ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Kandis McClure '14
Kandis McClure '14 works as a policy advisor at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.
When did you know being an attorney or working in the legal field was for you? Although I knew from the start of my college career that I wanted to work in the public sector, I did not always plan to achieve that goal by going to law school. I started as an undergraduate studying biology and interning with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services State Epidemiologist. Through experiences at the DHHS and my time interning in a public hospital, I found that public health and policy were both interesting and expanding; so I started looking for ways to pursue a career in those fields. Following my undergraduate degree, I was accepted into the University of Southern California's Master of Public Health program, focusing on Global Health Leadership. This program allowed me to delve deeper into domestic and international health policy. I completed my master's practicum at the American University of Beirut, where I worked on a tobacco control policy project.
As I was completing my master's program, I decided that going to law school and learning the process of making and interpreting laws would be critical to creating change in the policy world. Through my health field experiences, I frequently saw that laws often had unintended consequences that needed to be remedied either through policy changes or through changes in the laws themselves. To select a law school, I focused on schools that had a clear focus on promoting public interest law and that were highly involved in their local communities. This is where Boyd first stood out to me.
Tell me about your decision to attend the Boyd School of Law. I never planned to move to Las Vegas prior to visiting Boyd, but I was so impressed with the faculty and the public interest and government-related opportunities that were available, that it quickly made its way to the top of my list of potential schools. When I was chosen as a Public Interest Fellow, I knew that I could not pass up the opportunity.
Do you have certain memories about law school that seemed to be pivotal moments? During my time at Boyd, I had three very important internships that helped create the skills I would need for my role as a policy advisor. I spent my 1L summer working for the New York City Council in New York City. Interning with the Council, I had my first experience watching how a major budget is built and how that impacts public policy initiatives. I also learned how instrumental local government involvement is and how much participation matters. My 2L summer I worked with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri as part of the Public Benefits team that handled cases dealing specifically with Medicare and Medicaid issues. This provided a chance to work directly with clients in the community and to navigate a system that requires compliance with federal and state legal systems. In my 3L year, I spent a semester in Washington, D.C., serving as a congressional legal intern for Senator Harry Reid, who was the U.S. Senate Majority Leader at the time. This provided me with a deeper understanding of how the federal system works and differs from state and local government.
What do you find interesting about your coworkers at a large firm? Brownstein attorneys practice in fields that cover the entire legal spectrum, so I enjoy learning about why certain individuals chose their area of focus in the law. Each person has such unique experiences that they bring to the table!
What drew you to Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and what do you like most about your work there? Brownstein provides a unique environment for government relations professionals. When interviewing, I heard about Brownstein's pride at being at the intersection where business, law, and politics come together; and I found that to be true. I enjoy the cross-collaboration between legal practice, government affairs, and regulatory work.
Where do you like to go for business lunches? Bocho Sushi on 6th Street.