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Eleanor C. Gourley

Washington University School of Law

WEBWJA_MKD_9857-Edit_Eleanor_GourleyEleanor C. Gourley is still in law school, but she’s already blazing new trails in the field and becoming a leader on an international scale. She helped establish Washington University’s externship at the International Criminal Court at the Hague, assisting the prosecutor’s office in researching crimes against humanity.

What inspired you to get involved in the public service or justice system?

I decided to go to law school to pursue a career in public interest law because I felt (and feel) like lawyers have a great capacity and responsibility to help diminish structural inequalities in our society. After interning at the Missouri State Public Defenders Office in St. Louis County and seeing first-hand how the criminal justice system can impact families and communities, I have become passionate about criminal justice reform.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I ran the Philadelphia Marathon!

What is the best advice you have ever been given or received?

My dad always tells me to be flexible. I can attribute many of the opportunities that I have had in my life—including attending Washington University School of Law, and my internship at the International Criminal Court—to being flexible and able to adapt to opportunities as they present themselves.

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

I don’t think I ever had a specific job in mind, but I have always been passionate about human rights, and want to work in a field where I can help safeguard those rights.

What has been your favorite part of your job?

I have really enjoyed working directly with clients at the public defender’s offices in St. Louis County and Washington, D.C., as well as at Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project. Their stories inspire me to be the best advocate I can be on their behalf.

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