Spotlight: Jamie Ford ’08

Meet Jamie Ford ’08

In 2005, Jamie Ford ’08 moved from her home state of Iowa to Minnesota to attend Mitchell. She fell in love with St. Paul, and she and her dog, Humu, a 12-year-old yellow lab, have lived here ever since. Ford came to Mitchell specifically to study Indian Law so she could eventually work in reservation land recovery. Everything fell into place: Mitchell is in the same town as the headquarters of the only national organization devoted to Indian land recovery, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. And, it just so happened that the Foundation was hiring the summer she took the bar exam and was looking for her first “real” job. Ford is a development officer for the Foundation, a job she finds rewarding because she feels her day-to-day work is actually making things better in reservation communities. In addition, she is also an active volunteer at Mitchell.

Why volunteer at Mitchell?

My compulsion to volunteer at Mitchell goes back to one particular event: the 2006 Women in Law Tea. I was a 1L and had just been selected to receive the Rosalie E. Wahl Scholarship, for which I am still grateful. I was really early for the event and nervous about accepting the award in front of the crowd, so I sat down on a bench outside the auditorium and tried to appear busy as I visualized myself walking to the podium without tripping. After a few minutes, a woman sat next to me on the bench and began asking me about where I was in school and what I planned to focus on. I told her, and she said she had some friends working with tribal courts up north and invited me to reconnect with her after the event to discuss what opportunities there might be to work on Indian Law matters over the summer. At this point it dawned on me to ask her name. It was Judge Renee Worke ’83, of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Needless to say, I followed up with her. Not only did she connect me with a Minnesota state court judge who offered me an internship working with the the first joint state-tribal wellness court in the country, but she served as a mentor to me throughout my years at Mitchell. Judge Worke volunteered her time and helped me (she’ll probably never know how much). I, in turn, volunteer my time and try to help students. And I always try to make it to the Tea.

 Favorite memory of Mitchell?

Probably the most memorable (and most funny) moment in my years at Mitchell came toward the end of my 1L year. For our final oral argument for WRAP, I had worked really hard on my presentation argument structure and had bought my first suit for the occasion. I practiced the entire thing on speaker phone with my dad on the line in Iowa at least 10 times before going in for the argument. I sat down for the professors’ critiques, and the first professor began by complimenting me on the content of my argument. Apparently I made an argument no other student had made, which weighed heavily in my favor. Imagine my excitement. She went on to add that while the argument was great, it came off sounding pretty “Valley Girl-ish.” The other grading professor immediately began nodding and adamantly agreed. As if! Lesson learned.

Mitchell in three words.

Supportive. Challenging. Valuable.