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Alumni Describe Challenges and Opportunities in Public Interest Careers


 Hamline 1L students John Tribbett (center) and Jess Riemer recently organized an alumni panel to help themselves and other students understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in a public interest career. Alumni participants included Wisconsin criminal defense attorney John Matousek '84 (second from right), the Honorable Sangeeta Jain '88 (not pictured), Saint Paul City Attorney John Choi '95 (second from left), Second District Assistant Public Defender Corey Sherman '05 (far right), shown here with Professor Angela McCaffrey. Also on the panel was public interest attorney Sheila Stuhlman. Panelists shared stories about the paths their careers have taken and urged students "to find the thing they love."

Jain, who has worked as a Magistrate in Hennepin County for 20 years, said she was born in India and moved to the United States at age 9. Her grandfather had worked for the freedom movement in India and taught her Gandhi's philosophy, "Be the change you hope to see in the world." She told students she had "turned down a six-figure job years ago and has not looked back....I can honestly and sincerely say, ‘Yes, I have made a difference in this world.'"

St. Paul City Attorney John Choi emphasized the importance of keeping up with personal contacts. "You never know where people will end up," he said, explaining that he had known St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman for many years before he became mayor. "After he won in 2005, he called and asked me if I would like to be part of his administration...I love what I'm doing because it serves the public interest. From a prosecution standpoint, I believe we are the administers of justice. We also have the opportunity to look at opportunities for restorative justice."