Law school is rigorous on its own. For Linh Adams, that was just the beginning. In addition to her studies, she juggled being a wife, a mother of three boys—one of whom was born just before her second-year finals—working part-time at a civil litigation firm, and averaging about four to five hours of sleep.
“My family’s graduating law school, it’s not just me,” said Adams, who will graduate this month from George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. “The law school, my family, my husband, my kids supported me.”
Adams said she came to the United States from Vietnam in 2008, after winning a national cultural exchange contest in her home country that was hosted by its National Library and the Asia Foundation. She stayed in the area for school, earning an associate’s degree in social science from Northern Virginia Community College—where she met her husband—and later a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware.
“Mason’s really well-known for its reputation,” Adams said. “I gave up a full scholarship at Howard [University] and a $30,000 scholarship at Catholic [University] to come to Mason. It wasn’t an easy choice then, but I’m glad I made it.”
After graduation, Adams said she will continue working at the civil litigation firm, HarrisLoftus PLLC. She hopes to one day make a difference in immigration law.
“Part of my plan is to turn around and help the Vietnamese community in the United States pro bono,” she said. “There’s a lot of immigration issues [often connected with domestic violence] going on that they don’t really know how to deal with.”
“I know it’s an ambitious dream to have those [issues] corrected in the future, but it’s good enough for me to change one life at a time,” she said.
Adams said she’s glad she chose Mason because of the people and the school’s willingness to work with students where they are at.
Initially a full-time student, she changed to part-time to balance her other obligations, Adams said.
“The school made it really easy and was very accommodating,” she said.
While at Mason, many organizations recognized Adams’ skill and potential in law. She secured an internship at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, was named a Scholar for the American Corporate Council, and received scholarships from American Corporate Council, the Vietnamese American Bar Association and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Professors such as Michelle Boardman helped Adams understand complex material, she said, and instructors such as Michael Davis and Assistant Dean of Student Academic Affairs Christine Malone guided her as mentors.
“She was always prepared, a formidable debater, and excelled in class; all while raising a family,” Davis said. “Despite ongoing almost daily life challenges, Linh maintained an even temperament and an infectious sense of humor.”
“I am certain that Linh has a bright future in store,” Malone said. “She is a woman of true grit and the legal profession is lucky to have her joining its ranks.”