Practical, focused, connected. These are words often used to describe the three-pronged vision of a Catholic Law legal education. They are also words best used to describe Catholic Law third-year Eden Olson’s approach to becoming a lawyer. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Olson isn’t the first in her family to have a passion for the law. Olson’s grandfather had his own insurance law practice in Chicago that she frequently visited. From those childhood visits, Olson developed a desire to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. “From as far back as I can remember, I was aiming to be an attorney because I wanted to be just like him.”
As an undergraduate at Seton Hill University, studying political science and finance, Olson got her first real taste of working as an intern in a local firm. This practical experience provided Olson with confidence that a legal career was right for her. “I got the opportunity to shadow multiple attorneys with experience in business, criminal, and insurance law. I worked there for over a year and there wasn’t a single day that was the same, and learned that lawyers are in a unique position to help individuals, groups, and organizations with their problems. This solidified my decision to attend law school.”
Olson has continued honing critical skills and taking advantage of practical opportunities throughout her time at Catholic Law. As early as her first year, Olson was managing real cases through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. In her role, she assisted individuals and families who needed help with income tax return prep. About the experience, she explained, “I went into the experience thinking that I would just help individuals save a few dollars on their tax returns but quickly realized that my guidance helped individuals and families keep their finances intact and it made a huge difference to a lot of individuals.”
Olson has also pursued internship opportunities, made easily accessible due to Catholic Law’s proximity to government and private agencies. Starting in her 1L summer and continuing through all of 2L, Olson interned for The Investment Adviser Association (IAA). The not-for-profit organization that represents SEC-registered investment advisers was Olson’s first look at the investment advisory profession. Her role also provided her with the opportunity to write articles and legal analyses for the IAA’s monthly newsletter, bolstering her skills in professional writing. This internship was Olson’s “first experience in the securities, and it made me realize that I made the right decision to pursue a career in the securities law field.” Currently, Olson interns at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the Criminal Prosecution Assistance Group. Olson works directly with federal and state prosecutors and law enforcement agents and is able to assist with complex securities law issues.
Catholic Law has allowed Olson to lean into a clear and focused career direction, combining her undergraduate studies in finance with the law. “Coming straight from undergrad, I knew I wanted to combine my studies in finance with the law and Catholic gave me the opportunity to focus my studies in securities law through its certificate program.” Through the Securities Law Program (SLP), Olson has been able to a broad and varied slate of securities law courses which, combined with internship experience, provides her with a distinct knowledge of the field. Olson is also the President of the Securities Law Student Association (SLSA). SLSA functions both as a student affinity group as well as the governing structure of SLP, providing an opportunity for students with interest in securities and business law to work together to help organize social and academic events that promote the Securities Law Program.
Through her internships and her coursework, Olson has found herself with an extensive list of professional contacts and has had the opportunity to learn from a distinguished faculty of practitioners. Olson shared, “The school’s location in DC enables a lot of the securities law classes to be taught by some of the leading professionals in the securities industry and has given me internship opportunities that I could not get anywhere else.”
Of course, with classes, her work on SLSA, and her internships, it’s hard to believe there’s enough time in the day to get it all done. Olson’s secret to success is a relatively simple one, time management. “I was a collegiate athlete and thought that I would have so much more time in law school now that I wasn’t playing lacrosse. I quickly realized that this was not the case and my time now is spent studying and interning! I have a planner that I update every day with my schedule.” Olson continued, “I love hanging out with my friends, cooking, and working out so I try my best to follow my schedule, so I am able to do these things. Balance is extremely important especially when you’re interning and taking classes and sticking to a schedule helps with that.”
In March of 2020, the country was faced with a new challenge—a global pandemic. Law schools, and students like Olson, were forced to quickly pivot to virtual learning formats. To varying degrees, these virtual experiences have continued throughout the fall. While not necessarily an ideal format, Olson has continued to look at the positives. She noted, “It is definitely harder to stay focused when both school and my internship are remote. However, I recognize that I am really lucky to have the opportunity to be in law school and have a remote internship experience when so many people do not. DC is an amazing city that has so many parks/ socially distanced study and work spots so that I’m not stuck in my apartment all day. That helps me stay productive!” As she moves deeper into her last year as a law student, Olson reflected on her time at Catholic Law, “Law school comes with its challenges but Catholic has made the experience amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!”