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Academies Program Leading to Litigation Law

June 2024

Jessica Dofelmire speaking at BYU Law School

Jessica Dofelmire, a rising 2L, grew up in Vernal, Utah. She earned her undergraduate degree in political science at BYU before she began attending BYU Law. “Through a lot of personal experiences, I decided that law would be the best way for me to make an impact and help people who might not have the resources to find solutions their problems.”

Dofelmire is a first-generation college student, and although she always had the desire to attend college, she didn’t think it would be possible. “Even while completing my undergraduate degree, my biggest concern about law school was how I would afford it,” she says. “Thanks to the generosity of donors, I am able to pursue this incredible education and have these life-changing experiences. For me, none of this would be possible without donor  support.”

During her first year at law school, Dofelmire became interested in litigation. “I really enjoy the puzzle aspect of litigation,” she explains. “I love trying to solve problems creatively and the rhetoric it involves.”

Participating in the BYU Law Academies Program  led Dofelmire to the Delaware Court of Chancery  to further explore her interests. “One litigation-focused academy that is offered is chancery, and the chancery court in Delaware is world famous. It was a great way for me to put my first year of law school to the test. I realized I have the knowledge and skills to navigate this area of law. It was really affirming, and it also provided me the opportunity to get to know a potential practice area and the attorneys who are working there.”

Jessica Dofelmire in front of a historic building

Dofelmire is hoping to end up on the East Coast after graduation, so she appreciated the chance to expand her professional network there. “Building a network puts you in a better place to help people down the line,” she says.  “We’re law students now, but soon we’ll be getting calls from law students wanting to hear about our professions and how they can break into that area of practice. The reason academies are even possible is because our professors have maintained their networks.”

Without financial aid, “academies wouldn’t have been possible for me since they are so expensive,” Dofelmire continues. “It’s incredible people will help us in this way. It gives us actual work experience; it’s invaluable and makes all the difference.”

Dofelmire, who is currently clerking in the litigation division of the Utah attorney general’s office, says “Thank you to the donors. None of this would have been possible without their generosity. The impact they’re making on students’ lives—giving them chances to get practical experience—is really setting BYU Law students apart in the legal profession. That’s an incredible thing. Donors  make all the difference to us.”

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