Seven Questions With Karla Mardueño ’15

By Brendan W. Clark ’21


The Policy Voice spoke with Karla V. Mardueño ’15, a Public Policy and Law program alumna, about her time at Trinity, her experience in law school, and her present employment as an attorney with Kirkland and Ellis, LLP.

Karla Mardueño ’15. Photo courtesy of Karla Mardueño. 

  1. What was your concentration in the Public Policy and Law program and how did the program shape your decision to go to law school?

My concentration was law and society. I always knew that I would eventually go to law school and after taking Professor Cabot’s Law, Argument, and Public Policy class, I knew that Public Policy and Law would not only challenge me while at Trinity but would prepare me for law school.

  1. What advice would you have for those Public Policy and Law majors who want to go to law school?

Develop relationships with your professors. I cannot begin to count the number of times I reached out to Professors Cabot, Fulco, and Williamson while I was a student at Trinity and as I was preparing to apply and eventually enroll in law school. These professors have written letters of recommendation on my behalf, they mentored me while at Trinity and continued to support me in my post graduate endeavors.

  1. How did law school differ from your undergraduate experience? What practices, if any, from your undergraduate years were useful in law school?

My undergraduate and law school experiences differed greatly mainly because in college you are focused on so many different things. In a single day at Trinity, I could have chemistry, statistics, and a Public Policy and Law class while law school requires much more of a laser focus. My Public Policy and Law professors, above subject matter, taught me to think critically, to share dissenting opinions, and to ask the tough questions. These skills are what allowed me to graduate as one of the top 10 students in my law school class. I’ll also add that anyone who has taken a class with Professor Fulco is unquestionably ready for any law school cold call.

  1. What undergraduate extracurriculars did you participate in at Trinity? 

While at Trinity, I was a member of the mock trial team, I served on the E-board for La Voz Latina and the Men of Color Alliance, and I played for the Women’s Rugby Team.

  1. What is your current position and what is your work like on a day to day basis?

I am now a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP in their Chicago office.  What I love about my job is how different my day to day can be. While a lot of my job entails the typical work of a young attorney—legal research and writing—I often fly across the country to meet with clients or to conduct field visits.

  1. Did you aspire or expect to work in the position you are now in? 

I always aspired to become an attorney and to work in big law and Public Policy and Law gave me all the resources I needed to make it a reality.

  1. Anything else you’d like to mention about your experience at Trinity or with the program? 

I am incredibly grateful for the Public Policy and Law program. My Public Policy and Law professors always pushed me to strive for excellence. In one of my many meetings with Professor Cabot, he encouraged me to minor in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts. I vividly remember him telling me that my writing could open many doors.  Without hesitation, I followed Professor Cabot’s instructions. The writing skills that I gained from Public Policy and Law and my writing minor led me to an internship with First Lady Michelle Obama, to become the Editor-in-Chief of the flagship journal at my law school, and have allowed me to enter a profession that I love. This is just one of many examples of the quality mentoring that takes place within the Public Policy and Law program.

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