the Navy, stationed at
General Electric in Lynn. He works for the Defense Contract
Management Agency, as the program integrator for the GE
F414-400 engine, which powers the F/A-18
SuperHornet. "Essentially, I'm the middle man between General
Electric and the Navy pertaining to contract issues and
actual problems with the engines," he says.
Chisholm lives in Stoughton, equidistant from school and work.
He says the long-term benefits of school outweigh the difficulties
of the long commute. His family is in Virginia, close
to his wife's family. "When I accepted these orders, it was
with the knowledge I may have to deploy to Iraq," he says - and
seven months into his orders and during his first semester at
SNESL, he was deployed to Iraq.
He chose SNESL because it was more supportive of his demanding
schedule. "Receiving a quality law education was the ultimate goal,
but also having a sense of belonging," he says. "After visiting
SNESL and meeting the staff and a few students, it was an easy