Kelly N. Sampson
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Kelly N. Sampson ’12 was part of a track and field team that set a Big Ten Conference record for the Distance Medley Relay. This year, she brought a similar level of focus to the highly competitive track that is the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court competition. “I’ve really enjoyed having to stand up and defend a position that I have been working on,” she says. “Applying these skills in a realistic setting against such talented people has been a great challenge.”
Among the aspects of the competition that Sampson enjoys most is brief writing. She says she first began to understand the pleasures of the craft while working as a summer associate at Jones Day in Washington, D.C. “My time at Jones Day followed by the Stone Moot Court really opened my eyes to the beauty of brief writing,” she says. “I used to feel constrained by legal writing, but now I love the puzzle aspect to arranging so many pieces of logic, and making the reasoning explicit and elegant. “
Among her many activities at Columbia Law School, Sampson says she values her time working on the Journal of Race and Law, for which she helped organize a symposium on race and the economy last year. “A lot goes into finding the right people for a conference and making sure that it’s both high-caliber and interesting, and it was very rewarding to see it all come together successfully,” she says. Sampson also has fond memories from her participation in the Columbia Law School Spring Break Caravan, which traveled tothe California Appellate Project in San Francisco. There she collected vital and educational records to be used in an unrepresented inmate’s state habeas petition, as well as researched family history of the person and used findings to create a timeline of the inmate’s life.
It was not the first time she had traveled a great distance for a legal adventure. In the summer of 2010, Sampson served as a legal intern with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in Darwin, Australia. She researched and wrote legal memoranda on various issues, performed client intake interviews at bush courts, and assisted the advocacy department in researching and drafting a report about alternatives to imprisonment for the Aboriginal community.
As a third-year student back in Morningside Heights, Sampson says her Trial Practice and Evidence classes have her excited to begin the full-time position she starts next fall with Jones Day. Next fall, Sampson will work in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, where she will focus on litigation.