Lisa Coffman

Attorney, United States Courts

"After my first year of law school, I focused on environmental law.  I'm sure that having a background in environmental science and policy helped, as I didn't need to start from the ground up. In my current career, I do draw upon the basic concepts I picked up in many of my undergraduate courses, including environmental chemistry, ecology, and biostatistics. Having that basic background means that I can "speak the language" of the experts involved in the lawsuits before our court.

Someone gave me this piece of advice AFTER I went to law school:  Pick a career that let's you use both your mind and your body in a way that is rewarding.  (I probably would have thought harder about becoming a Park Ranger had I received this advice earlier.)  Apart from that, I would encourage students to treat ESPP not as a program that teaches you material/facts, but as a program that teaches you how to think about problems and how to learn about new ones.  I lost sight of that a bit when I was an undergrad.  I found it again in law school, where you not only learn a ton of material, you learn how to learn about the law."
- Class of '97