Graduation profile 2011: Mary Margaret Montgomery

Mary Margaret Montgomery, 26, will receive her law degree with a certificate in criminal law when she graduates from the University of Oregon. She is from Decatur, Ill. “I knew going in to law school that it would be a tough three years because it is a lot of work, so finding a place where I would be supported and encouraged to succeed was really exciting for me,” she says.

Extracurricular/leadership activities:

President, Student Bar Association; assistant director, Moot Court Board; staff editor, Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation; Dean’s Student Advisory Committee; Peer Advisory Board.

I chose to attend the University of Oregon because … of the sense of community at the law school. I visited a number of different law schools around the country to be able to get a “feel” for what it was like at each place. After returning from the UO, it was clear that it was the right school for me. The professors, students and staff I talked to during my visit all showed me how supportive the community at UO Law was.

My most rewarding experience or proudest accomplishment at the UO was … competing in the Mock Trial Regional Competition. I loved working with the other team members (Michelle Watkins, Jessie Baracker and Risa Perkins) and professor Carrie Leonetti on a criminal law trial. There were always new problems and issues to overcome, and I had a great time working on it with all of them.

The greatest obstacle I encountered while earning my degree was … learning to say “no” to volunteering! I always wanted to be able to help with different groups in any way I could because there are so many amazing things going on. I’m still not completely convinced I learned this lesson, but I do think I was able to improve on it.

My greatest inspiration at the UO came from … my fellow students at the law school. The stories they came to the law school with were inspirational because everyone had such unique backgrounds. While we were in school together, it was amazing to see the different things people were passionate about (and everyone was passionate about something!). And now that I’m graduating, I know that the people I graduated with are going to make a difference on every level possible, and that inspires me to strive to do more, too.

The UO moment I will treasure most was … graduation with my class! After three years of hard work, it was great to celebrate and spend time with everyone.  I loved our actual graduation ceremony and celebrating with everyone leading up to the day and afterward.

My education at the UO has changed the course of my life because … even though I think any law degree is extremely valuable, my experience as a UO law student was a supportive experience that not all law students have. I know that I will be a better attorney and person because of the cooperative work I was able to do at UO Law.

I plan to use my UO degree to … make a difference! I’m still figuring out exactly how I will apply my law degree from UO, but I know that I have the tools to make a difference now, so I’m really excited to start (after taking the bar, of course).