Hello. My name is Rajee Harris, and I just finished my last semester of the joint JD/MBA program
here at Drake University Law School. I spent the majority of my childhood years growing up in the northern Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills, Illinois. I actually obtained my Bachelor’s Degree here at Drake University as well. As an undergrad, I was a member of the Varsity Football team and participated in numerous university and team sponsored community service activities such as helping with the Special Olympics, reading to elementary school students in the area and making visits to Blank Children’s Hospital.
I initially became interested in studying law after taking a business law course my sophomore year in undergrad. I had a phenomenal professor in Lou Ann Simpson (a former Drake Law grad), and really just became fascinated with the subject as I quickly learned how it influenced nearly every facet of our lives. While taking the course, it was humbling to see my level of ignorance in relation to the law, and even some of the most basic rights we have as citizens. It was at that point I decided to change that.
By the end of my junior year, I knew that I would be going on to law school once I graduated and staying at Drake University was an easy decision for me. Several factors contributed in my decision to attend Drake. First, Drake Law has a great reputation in the Midwest and a strong alumni base in Chicago and the other major cities in the region
. Even further, one thing that stuck out in my head during my tenure in undergrad was the fact that when I told professionals I went to Drake, they would always comment on how great they heard the law school was. Additionally, I knew that I wanted to learn how to be a lawyer rather than just learning the theoretical aspects of law. As the #2 ranked practical law school in the country
by National Jurist, I knew that I would receive a great deal of hands on training that would directly translate to my ability to be a successful lawyer in the future. Lastly, with my background in business, I was encouraged by many of the professors and lawyers I spoke with to pursue the joint JD/MBA program. Drake offers this program and has structured it in a way that I felt was more manageable and cost effective since it could be completed in three years rather than taking four years like many other schools who offered a similar program.
I have been at Drake University for almost 7 years and I have not had a single instance where I can remember having a professor I was not impressed with. The law school faculty is no exception and I am amazed at the quality of educators that Drake continually attracts and retains
. The faculty members are all passionate about their areas of expertise and genuinely care about the well-being and future success of their students. Also, I was amazed at the sense of community I found here despite the fact that law school is a competitive learning environment. The school attracts extremely driven and hardworking students from all walks of life
, and there is something to be said for the culture that is created when you are surrounded by individuals that you know will be successful in the future.
One of the most significant aspects unique to Drake is the number of opportunities that you will have access to being in Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa. When I say opportunities, I am speaking about more than just those for legal employment while you are in school. I am also referring to the opportunities you will have to network with alumni, professionals and other lawyers in the community
(including the Iowa Supreme Court Justices), and the limitless number of community service activities
that you will have the chance to participate in.
I feel that having the ability to work in a legal environment
while attending law school was an invaluable experience. It allows you to gain exposure to all of the aspects of being a lawyer that you can’t possibly get from a textbook or in the classroom. In the summer following my 1L year, I started clerking for a small general practice law firm
located in downtown Des Moines. I was at the firm for nearly a year where I was exposed to cases ranging from civil probate court to criminal vehicular homicide, and participated in everything from drafting legal documents to client conferences held at the jail. I started my legal internship at Principal Financial Group’s legal department
the summer following my 2L year. Working in a corporate legal environment is vastly different from the private sector and I have gotten to work with many different attorneys on a wide variety of legal problems faced by a large financial institution.
While at Drake I have also participated in a number of organizations including Student Bar Association, Black Law Student Association (BLSA), Business Law Society, and the Delts Law Fraternity. Giving back to the community is something that Drake takes pride in and there is a plethora of community initiatives that the students/faculty/administration are encouraged to participate in. My favorite of which is the annual I-Care wing eating contest
that I had the privilege of being a contestant in during my 1L year.
I could not be happier with my decision to attend Drake University Law School because this institution provides every resource necessary to assist you in your development to becoming a successful lawyer upon graduation. I hope that you will take advantage of all that Drake Law has to offer you!