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Law Student Gives Back to Those in Need in Travels Abroad


By Eileen M. Laux.

Upon graduating from Carroll College, he traveled to Belfast, Ireland, to participate in L’Arche Belfast, a community for adults with physical and mental disabilities. The community is part of an international federation of communities that invites those with varying abilities to live together in community. He quickly ascended to House Leader, where he managed everyday activities within the home including organizing volunteer schedules, handling finances, and coordinating community activities. “Beyond learning an incredible amount about the rich and complex history of Northern Ireland, I made lifelong friendships, learned to accept that we all, in some form, have disabilities, and formed a deep appreciation for those who dedicate themselves to serving others,” he says.

After he was finished in Ireland, he traveled to Honduras to continue to lend a helping hand. Finca del Nino, which translates to Farm of the Child, is a Catholic orphanage in the outskirts of Trujillo, Honduras, and is managed by the Franciscan Sisters of Central America. During the day, he managed the farm’s maintenance department, built homes, repaired roofs, and facilitated day-to-day operations. He also managed the Adolescent Boys Home, where he helped Honduran teenagers adjust to Honduran society. “Despite the trials of being in one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere, the perseverance and overall happiness of the people were great reminders that we, as Americans, have much to be grateful for,” he says.

Now a 2L at Gonzaga University School of Law, he believes that giving back is important. “It is critically important for law students to give back to their communities because a legal education provides an avenue to engage on a different level, and more importantly, an opportunity to advocate for those who are unable to access or understand law and policy,” he says.

Downs has since worked with the Montana Department of Justice focusing on the child exploitation and Native American policy development, state and federal grant writing, and revamping of the department’s hiring operations. He also worked with the Montana Attorney General, department policy advisors, Office of Public Instruction policy advisors, as well other interested groups in drafting anti-bullying legislation.

Kevin After Class

Favorite Fictional Lawyer
Lt. Junior Grade Daniel Kaffee from A Few Good Men. He is the epitome of inexperience and cleverness.

Words to live by
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”––Theodore Roosevelt

Last book read
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Favorite Place to Travel
The Emerald Isle

On your bucket list
Have a family, learn another language, climb Granite Peak (highest mountain in Montana), complete an Ironman, attend a World Cup, explore Alaska, I could go on . . .


Eileen M. Laux, a 3L at Florida Coastal School of Law, is student editor of Student Lawyer.

Vol. 41 No. 8

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.