Miles Kelson ’18 likes friendly competition.
“Chicago-Kent has a professional feel,” he said. “Students treat it like they’re going to work every day rather than just sitting through classes. At the same time, there’s a casual, social atmosphere. I like the personal aspect of the community, but also the professional and competitive academic environment.”
Kelson grew up in Eagan, Minnesota, a town near St. Paul. He attended Bethany Lutheran College, where he studied business, played on the basketball team, and grew more interested in the law.
“I thought it could be a way to differentiate myself in the business world,” he said. Once he got to Chicago-Kent, though, he decided not to specialize. In his second semester, he signed up for the 1L Your Way Clinical Rotation.
“I did Criminal Defense, Civil Litigation, and Health Law. I wanted to learn as much as possible about different fields, what might work for me, and also what areas I don’t like.”
He was so intrigued by Prof. Mickie Piatt’s torts class, he sought and landed a position last summer with Meagher & Geer, doing personal injury/product liability work in Minneapolis.
“I’m interested in litigation,” he said, and he’s happy to be back at Meagher & Greer again this summer.
Legal writing, meanwhile, helped him develop skills he could apply in moot court competition, i.e. “the ability to write and orally communicate your point to a judge who is critical of everything you have to say, and being in competition with somebody who is trying to pick apart everything you say.”
As a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, Kelson was part of a three-member team that earned a berth in the semifinals of the DePaul National Cultural Heritage Law competition in spring 2017. This fall, his team reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 National Health Law Moot Court Competition. He'll coach a 2L team in his final semester.
He coaches on another court, too, as an assistant with IIT’s men’s varsity basketball team. The relatively new program was 3-22 the year before last. Last year, 22-6.
“Basketball was such an influential part of my life,” he said. “I learned what it takes to put the work in and be successful. Being able to communicate that to these young guys is a rewarding experience.”
Sounds a little like law school.
“The legal field is conflict-based. Usually someone wins and someone loses. It’s the same thing in sports, right? You’re using different strategies and tactics to give yourself a leg up, and you do the same thing in the legal field for your client.”
Sportsmanship also applies.
“I think that’s what separates the people who last from the people who end up burning some bridges and falling short,” he observed.
How would he “coach” new law students?
“Just stay open-minded,” he advised. “And don’t be afraid to try and fail a couple of times. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the best way to advance and grow.”