Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.
Originally from Boise, Idaho, Morgan Goodin graduated this week summa cum laude from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at the top of the JD class of 2020. As such, she was chosen by the faculty to receive the highest honor, the John S. Armstrong Award, based on academic performance and contributions to ASU Law.
Her trajectory is nothing new, as three years ago, she was admitted to ASU Law as an O’Connor Fellow with the O’Connor Honors Program, receiving a full-tuition scholarship. In the spirit of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and to continue her legacy, O’Connor Fellows are expected to also give back to their community by providing 40 hours of pro bono work each year addressing important social, economic and political problems, or advancing civil discussion and civic action. Goodin did more than that, achieving "high pro bono distinction" — those who contributed between 100 and 149 hours of pro bono service — among her fellow graduates. She also served on the executive board of the Arizona State Law Journal as the executive note and comment editor, a position she notes as a highlight of her law school career.
Also while at ASU Law, Goodin externed for Judge James A. Teilborg at the United States District Court for the District of Arizona and at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, served as a tutor in the Academic Success Program, volunteered with the Arizona Legal Center, and was a teaching assistant for two professors. After graduating, Goodin will clerk for Judge Richard C. Tallman on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Question: What in your life do you feel most grateful for?
Answer: I'm so grateful for all the relationships and support that made my law school dream a reality. I owe so much to both the ASU Law faculty for their excellent teaching and the attorneys in Phoenix who gave me opportunities to apply the legal education I was learning in the classroom to real-life situations. I'm thankful for my parents, who have always gone the extra mile to support my love of learning, and I'm especially grateful to my husband for his unwavering support throughout law school.
Q: Why did you choose ASU Law?
A: I knew ASU was the right fit for a plethora of reasons. I visited the campus and was impressed by the downtown location with its easy access to externship opportunities. The 70-degree weather in February didn’t hurt either! I knew that I wanted to stay in the West, and a generous scholarship sealed the deal.
Q: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study law?
A: I’ve always loved learning and had an incredibly difficult time choosing a major in college. I graduated with a degree in piano performance from Westmont College and performed and taught piano and fiddle for a couple years while my husband went to grad school. Throughout that time, I knew that I wanted to further my education, but I was interested in almost every grad program out there. I’ve always loved reading, writing and speaking, but I also wanted a relational component to my work — I like working with people to understand and solve their problems. Law school combined all of those interests and opened the door to a wide variety of opportunities. When I sat down in my first day of Professor Bob Dauber’s civil procedure class, I knew I had found the right place.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in law school?
A: It's so easy in law school to worry about outcomes outside of your control — how a certain interview went, whether you'll get an offer for that promising externship, if you got an A on an exam, etc. But spending your energy worrying about those outcomes saps the energy that you need to focus on your classes! Focus on what you can control: your mindset, your work ethic and treating everyone around you with respect and kindness.
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