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Blake Johnson, Vermont Law School

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Johnson is now a prospective 2012 graduate at Vermont Law School (VLS), where he serves as the national student co-chair of the LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transexual) Bar Association.

According to Johnson, he realized he was gay at a young age but also recognized that the lifestyle did not fit in with his upbringing in a conservative Catholic family. It was not until he was twenty-years old, and on a study semester abroad in Ireland, that he first told friends and family members that he was gay.

Upon his return from Ireland, Johnson was ready to face any obstacles placed in his way. Despite administrative barriers, he succeeded in establishing the first Gay Straight Alliance on the Creighton University campus. He graduated from the university with a BS in Health Administration and Policy and a minor in Spanish.

Following his graduation, Johnson took a job with The Nature Conservancy in Omaha before moving on to political campaigns. He was trained by the Human Rights Campaign and set out to promote a Democratic Congressional candidate in a Denver suburb where the majority of residents were swing voters. ''We lost horribly, but after it was done, I knew I clearly wanted to be in politics. As a regular guy, having access to policy-makers is important, especially when you're just a regular guy who is gay. I believe the best way impart a sense of LGBT equality and rights is to be open and living your regular life in the presence of people who are making big, sweeping decisions for our country,'' said Johnson.

Remaining faithful to politics, Johnson spent the next few years in fundraising. He was involved in fundraising for legislative candidates in Colorado and also assisted in raising about $4.2 million for Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and about three million dollars for Colorado Senator Michael Bennett.

During this time, Johnson became familiar with a number of attorneys who were also involved in politics and decided that he too wanted to take the legal route. He entered Vermont Law School, where he has been involved in a number of projects and organizations, including serving as a 2L senator and a 2L Alliance co-chair for 2010-2011.

Johnson was elected to a two-year term as national student co-chair of the LGBT Bar Association in 2010. In his position, he functions as a voting member of the National LGBT Bar Association Board and supports the National LGBT Bar Association at the American Bar Association level. He is required to attend a minimum of three LGBT Bar/ABA Bar meetings annually and must teleconference to additional meetings. He is also involved in the LBGT Bar's 2011 conference in West Hollywood, California, which took place last week, ending on September tenth.

Since May Johnson has served as a legal intern at the Department of the Interior in the Greater Denver area. He ultimately hopes to work in a civil rights division or lead a non-profit group that serves LGBT, immigrant, and voter rights, as well as environmental justice.

Vermont Law School


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