U law student selected for Stanford conference, will take on research related to improving diversity on corporate boards

Rachael Motzkus was an undergraduate at the University of Utah undecided about what she wanted to do with her future when the idea of law school presented itself to her.

“I was registering for my first semester of classes at the U when a woman walked into the room and asked if anyone was interested in law. Specifically, she asked if any minorities were interested in law (including women). The room was silent and instantly the words ‘me!’ flew out of my mouth,” said Motzkus.

The woman was Ann Engar, a professor in the U’s Honors College, who oversees a program known as “Pre-Law LEAP.” It is designed to provide education and mentoring in a learning community for undergraduate students who hope to continue on to law school after completing a bachelor’s degree. Motzkus learned about law as part of the the three-year program, and after she graduated with a degree from the David Eccles School of Business, she set her sights on a career path in the legal field. motzkus-rachael

“I ended up loving the program and Dr. Engar. The program provided the guidance and knowledge I needed to apply for law school – I couldn’t have done it without it or her,” said Motzkus.

Motzkus is now a sucessful third-year student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. She recently attended a conference at Stanford Law School on Achieving Diversity in the Boardroom and C-Suite.

She’ll use the experience in continuing research at the U, where she’ll spend the spring semester researching diversity on corporate boards as part of Professor Jeff Schwartz’s securities law seminar.

Motzkus’ research will potentially be included as part of a working paper series that Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance will publish related to the diversity issue. Along with Schwartz, Motzkus will work with Professor Cathy Hwang on the project.

At the Stanford conference, Motzkus, who previously spent a semester interning at the American Civil Liberties Union, heard from speakers on a range of diversity topics. The conference, she noted, introduced her to new ideas for how to inform colleagues and classmates about improving diversity in the workplace and elsewhere.

The conference and forthcoming research opportunity will be helpful to advancing her professional goals, Motzkus said.

“I would love to work in transactional law. I have always loved business (I have an entrepreneurial spirit) so anything in the field would be a great fit for me,” said Motzkus, who is currently an intern at the U.S.  Securities and Exchange Commission. “But, in the serendipitous way the law found me, I know the perfect career will too – whatever it may be!”