SBA President, Trial Advocacy, Journal of Public Law
Lisha Lisonbee loved the mountains and wildlife and thought she found the perfect fit when she started college as a wildlife ecology and management major. Her dream of herding bison remained strong, but an English class sparked a new interest.
“One day I had a debate in an English class and I loved it!” she said. “I called a family member and asked what major would include debate. He said law and I laughed at him, convinced there was no way in this world I would EVER pursue law. I loved the mountains and rounding up coyotes and bison too much to change.”
That suggestion percolated and Lisonbee made an impromptu decision to take the LSAT. She sent her application to BYU Law and held her breath. “That’s when things got nuts,” she said. “I was waitlisted and spent the summer wondering what would happen next. I called BYU Law the Monday of orientation week and was told they were no longer accepting students. After that, I quit my job in anticipation of a better one I had applied for. That Wednesday I found out I didn’t get the job. So, I was out law school, out a job, and out of my mind. Literally an hour later—a devastatingly anxious hour—I received a voicemail and text from Dean Sorenson asking if I still wanted to come to law school. YES! So after a whirlwind of getting school supplies, borrowing a suit from a friend, and a sleepless night, I was at BYU Law on Thursday for orientation.”
After jumping at the opportunity, Lisonbee never looked back. She found a home at BYU, engaging in the law school experience as a member of Trial Advocacy and the Journal of Public Law. She has also been heavily involved in the SBA, where she was the 1L representative, VP of Activities as a 2L, and SBA President her 3L year.
In addition to her activities, Lisonbee says the people she is surrounded by at law school have had the greatest impact on her. “I have gained lifelong friends and fellow advocates, as well as new perspectives on life that I learned from these wonderful individuals,” she said. “The best part of law school is the people that I have met, and I am very grateful for them!”
Lisbonbee also noted that law school opened her eyes to new ways of thinking. She said, “Law school has made me realize that before I can really have an opinion, it’s important that I understand both sides and know the facts the best that I can and then make a decision supported by that information. Also, law school helped me realize how much more there is to learn in this life and increased my desire to continue learning!”
While her journey to law school may have been unexpected, Lisonbee noted that she wouldn’t have it any other way. “When things get discouraging or difficult, or I feel like I am letting BYU Law down for taking a chance on me, I hold on to the fact that I was supposed to be here because it was the perfect storm,” she said. “Sometimes I miss hanging out with bison in the mountains, but I know I’m supposed to be here. Even if the reason is to meet the people and to form the relationships I have at BYU Law, that’s good enough for me.”
Lisonbee spoke at Convocation on April 26, 2018. Her remarks were based on the line “hither by Thy help I’ve come” from the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. She recounted the many moments of encouragement and counseling that came through family, classmates, professors, and law school employees, reflection and prayer. “Between classes, competitions, extracurriculars, and co-curriculars, [my classmates] have shown me their extraordinary advocacy capabilities.. . . . We will be hard-pressed to find more loyalty than in the friendships that have been forged in the walls of this law school.”
After graduation, Lisonbee plans to take the bar and pursue a career in criminal prosecution. “I am looking forward to using my law degree to help people through problems they face in their lives, whether that is in a criminal prosecution or in any other route I decide to pursue,” she said.
In the video below, Lisonbee discusses her favorite part of BYU Law: the people.