Law student couple takes ambitious path to law school
December 01, 2022
December 01, 2022
“We really are,” said Dakota. “Like almost every box that you can check on your application when you submit it, we are – non-traditional, LGBTQIA+, veterans and working parents.”
The couple met and started dating while serving in the Navy in 2014 and have been married for five years with three children.
“I also dropped out of high school,” Grace added. “I only got my GED to serve in the Navy; then I slowly took college courses over eight years to earn my associate’s degree and then bachelor’s – which I graduated with honors. And now I’m in law school – so you really can do anything you put your mind to.”
Law school wasn’t even on Dakota’s mind since he was studying for the GRE. That was until he started helping Grace study for the LSAT.
“I needed help because I was struggling a lot with the practice test,” explained Grace. “It was the worst test I ever took, so I asked Dakota to help me study, and he blew it out of the water! After that, I told him, ‘well, you better go to law school too.’”
Meanwhile, Dakota was having a hard time tackling the GRE, and said he didn’t have many other options since they wanted to keep their family together – and that’s how he “fell” into law accidentally. He claims he’s “such a stereotypical lawyer” because the only section he grappled with was the math portion.
“I always say that struggling with the GRE was a blessing in disguise,” said Dakota. “I bring it up on the tours I guide at the law school all the time. People ask, ‘how did you end up in law?’ I don’t know! ‘What do you want to do in law?’ I don’t know that either, but I’m good at it and I really enjoy it!”
Quinnipiac School of Law specifically was another accident, according to them.
“I like to tell people that we came to Connecticut because of Dakota’s obsession with Gilmore Girls,” said Grace. “He was watching it one evening and joked about moving to Connecticut for law school, so I jumped on the computer, we looked at the schools and started applying.”
After Dakota got accepted, the couple came for a tour and he knew that Quinnipiac was the school for him.
“Joan Metzler did our tour, and as soon as she started talking, it didn’t matter what anybody else said; I was set on Quinnipiac,” said Dakota. “At other schools, you’re a number in this machine and you just get spit out. But here, people actually care. Joan knew not only my name because I was the applicant but also Grace’s name, the fact that she was going to be applying and our three kids’ names – and she’s the dean of admissions. She knew enough to make a personal conversation with us, which meant something to me.”
“I was going to wait a year and stay home with the kids and get us adjusted,” added Grace. “But then Joan told me about the part-time program and said they were waiting for my application, and that really stuck out to me too. Everything just worked out, and now we’re in school together. We do everything together.”
To many people being in law school is a daunting task, but the Flints handle it as a team. According to Grace, it’s even “a piece of cake” for them since they had a similar arrangement while completing their undergraduate degrees during their time in the service.
“Everyone is always asking how we are doing law school away from our family with three kids and me working,” said Grace. “But we did this same thing for our undergraduate degrees while we were both in the Navy with deployments on top of everything else, so this is nice. We’re actually getting to enjoy time together in a slower-paced environment.”
And they’re still involved too. Dakota volunteers with admissions as a tour guide for the law school, serves as a staff member on the Quinnipiac Law Review and is a member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity, while Grace works full-time at a business firm as a paralegal. Not to mention that they’re parents with children who are “in a bunch of extracurricular activities.”
“Anyone could do law school; it’s just a lot of work,” added Dakota. “The biggest challenge is just actively juggling the work-life balance. On tours, many people doubt that they can do it, but I always tell them they can, and it doesn’t matter how they got here. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school dropout or if it took you 13 years to graduate. You got here, so you can do it. That’s it.”
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