September 15, 2014

Student Feature

Passion for Writing Leads 2L to Pursue Law Degree

Andrew Mikac

Reading and writing have always been a passion for 2L Andrew Mikac. They inspired him first to share that enthusiasm with students in educationally under-served communities, and now are driving him to pursue a degree in law.

“Before going to law school I was a teacher and I taught in Charlotte, N.C. I loved teaching, I really enjoyed it, but I realized it wasn’t what I was meant to do for the rest of my life,” Mikac said. “I was always interested in the legal profession because it really focuses on writing and reading and these are skills that I’ve always worked hard to have and I liked the idea of being part of a profession where those were what made you excellent at it.”

After graduating from The Ohio State University in 2011, Mikac joined Teach for America, a program where participants sign up to teach for two years in low-socioeconomic areas across the country.

As his time with the program drew to a close, Mikac said while he enjoyed teaching, he realized what he really wanted to do is practice law. He decided to apply to a university he was already a proud alumnus of in hopes of returning home to pursue an advanced degree that would support his passion for reading and writing.

“I always liked Ohio State’s undergraduate motto, I think it’s a little bit different than the law school actually, but the undergrad motto was education for citizenship, and I really believe in that. When I was teaching I believed in that. So I was very excited to be able to return home to go back to school,” he said.

Building on that principle, when Mikac began looking for opportunities to gain experience in the legal field over his first summer at law school, he said the Washington D.C. Summer Program seemed to provide a unique opportunity to study in the epicenter of national policy. He applied and was accepted into an internship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of General Counsel.

“I think of D.C. as the heartbeat of the American legal system. I worked for the federal government, which is a really important component of the legal system, and I thought it would be interesting to go there and learn about how it works and see it for myself first hand. And D.C. was a place I’d always been interested in, kind of like an itch I needed to scratch, so I got to experience the city through the program,” he said.

Over the summer, Mikac had the opportunity to work on a number of different projects with the SEC from whistle-blower retaliation cases to employment issues, Freedom of Information Act issues, appeals questions and attorney ethics problems.

He said he was also able to experience the nation’s capital in many other ways thanks to the D.C. program’s faculty connections.

“Substantive classwork for us included going to meetings with important people in the city of D.C. and learning about what their lives are like, how they got there, and what their work consisted of,” Mikac said. “It was an opportunity that, even if I had taken this internship without the program, would not have been available to me.”

Mikac added another important lesson he feels he will take away from the experience is the satisfaction in knowing the hard work and preparation he has done in just his first year of law school has put him on the right track to succeeding in whichever area of the law he chooses to practice in after graduation.

“Sometimes you may feel a little intimidated looking at the sheet of interns and they’re from Harvard and Stanford and the University of Chicago, and you can feel like ‘oh no, how am I going to hold a candle to these brilliant people?’ But then you realize I’m just as effective and just as capable of performing at this level as the other students are,” he said. “I think there’s something to be said for working with people from all different backgrounds and getting to know them and really just understanding how well Ohio State is able to prepare me for working in the real world.”

Discovery is an internal weekly electronic newsletter for the faculty, staff, and students of the Moritz College of Law. Items to be considered for posting should be submitted to Barbara Peck, Chief Communications Officer, by the Wednesday prior to the Monday release of the newsletter. Items are subject to editing for content and brevity.