In the months leading up to Commencement, we asked upcoming graduates from different programs about the highlights of their law school experience, the factors that brought them to UW Law, and their plans for after graduation.

María P. Angel (Ph.D.)

Maria P. Angel

UW Law: What originally motivated you to apply for law school?

María P. Angel (MPA): Back home in Colombia, I am a lawyer and researcher, and I saw the Ph.D. in Law in the U.S. as a wonderful opportunity to improve my research skills while learning about a legal system in which some of the most interesting tech policy debates take place.

UW Law: How did you decide to attend UW Law, specifically?

MPA: Since I do research in Privacy Law and Law and Technology, I was interested in working with Ryan Calo and being part of the Tech Policy Lab at UW. I am so glad I made that choice!

UW Law: How will you use your degree after graduation, and what do you hope to be doing down the road?

MPA: Starting July 1st, I will do a 2-year postdoc at Yale's Information Society Project (ISP), working under the supervision of Law Professor Jack Balkin. I look forward to continuing to grow as a scholar, conducting research at the intersection of privacy law, law & technology, and science & technology studies (STS).

UW Law: Any fun plans after graduation?

MPA: Yes! My parents and my family-in-law will come from Colombia to Seattle, to join me and my husband for the graduation ceremony. After that, I plan to take a road trip with my parents around Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.

UW Law: What is one of your favorite memories from your time studying here?

MPA: I was in charge of organizing the Tech Policy Lab's weekly Tech Policy Discussion between December 2019 and April 2020 (just before the pandemic hit!). During these lunches, people from all over campus would come to the lab to discuss the most recent news in tech policy. In addition to meeting the larger tech policy community at UW, during those months I also learned from so many different perspectives and disciplines. I have wonderful memories of that period.

UW Law: What was one thing that surprised you while in law school?

MPA: I was extremely surprised by the administrative staff’s kindness, efficiency and willingness to help. I am particularly grateful to Alex Bolton, La Sheena Taft and Devon Pimentelli for their generous assistance in supporting my Ph.D. journey.

Choky Ramadhan (Ph.D.)

Choky Ramadhan

UW Law: What originally motivated you to apply for law school?

Choky Ramadhan (CR): I have a law degree and am interested in criminal justice policy and the rule of law in relation to law and development. I was keen to study any courses, research methodologies, and reform experience that would help Indonesian criminal justice reform with rigorous evidence-based research and successful advocacy strategies.

UW Law: How did you decide to attend UW Law, specifically?

CR: In 2014, I received my master's degree (LL.M.) at UW School of Law, where I worked with UW Law’s Innocence Project Northwest to urge the Washington State Legislature to pass a bill to preserve biological evidence. I found that UW Law provides excellent resources for learning multidisciplinary research and engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders. Furthermore, UW Law has experts and materials on law and development, focusing on Indonesian legal reform.

UW Law: How will you use your law degree after graduation?

CR: As an assistant professor at the University of Indonesia, I will use my law degree to advance legal teaching and research in Indonesia with the goal to achieve effective, humane, accountable, and inclusive criminal justice policy.

UW Law: What is one of your favorite memories from your time studying here?

CR: My favorite memory is my first year of the Ph.D. program when I took compulsory courses with my law school cohort and Ph.D. students from the International Studies program. I learned many things about them and their research and appreciated their feedback on my research.

UW Law: Did you have a favorite class and/or professor while at UW Law?

CR: Professor Anna Bosch, my dissertation chair, is my favorite professor! She has been very helpful and patient in supervising my dissertation.

UW Law: What was one thing that surprised you while in law school?

CR: I was amazed at how fast the law school and professors adjusted the academic and other activities with the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Andrew Niles (M.J. Program)

Andrew Niles

UW Law: What originally motivated you to apply for law school?

Andrew Niles (AN): Law school was a childhood aspiration of mine, but instead I ventured into a legal marketing role at a local law firm where I regained my passion for law. The M.J. program proved to be an ideal avenue for enhancing my legal acumen and advancing my career.

UW Law: How did you decide to attend UW Law, specifically?

AN: Hailing from a family of Huskies and having earned my undergraduate degree from UW, it was a no-brainer to pick UW Law.

UW Law: How will you use your law degree after graduation?

AN: The M.J. program has broadened my outlook on the legal field, moving beyond a linear path in Legal Marketing. My goal is to advocate for LGBTQ rights, utilizing my legal expertise to champion equality and justice.

UW Law: What is one of your favorite memories from your time studying here?

AN: Building a bond with my fellow M.J. cohort has been one of my top memories here at UW School of Law. I have enjoyed spending time in the library with my fellow M.J.s, preparing for our exams and exploring the U District to grab a quick bite to eat after class. 

UW Law: Did you have a favorite class and/or professor while at UW Law?

AN: It is so hard to pick one class, as I have had many amazing professors during my time here at UW Law. I have two classes that I will always remember: Negotiations with Professor Theo Myhre, and Family Law with Professor Terry Price. Their hands-on approach allowed for an interactive and fun learning environment.

UW Law: What was one thing that surprised you while in law school?

AN: Coming into law school I was a bit fearful of the Socratic method but was surprised by how much I enjoyed the interactive nature of being cold called in class. It really forced you to know your stuff.

Aminat Sanusi (3L)

Aminat Sanusi

UW Law: What originally motivated you to apply to law school?

Aminat Sanusi (AS): I took a mock trial class at Lakeside High School called Freedom, Crime and Law, where we had the opportunity to learn about the First, Second, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. The class concluded with a mock trial and during the semester, real judges and lawyers coached us on opening statements, direct questioning and cross examination. I loved that class and realized I also like other aspects of being a lawyer such as public speaking, so I pivoted from pursuing a career in medicine to applying to law school.

The main reason why I wanted to be a lawyer is because I want to advocate for communities of color, especially Black people and black women. I felt like that was really my purpose.

UW Law: How did you decide to attend UW Law, specifically?

AS: I went to Howard University for undergrad, but I am from Seattle and have a great support system in Seattle. UW Law seemed like the place where I would have the space to grow and challenge myself, while having the help and the support I need to jumpstart my legal career.

UW Law: How are you going to use your law degree after graduation?

AS: After graduation, I’ll be staying here in Seattle and working at Bullivant Houser doing insurance defense litigation work. I want to try to give back by helping and mentoring young Black girls who want to become lawyers, but don’t know any Black women lawyers to look up to. I want to be a role model for them as they try to enter the legal field.

UW Law: What is one of your favorite memories from studying here?

AS: When I first joined the Student Bar Association (SBA) three years ago, I was the vice president of seasonal events and we had just returned from COVID, so we restarted all the extracurricular programs. Planning the Barrister’s Ball was such a great way to get to know my classmates, get everyone’s input and see it all come together. It was a lot of work, but I had so much fun!

UW Law: Did you have a favorite class or professor?

AS: Professor Mireille Butler’s Legal Writing class was my favorite. Legal writing is such an important part of being a lawyer, and the way she taught the subject, I could tell that she really cared about her students’ understanding of how to write legal papers. Another professor I really liked here is Jeffrey Feldman and I took his Civil Procedure class and Constitutional Law 2 class. He is just so patient with his students, and the Socratic method style of teaching really helped me understand and retain the material.

UW Law: What was something that surprised you at law school?

AS: When I started law school, the professors told us that the law takes years and years to change. In the past three years, though, the Supreme Court has overturned laws that have been upheld for 50 plus years — reproductive rights and First Amendment cases involving religion and government funding for schools. I was surprised because the Supreme Court made it look easy to overturn laws that have been in place for so many years. Although I may not agree with the law that was overturned, I saw that this was real life, and that those changes would affect how I practice law.

Alice Detwiler (IP LL.M.)

Alice Detwiler

UW Law: What originally motivated you to apply for law school?

Alice Detwiler (AD): I graduated with my J.D. from Harvard Law School many years ago and had an extensive career that included a Ninth Circuit clerkship, stints in state and federal government, law firms and 15 years at Microsoft in both legal and global business roles. At this stage of my career, the LL.M. program was an opportunity to deepen my expertise in IP law and gain an understanding of many other subjects in a structured, intellectually satisfying way.

UW Law: How did you decide to attend UW Law, specifically?

AD: I have lived in Redmond since 2007 and feel fortunate to have such an excellent law school nearby.

UW Law: How will you use your law degree after graduation?

AD: While earning my LL.M., I was also working at a small public company as Deputy General Counsel. I enjoy being in-house counsel and would like to be part of the leadership team of a larger company, ideally also in the technology space.

UW Law: What is one of your favorite memories from your time studying here?

AD: I enjoyed getting to know a whole new generation of smart, savvy and fun law students. What an amazing group of lawyers!

UW Law: Did you have a favorite class and/or professor while at UW Law?

AD: I had so many amazing professors at UW Law — too many to name! I'd like to offer shout-outs to Prof. Selis for her mentorship, Prof. Ross for making complex topics so coherent and entertaining, Prof. Gomulkiewicz for leading such excellent class discussions, Prof. Davison for getting through so much useful material so clearly and Prof. Dixon for championing precision in drafting.

UW Law: What was one thing that surprised you while in law school?

AD: I have been struck by how much practical advice the professors offer. Maybe it's because so many of the profs are or have been practitioners in their areas of expertise. UW law students graduate very well prepared for the realities of legal practice!

Matt Williamson (3L)

Matt Williamson

UW Law: What originally motivated you to apply for law school?

Matt Williamson (MW): My dad is a retired maritime lawyer, so I had some exposure to law at a young age, but I actually wanted to be a history teacher like my mom. To my great surprise, when I was at Kenyon College, I took some pre-law classes and discovered that I really enjoyed it, especially the sociology aspects of law. Working as a paralegal was the best decision I could have made after undergrad. Even after three years of enduring some of the most grinding, mundane aspects of being in the legal field, I found that I was still enjoying and intellectually stimulated by my work. I also loved working with really smart and passionate people. So, I figured I was ready to take the next step.

UW Law: How did you decide to attend UW Law, specifically?

MW: The proximity to my family, the area, and the wonderful people that make up this place were big draws. I made the decision to enroll during the pandemic, working in New York City. I wanted to be back in the Seattle area, where I grew up, for law school. I also liked that the UW Law J.D. program was a little bit smaller than other schools.

UW Law: How will you use your law degree after graduation?

MW: I’ll be going back to New York where I also worked as a summer associate before my 3L year to work for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in a two-year corporate rotational program. Paul, Weiss was the firm where I worked as a paralegal, and I’m really excited to get the chance to go back as an attorney. I’ll likely end up back in Private Funds since I had a wonderful experience working in that practice group and doing so would present a fantastic opportunity to learn from some of the very top people in the field. While I was originally hoping to start my post-J.D. career in Seattle, I was drawn to the flexibility of practicing big law in New York because, beyond being an amazing place to learn the law, it will likely provide me more options to choose where I want to go with my career in the future — both geographically and in terms of practice opportunities.

UW Law: What is one of your favorite memories from your time studying here?

MW: Meeting my girlfriend here at UW Law is definitely my favorite memory. We matched on Hinge but were actually in the same Torts class at the time. I sat in the front row of the classroom and everybody else in the class sounded like disembodied voices behind me. So, she recognized me first, and I later realized, “Oh my gosh — wait, you're in my class.” We’re moving to New York together after graduation, so I’m hoping she forgave me for the oversight.

Scholastically, the Federal Tax Clinic has been a really amazing opportunity to do meaningful, impactful work for real-world clients. The professors are fantastic, and the camaraderie has been great among the students.

UW Law: Did you have a favorite class and/or professor while at UW Law?

MW: Professor Jessica West was my favorite professor, and her Persuasive Writing class was my favorite classroom experience. Learning from Professor West and my classmates, including Eli Sanders (J.D. ’24) who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, about varying approaches to writing was fascinating. Hearing all my classmates’ different takes on pieces of legal writing helped me find a balance in crafting arguments.

UW Law: What was one thing that surprised you while in law school?

MW: I thought that working for three years before law school would make me one of the older students in class, but there were so many scenarios in which many students offered real-world experience to help the class understand a case we were reading. One of my classmates would say they had performed that exact surgery, or worked in some specific field or industry, and then provide fascinating detail or context that we would never have received just from reading the casebook. That really enriched the learning experience for me.