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Alumni Spotlight: UW Prepares Graduate to ‘Thrive’ as Lawyer

April 19, 2018
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Jane France

Guidance from UW professors and a long connection with the University of Wyoming Alumni Association are two reasons Jane France has found success as a lawyer in Cheyenne. They are also reasons she is on the UWAA board, encouraging younger alumni in Laramie County to stay engaged with their university.

UW was part of France’s life even before she was born. Her parents and grandparents on both sides of the family attended UW. “I had options to go to other schools,” she says, “but I never wanted to go anywhere else.”

France grew up in Rawlins and started her career at UW as a finance major. But then she took a course from Wyoming history professor Phil Roberts and loved it. She changed her major to history and felt a great deal of support from faculty and staff there. As she got closer to her 2008 graduation, she considered where her B.A. in history and minor in Spanish might take her. She wanted to stay in Wyoming, but she’d need additional education to be successful. When Roberts suggested the UW College of Law, France realized that would be a good decision. 

Although law school could be stressful and challenging, France had a student job at the UWAA that helped her decompress. “I got to meet graduates from all over, which is something I could not have done if I wasn’t working for the UWAA,” she says.

France says meeting people from diverse backgrounds is one of the most rewarding parts of her work as an attorney at Sundahl Powers Kapp & Martin LLC, where she is the only Wyoming native. She says the
UW College of Law helped her find the job upon graduation in 2011, and since then, with support from her partners, she says modestly she is turning into a “halfway good lawyer.”

France is president of DLAW, the Defense Lawyers Association of Wyoming Inc. She’s also a member of the Community Action of Laramie County Board of Directors. France said the writing skills she learned as an undergraduate and law student are fundamental to her work, and she would recommend that any law student focus on writing skills.

France says looking back, part of her might have taken a more relaxed approach in college. “For whatever reason, I thought my life would end if I didn’t graduate in four years,” she says. “But now I’m a partner in a great firm, and I genuinely like going to work every day. UW gave me a good education and set me up to thrive.”

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