Law Spotlight: Ami Jani

Blending cultures and traditions to make the most of a legal education

 

Ami Jani had already applied to Oregon Law before she ever set foot on campus, but on the flight back to her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas after her first visit, she knew in her heart that she was going to be a Duck. She shared that, “Compared to the other schools I visited, it is a much more welcoming environment. That’s the thing about Oregon Law. There are a lot of great people here.”

Ami grew up with a life revolving around dance.  When she was very young, her family opened the Aradhana Dance Company in Fort Worth, an award-winning program that specializes in teaching Indian dance. From an early age, Ami danced, choreographed and performed this traditional storytelling art form throughout Texas and in national and international competition.  

As she expanded her dance repertoire throughout her teens and into adulthood, Ami planned a career in Indian dance. She minored in dance as she completed an international and area studies degree at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Then, after graduating, she opened her own dance, music, and yoga studio in Texas, which she co-owned for several years. 

To be sure, having feet in the dual worlds of U.S. and Indian culture has greatly influenced Ami’s life and career path.

But something drove her to explore another path.

While living and working in Texas, Ami received the opportunity to intern for Nishith Desai Associates, a research-focused international law firm, in their Mumbai, India offices. During the eight-month program, Ami found her calling while conducting legal research and editing work for U.S.-based clients.

“Figuring out how two countries with different legal systems, histories, and cultures interacted on a global stage really interested me,” she said. Ami began studying for the LSAT immediately and started at Oregon Law in fall of 2014.

To the delight of her Oregon Law cohort, Ami generously shares her creative talents – including a gift for traditional Indian cooking – as well as her skills in legal research and writing. She is an LRW tutor for first-year students and a member of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and People’s Law School. At a recent OLSPIF silent auction, Ami’s Indian dinner for 6 caused a bidding war among the LRW faculty and Judge David Schuman (J.D., '84). She is currently interning with the global law firm K&L Gates in Seattle and last summer interned with Justice David V. Brewer (J.D., ’77) of the Oregon Supreme Court.  

While Ami admits that not everyone at law school needs to be a professional dancer and amateur chef to be successful, she is an advocate for having a life beyond the classroom. “Law school is phenomenal and grades are important, but it’s not the be-all-end-all,” she said. She encourages incoming students to keep an open mind when studying law to gain the most benefit, saying, “Law school gives you the toolkit, and with those tools, you develop the skills you need to affect change.”

written by Beau Acoba, (intern, School of Journalism and Communications, 2016)
* The faculty won.