Heather Smilde, ’12
United States Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG) Office
Colorado Springs, CO
Hometown: Laguna Niguel, California
Previous Education: B.A. in Business and Political Science
What aspects of your legal education best prepared you for the practice of law?
The most important asset to have to be a successful lawyer is the ability to empathize and understand the feelings and thoughts of others. My legal education broadened my understanding of human behavior in its multiple dimensions. By participating in the Student Bar Association, moot court, TPI, and classroom dialogue, these skills were enhanced.
What advice would you offer to someone who is thinking about a career in law?
My best advice to anyone who is thinking about a career in law is that service to others is the highest calling. Law school facilitates one’s ability to serve the needs of others.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
The most rewarding thing about my future career in the Air Force is the chance I have to serve my country. I hope that, through my work as a JAG Officer, I will be able to be a role model for future women in leadership positions in the military.
Tell us about a personal accomplishment that you achieve outside of law school.
Beginning with my teenage years, I had the privilege to work and volunteer around the world in developing countries. I have been able to travel to 25 other countries and learn about their cultures and way of life. My commitment to serve others led me to my decision to attend law school. By having the opportunity to travel around the world and meet people in need, ranging from work in an AIDS orphanage in South Africa to rebuilding homes in India damaged by the Tsunami, I came to recognize the importance of service, and today I hope to continue such dedication by serving my country.