Lunch, Law, and Learn

BY Saara Maknojia

Capitalizing on the hard work of Professor Kurt Smith with the Political Science department, the LEAP Ambassadors and Jocelyn Vazquez recently enjoyed a short but informative lunch with Judge Jamie Rene Roman and Dr. Kurt Smith, learning about law, politics, and life.

Judge Roman served as a Judge in California after being appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has also worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Although Judge Roman acquired his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, he continued his education after law school at Boston University to obtain his L.L.M, allowing him to specialize in International Banking law!

Upon entering the room, Judge Roman began his greetings and empowered us with his experience as a young attorney working. As we talked about our career goals and what would be next after we graduated from SHSU, Judge Roman, Dr. Kurt Smith and the LEAP members began to unravel the packaged deli sandwiches catered by Aramark for our small group lunch. 

Stressing the importance of education and a great work ethic in law school, Judge Roman advised us on what to look out for once we begin our careers and what to expect in law school.

His advice for not only law school, but the LSAT gaged us to have a deeper understanding of the importance of what steps are needed to go to the law schools that we want. 

Judge Roman discussed the hardships that he faced in his career as he witnessed the dynamic yet bitter truth about family law and shared with us how busy every day would be with the incoming cases. He shared his insights regarding any questions we had, some of which related to the BAR exam for California and how it compared to the Texas Bar exam.

We also asked Judge Roman questions relating to the difference in court structures in California and in Texas. Judge Roman explained how he got a good grounding in the law by rotating, spending two years as a judge in one type of court, two years in another, and four years in another. This gave him the kind of all-around foundation that we one day hope to achieve.

On behalf of the LEAP Ambassadors , a big thank you to Judge Roman for taking the time to speak with us and and offer advice, and another thank you to Dr. Smith for setting up such a meeting. And Thank you for visiting SHSU!

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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