This story appears courtesy of the University of Arkansas Little Rock and Angie Faller, News Director in UA Little Rock's Office of Communications.
Aisosa Osaretin will graduate this month with a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law as well as a Master of Public Service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
A native of Nigeria, Osaretin moved to Minnesota with her family in 2016. She started law school at Bowen in 2017 and is now one step closer to fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.
“I was really happy to be in law school. It felt like the beginning of a dream come true,” Osaretin said. “I always enjoyed reading the cases just to see how the judge would rule. I enjoy the experience of learning new things.”
She has been able to blend her legal education with an MPS from the Clinton School in what is the only concurrent JD-MPS program in the nation.
“The Clinton School showed me a whole other world outside of law school,” Osaretin said. “I gained an expanded understanding of the scope of public service as a career path on its own as opposed to public service in relation to a legal way of providing service with far reaching effects without being in a courtroom, proffering solutions based on cultural awareness, understanding and communication.”
Once she takes the bar exam in February, Osaretin is planning a career in international law and human rights.
“I am very interested in human rights on the international scale,” Osaretin said. “I am looking at firms that practice international law in immigration, refugees, and international trade and commerce. My end goal is to work for the United Nations.”
Outside of her law career, Osaretin is also advocating for human rights during her reign as Miss Nigeria International.
“I won Miss Nigeria International during the holiday break last year,” Osaretin said. “COVID has heavily restricted the duties that I have, but it has made me queen for two years, so I have an opportunity to make a bigger impact. I am advocating for human rights. With the help of my sisters, I am giving health awareness and education to students at the secondary level in Nigeria.”
While at Bowen, Osaretin has gained an incredible amount of legal experience.
She’s served as a law clerk for Destiny Law Firm, Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Sanford Law Firm, and Windstream Communications. This semester, she served as an extern with the Office of Professional Conduct for the Arkansas Supreme Court while also being a law clerk with the Arkansas Department of Health, which has proved to be an interesting experience during a global pandemic.
“With the Arkansas Department of Health, I am assisting the attorneys with FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests,” she said. “Lots of people want to know how the department is dealing with COVID. There is a lot of legal research that is related to COVID rules. You have to look at the legal framework to see if the restrictions interfere with any fundamental or constitutional rights. It was a new experience to see the whole side of checks and balances and to see all the stages that a rule has to go through to get approved.”
While at Bowen, Osaretin said she learned the value of public service. Her volunteer work has included serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and a fair housing tester with the Legal Aid Corps of Arkansas.
“My entire academic life at Bowen has been a combination of academics and practical knowledge. I’ve been given the opportunity to put into practice the things I’ve learned,” she said. “One thing that is stuck in my head is public service. It can’t be overemphasized. Being a lawyer means giving back to the public. I think it would make me be a better lawyer to know that I am serving other people and not just myself. Having those core values in me will make me a good lawyer.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.