Grad Year: 2005
Major(s): Political Science
Minor(s): Communication, Spanish
Grad School: Chicago-Kent College of Law
Grad Degree: JD
Rachel Moran '05 never imagined that defending the accused would become her life's calling. The Western New York native now finds herself in downtown Chicago serving at the office of the Illinois State Appellate Defender.
Moran first discovered an interest in the field of law in her political science classes at Houghton College. A political science major with minors in Spanish and communication, Moran's interdisciplinary education prepared her well for the multiple facets of a law career. She found great confidence in her academic ability through the challenges and encouragement of political science professors Peter Meilaender and B. David Benedict, who provided creative reading assignments and class discussions and challenged her writing.
Moran's transition from Houghton to Chicago-Kent College of Law seemed very natural. "I was far better prepared than most for the intensive writing requirements of law school," said Moran. She also felt comfortable answering questions using the Socratic Method or carrying on discussions in front of an entire class.
Every day Moran is faced with the challenge of communicating effectively with a diverse array of people, including clients, their families, and trial jury members, many of whom come from different cultural and educational backgrounds.
Moran's faith plays a large part in her day-to-day life as she works alongside those who need help the most. "My faith informs how I think, how hard I work, my attitude toward setbacks, and perhaps most of all, how I treat my clients. Criminal defense is full of people who are desperately in need," Moran explained. "I have a passion for advocating on their behalf, because Jesus Christ looked at my unworthy self and accepted me, despite my sin, and died in the ultimate act of advocacy on my behalf."
Moran advises individuals pursuing a career in law to seek out a support group of trustworthy people. "Figure out what your values are and stay true to them. Surround yourself with people who can remind you who you are and what you care about and never forget those things."