Have you ever considered a career as an attorney? Have you ever wondered what types of career paths you can follow as an attorney? Are you looking for inspiration to join the legal profession? Look no further! Our partners at Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy put together a documentary last fall, exploring the different ways you can become part of the legal field and have provided us with some insight from one of their chairs, Meghan Kempf. We greatly appreciate the work our partners do on behalf of Texas YG, and wanted to re-share this resource as students and advisors prepare for upcoming District Conferences next month!
This year a group of 25 attorneys were selected to participate in the Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy. As part of their group project they created a short film documentary titled Law: A Profession of Service with the goal to inspire future leaders with an interest in pursuing careers as attorneys. The judges and attorneys in the film include: Honorable Robert Pitman, Honorable Wallace Jefferson, Honorable Laura Livingston, Dr. Sarah Weddington, Senator Kirk Watson, Berry Crowley, Frank King, and Dirk Jordan. Each of these leaders have had a significant impact on different local, national, and international communities through their legal work.
One of the 2018 Leadership Academy’s chairs and former 2016 participant in the program is Meghan Kempf. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2012. We asked her a few questions on what inspired her to serve with her law degree and continue to serve in her career. She was the 2018 recipient of the Austin Young Lawyer’s Outstanding Young Lawyer’s award and is currently Staff Counsel at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
What type of work do you do with HHSC?
“I work on the policy team in the Office of the Chief Counsel for HHSC, advise the HHSC staff on the meaning of relevant laws and assist in interpreting legislation for public assistance programs. I primarily work in the areas of women’s health, family violence services, and Medicaid service delivery for children in state conservatorship.”
What was your first job out of law school?
“My first job after graduation was an Equal Justice Works Fellow for Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. in San Antonio. They fund legal aid projects nationwide to serve unmet needs in local communities. My fellowship focused on providing advocacy for survivors of domestic violence and education resources to community partners, including law enforcement and direct service providers.”
As an attorney, why do you think it is important to serve?
“Attorneys have a unique ability to help people understand and utilize the laws that their representatives have created to govern their lives. To enable people to reach their full potential and dignity is a true privilege and helps our communities to progress to include everyone.”
Do you think that youth involved in the YMCA YG programs can start serving while pursuing a career in politics or as an attorney?
“Absolutely, serving in a representative capacity is the very definition of serving others. The focus on service helps us to remember the true purpose of representation and community discourse, and the value of brining multiple viewpoints to the table.”
Watching the video, Law: A Profession of Service, what inspiration do you take from it and what do you think the students can take from it?
“Watching the video reminds me of all the different ways a person can be inspired to join the legal profession. There are so many diverse ways to serve and needs to be met in the community. For the students, find something that is your passion and there will be many opportunities to serve and pursue a meaningful career.”
On behalf of the 2018 Leadership Academy Class, I invite you to watch our film, Law: A Profession of Service, to see if you draw inspiration to serve others and see the impact you can have in your pursuit of a career in the legal profession.
We are proud that the YMCA Youth and Government programs are going to share these words of wisdom with the incredible children in their programs and hope to see them develop into leaders with a passion for service to others as they follow their dreams.