Using Our Law Degrees to Bless the World: Remarks from Jane Mitchell at the Eighth Annual Women in Law Prelaw Event
On September 28, 2016, over one hundred prospective law students, current law students, and attorneys gathered at BYU Law School for the Eighth Annual JRCLS Women in Law Prelaw Event. This year’s Prelaw Event included a networking event for prospective and current law students and attorneys, and also featured a keynote address by Jane Mitchell, attorney and Co-Founder and CEO of the award-winning nonprofit organization The Reset Foundation.
Ms. Mitchell’s remarks focused on how a law degree can amplify a person’s ability to bless the world. Her journey into law began during her undergraduate studies at Stanford, where she became involved in teaching young prison inmates. It was during that time that she decided to go to law school to acquire skills that would allow her to help combat cycles of poverty and imprisonment in society. Her dream took her to Columbia Law School, to a brief career in corporate law, and, ultimately, led her to found the Reset Foundation in 2012, which focuses on empowering incarcerated young adults to succeed professionally and personally.
Drawing from her personal experiences, Ms. Mitchell shared compelling insights into how a law degree can amplify a person’s abilities to bless lives. According to Ms. Mitchell, a law degree can significantly amplify one’s ability to “build the kingdom,” while also generally providing skills to help others and to learn a new way of thinking. Here are just a few examples of how a law degree can bless efforts to build the kingdom:
A law degree can make scripture study more powerful. Intellectual skills acquired through law school—such as analyzing patterns and other elements of critical thinking——can make scripture study much more meaningful and effective.
A law degree can amplify abilities to articulate and defend truths. Referencing a familiar quote by President Spencer W. Kimball, Ms. Mitchell testified of the importance of LDS women “reflect[ing] righteousness and articulateness in their lives.” According to Ms. Mitchell, articulateness and confidence “don’t just happen.” You have to train yourself. Legal training significantly enhances these skills.
A law degree can amplify abilities as nurturers and mothers. Ms. Mitchell’s legal training has significantly enhanced her abilities to teach and nurture her own child—including her abilities to ask her child meaningful questions to help the child grow. This, she said, is imperative in today’s world where “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Finally, Ms. Mitchell acknowledged some of the challenges facing women as they make difficult choices about pursuing rigorous legal training and work while also preparing for and fulfilling family responsibilities. According to Ms. Mitchell, who was unmarried while pursuing her law degree and beginning a demanding career at a large law firm in New York, “what’s right for you professionally will also be right for you personally,” as you humbly seek and follow the Lord’s counsel.
By Megan J. Nelson, Media Committee
Posted: November 17, 2016