Degree(s), Graduation Year(s): J.D. 2019
Company: Costello, Porter, Hill, Heisterkamp, Bushnell & Carpenter, LLP
Location: Rapid City, SD
Describe your current professional or educational pursuits. (What does your position entail? What skills do you use in your current role? What are you hoping to accomplish with your education? etc.)
As our firm’s senior associate, I not only represent clients in various legal fields, but I also help oversee our firm’s other associates, interns, and staff. As a transactional attorney, I often represent businesses and individuals in commercial transactions, property sales and/or disputes, as well as estate planning. I also aid our firm’s Junior Partners and Managing Partners with legal research and writing, client meetings, court hearings, and document drafting and review. I serve on multiple committees and Boards and have volunteered to conduct seminars for organizations on various estate planning devices.
In the last few years, I have also begun to conduct interviews annually for new associates and summer interns at several different law schools in South Dakota and neighboring states. Once the new associate and/or interns begin working with us, it is my responsibility to help them get acclimated to the legal profession and its demands.
Although it varies day to day, the most commonly used skills I use in my current role include: active listening, strategic thinking, and reading comprehension. These skills, of course, have been developed throughout my life, however, USD helped me learn how to execute these skills in real-life situations. For example, the Socratic method conducted in law schools helped me to develop active listening, which helps advise clients in listening and deeply understanding their goals, as well as being able to better represent clients in court. Additionally, the mock trial we conducted in law school aided my ability to think and speak strategically, especially in a group setting full of my peers and citizens. The most important skill for an attorney, in my opinion, is reading comprehension. Naturally, majority of our law school career is directed at this skill, and the bulk of reading and discussion we did everyday of school helped me navigate this difficult skill.
I would eventually like to become a Managing Partner at Costello Porter Law Firm in Rapid City, while also continuing to contribute, via volunteer efforts, to the citizens of Rapid City and western South Dakota.
How did USD influence your personal and professional experiences following graduation?
USD influenced me personally by providing an opportunity to learn from not only professors, but also other students, who have had different background and life experiences than I had. Being in a friendly and open learning environment allowed me to become a more well-rounded student, without me even realizing it. I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad during law school in China; and I had no idea how much of a wonderful impact that trip would have on my life. Since graduation, I have been able to apply those skills of active communication and listening in my personal life on a daily basis by meeting new people, networking, and developing effective client relations.
Professionally, USD influenced me to remain in the State of South Dakota following law school. Meeting and learning from many professors and attorneys who practice in the state made me want to become a part of the South Dakota Bar Association. We heard countless times from the law school faculty and staff that the attorneys in South Dakota made it enjoyable to practice here, as it’s a tight-knit group of attorneys who keep each other accountable. Having been practicing in state for four years now, it is readily apparent that they were correct.
Additionally, having the opportunity to partake in the law school’s on-campus interviews gave me the chance to intern at Costello Porter Law Firm, where I’ve now been for four years. In essence, USD gave me the education I strived for, plenty of new friends and colleagues, an opportunity to study internationally, and also provided me a place to work which has turned into my career. As a student, I don’t know what else you can ask for?
How have you demonstrated success and influence in your profession and community?
Since moving to Rapid City in 2019, I have had the unique experience to be involved in numerous boards, committees, and programs.
Currently I volunteer on the Executive Committee for the West River Estate and Financial Planning Council. The Council organizes a series of seminars during the summer months in which financial advisors, attorneys, insurance agents, trust officers, and other professionals attend and keep current with new legislation and well as tools and techniques to better represent and advise our clients. I have volunteered on the Executive Committee for two years now, and our responsibilities include: retaining our members, determining the seminar topics, finding and organizing the presenters based on those topics, compiling a newsletter for our members, as well as arranging lunch and the venue for each seminar. Currently, I serve as Secretary for the Committee.
I also currently volunteer as a Board Member for Behavior Management Services (“BMS Cares”), a nonprofit organization which serves individuals suffering from mental health issues and disorders, and well as substance abuse and addictions in western South Dakota. I am currently in my third year of volunteering as a Board Member. I also serve on the Policy Subcommittee as well as the Property Subcommittee for the Board.
I have also volunteered to conduct seminars for an organization in Rapid City who helps disabled adults find jobs, homes, and everyday support. The seminars were aimed at helping the families of the disabled adults navigate the difficulty of estate planning for disabled individuals.
As a culmination of these activities throughout Rapid City, I was recently selected to the Elevate Leadership Institute Class of 2024, which is a 9-month seminar that allows a select group of young professionals in Rapid City to learn about the City’s goals, challenges, and courses of action, both current and future .