For a student who entered law school with some doubts about her ability to excel, Amanda Thyden (JD ’17) far exceeded her expectations.  During her three years at Fowler School of Law, Thyden served as Editor-in-Chief of the Chapman Law Review, was a law school ambassador, participated in Chapman’s Mediation Clinic, and was a member of several of the school’s award-winning competition teams.  As part of the recently graduated class of 2017, Thyden was one of two graduates awarded the law school’s Distinguished Graduate Award. This award recognizes graduating students whose scholarship, ethics, and service exemplify the highest ideals of the legal profession.

After starting law school, a friend convinced Thyden to attend an information session for Chapman’s competition teams. Soon she became an active member of the law school’s Appellate Moot Court and Alternative Dispute Resolution boards, earning excellent team finishes at domestic and international competitions. Thyden finished strong in her final competition in April, taking second place individually at the International Mediation Competition in Glasgow, Scotland.  Thyden credits her work on the competition boards with much of her success in law school.

“Moot Court helped me improve my oral advocacy and taught me how to choose my words as carefully as possible,” she said. “As a competitor, I had three judges interpreting what I was saying through each judge’s lens,” she added.

With multiple competitions and countless mediations under her belt, she now feels ready to serve others with the skills she acquired.

“I figured that by the time I left law school, I would be trained to be a practicing attorney, and now I know that’s exactly the case,” she noted.

Thyden recently wrapped up an externship with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) where she assisted low-income families with guardianships and conservatorships, putting valuable lessons from the Mediation Clinic to use.

“Attorneys often work with families that are dealing with challenging and emotional circumstances, so you have to be able to discuss very sensitive information in an empathetic way,” she said.

Before law school, Thyden worked as a director of social services for a retirement home. As her role grew, she found herself having to refer clients out for legal advice.

“I found it incredibly frustrating and limiting that I was able to help patients and their families, but only up to a point,” she said. “It is so much more fulfilling now to see that I will be able to support people during difficult times in their lives.”

Thyden has yet to commit to plans after the bar, but she hopes to pursue a career in mediation.

“If I can step in as a neutral third party seeking to bring both parties together to find a solution, that to me is the most fulfilling role,” she said.