Allie Gardner ’11
Political Science major, International Studies minor
Senior Associate, Arnold & Porter

How did Butler prepare you for your career?
A liberal arts education is a great foundation for a career in the law. I took various political science, anthropology, environmental studies, philosophy, and history classes. Some of the most essential skills for being a litigator are researching, writing, and critical thinking, and Butler’s liberal arts program prepared me well. Beyond the classroom, I was encouraged to take on internships and volunteer opportunities that challenged and shaped me professionally. While at Butler, I interned at several nonprofits in Indianapolis. Those experiences were invaluable.

What skills or knowledge gained at Butler have been most useful in your career?
At Butler, I learned how to research, write, think creatively, listen carefully, ask hard questions, and challenge my way of thinking. I apply those lessons daily as a lawyer and human being.

What is the most important thing you learned at Butler?
My professors at Butler consistently encouraged me and my classmates not to shy away from difficult, complex problems. They instilled a deep sense of responsibility to the world and our community. I have carried that with me in my career and life.

Who influenced you the most while you were a student?
Most importantly, my classmates and friends at Butler impacted me and my view of the world. Professor Craig Auchter’s passion for peace and justice also significantly influenced me in the classroom and during my study abroad program in Latin America. Also, I have to say that my now-husband, J.D. Gray ’10, and our son Harrison (Butler class of 2045) have also influenced me.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field?
My academic advice is to take the classes that interest you, even if they are not officially “pre-law.” You will have plenty of time in law school and legal practice to learn how to be a lawyer. Your undergraduate time should be spent grappling with big ideas, thinking critically, and having fun. Also, if you’re interested in going to law school, take some time to do informational interviews with attorneys in various fields to learn what the work is like. Try to get some professional experience in the legal world through internships or volunteer work.