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Student Highlight: Jenna Niehl Argues Before the Wyoming Supreme Court

February 13, 2019
jenna-niehl

Third-year law student Jenna Niehl argued before the Wyoming Supreme Court on January 16th, 2019. The oral argument was part of her assignment in the Prosecution Assistance Clinic.

Working closely with the Prosecution Student Clinic Director, Kate Mercer, and the Attorney General’s Office, Niehl wrote the brief in support of the state’s position regarding an abuse of discretion case, Requejo v. State. Under a very strict deadline and small window for turnaround, Niehl put in over 60 hours of work. The result however, provided Niehl with a robust knowledge of the case, priming her for the argument.

Niehl fine-tuned her oral argument and prepared for all of the possible issues that could have arisen through a series of moots with the Clinic Faculty Director, Professor Darrell Jackson. Jackson was pleased and impressed with the work that Niehl put forth.

“Jenna argued with skill and dexterity far beyond what is usually seen or expected from a law student,” praises Jackson. “This is a testament to her tireless preparation and it was vividly seen during her progression from one week to another.”

“The oral argument was extremely nerve-racking at first, but once I was up there I was grateful for how prepared I actually was and felt confident in my abilities,” says Niehl.

Niehl also credits the Supreme Court Justices for making the experience welcoming, professional, and instructive for students – which is no small feat when the stakes are high for real clients.

“You could tell that the Justices like that students are in the court making the arguments,” she says. “They were extremely informative but still asked tough questions. I appreciated that they had faith in my abilities to be prepared and to competently argue.”

The ability to argue before the Wyoming Supreme Court is a unique opportunity that is extremely rare for most law schools, and yet prevalent for Wyoming law students. The clinical programs provide students with an incredible set of skills in client counseling, oral advocacy, appellate writing, and client-based decision making. Niehl reflected on the advantages her education has provided at the conclusion of her oral argument.

“It wasn’t until afterwards that the full gravitas of what I had done really hit,” she comments. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I hadn’t come to Wyoming for law school. It has been the best decision for me since day one.”

Throughout her legal education Niehl has been engaged in the college and outgoing in her endeavors. She served as the Potter Law Club Bookstore Manager, and participated in the ABA Negotiations Competition where she competed at the regional level. She credits the competition experience in helping her to prepare for the unknown in oral arguments and the ability to answer any possible curve-ball questions. She also did an externship with the University of Wyoming Athletic Compliance Office, an experience that has garnered an interest in sports law and opened the door to a unique career opportunity.

Following graduation she will be headed to Indianapolis, Ind. where she will be working in a post-graduate internship with the NCAA working in the eligibility department.

“My entire law school experience has been phenomenal,” she says. “I love that I have earned a degree that is so versatile that I will be using it to do something outside a courtroom, but it still gives me the flexibility to decide that if I ever wanted to do something different, I’d be prepared to do so.”

The College of Law is exceedingly proud of Jenna and all that she has accomplished!

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Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6416

Fax: 307-766-6417

Email: lawadmis@uwyo.edu

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