That old mantra, there’s no place like home? For third-year law student Paul Esker that mantra has become something of a truism. Esker, a native of Cedar Rapids, IA is a proud Iowan and always had plans of laying down roots in the Hawkeye State. Even so, the journey from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City for law school was a bit more windy than a quick trip down I-380.
After graduating from Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Esker made his way to Luther College in Decorah, IA. “Although Luther is relatively close to Cedar Rapids, it was a first step away from home. As soon as I left for Luther and Decorah, the floodgates opened and I spent a summer in Montana and studied abroad in South Africa.” At Luther, Esker excelled, serving as the student body president, founding the school’s dance marathon, and being an active participant in the music and theater programs.
After graduating from Luther in 2014, Paul traveled the country working on different political campaigns. “I sort of stumbled into the political sphere after organizing an event while I was at Luther. One thing led to another and I found myself working for candidates and causes I was passionate about.”
Between undergrad and law school, Paul lived and worked in Iowa, New York City, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, GA. “I had a great experience exploring the country and learning new things along the way. I had the opportunity to live in unique and diverse environments, each of which had new and exciting qualities that I came to appreciate in a way I hadn’t before. Above all, though, I walked away from that time of my life with a deeper appreciation for Iowa and for home.”
After nine job roles in four years, Esker decided law school was his next step. “Law school had always been in the back of my mind – I actually took the LSAT when I was a senior in college before getting sidetracked by politics. After the transient nature of politics, I wanted to pursue a stable career in Iowa that would allow me to help people.”
When it came to deciding which law school to attend, as they say, there’s no place like home. “Iowa was always at or near the top of my list, and although I was accepted to other great schools, Iowa was a no-brainer. Iowa Law has a fantastic reputation, and the Iowa legal community is close-knit. The opportunity to spend three years in Iowa City learning from great faculty and engraining myself into the Iowa legal community from day one, as opposed to having to wait until graduation, was a huge factor.”
Iowa Law provided Paul with the opportunity to engrain himself into the Iowa legal community from day one, and Paul turned opportunity into reality. He spent his first summer at the Des Moines office of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., and split his second summer between Fredikson and Cedar Rapids-based Bradley & Riley PC, where he has accepted an offer to work full-time after graduation.
“Iowa is home, and as the signature law school in the state Iowa Law set me up for exactly the type of success I was looking for. If I could do the entire law school application process over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”