Owen M. Migdal was just 17 years old when he finished high school in Maryland and began his undergraduate education at The University of Utah. After earning his bachelor’s degree in political science in less than two years—thanks to a rigorous course load—Migdal enrolled in law school at Case Western Reserve University at a much younger age than his classmates.
“Case Western Reserve took a chance on a 19-year-old kid,” Migdal joked.
The chance paid off—Migdal has excelled, even becoming the youngest person to argue in front of the full court of any highest appellate court in the U.S., including state Supreme Courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Migdal committed to studying law at a young age and wrote the final paper of his undergraduate criminal law course on one of his favorite movies, Legally Blonde. His friends find his personality to be so similar to that of the main character—Elle Woods—that they call him “Elliott Woods.” But Reese Witherspoon wasn’t Migdal’s only inspiration for pursuing a legal career.
“My grandfather dropped out of law school after he got back from the Korean War. I feel like I’m finishing a chapter of his story,” he remarked. “He passed away in January and won’t get to see me graduate, but I know he’ll be right there with me in spirit.”
Migdal has already passed the bar exam and hopes to begin practicing full time this summer.
“I plan to become an Assistant State’s Attorney in Annapolis, Maryland, or Salisbury, Maryland and eventually run for Governor of Maryland to give back to the state that gave me everything,” he said. “I want to represent the traditionally underrepresented in politics.”
His advice for incoming law students? “There’s only so much you can learn from reading cases and doctrine. You have to get your hands dirty and go out into the real world for experience, especially if you aren’t from a family with lawyers.”