Some say that it’s hard to find a lawyer who’s not only brilliant and accomplished, but also empathetic and compassionate. Those people have obviously never met Lakshmi Odedra, a second year law student at the Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Her decision to pursue law came from a strong desire to better people’s lives. “I found the study of law to be more appealing because I could directly use the law to help other people,” Lakshmi said.

And Lakshmi is definitely a woman of her word. In addition to being a member of the Warren J. Ferguson Inn of Court, and the Submissions Coordinator for Diversity Initiative Symposium and Publication Board, she is the Co-Volunteer Chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing assistance to those who are underrepresented in the legal system. When asked why she was interested in student volunteering, Lakshmi replied, “I think it’s really important for law students to actually go out as a community and have experiences outside of just learning the law, and actually apply the law.”

Lakshmi’s interest in social justice began during her sophomore year at Chapman University. Her moment of enlightenment came when she attended the Capital Semester Program at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. While interning with the Department of Justice, she witnessed the impact of social injustice firsthand: “I would walk to work, and I’d pass a food bank where people would line up at 7 AM just to be fed four hours later.”

Lakshmi was inspired to expand her horizons to international social issues. She was a member of Chapman University’s Model United Nations team, she served as the Commissioner of Awareness for Chapman’s student government, and she was a three-time participant and facilitator in the Next Step Social Justice Retreat. She studied South Asian Politics at Oxford University in the spring of 2012, where she had the opportunity to speak to other students about global issues and hear their perspectives on international affairs.

These unique experiences led Lakshmi to pursue international law at Fowler School of Law. She plans to work in international development and is currently an extern at 10 Development LLC, an international consulting firm in Irvine, California. This year, she joined the Diversity Initiative Symposium and Publication Board because she believes the organization is a great opportunity for the school to progress and start a dialogue among the students and within the Orange County legal community.

Come meet Lakshmi and join us at “Blinded Justice: A Discussion About How the Legal System Values and Protects Diverse Communities,” on Thursday, March 3, presented by the Diversity Initiative Symposium and Publication Board at Fowler School of Law.