Students in UW Law’s graduate and J.D. programs come from different backgrounds, share disparate experiences and hail from all over the globe. However, they share the common goal of gaining the tools necessary to make meaningful impacts as future lawyers, activists, leaders and change-makers.

We asked some of our newest Law Dawgs to talk about what spurred them to pursue law and what they hope to accomplish as future legal professionals.


Michelle Aeschlimann

Michelle Aeschlimann

Program:
Sustainable International Development LL.M.

Education:
University of Western Australia, B.A. in Italian, B.L.
Australian National University, Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice

What inspired you to pursue law?

A yearning to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable groups in society are heard and have a say in matters that affect them. I am deeply committed to elevating Indigenous voices — particularly through advocating for the respect of human rights by the corporate sector.

How will a UW Law degree help you change the world?

In a time of global uncertainty, ensuring respect for human rights remains on the corporate agenda is more important than ever.

Participation in the Sustainable International Development LL.M. will enable me to identify how the 2030 agenda can be leveraged effectively by the global community — both to actualize ethical business conduct and to enliven corporate accountability under the respect and remedy pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

But changing the world begins with acting locally and recognizing that inherent power imbalances are often perpetuated by certain partnership approaches. I am excited to learn ways in which I can support the embedding of respect for human rights, particularly Indigenous peoples’ rights, at all levels of the social and economic development continuum – from grass roots program design to boardroom advocacy, through to sharing best practice learnings at international dialogues.


Byron Greene

Byron Greene

Program:
Intellectual Property Law and Policy LL.M.

Education:
University of Washington, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Florida State University College of Law, J.D.
The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, LL.M. in Military Law

What inspired you to pursue law?

I initially was drawn to the law so that I could assist the mission of the U.S. Air Force, specifically through advice and counsel to commanders during the accomplishment of their missions. Although I am no longer an Air Force judge advocate, I am similarly drawn to the prospect of aiding inventors, creators and entrepreneurs navigate the law in their pursuit of progress and innovation.

How will a UW Law degree help you change the world?

I chose UW Law because of its location in one of the world's innovation centers and the caliber of the teachers and practitioners represented at the school. The academic and practical experiences I will gain through pursuit of a UW Law degree will best position me to aid this region's innovators and thus advance society's knowledge base, increase productivity and achieve higher standards of living.


Richard A. Herrera

Richar A. Herrera

Program:
Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.)

Education:
University of Washington, B.A. in Business Administration (Accounting Concentration)

What inspired you to pursue law?

A few years ago, I volunteered to be a tax preparer for low-income individuals through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. My experience in preparing individual returns provided insight to a complicated and compelling tax process, and further encouraged me to start thinking about the intricacies involved in tax policy and the development of tax law in general.

How will a UW Law degree help you change the world?

Small businesses play an integral function in the economy and the livelihood of everyday individuals; however, they have been one of the hardest hit sectors during the current pandemic. I hope to leverage the knowledge I acquire at UW Law to add value to the business decisions they make and play a significant role in the recovery that is yet to come.


Ramita Kondepudi

Ramita Kondepudi

Program:
Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Education:
Harvey Mudd College, B.S. in Engineering

What inspired you to pursue law?

After graduating from Harvey Mudd, I spent two years as a patent agent at Fenwick & West LLP. I really enjoyed using my engineering degree to write and prosecute patents, while also thinking about the societal and user impacts of the inventions I helped patent. I also regularly participated in pro bono initiatives, from immigration clinics to voting and census hotlines. I'm pursuing law to explore and positively contribute to technology law's impacts on communities.

How will a UW Law degree help you change the world?

I am so excited to be at UW Law! With strong mentorship from faculty and staff, I'm looking forward to being able to apply classroom learnings to actionable tasks in the real legal world. I also hope to take advantage of UW Law's extensive technology law coursework and clinical programs to gain further experience in the field. I aim to work towards ensuring that technology contributes to building a more equitable society. UW Law will prove me with the support and resources to get there.


Novita Liangga Kumala

Novita Liangga Kumala

Program:
Sustainable International Development LL.M.

Education:
University of Notre Dame, Master of Global Affairs
Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, B.L.

What inspired you to pursue law?

Back then, I am what an American will call a "first-generation law student." Despite not having an in-person role model, I feel what made me pursue law were the stories I saw and heard about the many activists who pushed for the 'Reformasi 1998' in Indonesia. With knowledge in law, you would have better access to change and demand a better social structure. Although I now know that various positions and roles are needed to achieve change, my law and policymaking passion remains the same.

How will a UW Law degree help you change the world?

Nowadays, I prefer to think about smaller and immediate impact. My current focus is on the nexus of environmental protection, development for the local and Indigenous community, and the climate emergency we are in now. I hope with a UW Law degree I can learn more about how legal professionals contribute to sustainable development. I wish to convince and influence more business actors in Indonesia — such as corporate law firms and big companies — to incorporate climate concerns and meaningfully implement sustainability standards in their business conduct.


Donald Peters

Donald Peters

Program:
Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Education:
University of Washington, B.A. in English Literature.
University of Southern California, M.A. in Teaching

What inspired you to pursue law?

I taught for 10 years. While I loved working with my students and fellow teachers, I was frustrated by the lack of impact. When my students left my class, left the school, they had to go out into a world that did not care for them. A world that did not value them. A world, that in many cases, viewed them at best as an outsider and, at worst, as the problem. A career in law seemed like the best way to combat the problems I saw. I wanted to put myself in a position where I can help change the system; to change public policy and legislation that devalued education and access to resources for those in need; to change the way the criminal justice system targeted marginalized communities; and to promote equity for all peoples in their treatment in all avenues of the legal system.

How will a UW Law degree help you change the world?

I believe that UW Law will guide me in developing the skills and foundational knowledge to practice law at the high level needed to enact change. UW Law is a reputable law school that has produced lawyers and judges who have gone on to champion the causes that I believe in: Judge Veronica Galvan, Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis and Judge Marco Antonio Hernandez. I would love to follow in their footsteps, to continue to push for change, and I believe that UW Law is the best place to prepare to do so.


Enoh Sampson

Enoh Sampson

Program:
Health Law LL.M.

Education:
London Metropolitan University, LPC

What inspired you to pursue law?

I got my first degree in Communication studies. I decided to pursue a career in law as a result of my penchant for defending injustice. I believe that being a lawyer has given me a strong edge with navigating through life's challenges and handling very complex matters.

How will a UW Law degree help you change the world?

A UW Law degree will be an added benefit to the great skills already achieved. I believe that it will not only help to revamp and buffer my career, but it would add to the much-needed value I so crave to become a policymaker and a legal health care professional.