1. He moves his desk where the action is.
“After graduating from UW-Stevens Point, I took an unpaid internship in (then) Senator Herb Kohl’s office, where I saw an opportunity to work on the senator’s Special Committee on Aging. I found the work of this oversight team to be fascinating, so I asked my supervisor, 'Can I move my desk to that area?' I ended up getting a job as an investigator on the Committee on Aging — as a full member of the team —partly because I was at the right place at the right time, but also because I showed the initiative to take on projects and ask how I could help.”
2. He blew the whistle on hazardous waste.
“As an occupational safety and health consultant, I advised employers how to make workplaces safer and reduce risk to their businesses. A lot of the time, I was doing good and satisfying work. But more and more I saw employers break the rules, putting their employees and communities in danger.
“At my last consulting job, I saw almost unimaginable hazardous waste violations and working conditions so dangerous I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. It became clear to me that conditions wouldn’t improve, and there was no way I could live with my conscience if and when people got hurt. I reached out to some truly excellent lawyers and filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC, knowing I’d never be able to work in my field again. Months later, I went to the media with the story to ensure the people affected would learn about the risks they face. This situation is what motivated me to come to UW Law School."
3. He brings classroom learning to life.
“UW Law School’s law-in-action philosophy really means something to me. It’s more than just learning the legal rules we’re taught in class, which is important. It’s figuring out what lawyers do in the real world to truly understand clients’ needs, and what we know about how the system works that can help meet those needs.
“I’m in the Neighborhood Law Clinic now, where we’ve been able to resolve rental housing and employment discrimination cases for clients who have been waiting for justice for some time. It’s giving me the chance to do important legal work as a law student, learn the law in action, apply the law to helping people, and come out of law school ready to go from day one.”
Kramer with his family
4. He’s doing good by being well.
“Students took the lead last year on founding the Law Student Wellness Coalition to support our mental and physical health in law school, and this year, I’m co-president. It turns out that law students, even more than medical students, have a very high rate of mental stress and depression, and lawyers abuse alcohol at higher than average rates. I’ve always been exposed to mental health issues; my dad is a psychiatrist, and I’ve suffered from depression myself. The issue is very important to me, and I want to keep working on it after law school.”
5. At the end of the day, it’s about his kids.
“When I go home, I want to spend time with my family, which forces me to be very organized and very efficient while I’m on campus. I don’t have the option of reading an assignment at the last minute or working all night on a memo. Having this positive, non-law related outlet gives my brain a much needed break. And my three children give me something to look forward to at the end of every day, and something to work toward. They’re great kids. I want to build them a better world, as hard as that is.”
Submitted by Tammy Kempfert on September 13, 2017
This article appears in the categories: We Heart Our Students