Alumni News

January 14, 2020 at 11:13 am

Career Week | OHIO Prepared Basalla for Innocence Fellowship, Big Firm Summer Associate Position

Katie Basalla, portrait

Katie Basalla

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

Ohio University alum Katie Basalla ’18 is expanding upon her undergraduate experiences to propel her through exciting fellowships, internships, and opportunities in law school.

At OHIO, Basalla0 majored in History Pre-Law and obtained a Certificate in Law, Justice, & Culture. Her involvement in the Center of Law, Justice & Culture led her to explore Ohio University’s pre-law academic fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta and to experience pre-law programming such as LSAT practice days, Law Fair, and Pre-Law Days.

Basalla is excited to tell Bobcats about her work with the Ohio Innocence Project, the law school application process, and the University of Cincinnati during the Career and Networking Night event.

Basalla fell in love with Ohio University’s scenic campus when she toured during her senior year of high school. Almost immediately after her arrival on campus, Basalla learned about the Center of Law, Justice & Culture, a place that would become home to her in the years to come.

“I was introduced to the center as part of my learning community during my first semester at OHIO. I was enrolled in the Making and Breaking the Law course. Through that course I learned about the LJC certificate program. I applied and was taking LJC courses by my second semester,” she said.

The Law, Justice, & Culture certificate helped to direct Basalla’s love for law. She is grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to the vast array of legal fields available. In fact, it is this diversity of the legal field that fuels her interest.

From Innocence Project to Bogota to Jones Day

“There is not a particular field of law that I am passionate about. The beauty of law school is that it can expose you to many different areas of the law. I spent this past summer working in wrongful convictions, over spring break I will be going to Bogota, Columbia and learning about international arbitration, and next summer I will be working in a big law firm. I hope to really discover what I am most passionate about and where I see my career going, but for now I am enjoying learning about various areas of the law.”

Basalla, currently a second year law student at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law, knew she wanted to apply to University of Cincinnati because of the possibility to partner with Ohio Innocence Project. Her choice of law school and fellowship have led her to a summer associate position at Jones Day in Cleveland.

“I knew I wanted to stay in Ohio and ultimately ended up at the University of Cincinnati because of the Ohio Innocence Project. As part of my acceptance to UC, I was given the opportunity to interview and received early acceptance to OIP. OIP is a nonprofit law clinic at UC that investigates cases of Ohio inmates that are wrongfully convicted. I have been a student fellow with OIP since June 2019. My fellowship will continue throughout my 2L year and end in May 2020, after which I will spend the summer of 2020 as a summer associate at Jones Day in Cleveland.”

She feels that Ohio University prepared her for law school and the opportunities that have accompanied her legal education. While undergraduate programs vary greatly from law school, the technical skills that Ohio University brought her have been invaluable.

Learning How to Analyze and Write

“Though taking many history courses at OU, I really honed in on my writing skills. Law school is a very different from undergrad. 1L year is mostly Socratic method, which can be intimidating and not like any course I have ever taken at OU. However, most grades in law school are based on one final at the end of the year. Through spending four years at OU learning how to analyze and write, I felt as prepared as I could have to take finals.”

Basalla is particularly grateful for the connections made in her time at Ohio University and advises all undergraduate students looking forward to law school to do the same.

“Make friends with other students that want to go to law school. There are so many pre-law groups on campus, join one of them (at least). Through being part of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law and LJC, I met students who have become my life-long friends. Having peers to study for the LSAT with or go the application process with was so beneficial. Also, knowing older students that graduated and went on to law school was great for visiting law schools or simply having someone to look to for advice. Now that I’m in law school, it’s nice to have friends at different law schools and keep those connections,” she said.

Getting Involved on Campus

Basalla still fondly reflects on her time at Ohio University and recalls countless memories that will stick with her as she continues to grow. Phi Alpha Delta is one organization that was the foundation for many of those memories.

“While I was a part of Phi Alpha Delta, we began to donate our fundraising money to the Athens County Re-Entry Program. Every year I was always surprised by how many people we were able to help though that program. I loved that we established an ever-lasting relationship with them. I was happy to have an opportunity to give back to the Athens community, and for it to be within the legal field was very cool,” Basalla continues. “Singing Piano Man has become a tradition of Phi Alpha Delta. One of the last times I got to stand in a circle and sing it with all my friends is a memory I will never forget.”

Basalla has returned to Ohio University to mentor students, both as a presenter at the Summer Law & Trial Institute and as a panelist at Pre-Law Days in 2019.

She has many words of wisdom to impart with younger students that she mentors: “Try not to get overwhelmed! It’s definitely a stressful process, from applying to school, to being in school, to taking the bar exam, but there’s people at every step of the way that are willing to help you. Reach out when you need it and just take it one step at a time. It’s definitely hard work but it’s possible.”

She reminds Ohio University students that alumni are here to support each other and encourages them to make connections and reach out to her with questions and concerns.

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