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3L plans to live, work in ‘incredible’ Alaskan culture

November 18, 2013 | Students

When 3L Allen Law, a native of Ashland, Ohio, entered law school, he was pretty sure he wanted to work in public service. But he had no idea that interest would lead him to where he now wants to call home: Alaska.

After working two internships in America’s northernmost state, Law fell in love with the culture and now wants to pursue a career there as a prosecutor.

“It’s just got an incredible culture to it where people really become self-reliant and build together in communities,” he said. “The people really trust each other and really try to get along in ways that I think we’ve kind of lost here. It’s expensive, and it’s hard to live up there. Instead of going to the grocery store to buy salmon, you go out and fish for it. You have to.”
After his first year of law school, Law interned at the Fairbanks District Attorney’s Office, located in the second-largest city in Alaska behind Anchorage. He said the internship provided an opportunity to gain hands-on experience because of the relatively small size of the office. Because the population of Alaska is so spread out, the Fairbanks office covered an area about the size of Texas with about a dozen full-time attorneys.
The following summer, Law went to work for the Juneau City Attorney and saw his responsibilities expand. He earned a legal intern permit, allowing him to practice law in the courtroom, and prosecuted misdemeanor cases by himself.
“It was a pretty rapid pace,” he said. “It was wild. I was pretty much on my own. It definitely boosted my confidence, and I was pretty confident going in.”

Because of the experiences, Law has no doubts that he’s ready to step right into a prosecuting job after graduation. He’s also sure it’s a career he wants to pursue.

“I think it’s really rewarding being out there and protecting your community in that way,” he said of prosecution. “But at the same time it’s hard, and it’s really emotionally taxing. I don’t think everyone is cut out to do it.”

Part of the reason Law became interested in prosecution is because of his international experiences. While attaining his undergraduate degree in Allegheny College, he studied conflict resolution in Serbia and Bosnia, both of which were still experiencing the aftereffects of war.

Law said the experience was eye-opening and made him appreciate more than ever the role of the American judicial system.

“Just meeting with war crimes victims, which are typically the victims of some of the most heinous crimes you can find, definitely made me appreciate the work prosecutors put in every day to try and achieve justice,” he said.
Law has also worked extensively on the book Dream of a Nation, which is a collection of essays written by founders, CEOs, or presidents of nongovernmental organizations. Law started as an editor, but his role eventually expanded to include some writing.

Though he’s hesitant to plan too far ahead, he’d eventually like to move out west and possibly become a judge.

“I think the goal is probably to work in Alaska for a while and then go out West,” he said. “I think I’ll probably prosecute for a while, and someday I think I might want to try to be a judge or a magistrate.”