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Third Year Law Student Abel M. Tsegga: From the Northwest to the Southeast

published January 28, 2013

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Personal Life

Third Year Law Student Abel M. Tsegga
Abel M. Tsegga is a third year law student at Mississippi College School of Law and anticipates a May 2013 graduation. Although Abel hasn't decided what area of the law he will practice, he acknowledged that he enjoys writing because he can be creative with his written advocacy. The student has gained extensive legal experience through not only his externship, but also through multiple internships and clerkships. He plans on practicing law in Seattle, Washington.

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Abel was born in Torrance, CA but raised and currently resides in Lynnwood, WA. He grew up with his mother, father and two siblings. Both of Abel's parents were born and raised in a very intimate and rural region of Ethiopia. They experienced many obstacles, but nevertheless had a strong nuclear family to support and encourage them. Abel's parents never perceived their situation as deprived or burdensome, but simply challenges to overcome and empower themselves to provide even better opportunities for their children. This initiative based outlook on their lives was a direct influence of the unconditional love, encouragement and discipline that they constantly received from their parents.

Their educational accomplishments, to say the least, are miraculous. Initially starting from a public grade school educational system in a highly underdeveloped portion of Ethiopia, Abel's father has maintained a professional position in America's largest aerospace company and his mother has similarly established herself as an accountant. Their success did not stem only from the knowledge component of education, but equally important was the ingrained values of hard-work, discipline and perseverance that stems from the grass roofed huts they once occupied. This component of Abel's parents' history has been the most significant in propelling his educational drive to graduate from law school and secure work as a practicing Seattle attorney.

In 2006 Abel graduated from Meadowdale High School. While studying at Meadowdale, he served as an intern for Washington Mutual's call center, where he provided customer service over the phone. Abel was considered top three in customer relationship. He received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Law, Societies and Justice from the University of Washington. At UW, the undergraduate was involved with the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity and the Phi Alpha
Delta Pre-Law Fraternity.

During his tenure as a UW student, Abel participated as a Political Associate (December 2008-October 2009) for The Borgen Project, an organization working towards eliminating global poverty through domestic legislation. During this time, he also became a Legislative Policy Intern (January 2010-March 2010) for the Washington State House of Representatives, assisting Representatives Jay Rodne and Bruce Chandler. The intern was responsible for drafting and finalizing letters and he also attended meetings and luncheons when Rodne and Chandler were unable to attend. Abel explained, “It was a great experience” working for Representatives Rodne and Chandler.

After graduating from UW in 2010, Abel began his legal education at Mississippi College School of Law. While in Jackson, MS, Abel worked as both a research and teaching assistant for two different professors. From October 2011 until July 2012, he clerked for Rocky Wilkins PLLC, primarily working on a large fire case. Abel said, “It was a lengthy experience and I enjoyed it; it was great to learn from Rocky.” In July 2012, the law student clerked for the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer's Project. He received class credit for learning about domestic issues, divorces and wills. Abel had the opportunity to manage divorces and wills for indigent people before passing their cases to attorneys. Abel currently serves as an extern for the Washington Appellate Project and is responsible for drafting appellate briefs, memos and motions.

Abel has earned several honors and awards while studying at Mississippi College School of Law, including the Sam Wilkins Criminal law Award, the American Jurisprudence Award and the Dean's list. His extracurricular activities include participation in Copeland Cook Taylor and Bush Moot Court Competitions, as well as the 1L Opening Statement competition. From 2011-2012, Abel was a STAR Mentor and he also participated in the Berlin Study Abroad Program. Abel enjoys serving the Black Law Student Association as a Chairman of Public Relations and has been a part of the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity. The law student was a nominee at the Fourteenth Annual Mississippi College Graduate Research Forum, where he was chosen to present his thirty-page paper entitled “Horror Song: How the United States War on Terror has Led to acts of Genocide in the Horn of Africa.” Abel also wrote a paper about freedom of speech called “Following in the Steps of Big Brother, Enactment of the Patriot Act and the Elimination of Free Speech and Press of Ethiopia.”

Abel is currently a legal intern for Crane Dunham PLLC. Crane Dunham handles a wide range of cases including personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability, class action, and contract disputes. As a third-year, Abel has the luxury of conducting extensive legal research and drafting a wide array of legal documents.

From May 2008 until 2010, Abel participated in Relay for Life. He was a mentor to incoming freshmen at Meadowdale High School from 2004 to 2006, and he also tutored at Meadowdale Elementary School. Abel is currently a drummer at Edmonds Seventh-Day Adventist Church located in Edmonds, WA.

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When he isn't studying, Abel enjoys playing the drums and has been practicing for the past six years. He also enjoys sports and plays basketball regularly.

Abel's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations

Why did Abel go into the law? He stated, “My parents wanted me to be a doctor but I found chemistry and math to be difficult and overall, unenjoyable. So I switched to a Business major, which I eventually also found unsuitable to my tastes. But, one of the prerequisites for a Business degree was an intro to law class which I found extremely interesting and to my liking. I then switched majors to Political Science and LSJ.”

Abel was asked, “Would you like to share with us your aims and aspirations?” He said the following: “I aspire to establish myself as an exceptional attorney, providing legal service to a large array of individuals. I am also interested in providing education to those in lower socioeconomic classes, and thus aspire to found an education based non-profit.”

The law student shared his key accomplishments. “Finding a balance between maintaining a high level of academic achievement while still working towards the betterment of others.”

So what are Abel's key strengths and skills that he would like to use to advance his career goals? He asserted, “I am very personable and a strong writer.”

As to his weakness, Abel claimed, “I have a slight fear of public speaking.” What are you doing to work on this weakness? “I participate in competitions and oral arguments.”

Many readers are probably wondering how Abel handles new assignments. The third year law student shared his process. He admitted, “I work best when I keep a schedule and outline my assignments.”

Where does Abel derive his confidence? He replied, “My parents.”

Three Wishes to Live By, Dealing with Fear, Stress Management Tactics and Facing Obstacles

If Abel had three wishes, he would wish for eternal happiness, safety, and health for people he loves and for himself.

In regards to handling fear, Abel simply stated, “I pray on the issue, and then face it head on.” He was asked “Does this method work for you?” Abel assured, “Yes, I believe I have done fairly well.”

Does Abel have any stress management tactics? The straightforward student replied, “I try to find humor in most situations. I also enjoy working out.”

Abel was asked, “How do you face obstacles in your life?” He answered, “Prayer and perseverance.”

Personal Philosophy, People You Want to Surround Yourself With, Study Abroad Program, and Most Influential Traveling Experience

What is Abel's personal philosophy? The candid student said, “Enjoy life but also make it enjoyable for others.”

The future attorney talked about what he believes holds more truth in light of his personal philosophy. Was it fate or choice? Abel noted, “I believe in free will, but as a Christian I know that God has a plan.”

What kind of situations and people is Abel attracted to? He stated, “I am attracted to light-hearted and friendly people.”

Abel has participated in two study abroad programs. He recalled, “I have studied abroad in Berlin and very recently in Merida, Mexico. I found the Berlin program to be very interesting and I extremely enjoyed the cultural experience.” Abel recently traveled to Merida where he extensively studied international human rights, culminating in a paper focusing on global poverty,” earning him the highest grade in his class.

What was Abel's most influential traveling experience? He said, “I have been to a few different places but the most influential was visiting Ethiopia. The substandard living in the third world is truly humbling.”

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published January 28, 2013

By Follow Me on
( 16 votes, average: 4.1 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.