Opportunity Meets Fortitude: The Out-of-Classroom Experiences of Kirstin Eidenbach
By Donna Emert
“Extracurricular activities” takes on new meaning in the College of Law, or at the very least, seems to pack a wallop not always associated with the term.
Law student Kirstin Eidenbach, who graduates May 16, serves as one illustration: in addition to meeting the rigorous academic demands of the University of Idaho juris doctor program, she has drafted a model law addressing the protection of primates and launched a critical studies journal.
Her work researching and writing a model law to regulate private ownership of primates was accomplished with the support of the Jane Goodall Institute’s ChimpanZoo. The work also fulfilled a College of Law academic requirement for a minimum 40 hours of pro bono service.
Eidenbach studied primatology as an undergraduate, ultimately working with lemurs in Madagascar in her senior year. Her model law grafts essential elements of Tennessee and Louisiana law – the best in the nation for animal protection – and seeks to provide a template for use by both governmental bodies and concerned citizens.
“One of the things I learned is that the law is inextricably linked to society and to social perspectives,” said Eidenbach. “I discovered the passage of this type of statute usually follows a violent attack. One of the recommendations my proposal makes is that advocates take advantage of social concern, and these unfortunate events, because that’s when the public is most informed and can make a decision.”
Exploring societal expectations, presumptions and perspectives is another Eidenbach passion. She is the engine behind the new University of Idaho Journal of Critical Studies, the crit. The cutting-edge, multimedia publication provides a forum for analysis, scholarly discussion and critical assessment of legal, social, economic and political issues and institutions. Eidenbach conceptualized the publication, secured a grant to get it started and has served as editor-in-chief and contributing author.
“Education is what you make of it,” said Eidenbach. “Especially here, the resources available to students are incredible. The faculty are supportive, motivated, willing to help, well connected and willing to share those connections with you.”
Michael Satz, faculty adviser on the crit, provided “academic guidance, critical legal studies expertise, and unwavering support,” said Eidenbach. “Getting something of this size off the ground is a huge undertaking. He has helped us tremendously.”
“The best part of my job is that I am given the opportunity to work with students like Kirstin,” said Satz. “Kirstin is committed to the study of law and improving the legal academy and the practice of law. Her works during her time at the College of Law have been nothing short of phenomenal.”
Eidenbach recently was accepted into the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy LLM program with a concentration in Critical Race Theory and Practice.