Among the things Erica Holzer has learned while in law school, there’s one that stands out.
“I’ve learned that I’m at my best when I’m being of service to others,” she says. “Working directly with clients, drafting appellate briefs and other motion papers, and working to secure justice for underrepresented communities has been a highlight of my legal education.”
She had the opportunity to do all those things this past year, when she worked as a student certified attorney on two pro bono criminal appeals with Professor Ted Sampsell-Jones. It may have been a highlight, but it’s just a small portion of Holzer’s legal education and experience helping others.
A main focus of Holzer’s law school experience has been helping same-sex couples and their families navigate a complex legal landscape. The summer after her 1L year, she clerked for a firm that focuses on the legal needs of the LGBT community; she has worked on multiple projects for the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, which recognized her with its 2012 Student Leadership Award; and she participated in a think-tank and presented a CLE on same-sex divorce. Holzer is also an active fundraiser and volunteer for Project 515 and Minnesotans United, two organizations that helped achieve marriage equality in Minnesota this past week.
In addition to her work on behalf of the LGBT community, Holzer has spent time volunteering at numerous organizations, including HOMEline, Wills for Heroes, Habitat for Humanity, and Minnesota Assistance Counsel for Veterans.
That level of commitment is just one reason Holzer earned Mitchell’s Student Award of Merit. She’s also a regular on the Dean’s List, a four-time winner of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award, and Editor-in-Chief of the William Mitchell Law Review. In addition, Holzer will have authored three published articles during her law school career, which is highly unusual for a law student.
“Erica’s accomplishments alone would make her a worthy candidate for this award,” says Associate Dean Mary Pat Byrn. “However, this award is only in part a recognition of what a student accomplished during law school; it is to a greater degree about how a student went about it. From the moment Erica enrolled at William Mitchell she has been a dedicated member of the William Mitchell community. Her impact on legal scholarship, civil rights, the Law Review, student groups, the wider community, and every individual she has come into contact with has been overwhelmingly positive. Without a doubt, we can look at William Mitchell and see that it is a substantially better place because of Erica Holzer.”
After graduation, Erica will be clerking for Chief Judge Matthew Johnson at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and then joining the Minneapolis law firm Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand.