An Interview with Amanda Rockman '05

Q. What was your favorite law school class or professor? Why?

My favorite professor was Professor Palay; I thoroughly enjoyed his “no-nonsense approach” to tort law.  He taught me that there was no dawdling during class time, and he kept me on my toes with his Socratic approach.  I only managed to have one class with him, but he’s the most memorable, from his demeanor to his bow tie.  

My favorite class was Federal Indian Law, which also had a lot to do with the professor. Professor Monette managed to teach an incredibly complex course with centuries of legal history in an abbreviated timeframe.  Although there were lengthy reading assignments, they were very poignant and addressed most subject matters affecting native peoples. 

Was there a law school experience that was particularly important or meaningful for you?

At UW Law School, I found an amazing community of individuals that led to very meaningful and important experiences.  I enjoyed attending the LEO Banquet each year, and fully recognizing the diversity of the law school.  Furthermore, I really benefited from the Annual Coming Together of Peoples Conference, which is a student planned, student run conference regarding indigenous law hosted by ILSA.  

What did you do for employment during your first and second years of law school?

The summer after my first year, I worked at ShopKo Corporate Headquarters through the Minority Clerkship Program.  During my 2L summer, I obtained a judicial clerkship through the Ho-Chunk Nation.  Then during the academic school years, I gained private practice experience working for a small boutique law firm in Madison, and a large law firm in Milwaukee.  

There are so many student groups and activities. What advice do you have for an entering student in terms of choosing activities?

Student groups and activities require a lot of work and effort, and you need to have excellent time management skills.  

You had your children during law school. How did you manage and what advice do you have for other parents who are considering law school?

During my first semester, I was pregnant with my daughter, Alena, and during my last semester, I was pregnant with my son, John.  Everyone at the UW Law School was supportive, including all of the faculty and administration.  The old adage, “it takes a village to raise children,” actually embodied my experience at the UW.  Through everyone’s support and commitment to my education, I remained committed to my studies and student groups, including the Law School Family Association and the Indigenous Law Students Association.

What did you like best about living in Madison?

Live music.  I enjoyed the concerts on the square, opera in the park, music on the terrace.

What advice do you have for someone just starting to consider law school?

 You will remain grateful for your education, regardless of whether you become a practicing attorney.  The UW Law School essentially taught me a different thinking process.

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