Noe Merfeld

Noe MerfeldClass of 2020

BA in Law, Societies and Justice
University of Washington, Seattle

What did you do before law school, and what led to you pursue a law degree?

I took one year off before coming to law school and worked as a national consultant for Chi Omega Fraternity. During that year I traveled to 15 or so universities across the country and consulted sorority women on their chapter’s risk management, operations, programming, finance, and recruitment practices. I always knew that I wanted to go to law school, it was just a matter of how much, if any, time I was going to take off before attending.

I am a first-generation college student and chose to purse a law degree at a very young age. The majority of my family members have been involved in the criminal legal system at some point in time, which was the main reason I chose to pursue a law degree. Being an advocate for communities most negatively impacted by criminal legal system has been and continues to be my motivation and purpose.

Why did you choose Seattle U?

I chose Seattle U because of its campus culture and social justice mission. I knew I would get a good legal education almost anywhere, so for me what mattered most was the environment. Each of my interactions with Seattle U were personable and authentic, which really stood out to me.

What activities are you involved in at the law school or in the community?

I am involved in the Black Law Student Association (BLSA), first serving as event coordinator and more recently serving as chapter president during my 2L year. I now sit on the regional board for BLSA as the Pacific Northwest sub-regional director. I am also a member of Future Prosecutors for Social Justice (FPSJ) and Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project (IMAP). I worked in the law school admission office as an Admission Fellow for two years.

For the past year I have been volunteering with Community Passageways, a nonprofit organization based out of South Seattle that utilizes restorative justice practices and wrap-around services to work with system-involved youth. This organization collaborates with teachers, policy makers, community members, and other stakeholders to achieve positive and restorative outcomes for youth. I am also on the steering committee for the Seattle Youth and Law Forum, and have been in collaboration with the Black Prisoner's Caucus at Monroe and Stafford Creek prisons. I also serve on the board for the Young Tyee Club through UW Athletics, and am a chapter adviser for Chi Omega Fraternity (sorority) at UW.

What have you found most valuable during your law school education?

Building and maintaining relationships has been extremely valuable during law school. A community of friends has been important because in order for me to be at my best I need to invest in something other than law school. Spending time nurturing these relationships gives me the fuel I need to keep going in my studies. Similarly, building professional relationships has also been a breath of fresh air. The professional connections I have made gives me a chance to see what life after law school might look like and gain perspective from people in careers I'm looking to pursue. Many of the professional connections I have made have turned into mentoring relationships, which has helped me in so many ways.

What do you do outside of law school? What do you love about Seattle?

Outside of law school I love spending time with my non-law school friends (and law school friends), doing spin and yoga classes, eating, and drinking coffee. In the summers I like spending time at Gas Works Park, going out for brunch, and traveling when I can. During the mostly rainy seasons I like to find new coffee shops to study and/or read a book at and spend a lot of time watching TV and movies.

What advice would you offer a prospective law student?

Stay true to yourself while also being willing to grow. Law school can take up so much of your time and headspace, so it's important to find healthy distractions and set boundaries for yourself. Do what works for you and cultivate what gives you energy and brings you happiness!

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