Name: Karen Donderewicz
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Undergraduate institution: University of Arizona
Year: 3L (Class of 2020)
What are you looking forward to this year?
Landing my dream job -- or close to it. (More on that later.)
What are your goals as Student Bar Association president?
This year I want to focus on:
- Developing mental health resources and wellness activities for students
- Leadership, ethics, and civility
- Increasing SBA's transparency
- Providing SBA perks for members
Why should students get involved with SBA (or any other student organizations)?
SBA is an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, advocate for each other, and work with administration on things that matter most to students. SBA at Arizona Law is unique compared to other schools because we actually have relationships with our deans and faculty members.
I highly recommend students joining any student organization while they are at Arizona Law for three reasons: (1) it's a healthy distraction from your routine; (2) it builds your community and professional network; and (3) you will make lasting memories and/or leave a legacy.
What do you think everyone should experience as an Arizona Law student?
Any law class that gives you "hands-on," practical experience such as a clinic, basic trial advocacy, moot court, or mediation. These types of classes give you a chance to build on your professional skills before you get out in the real world. You will be challenged in ways you cannot imagine.
What do you think everyone should experience living in Tucson?
This is a difficult question because Tucson is such a cool place to live. Everyone should go for an early morning hike in late winter/early spring, stop for lunch at a Mexican restaurant, chill out at The Loft Cinema to watch an interesting movie, and end the day watching the sunset with either a raspado or prickly pear margarita.
Favorite hangout spot on campus?
I love hanging out upstairs [in the law school] in the seating area between the windows.
What three words come to mind when you think of Arizona Law?
Family, Relationships, Opportunities
Any advice for incoming 1Ls?
- Don't be a jerk, don't lie, and be diligent -- people will notice. Oh, and grades are just numbers and letters, they don't define who you are or your character.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Figure out who you are as a student and how you can improve on your own strengths and weaknesses.
- Build relationships with people who matter and other students who will make a difference.
Biggest accomplishment at Arizona Law so far?
Becoming the first-ever extern for Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel ('82) at the Arizona Supreme Court. I didn't get the job because I have the best grades or I'm a top-ranked student. I got the job because I networked, I was persistent, and I overcame my insecurities.
What are your future career plans?
I am focused on starting my career in public service such as local government or public interest. I have a particular interest in dispute resolution within the community (e.g., litigation, ADR, mediation), civil rights, and employment protections. In the long term, I aim to one day serve as a judge.