Jamie Bence

From the Seat of Power: April Randall

April R. Randall is an attorney in the D.C. Office of the Attorney General. She attended the University of Baltimore School of Law, and upon graduating in 2006, clerked from the Honorable Sherrie L. Krauser, Circuit Court of Prince George’s County. She previously served as a staff attorney for the Sexual Assault Legal Institute. April graduated from Wellesley College in 2003, where she majored in economics and minored in psychology.

What factors led you to attend law school?  Before going to Wellesley I knew I wanted to go to law school. My mother was a paralegal at my Uncle Hal’s law firm in Washington, DC and I spent a lot of time there. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it set off a spark in me. Also, I am a very analytical and enjoy being intellectually challenged on a regular basis.

Although I knew I wanted to an attorney, I did not know what type of law I wanted to practice. Initially, I thought I wanted to practice corporate law in light of my economics major, but I quickly learned in law school that it was not for me. I have always been drawn to women’s issues, as well as those involving children. Therefore, after my clerkship, I joined the Sexual Assault Legal Institute.

What was your experience at the Sexual Assault Legal Institute?  It was a lot of fun, if you can say that. My colleagues and I got along splendidly and the director was great. It was a wonderful learning experience for a new attorney. I wanted to litigate and I did a lot of that at the Sexual Assault Legal Institute.

With that being said, it was very emotionally draining. My cases were horrific and very upsetting. The first case I had involved a teenager who was sexually assaulted by classmate. It was shocking! However, I knew that I was actually making a difference, especially since most of the clients could not afford legal services. I was an advocate for them and that is what meant the most to me.

So how did you end up at the DC government?  It was a natural shift. I have a strong interest in policy work. After my first year of law school, I interned for the D.C. Commission for Human Rights. This was a great experience. I interned for a Hearing Officer who was an University of Baltimore alum. My assignments were challenging and always presented unique issues. It was this experience that led me to want to where I am now. I enjoy what I do and I have met many of mentors while working here.

How is your work-life balance at your current position?  It is fairly flexible and I would say agreeable to my current situation. I do not have children yet but I will some day. In the meantime, I am juggling many responsibilities. I am involved in a lot of community organizations. I work the early shift, arriving between 6:30 and 7 a.m. This allows me to leave fairly early, which is nice because I usually have to rush home to get ready for the next day while at the same time preparing for a meeting. On average I have two meetings a week for the other activities I am involved it. So, having this flexibility is useful.

Although I do not have children, however, my husband and I are starting to discuss it. For me, it is trying to ensure our professional lives can accommodate children. Granted, one ultimately makes it work, but it still requires planning.

Right now, for example, I live about 45 minutes outside of D.C. by train. That commute is going to be a little bit taxing once we have children. We've had to sit down and talk about whether I should find a job closer to home or stay where I am. Should I work from home a few days a week? How is childcare going to mesh with our schedules? Many, many things one has to think about. I think this is even more important for women who wear so many different hats and handle numerous responsibilities.

What advice would you give to a law student or lawyer who would like to work in a position similar to yours?  First, I would say network. By networking, you will also find a mentor, which I think is the most important thing. Second, I recommend interning. During law school, I interned for an office of the D.C. government, so I already knew someone working in the government who could mentor me. But most importantly, be flexible. One never knows where their life will lead; so, be open to different opportunities.

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