Sarah Sheffield

Hometown: Keaʻau, Hawai‘i

Degrees: BA, English and International Studies, Gonzaga University

Why did you choose UH Law?
I chose UH Law because Hawai‘i is my home and I knew that I wanted to practice law here. The small class size and sense of community also drew me to this school.

What were you doing before you started Law School?
Before law school, I was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Indonesia where I taught English to high school students in a rural village in Java.

Where are you headed after you graduate?
After graduation, I hope to be gainfully employed. I would love to work in the environmental or international areas of law but I won’t be too picky fresh out of Law School!

Describe a highlight of your law school experience.
A highlight for me was volunteering to be a bailiff at the Susan B. McKay Intramural Oral Advocacy Competition. I saw upperclassman compete orally in front of real lawyers and judges from our community. I was amazed at the professionalism and skill that the competitors showed, and how cool under pressure they were. Sometimes, as a law student, it’s easy to get immersed in the books and to forget (or not know at all) what law in action looks like. This competition showed me what I have to look forward to as a law student and a lawyer.

Describe a fellow student or professor or mentor who has inspired you.
I am inspired everyday by my fellow classmates. Many of my classmates juggle school, work, families and other responsibilities. I don’t know how they do it, much less with the grace and good spirits that they exhibit day in and day out. I am constantly in awe of them.

Describe your UH law school experience in 3 words.
Inspiring. Challenging. BUSY.

What advice would you give to an entering law student?
Get involved! Take advantage of the many opportunities offered by clubs and organizations. Everyone is busy, and you can always find an excuse not to get involved in extracurriculars, but some of my most rewarding experiences so far have come from opportunities outside of class.

What surprised you most about UH Law?
There is so much going on!  Before Law School, I pictured law students bustling from class to library, doing nothing but studying. A lot of studying does happen, but that’s not the only thing going on. Almost every day there is a meeting, or a panel discussion, or a fundraiser, or a booth set up in the Courtyard giving out information and cookies. The law students at UH are some of the most involved people I’ve met, and the Law School courtyard is always a beautifully chaotic whirlwind of activities.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started law school? 
Don’t freak out. It’s hard, but it’s manageable. Many have gone before you. They did it, so can you.

What law school organizations/activities are you involved in?
Ambassadors, Environmental Law Society, Pacific-Asia Law Society, Ete (women's flag football team), and UH Law School Soccer Team

Where can we find you when you're not in class?
Eating at one of the many Oʻahu markets, doing yoga, bundled away in a library carrel during early morning study sessions.

What do you like most about UH Law?
The people.

How would you describe your classmates?
Happy and helpful.

Students Speak

  • UH Law school has not only a good educational program but also diverse cultural environment. I thought I could experience something that I couldn’t get from the Mainland.”
  • What I like most about UH Law is the open access to our Deans and Professors, the variety of programs and events available to us, and the ability to shape the future of not just our careers, but also our law school.”
  • There is a feeling of being one family. Everyone is working to help us to succeed.”
  • I chose UH Law because Hawai'i is my home and I plan on staying here to practice. Also, as a Hawaiian, I am interested in Native Hawaiian Rights under the law, thus, the program here allows me to explore this interest in great depth.”
  • I think I would like to end up in the court room as a litigator. But who knows, I learn something new every day. There's no telling what will spark my interest next.”
  • Keep the balance and communication open with your loved ones. You'll hear this 1000 times but it really is important.”
  • I love that I feel at home on campus. The faculty, administration, staff, and students create an inviting, peaceful environment. Everyone is dedicated to your success. I also get to see rainbows on a weekly basis, don’t need to wear a coat and boots durin”
  • When I'm not in class, I can most likely be found in the library, it's the best place to study that I know. However if I'm not on campus, I'm usually spending time with friends or family around town, especially trying out the latest restaurants!”
  • I chose UH Law because I wanted to experience studying in Hawaiʻi, and I learned that the School has an excellent Environmental Law program. My graduate degree fellowship with the East-West Center is also tied with enrollment at UH.”
  • I chose Richardson because I know I want to live and practice in Hawaii after I finish school. Richardson provides the best opportunity for networking and connecting with the Hawaii legal community.”