This post is part of a series of short posts to introduce you to some of the amazing women I go to school with at DU Law.
Lesley Gray always wanted to be a lawyer. But when it was time for college, her dad urged her to attend Florida Institute of Technology because he worked there and she could attend with her tuition waived. Florida Institute of Technology does not train lawyers; it trains engineers. So, in 1979, Lesley earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, which she followed with a Masters degree in Computer Science in 1988. She then proceeded to do the sensible thing and work in flight simulation engineering for 34 years.
Along the way, she met her now-husband, an electrical engineer, and they had a daughter, who is currently finishing her Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry, and a son, who recently graduated from Westpoint Academy and is now stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma as a Field Artillery Second Lieutenant. Lesley was the model of an active parent and involved volunteer: she has been a Boy Scout leader since 2004, she helped lead band boosters while her kids were in high school, she was president of the Parent Teacher Association for three years, and she was president of the Westpoint Parent’s Club of Colorado during 2014 and 2015.
Now that she has an empty nest and has earned her retirement, you’d think Lesley would want to take some well-deserved time off.
What is she doing instead? Going to law school.
“I love law school, but I came to law school to have fun,” she laughed. “I have no problem with the Socratic method. [Professors] can’t intimidate me, because I’m not afraid of looking stupid.”
Lesley does admit that the law school culture took some getting used to, especially when she experienced firsthand some of the undermining that students can engage in to attempt to boost their grades. She referenced the challenging job market as fostering the extremely competitive law school environment.
“In engineering, you have several job offers when you graduate, which creates a collaborative environment,” she said as a comparison. “Luckily, I don’t have to get a job. I’ll just be happy to graduate.”
In keeping with her history of involvement, Lesley isn’t just going to law school; she’s taking law school by storm. She has been a student attorney (and tech support…and t-shirt designer) on three trips with DU’s Tribal Wills Program, which is a program that brings estate planning to low-income tribal communities; she is a staff editor with DU Law’s Transportation Law Journal; and currently, she is a part of the Veteran’s Advocacy Project, a program that pairs DU law students with veterans to help with legal issues related to housing, health care, and income. Lesley enjoys the Veteran’s clinic so much that she plans to continue to work with the clinic one day per week after she graduates and passes the bar exam.
“I’ve been a volunteer my whole life,” she said. “As long as my brain holds up, I want to give back to my community. I went to law school to help people, even if that means I just make a difference for one person.”