Hometown: Galt, CA
Undergrad: UC San Diego, B.A., Crime, Criminals & Society
Career interest: criminal law
For Eric Olah ’13, choosing a law school came down to one thing: opportunity. That’s why he transferred to UC Davis School of Law after his first year at another school, and why he recommends King Hall to prospective students.
“The opportunities are there, both on and off campus, whether you know what area of law you want to practice or are still trying to figure that out,” he said. “As difficult as the job market is, I see classmates who are getting the jobs they want, and I think that’s a result of the opportunities that were available to them at UC Davis.”
As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, Olah became interested in the possibility of becoming a judge. He enrolled at another California law school, but during his first year he became convinced that he would have more opportunities to explore his interest in public service and criminal law at UC Davis, and transferred to King Hall. “There are a lot of opportunities here for someone who’s public-service oriented with the journals and clinics, and there are professors who really know how to get you ready for a career in public service,” he said.
One favorite course, Olah said, was Advanced Criminal Procedure, which was taught by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White. “Judge White is a former head of the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office, and any topic that came up in class, he could bring up examples from his own experiences, and it made the course material really fascinating, so studying was just enjoyable,” said Olah.
Outside of the classroom, Olah took advantage of opportunities to work with the Prison Law Clinic, where he visited incarcerated clients and helped them prepare for parole hearings. He also worked on the Journal of Juvenile Law & Policy and served a clerkship with California Rural Legal Assistance as well as internships with both the state Attorney General’s office and the Sacramento County District Attorney. Upon graduation, Olah hopes to obtain a judicial clerkship, then practice criminal law until he is eligible for appointment as a judge.
“I could never see myself working 40 hours a week for 40 years just for the sake of making money,” he said. “If I’m going to have a career, I would rather do something that’s meaningful to me and has the potential to help make the world a better place. I feel like I have the opportunity to do that now.”