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15 Dozen Cookies And A Law Degree

May 6, 2002-- Kit Lasher will never confuse torts with tortes. She knows both well.

Lasher is graduating from the University of Virginia Law School on May 19 with a specialty in child advocacy, and she's a certified pastry chef. "I've loved baking since I was tiny," she said. "It's a great stress reliever for me."

Lasher has baked a lot of cookies during law school.

"If my roommates come home to 15 dozen cookies, they know I've had a stressful day."

When Lasher is not baking, she's studying or volunteering. She's a peer adviser to incoming law students, she's served on the editorial board of a law journal, co-chaired a major U.Va. conference on public service and the law, co-chaired the Student Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee, co-directed the Student Legal Forum, served as a volunteer for the American Association of University Professors -- and baked her boyfriend's brother's wedding cake.

She also co-edited an oral history book as a junior American Studies major at Amherst College. The book, The Fairest College: Twenty Years of Women at Amherst, is now used as a text at Colgate University and Trinity College in classes examining oral history and the coeducation of American universities.

After Amherst, Lasher attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, where she earned a certificate in baking and pastry. During that time she worked in restaurants and catered.

"I loved it," she said. "It was a great shift from the liberal arts environment to doing hands-on work with people from different backgrounds."

Still, she does not intend to bake for a paycheck.

"There are some things that you may enjoy greatly but not want to do for a living. I still want to bake desserts, that's something I can do for myself and others, but I want to practice law."

Which is what she’ll do soon after graduation. She has accepted a Powell Fellowship from the U.Va. Law School to work for a year at the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau in child advocacy law. The Powell Fellowship, which will cover her salary and benefits, is a new initiative by Law School Dean John C. Jeffries to encourage careers in public service law.

Lasher developed an interest in advocacy during an internship last year with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Legal Aid Society and during an internship two years ago with the Children’s Protective Services in Texas.

"I'm very interested in child welfare-related issues," she said. "In my new job I will be working in the best interest of children who are neglected or living in abusive environments. It's very nitty-gritty work, but I'm ready to jump straight in."

Cookies and all.

Contact: Fariss Samarrai, (434) 924-3778

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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