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Student Spotlight: Jane Stavinoha, 2L

Home Law School News Student Spotlight: Jane Stavinoha, 2L

Meet Jane Stavinoha, 2L and learn more about her story at South Texas Law in this Student Spotlight by the Career Resource Center. 

Why did you choose to attend South Texas College of Law Houston? 

Prior to law school, I had the pleasure of serving as an educator in Cypress Fairbanks ISD for 10 years. I completed my master’s degree in 2017, intended for those who plan to be an administrator or principal. Accordingly, in completing a Master of Education Administration, a large portion of learning is focused on the importance of a school’s culture and climate. Everyone knows the adage, “when you know you know.” If you apply that to the school world, it’s what you get when a school has a well-cultivated, purposeful culture and climate. 

Houston is unique to house three law schools within one city, so when I decided to leave my decade in public education to attend one, I booked a tour with each. Going into the process I didn’t have any preconceived notions as I did not have any personal friends or family who attended law school nor practice law. Well, when you know you know. I could just tell South Texas College of Law Houston had it! Each semester and so many special moments since my tour have shown me just how right I was. 

Where are you working this summer?

Spalding Nichols Lamp Langlois (SNLL). As a proud fifth-generation (former) teacher, I am honored and elated to be working at a firm that serves dozens of school districts and other educational entities. It is a dream come true!

How did you secure that employment opportunity?

The process is a testament to the culture at South Texas Law, and I would be remiss if I do not acknowledge each in the path. Professor Dahm sought me out in the second week of the semester, based on a response I provided to an introductory assignment about myself. She told me there was no reason I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted right after graduation. Then she told me how: contact Professor Maldonado and work together to create an externship at a school district in the legal department. Professor Maldonado, after learning my background and goals, connected me with Stephanie Maher — STCL Houston’s general counsel. Mrs. Maher enthusiastically gave me hours of her time, sharing her vast knowledge from her years practicing school law. She then went above and beyond on her own accord by sending my name and resume to SNLL, opening the door to this amazing opportunity.

How did the Career Resource Center help you successfully navigate the recruitment process? 

Since day one, Marie has been there to get to know me and help me learn the law world. She is our biggest cheerleader and goes the extra mile to help her students find their place. My STCL Houston email would likely show her has my most frequent correspondent, answering any and all questions I have. Most importantly though, our resume is our introduction and first impression. Without her, I would not have received the interviews I did. She poured hours into helping me craft my resume so I could present myself on paper and have that ticket in the door.

What are your career goals for the future?

I left a field that I have an immense passion for after 10 years with the purpose to return to it as legal representation. I look forward to taking the next step toward this goal by spending the summer working at SNLL doing the work I had only hoped to do one day. In the fall, I will be in an externship with Cy-Fair ISD’s general counsel through STCL Houston’s externship program. There is no better knowledge than to learn from those who have gone before you. That is exactly what my goal is now: learn from the revered attorneys I have been afforded the opportunity to work with.

What advice would you share with future law students going through recruitment?

Be patient, be open, and be humble. There are so many opportunities and niches in law you likely never knew or considered, and they just might be better than what you planned for. 

Which professors have influenced you and or your career path the most? 

I did not expect law school to have professors who cared so much about our success, understanding, and growth. As a general sentiment, the professors at South Texas Law are wonderful. They make the classes digestible and, dare I say, enjoyable. 

Professor Moore is a gift to any student blessed to have her. Her passion for teaching us along with the time and dedication she puts in to help us understand what it takes to do well is unmatched. Dean Shah was fundamental to my basis for law school success. I will always credit and thank her for teaching me the call of the question, signposting, the importance of the word because, the most solid IRAC a law student can hope for, and what the heck to do with my notes for this thing called an outline. Professor Shu could write a textbook on how to be a great legal writer. Her breadth of knowledge is impressive. I am forever grateful to her for the time and effort she gave me to help me achieve my goals in legal writing. 

What student organizations have you been involved with?

I am so blessed by the Christian Legal Society, which provides a moment of calm and centering at each Wednesday Bible study. CLS provides the opportunity to connect with other students and professors while growing in our faith and walk with our Savior.

Beyond the Career Resource Center, how has the South Texas law community supported your growth?

I will take a law school finals approach to this one: see above in answer four…plus now I don’t feel so bad about how long my answer was. 😊

What is something interesting about you we can’t learn from your resume?

I have two sons, 7 and almost 9, who are the best things I have been given. I hope one day they understand how appreciative I am for the sacrifices they made, unknowingly or not, to allow their mom to achieve this goal. 

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