Consider that today’s law students have either mostly or only known a legal education that is unlike any other time in history. As these future legal professionals continue classes under pandemic conditions, the class of COVID faces all the challenges associated with law school—stress, student debt, networking—plus the challenges that have emerged over the past year and a half.
What drives these students, however, hasn’t changed much at all. Law students today want what law students have always sought: a chance to make a difference in the world.
Each year, the WSBA partners with Washington’s three law schools and selects a law student representative from each. These student representatives both serve as liaisons who communicate issues facing students to the WSBA, and who share WSBA resources with their fellow students.
Read on to meet the 2021-2022 law school representatives.
Dante Tyler, University of Washington
Now beginning his second go-around as a WSBA law school representative for the University of Washington, Dante Tyler explains that one of his favorite parts of the law school experience has been spending time with other students.
“Law students are some of the most interesting, kind, and fun people I have ever been around,” Tyler said.
Of course, the ebbs and flows of a pandemic that has continued for well over a year has changed the ways students—like all of us—can interact. What hasn’t changed, however, are the other ongoing issues facing students, namely rising loan debt and mental health. These are the very types of things Tyler plans to use his legal education to address.
“Building my critical thinking skills will help me better understand the systemic issues that exist,” he said. “I also believe law school has given me the tools and a better network that will allow me to have a better chance at tackling these issues.”
For Tyler, he hopes being the representative for his law school will provide more pathways to support classmates and “I believe that by being active in this position I will be able to help bridge gaps in our legal community and the law schools.”
“Diversity is important and so is activism,” Tyler said. “… [W]e want to see this represented in the law community and see changes.”
Natsuya Izuka, Seattle University
Natsuya Izuka was born and raised in Kamakura, Japan. Once he becomes an attorney, he said he looks forward to offering his perspectives as a racial minority and Japanese native.
He chose to go to law school to challenge himself and put his talents toward effecting change. As the Seattle University law school representative, he uses his cultural and linguistic skills to help his fellow law students.
“Our class of 2023 graduates consists of highly diverse students,” Natsuya said. “This fantastic diversity means we have students of a different race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and disability status, and so on. It also means that we have students who have varying work experiences and family situations. All these differences are essential, and each student has something unique to offer in class, which invigorates class discussions. As a result, I believe that our class of 2023 graduates will go on to become well rounded, inclusive, and intelligent attorneys. I think such an attorney is becoming increasingly in demand.”
He is interested in the areas of artificial intelligence and privacy laws. He also supports lawsuits in Japan on the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Ian Platou, Gonzaga
This fall, Ian Platou will begin as a 2L at Gonzaga University School of Law. As he nears the midpoint of his legal education, he will also be the WSBA law school representative coordinating information and sharing resources between the state Bar and his classmates.
“I ran for this position because I have a great passion for Gonzaga and want to see my peers find success in law school and the legal field,” Platou said. “Having a great connection between the student body and the WSBA will open the door to more opportunities for my peers.
As the school’s new law school representative, Platou believes that “increasing the visibility of opportunities provided by the WSBA” will open up “many opportunities law students can utilize to improve their skills and further their development.”
In fact, the relationships he’s built with Gonzaga classmates and professors have been among Platou’s favorite moments from law school, thus far.
“My graduating class is hungry and eager to prove ourselves,” Platou said.