Danielson completes JD with husband, kids in tow

Lindsey Danielson always knew she wasn’t finished with her education.

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, joining the U.S. Army (where she later met her husband during a deployment to Iraq), and working as an intelligence analyst for a number of years, the Texas native was ready for law school.

But she also had two young children and didn’t want to put her life on hold to pursue her education.

That’s when the University of Iowa College of Law came into the picture.

“Iowa Law was not only supportive of the idea of me coming to law school with a family but actively encouraged me to,” Danielson says. “They provided me with tons of advice leading up to my arrival, and the availability of the faculty and staff to help me get settled here was incredible.”

In addition to recommending child care centers and helping her relocate from Colorado, Iowa Law advised Danielson on how to plan her schedule in a way that would allow her to have a third child while earning her JD.

But having a family while in law school hasn’t prevented Danielson from taking advantage of learning opportunities outside the classroom.

After her first year, she participated in an observational learning opportunity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, to determine whether she might be interested in international law as a career path.

She’s also worked as a federal judicial extern for the U.S. District Court of the Western District at Texas and as a summer associate for Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., in Des Moines, where she experienced the creative process a lawyer often has to engage in.

“People say being a lawyer requires a lot of creativity, but I didn’t see it in practice until my experience last summer working at a firm,” says Danielson. “I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a brainstorming session to figure out how to argue a case, and being able to witness that problem-solving helped me realize there is a practical use for everything I’m learning in the classroom.”

After Danielson graduates in May, she’ll begin a clerkship for Judge Steve Leben at the Kansas Court of Appeals in Topeka.

She credits the time her faculty advisor, Iowa Law professor Todd Pettys, made for her as she chose classes, adjusted to law school, and navigated externship opportunities for some of the success she’s had as a student.

“He has been an incredible mentor throughout this journey,” says Danielson, adding that she wouldn’t be doing a clerkship after graduation were it not for his encouragement.

“To know Lindsey is to know several of the reasons why teaching is such a rewarding and enjoyable profession,” says Pettys. “She is smart, engaged, ambitious, and humble, all wrapped up in an absolutely delightful personality. Playing a small role in her professional life has been a great honor.”

As Danielson reflects on her time at Iowa Law, she says she’ll remember the sense of community she feel among her peers.

“People are just kind here. When I had my baby last year, my classmates set up a meal train and brought me food for a couple of weeks,” Danielson says. “I just don’t think that would happen anywhere else.”

Most of all, Danielson hopes she can use her experience at Iowa Law to encourage others who are considering a career change to take the leap.

“I think a lot of women, especially when they are married and start having kids, start to feel like that’s the end of their career, or that they can’t make any more life changes,” she says. “I would encourage any parent interested in pursuing a new career to go for it. If they find the right school and the right support, like what I found here at Iowa Law, it can be a great experience.”

Read the complete article at: https://now.uiowa.edu/2017/05/danielson-completes-jd-husband-kids-tow

Lindsey Danielson