After a year in Miami, Florida at St. Thomas University College of Law, Annalyse Harris, 2L, decided to switch things up. She applied to transfer to the University of Washington School of Law and received her admittance letter soon afterward. She didn’t think twice about moving 3,500 miles across the country to continue her legal education and immediately began setting things in motion for the big move.

As an undergraduate, Harris was inspired to focus on an issue that was important to her—juvenile justice reform. She has since expanded her interests to include construction deficiency and had the opportunity this past summer to learn more about this area of law as an intern for a Miami law firm.

Watch along as Annalyse recounts her whirlwind decision to move to the Pacific Northwest to further her legal studies and how she plans to make an impact on the world.

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So, I’m still in Miami, just still working a billion hours for the firm and I just decided to apply. I told my family, you know, hey, I applied to transfer to UW. And then I was accepted within like a week. I had literally 36 hours to just pack up my whole entire apartment, pack up my car, you know, find a shipping company to ship my car with all my stuff in it, sell all of my stuff and went to Northern California then came here.

I'm Annalyse Harris and I am a 2L here at UW Law.

I started my legal education at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. During my undergrad I went to Arizona State University. I interned at Maricopa County Juvenile Court. I interned at the juvenile courts for a year and had the really awesome opportunity to go through all the processes of the juvenile court, not just juvenile delinquency, but dependency, guardianship, adoption. And I took three or four classes in my undergrad, in the criminology school, of juvenile justice and juvenile reform. So, I've always been really passionate about that, because I was a troubled kid when I was younger.

One of the lawyers that I had worked with had said to one of the younger, detained youth, "you know, this is Annalyse, you know, she was in your same position 10 years ago." And he wants to be a lawyer too. And I told him I was going to law school. And now he's back in high school, which is awesome, and he's actually going to graduate.

So, I've always really been interested in juvenile justice, juvenile justice reform. It's something that we really, as an entire nation, need to be more progressive about.

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be a 1L law clerk at a firm in Miami focusing on complex litigation of construction deficiency on specifically high-rise condominiums. I was also able to work on the Surfside matter, which is the unfortunate collapse of the Surfside building.

I would get to go to the job sites. I would get to go to the condos and go with our experts that we had retained and participate in the depositions of opposing counsel’s experts that they had retained, go through their reports and all of their findings, and just go through all of the steps of litigation and pretrial motions.

I was also able to work with some civil rights issues and different things and learn about remedial plans in Miami and Florida of the unfortunate history of excluding certain races and people in condominiums and how we now implement remedial plans.

I think anybody would be lying if they told you they weren't nervous, right? You're moving across country 3,500 odd miles away where I don't really know anybody here except for I have a few family members like an hour away. But it's been really great. Everybody's been extremely nice and thoughtful and effective and efficient, especially the faculty and staff here are amazing. Definitely exceeded my expectations—even though I already had high expectations.