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Jillian Porten

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Brief Background:

I grew up in Potomac, MD, and made my way to the West Coast just before starting college at University of San Francisco. During the 2008 Election cycle, I had an amazing opportunity to work on President Obama’s campaign in Northern Nevada. After a few years in NV – and a sabbatical in Europe – I found myself in Portland, OR. I became involved with a local public relations firm which then turned into four years planning and producing Feast Portland, an annual food festival that hosts 50 events around the city each year. It is a combination of all of my experiences that inspired me to attend law school and a love for Portland that brought me to Lewis & Clark.

Top three activities

1. Burncycle – I strongly encourage everyone entering their 1L year to pursue activities outside of the classroom that benefit your physical and mental health. Burncycle is that for me. It is 45 minutes on a stationary bike, sweating and dancing in a room with 40 other people. It surely isn’t for everyone, but I am convinced that Burncycle is the main reason that family has been able to tolerate me through the stresses of law school. 

2. Food & Wine Law Society – Student organizations are a great way to interact with fellow students who share similar interests. Also, making friends over food and wine is kind of the best way to make friends. 

3. Lawyering Teaching Fellow – Next year, I will be a teaching fellow and I am so very excited to help the 1L class develop their legal writing and researching skills. It is so rewarding to be involved with a program that is mutually beneficial to all. I know my own legal writing and researching skills will improve, and I hope to help many other students along the way.

Favorite class

My favorite class has also been my most challenging class that I’ve taken at Lewis & Clark. In the fall, I took Contracts I taught by Professor Janet Steverson. It was an enlightening, challenging and incredibly rewarding course. I am not sure that anything could match the relief I felt after turning in my final exam. 

Meaningful experience outside of class

On several occasions this year, my pod organized study trivia sessions at a local bar. It was fun, educational, and a really great bonding experience for our pod. Realizing the amount of support among fellow students at Lewis & Clark was a great reminder of why I decided to go to law school in the first place. There is no shortage of camaraderie at Lewis & Clark.

Why law school?

I have loved being able to collaborate with local individuals and businesses in my previous work and I made the decision to go to law school to develop new skills that would allow me to help those individuals and businesses in a different capacity. I look forward to continuing to develop to those relationships throughout my time at Lewis & Clark as well as during my legal practice.

Why Lewis & Clark?

Lewis & Clark is an amazing reflection of the city of Portland. After falling in love with the city, I knew that Lewis & Clark would be the best-fit law school for me.

Advice to admitted students?

Be true to yourself! You will gain knowledge equal to the effort that you put into law school. Find an environment that you feel comfortable and confident in and your individual success will follow.

Hardest thing about adjusting to law school

Law school grades are based off of a curve. This means that when it comes to grades, you are competing directly with your peers. The community at Lewis & Clark is incredibly collaborative but the underlying competition and ranking inherent to law school can be challenging to adjust to. I have overcome this by recognizing that grades are not a representation of who you are nor are they always indicative of how much you know about a subject. Grades are important, but they are not the only important factor in your law school success. 

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