I’m In: Ready for What’s Next (Part 6, Allison Bolgiano)

In spring 2019, Allison Bolgiano was a newly admitted student to UW Law’s J.D. program. She shared her hopes and plans for law school. Now, we reconnect with Bolgiano as a new graduate who is reflecting on her law school career. While her aspirations for her career have changed a bit, law school helped her rediscover her passion for the environment and inspired her to use her legal knowledge to advocate for environmental regulations.

Bolgiano worked on a case and helped write a motion for the Department of Ecology that was trying to regulate nutrients going into Puget Sound, which deplete oxygen and make the Sound less healthy for marine life. She found it rewarding to be an advocate for what she saw as a valuable form of environmental regulation. The experience, combined with her legal education, has inspired her to combine her passion for the law and her love of the outdoors.

Learn how UW Law has prepared Bolgiano for what’s next.

Watch the playlist of all "I'm In" video stories.

Read the Transcript

[text on screen] In spring 2019, UW Law interviewed Allison Bolgiano, then a newly admitted student to the law school’s J.D. program.

Allison (Bolgiano): One of my primary motivations for going to law school is I want to be the best advocate I can be for creating enough affordable housing for all people who need it to have a decent, safe and affordable home.

[text on screen] Now, we reconnect with Allison as she finished her last quarter of law school.

Allison: My aspirations and goals have definitely changed some. During law school, I've really reconnected with an interest of mine that I had more back in college, which is the environment, environmental issues. I worked on a case—helped write a motion, in a case—where the Department of Ecology was trying to regulate nutrients going into Puget Sound, which deplete oxygen and are making the sound less healthy for all kinds of marine life, up to and including orcas. And ecology wanted to pass this new regulation and some certain cities and utility districts had challenged that in court. It felt really rewarding to be able to kind of be that person who is advocating for what I, you know, saw as a valuable state policy, a valuable form of environmental regulation.

One way my life has changed is I feel like I now have just a way better sense of what lawyers do and what the law is. Some of these major events that have happened the last few years, just has made me see the ways that lawyers have an important role to play in maintaining our institutions and procedural fairness.

I'm working at UW Student Legal Services. So, we're a on campus law office that provides free consultations and then low-cost ongoing representation to students. And I've just worked with all kinds of UW students who are dealing with things that make it really hard to focus on your education, if you're also worried about your, you know, lawful immigration status, what's happening with your F1 student visa, or you're going through divorce while a student. We really do it all. And that's been great to get to have this practical experience and help people on such a range of legal issues.

Another one of my takeaways from law school is that we as law students get this really remarkable education that a lot of people, you know, don't get, and it's a privilege and kind of an asset that we have that I think should be used judiciously and for good.

After graduation, I will be moving to Fairbanks, Alaska, after taking the bar exam. And I'm going to be serving as a law clerk to one of Alaska's state supreme court justices. I'm super, super excited and thrilled that to have this opportunity to get to work with the justice and get to help research and even to an extent help decide cases. So I feel like I'm making a big life change and in some ways, a bit of a sacrifice. Like I'm going to give up most of my possessions and I'm going to move to this town where I don't know anyone really. I feel really lucky that I have this opportunity to go up there and have a first job that combines my passion for the law with my love of the outdoors.

[text on screen] Congratulations, Allison, on a successful law school career.