- Law Student Profile
Timea Hargesheimer: From Hard Times to the American Dream
by Douglas May
After moving to the United States, Hargesheimer learned English by immediately taking classes in Seattle. She then went to a private kindergarten and moved around quite a bit in the Seattle area, attending a few different elementary schools. She says her family moved to Phoenix when she was going into the third grade.
Evidently very driven, Hargesheimer completed high school a year early and went to community college to get her general studies courses out of the way while she worked a full-time job. During this period her father passed away, so it took her a few months longer than anticipated to finish at the community college.
She then transferred to Arizona State University (ASU) to complete her last two years of undergraduate study. She majored in justice studies, minored in communications, and graduated summa cum laude (with a 4.0 GPA) in May 2007. Despite all of her achievements, Hargesheimer says that in May of 2008 she completed the most difficult school year of her life thus far: her 1L year.
Hargesheimer chose ASU because of the in-state tuition and also because it was a high-ranking school. She decided to go into law for a number of reasons.
"My dad always pushed me to be either a doctor or lawyer, and I fainted when I got my tetanus shot, so a career as a doctor was obviously out of the question. Plus, it's just my calling in life to argue, read, and work all day — the three things I love to do most!" she says. "But jokes aside, becoming a lawyer is a dream that I have had since high school. My father definitely motivated me to go to law school because he believed in me, but I just couldn't imagine me, a Hungarian immigrant, practicing American law. Once I overcame my fears of the law, my fears of law school also began to dwindle, and I realized that it was a dream I was capable of fulfilling."
A very influential person in her life right now is the judge she is currently clerking for this summer. She says that he is "just the nicest, most knowledgeable, respectful person, and I am influenced by the way he does his job. I am learning so much from him on what lawyering techniques work the best and how to conduct myself in a courtroom, among other things."
When asked what she enjoys most about the study of law, Hargesheimer replies, "I love reading all those old English cases we all heard about but never really understood."
Criminal Law was her favorite course this past semester. She says it was her favorite course because it had the most interesting cases. Prior to deciding she wanted to become a divorce attorney, she wanted to be a prosecutor.
Hargesheimer interned in her senior year of undergraduate school with the City of Avondale Prosecutor's Office, and currently, she is clerking for the Mesa Family Court. She is also seeking another internship at a family law firm.
"At the prosecutor's office I helped mainly with clerical duties because I wasn't in law school yet, so my abilities were limited. At my clerkship I am observing trials and hearings as well as going over the pleadings and briefs that attorneys have submitted. My favorite part of the experience is getting to see the attorneys in action and learning the dos and don'ts of a family courtroom. I also like the interaction with the judge in discussing the cases afterwards. Clearly, the internship and clerkship have proven to be very valuable."
Ultimately, Hargesheimer wants to work at a small to mid-sized family law firm. Her goal is to have her own practice and become the best divorce attorney in Arizona.
"Personal factors have influenced my decision to go into family law, such as my own parents' divorce and the ensuing custody battle over my brother and me, which has put a strain on our relationship with our father," she says.
Hargesheimer is also the secretary of the Women Law Students Association (WLSA) for the 2008-2009 school year. She says that she enrolled the first week of school because it is a wonderful association with numerous benefits, such as student mentors, social events with local attorneys, dinner with the dean of the law school, and lunch with former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, to name a few.
The main goals of the WLSA are to promote the role of women in the legal profession, to help provide mutual support and encouragement to members, and to engage in activities that enhance the role of women in society. Hargesheimer has many duties as secretary of the organization and thinks that the benefits of getting involved in student associations are phenomenal.
"You get to meet new people, do things for the community, log pro bono hours (which you need to graduate anyway), get advice from the student mentors, and the list goes on and on. It's definitely worth the minute registration fee you have to pay. And each association has its own particular perks."
Hargesheimer's other interests include reading, working out, and playing with her two cats.
"I love to read, even though I read way too much during the school year. Right now, I'm trying to read all of the Harry Potter books before the sixth one comes out!"
Does she have any advice for her law peers?
"Never lose your focus."