University of Wisconsin–Madison

Five Things We Love about Aaron McKean

We 'Heart' Our Students: Aaron McKean

1. He believes in giving back.

“Growing up on a farm, we always enjoyed homegrown produce. Something that my parents taught me, and something they’ll never stop doing, is sharing with the local food pantry. It may seem like a fairly small-scale contribution, but it demonstrated to me that, when you have more than enough, it’s important to make sure that other people in your community also have what they need.

“That’s why I’m so happy to be practicing housing law at the Neighborhood Law Clinic. I can actually help clients get to the courthouse to get their disputes resolved—or help them figure out some other way that still utilizes the law without taking them all the way to the courthouse.”

2. He takes “law in action” to heart.

“There’s this idea that the most important part of law is getting into the courtroom. You have your argument, and you have your decision moments, and you explain the law to your client and say, ‘Here are our options, what do we do?’

“From my professors, I’ve gleaned that ‘law in action’ is all the stuff in between those moments—all of those things that happen outside of the courtroom, the parts where you’re figuring out whether the law can be applied or not.”

3. His classmates give him hope for the future.

“In every class I’ve taken here, I’ve been blown away by how law students think about things. Realizing how smart they are, and hearing the ideas they come up with, gives me a reason for optimism. It’s pretty overwhelming.”

4. He’ll only eat a Snickers bar if it comes from Azerbaijan.

“When folks in Azerbaijan visit one another, they'll bring a small gift, like candy, to enjoy with tea. Tea is always enjoyed with sweets—and tea is enjoyed all the time. Drinking six to eight cups in a day is not unusual, so there are a lot of opportunities to enjoy the candies that go with it.

“One of my favorites was Snickers bars. I don't know what the formula is, or why they’re different, but I could hardly resist Azerbaijan’s tastier, Russian-sourced Snickers bars. Returning to the U.S., though, Snickers bars again became something I don't ever really eat. They just aren't as good.”

5. He’s inspired by Mr. Rogers.

“I could go on and on about Mr. Rogers. When I was three or four years old, I got to meet him at the church where my cousin was baptized. I always liked the way he talked to kids about issues or problems. He never talked down to anyone, and he was always very gentle. I think there’s always space to be more gentle.”

Submitted by Kelsey Gusho on December 16, 2014

This article appears in the categories: Features, We Heart Our Students

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