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Student Profile


Julie Baxter

Class of 2005

LSU Law Student

Background: LSU grad; ten years as a journalist, including a news anchor for a Baton Rouge TV station and work in radio news; grew up in South Africa; represented LSU Law in a first-amendment moot court competition in Nashville in 2005.

Why Law School: I have covered the state capital and a lot of political and criminal trials. I work with attorneys when I do investigative stories; from talking to them, I got real interested in the legal system and how it works. I love reporting but I want to bring something more to the table as a reporter than I could before. It's also very important for attorneys to understand how to handle the media. If you don't, and you're thrust into the spotlight, you do your client a disservice. I grew up in South Africa, a country that was censored at the time, so it's important to me that people understand the importance of a free press.

Why LSU: I think the biggest reason is civil law training. It's the only program of its kind in the country that offers double training. It's important in a global economy that you be able to understand issues involved in contracts from other countries, clients from other countries, different concepts of law. One of my favorite courses was international human rights law. Because we do civil law/common law training, we can understand how a European lawyer thinks and be more culturally sensitive to how international law works.

The Faculty: I am fascinated by the breadth of experience and the talent and the intellect of this faculty. That's something that you can't get just anywhere. Last year, I was taught by a former attorney general and secretary of justice of Argentina. Now I am taught by one faculty member who splits her year between teaching in Italy and teaching at LSU Law School. It's on-the-ground experience that you don't get anywhere else.

The Value: There's no comparison. Louisiana is not a rich state, and a lot of people couldn't afford a law degree if they had to pay tuition somewhere else. I was even able to keep my anchor duties while I was in school.

Career Goals: I would like doing investigative reporting for a network or work for a newsmagazine-style program doing longer pieces on trials and social issues. I think there's a need to explain the legal system to Americans. It's affecting their lives more, and most people don't understand it. It's helpful when you're covering a story to have the background to know how the legal system works.