Alumnae/i Profile: Justin Plaskov ’02

jel33395-plaskov-justin-mAn attorney with Lohf, Shaiman, Jacobs, Hyman & Feiger in Denver, Colorado, Justin Plaskov ‘02 works in the employment law department and has won trials in federal, state and county courts. Justin was a key member of the 2015 trial team which obtained a $14,000,000 punitive damages verdict against a private federal contractor in a race/national origin discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. Justin recently spoke with White Mountain’s Office of Development & Alumnae/i to share the following update.

What is your current role?

I’ve been at Lohf Shaiman for over 5 years practicing plaintiff employment law and working under Lynn Feiger, the attorney who successfully litigated the first ever Title VII sexual harassment claim in the country. A lot of what we do revolves around civil rights, employment discrimination, reasonable accommodations for disabled clients, and contract and wage issues. As Lynn’s mentee, I’ve been fortunate to run more and more of our growing employment law practice.

What got you interested in law in the first place?

At places like White Mountain and Prescott College, where I got my undergraduate degree, we often talk about how we can best affect change. How we can do the most good. I was certainly attracted to using a law degree as a tool to help affect positive change.

Some of my interest was also personal. Once I started practicing for the LSAT, I started geeking out over the logic games – the problem solving section of the test. As I moved forward with the process, I also realized that it really did fit in my with skill sets. The law emphasizes critical thinking and thinking outside the box to problem solve, which were skills that were definitely fostered at White Mountain. And then once I got into law school at the University of Colorado, I discovered that I fell in love with learning in ways that were different from my prior experiences. I enjoyed pushing myself in a very structured, traditional classroom. At White Mountain, I was always pushed to expand on and grow in my perception of what I was capable of – in sports and the outdoors or in creative and inquisitive spaces in the classroom. But law was different. And I fell in love with it.

What brought you to White Mountain originally?

img_2880I was really attracted to White Mountain because of the outdoor opportunities available to students. My parents were attracted to White Mountain’s small student body. I was only at White Mountain for two years but at that age it certainly fostered my love for the outdoors. I spent so much time at White Mountain in the woods and mountains – just walking the bio-loop around campus, skiing 3 or 4 days per week, or going off with a group for the weekend.

Academically, I came from a public school where I wasn’t enjoying school. It took a while, and through the work of so many wonderful teachers, what White Mountain did was rekindle my love of learning. The humanities and environmental studies courses at the School really opened my eyes. I felt like nobody had ever taught me the things I needed to know about the world until I came to White Mountain.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?

For other White Mountain alumnae/i considering law school, I would have four recommendations prior to applying. First, read books and talk with attorneys about law school to see if it sounds like something you’d be interested in. Second, take practice LSAT exams to see if you enjoy the challenge or if it feels like a chore. Third, spend time away from school after you graduate from college. I know that the experience of working as a professional (I was an international travel guide and high school history/government teacher) prior to law school enriched the experience and made me more ready to be an attorney upon graduation. And lastly, find the right law school for you. I chose Colorado Law School for a myriad of reasons, including the collegiality of the student body, the high academic standards, an older student body, and a high proportion of students who go into public interest fields after graduation. I know from talking with other attorneys that choosing the wrong law school can have significant negative consequences.

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