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

  • I knew my family and I would be happy here, and I've always wanted to live in Hawaiʻi. I was also attracted by WSRSL's small size compared to other Tier One law schools.”
  • There are a lot of fun events, panels, and speakers. These events help you learn more about the law profession and also help you get to know your classmates. While you will need time to study, make some time for these events too.””
  • What I was most surprised about was the diversity of my 1L class. It’s amazing how many different backgrounds, interests and personalities are represented. ”
  • Be qualified, be prepared, ask if you don't understand, and trust yourself.”
  • I consider the program as a pioneer on the frontier of legal education. One gets to experience the best of legal education while maintaining a critical eye on the process as a whole.”
  • 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!”
  • Hawai‘i is home, and the William S. Richardson School of Law is Hawai‘i’s law school. UH Law School alumni include successful practitioners and valuable contributors to Hawai‘i in a variety of other roles.”
  • I was working at the Al Lawati law firm which provides legal service to Oman Oil in Oman. I had previously practiced law in Iran since 2001.”
  • The UH Law community exemplifies the Hawaiian word “ohana.” Students, faculty, and other staff are very friendly and welcoming. There is no aggressive competition between the students, and the professors are welcoming and accessible.”
  • Law school teaches me valuable skills while constantly presenting challenges which test and try my abilities.”