Kathryn Kelly '17
Kathryn Kelly’s dedication to social justice has taken her around the world, but no single experience impacted her quite as much as her first job out of college: working with court-involved youth who were in gangs, had been sexually abused or dealt with mental health issues.
As a staff member for Boys Town, a nonprofit based in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, Kelly spent time in the organization’s intervention and assessment program, working to get delinquent youth on track to be successful in the community and not end up in the criminal justice system as adults.
“I loved it,” Kelly said. “It afforded me the opportunity to advocate in court in front of judges and lawyers and do some case management as well.”
The job was a realization of a dream that began years before, when Kelly was a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and landed an internship with the Douglas County Attorney’s Victim Assistance Division. There, she accompanied victims of crime to court and helped them file protection orders.
“We made sure that victims weren’t ignored by the court system and that they knew there were people out there supporting them,” Kelly said. “Sometimes victims fall through the cracks in our justice system, and I wanted to be an advocate for those people.”
From there, Kelly went on to work as an assistant in a research law lab and as a page for the Nebraska State Legislature before taking the job at Boys Town. She left after two years for a one-year position teaching English in Spain, building on her interests in international relations, human rights and the hope of one day serving Spanish clients as an attorney.
All those experiences led Kelly here, to UST School of Law, where she continues to work toward a career that puts service to others first.
“I’m in law school,” she said, “because I want to be an advocate for people.”
Tim Moosbrugger ’17
Becoming a lawyer is a family tradition for Tim Moosbrugger, to say the least. When prompted, the Princeton, Minnesota, native will check off a long list of lawyers before him: his great-grandfather, grandfather, uncle and father among them. But for Moosbrugger, law school is about more than tradition – it’s about service.
“I was inspired by my dad and the way he practices law,” Moosbrugger said of his decision to become an attorney. “He’s a criminal defense lawyer, and he has always helped clients by encouraging them to participate in recovery programs or finding other ways they could make lasting improvements in their lives. That made a huge impact on me and my belief that helping others through a legal career would be a very fulfilling way to serve others.”
While studying philosophy and Catholic studies at the University of St. Thomas as an undergraduate student, Moosbrugger realized that most of his friends were in seminary, and he knew that wasn’t the right path for him. He learned about the university’s Tommie Law Early Admission Program, which allows undergraduate students to apply for law school during their junior year and skip the LSAT altogether, and opted to take advantage of the program.
“Coming from undergrad here at St. Thomas, I hoped the law professors would take a similar interest in my development – academically, professionally and personally – and I’ve definitely found that as a law student,” Moosbrugger said. “I’ve been very impressed by the entire St. Thomas community. There are so many people who are open and willing to share their viewpoints and thoughts with you, even if they don’t agree with you. It’s a great place to be.”
With his first semester of law school behind him, Moosbrugger is taking the time to soak it all in.
“I’m learning so much right now, so it’s important to me that I keep a lot of opportunities open,” he said. “Criminal law is a major interest of mine, and I’ve already connected with professors about summer clerkship opportunities and clinics. But ultimately I’d just like to learn how I can apply my talents and contribute my service to the legal field.”
T. Jules Porter '17
Years ago, Jules Porter’s grandmother Barbara told her she hoped Jules would become a lawyer someday – maybe even “take over the world.” A hero to Porter, Barbara died in 2013, and her death ignited a spark that pushed Porter to pursue law school.
A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and former member of the Marine Corps, Porter’s around-the-world travels – handling diplomatic security in Japan, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands – inspired her to pursue international law. But it was a brief trip to small-town Mississippi that changed the course of her career.
She and her brother had been driving to visit their grandfather when they noticed a police officer following them. After 7 miles, the officer pulled them over, walked a dog around the car, then asked them to get out of the vehicle and threatened to take them to jail – all for an unknown reason.
“He starts searching my vehicle, and I’m thinking, ‘This can’t be happening,’” Porter recalled. “That was the scariest moment of my life. It was the first time my rights had been completely violated.”
From that moment on, Porter felt compelled to pursue a different kind of law. She is now interested in constitutional law or becoming a federal prosecutor one day.
“I want to be somebody who can actually make a difference and stand up for people in that type of situation,” she said.
A native of south Minneapolis and graduate of Eagan High School, Porter said her return to Minnesota for law school has been a welcome change in her life.
“I really believe that St. Thomas is the right place for me,” she said. “Professor (Susan) Stabile gave a retreat on joy and happiness and the difference between the two, and I realized that since I’ve been here, I’ve been joyful.”