Alumni Spotlight: Lindsay Updike Van Gorkom ’05

Author: Susan Good

Young Lawyer of the Year

Lindsay Updike Van Gorkom story

When Lindsay Updike Van Gorkom sits down at her desk to begin her day as a clerk for State Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason, she’s on top of the world—literally and figuratively. “I’m looking at Mount McKinley as we speak,” she says with a smile in her voice. She and her husband decided to move to Anchorage last summer from Indianapolis when her previous clerkship ended. “We picked Alaska because it seemed like a really great adventure,” says Van Gorkom, as though a cross-continental move deserves not even a blink.

Seeking out and embracing challenge is not new to Van Gorkom. In fact, she was rewarded for those qualities recently when the Indianapolis Bar Association (IBA) named her Young Lawyer of the Year for her three-and-a-half years of leadership in the IBA. Van Gorkom lived and worked in Indianapolis after graduation from law school, first as a clerk for Justice Robert D. Rucker of the Indiana Supreme Court, and then for Judge Nancy H. Vaidik at the Indiana Court of Appeals. “I got involved with the IBA’s Young Lawyers Division and worked on several projects, from chairing the interviewing program to drafting model answers for a bar review course,” says Van Gorkom. She then became chairperson of a video project aimed at public middle and high school students encouraging them to think about a law career. That video won the IBA’s Morton Finney Award for Legal Excellence.

As Van Gorkom closes out her first of two years with Judge Gleason, she says she’s setting her sights on a career in the non-profit sector, an interest she cultivated at NDLS through summer pro bono work and a year with the Legal Aid Clinic. “My clerkships have been great opportunities to continue my learning beyond law school. I’ve been exposed to serious policy decisions and how appellate courts deal with novel questions of law. I’ve seen attorneys in action in trial court, and witnessed the impact of attorneys and judges on the lives of litigants,” says Van Gorkom. “Those experiences will serve me well no matter what I do in 2011 and beyond.”

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