Ellie Dupler ’20: The Public Interest Advocate

As they wrapped up their final semester from their homes because of the COVID-19 crisis, six members of the Class of 2020 shared their most memorable Law School experiences and what’s next.

Hometown: Thompsonville, Michigan

Why the law? Ellie Dupler always knew she wanted to help people. She learned about careers in human rights law while spending a summer doing global health work in Ghana and realized the law could be a tool for real and lasting change.

Why Columbia? Dupler was looking for schools with strong human rights programs, and Columbia Law stood out with its Human Rights Institute and Human Rights Clinic. She also discovered that Columbia Law alumni work at most of the organizations she admires.

Advice? “Build relationships with your professors. They will help you develop your voice as a lawyer.” 

Fun fact: In 2018, she gave a talk at TEDxColumbiaUniversity where she challenged the perception of rural America as a political monolith and asked her audience to think “purple.” She is also competitive on the slopes: Dupler was a member of her college’s ski team and loves racing and skiing for fun.

Outside the classroom: Co-president of the Columbia Law Women’s Association, notes editor for the Columbia Law Review, member of the Human Rights Clinic, coach and team member of the LaLSA Asylum and Refugee Law moot court, and teaching and research assistant. Last semester, Dupler traveled to Beirut to attend a workshop tied to the Human Rights Clinic's ongoing advocacy work on the right to mental health in Yemen.

Career plans: Dupler will be clerking for Judge David O. Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California from 2020 to 2021 and Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit from 2021 to 2022.