Tamara Combs arrived in Lawrence after studying law in her
home country of Brazil, then earning degrees in political science and city and
regional planning in the U.S. For her, law school wasn’t just an academic
experience; it was a cross-cultural one.
“It was fascinating to navigate a new legal tradition — common
law instead of civil law — and see that one is not intrinsically better than
the other,” Combs said. “The educational systems are strikingly different.
Experiencing both made me a more pragmatic problem-solver, knowing that there
is more than one right way to achieve a goal.”
students of all backgrounds grapple with unfamiliar legal concepts, Combs faced
the added challenge of studying the law in her second language. “I overcame that the only way I knew: through hard work and
discipline,” she said. “If a reading was especially dense, I just had to put in
more hours than my peers, and use the dictionary more often.”
Combs focused her studies on immigration law and
international law, and counts her time on the editorial board of the Kansas Law
Review among her most enriching law school experiences. This fall she will join
the Kansas City office of Stinson Leonard Street as a litigation associate,
handling a caseload ranging from local municipal planning issues to
international business and immigration matters.
“I will use my planning background and my international
background to build a rewarding practice,” she said.
Labels: 3L, Brazil, cross-cultural, English as a second language, graduation, law firm, law school experience