Keenan Hawkins

Keenan Hawkins' embrace of a work-life balance may have helped him find employment as an associate attorney at Molsby & Bordner, LLP in Truckee, Calif. And Vermont Law School classmates inspired him to adopt that philosophy.

Hawkins JD'13 and his firm's partners are avid skiers. "Skiing here is like golf in the rest of the country—you meet the who's who at the resort or in the back country," he says.

As VLS students, Hawkins, Ben Leoni '11 and Alan Panbaker '11 skied on Kent's Ledge between classes. "Alan and Ben helped instill the work hard-play hard mentality, which has been instrumental to my success as an attorney and a person," Hawkins says.

In work-hard mode, Hawkins, one of five attorneys at his firm, focuses on business, construction and civil litigation.

"I work with community leaders daily. As my reputation grows in the legal setting, I leverage that toward effecting changes in my community in the fields I believe are most important: well-planned development and environmental sustainability built on a foundation of stable economic growth," he says.

Several components of Hawkins' VLS education have been particularly helpful: the briefing and argument class that led to moot court refined his writing ability; the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law taught him teamwork skills for legal projects; the Semester-in-Practice gave him real-world experience to find employment after the bar.

Among Hawkins' most rewarding accomplishments is helping clients start businesses.

"I see evidence of my work everywhere: My friends suggest these places as good businesses to frequent, I hear their ads on the radio, I see them at merchants' fairs, and I coincidentally run into the owners at the ski resort or top of a mountain," he says. "Helping people reach their dreams feels good."

His legal skills also help him reach personal goals as a director of the Truckee Trails Foundation, a nonprofit that helps create bike paths. He has created a plan that connects businesses and the tourism sector to develop Truckee's growing mountain bike market.

"Working toward these community-building goals has been a lifelong dream," Hawkins says, "and I am finally doing it."