Michelle Sinnott

As an associate attorney at public-interest environmental law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal in Washington, D.C., Michelle Sinnott JD'13 was very nervous before her first oral argument in federal district court. The courtroom was filled with members of the grassroots organization she represented.

"I was terrified I would let them down," she recalls. But as soon as she got to the podium to argue, she was fine. Afterward, her clients were amazed to learn it was her first oral argument.

"They said I was as cool as a cucumber. I won the motion. It was a pretty proud moment," says Sinnott, now a staff attorney at Trustees for Alaska, a public-interest environmental law firm in Anchorage, where she works on issues at the state and federal level regarding wildlife, clean water and public lands.

Sinnott had similar success while at VLS. She and Krystil Smith JD/MELP '13 won an award for their brief for two consecutive years at the National Animal Law Moot Court Competition.

Sinnot particularly benefited from the VLS appellate and moot court programs.

"There is no doubt in my mind that I am where I am today because of VLS," she says. "Writing and oral advocacy are incredibly important in the work I do. Without opportunities to work on those skills while in school, I would certainly be at a disadvantage in my career now."