Graduation Spotlight: Rachel Phillips

Graduating student Rachel Phillips decided to come to law school after working as a paralegal for over a year. During that time, law school was always on the back of her mind, nudging her to take the LSAT and apply to BYU Law.

Throughout law school, Phillips gained valuable experience through her internship opportunities. She completed an international internship in Australia, living just minutes from the famous Sydney Opera House. “It was awesome to go to court in Australia and bow to the judges as you walk in and out of the room,” she said. Phillips’ diverse experience included participating in a trial for a medical malpractice claim, meeting with the board of directors for a company, and taking part in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference held in the city.

In addition to her international experience, Phillips also interned with Justice Durham on the Utah Supreme Court and with Judge Parrish on the District Court of Utah. These internships allowed Phillips to view oral arguments and gain a “behind-the-scenes look” at the appellate process.

Phillips also worked for Snow, Christensen & Martineau in Salt Lake during her first and second year summers. At the firm, she worked on employment law and cases involving excessive force by police officers. This experience, combined with taking an employment class during her third year of law school, led Phillips to realize her passion for employment law. “I really like employment law because it is something that almost everyone will encounter,” she said. “Everyone, at some point in their life, will be either an employer or an employee, so these are very pertinent issues.”

One of the experiences Phillips enjoyed in law school was serving as an Academic Success Program (ASP) mentor during her second and third years. “I have loved getting to know first-year law students and mentoring them during the hard times of adjusting to law school,” she said. “It has been wonderful to see them progress and help answer questions and give them hope.” Phillips was also active as a legal writing teaching assistant for two years and served on the Law Review Board as an Executive Editor.

According to Phillips, her professors, and most of all, her fellow classmates were important in her BYU Law experience. “There is a pretty tight bond with my classmates because we have all suffered and rejoiced together,” Phillips said laughing.

One of Phillips’ favorite memories in law school is when classmate Rebekah-Anne Gebler stole Professor Eric Jensen’s cup of names that he used to call on students in class. Gebler replaced the names of students with names of literary figures. “We sent a ‘ransom’ email to the professor asking for breakfast – which we got,” she said. Additionally, Phillips fondly remembers teaming up with students and professors to wrap Professor Sun’s office in plastic wrap.

Professor Eric Jensen is one faculty member who positively influenced Phillips’ law school experience. “He encouraged me to try to get a paper published; and without his encouragement that would not have happened,” she said.

Other faculty who had a strong impact on Phillips include Professor Jennejohn, Professor Daniels, and Professor Dishman. “The professors at this school have definitely made these last three years more enjoyable. I will miss them,” she said.

After graduation, Phillips will be working as an associate for Snow, Christensen & Martineau in Salt Lake. She plans to become involved with employment law or a government defense group.