Manmeet Dhami: 2016 Best and Brightest

by Jeff Schmitt on

Manmeet Dhami

Manmeet Dhami

University of Washington School of Law

Hometown: Kent, WA

Undergraduate School: University of Washington

Undergraduate Major and Minor:

Major: International Studies

Minors: Education, Human Rights, and Diversity

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:

Washington Law Review (Articles Editor)

Washington Law Review (Diversity Committee)

Livengood scholarship recipient

Stokes Lawrence scholarship recipient

Stoel Rives scholarship recipient

UW Law scholarship recipient

Pro Bono Honors

Peer Mentor

Children and Youth Legislative Advocacy Clinic

Immigrant Families Advocacy Project

South Asian Bar Association Student Representative

Where have you interned during law school?

Summer 2014: Stoel Rives LLP (Seattle, WA)

Summer 2015: Stoel Rives LLP (Seattle, WA)

What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? Corporate law (at Stoel Rives LLP)

Why did you choose to attend law school? Lawyers have the ability to make otherwise inaccessible information, systems, laws, etc. useful to people. As a lawyer, you have the opportunity to serve as an advocate in a profession that has for centuries created meaningful change in society.

What was your favorite law school class? My favorite law school class (I’m in it right now) is feminist jurisprudence. It is one of the few classes that studies the law from the perspective of traditionally marginalized populations, a perspective that is often missing in law school and in the legal field.

Which attorney do you most admire? I most admire Andy Guy (former partner at Stoel Rives LLP) because as a summer associate, he taught me how to improve my writing, interact with clients, and most importantly, how to continue serving as an advocate for those in need through volunteering for pro bono cases.

What have you enjoyed most about law school? I have most enjoyed developing relationships with other law students. I have learned just as much from them as I have from my professors and I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish in the years to come.

What word best describes your professional brand? Invested. I pride myself on my willingness to put time, energy, and care into my work and relationships because long-term success always requires investment.

If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job? I would take my parents out to dinner because they are a constant source of support. I would also get extra guacamole and chicken in my Chipotle burrito (and not feel guilty about it!).

“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…I job shadowed James Williams (partner at Perkins Coie) as a 7th grader after winning the “Follow a Leader” essay contest.”

“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…a middle school teacher!”

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? This past year, as a member of the UW Law Children and Youth Legislative Advocacy Clinic, I, along with four other law students, successfully lobbied for the passage of the YEAR Act. The YEAR Act ensures that all youth, regardless of socioeconomic status, have the opportunity to seal their records. Prior to the implementation of this law, low-income juveniles were prevented from pursuing gainful employment, obtaining affordable housing, and accessing education opportunities because of outstanding legal obligations. Youth with means could pay their legal financial obligations and seal their records, and youth without means could not. I am incredibly proud of the work that our clinic (and community partners) did because this law will allow thousands of low-income individuals to move on with their lives and create successful futures for themselves and their families.

Fun fact about yourself: I once waited in line for three hours to shake Bill Clinton’s hand (bonus: I also met Sanjaya from American Idol while waiting in the same line).

Favorite book: A Lesson Before Dying

Favorite movie: Crash

What are your hobbies? Cooking, reading, watching live comedy, going to concerts, and learning the guitar!

What made Manmeet such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“I am delighted to recommend Manmeet Dhami for the 3L Best and Brightest Award. Manmeet is a third-year student at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle. Manmeet has the key attributes I look for in a young professional: intelligence, curiosity, empathy, tenacity, a strong work ethic, and outstanding practice skills.

I am the Associate Dean for Students and a member of the faculty at the University of Washington School of Law. My knowledge of Manmeet’s strengths comes from working with her in the law school community. She, like many of our students, is committed to public service and academic excellence. She is a member of the Washington Law Review’s editorial board, active in the Immigrant Family Advocacy Project and the Education Law & Policy Society, and serves as a peer mentor. She earned her B.A. in International Studies at the University of Washington, with honors. UW undergraduates who enter UW Law are affectionately referred to as “double Dawgs.”

I recently asked Manmeet what were her two proudest achievements during law school. She first identified her work with UW Law’s Child and Youth Legislative Advocacy Clinic, where she helped author and pass a bill in the Washington Legislature giving all eligible youth in Washington State an opportunity to seal their juvenile record. Prior to this act, eligible youth were permitted to seal their juvenile record when they turned 18, but only if they had paid all court fines and fees. This created significant discrepancies in access to justice for those who could not afford to pay these fees. The second achievement she highlighted was her work on the Washington Law Review’s diversity committee. During Manmeet’s tenure, as part of an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Law Review editorial board implemented a more holistic application process. All applicants are now required to submit a short personal statement that will be considered in addition to write-on submissions and grades.

Manmeet will be working in the corporate group for a large Northwest firm next year. She acknowledges that corporate work is a bit outside her current comfort zone, but she loves a challenge. And I know she will continue to look for opportunities to serve the greater community, by working on diversity and access to justice issues.”

Mary Hotchkiss
Senior Associate Dean for Students

Senior Law Lecturer
University of Washington School of Law

 

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