For almost eight years, Lindsey Self worked in human resources, most recently at First Solar. It wasn’t planning Christmas parties and employee engagement programs that excited her. It was the legal compliance part of her job that she was passionate about ― investigating complaints, managing FMLA compliance and conducting audits.
In May, Self will graduate from The University of Toledo College of Law with her J.D., bringing together the two professional worlds she cares most about.
“I can jump in feet first,” she said. “All those things I enjoyed in HR that we passed along to counsel ― now I’ll be the counsel.”
Self will start her job as a labor and employment attorney this summer at Eastman & Smith in Toledo, a position the firm offered her last August.
When she began law school, Self was a part-time, evening student. The law program’s flexibility allowed her to work and still care for her two young children. A year into the program, she left her job and enrolled full time.
Self said she appreciated the faculty’s flexibility. Her daughter, Vivian, came to class with her a few times, and it was never an issue. The dean’s secretary even set up the kindergartener with candy.
“Toledo Law turned into a family for me. I was sick recently, and the dean of the college reached out to see how I was feeling. You don’t get that at other schools,” she said. “I had opportunities to build strong and real relationships with experts in their field, professors who went to Harvard and Yale. I feel prepared to walk into any practice.”
Self’s first internship was with Judge Darlene O’Brien at the Washtenaw County Trial Court. The supervising attorney there was a UToledo College of Law graduate and urged her to apply for an internship in federal court. She landed a position with Judge Jeffrey Helmick at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
The judicial internships led to a clerk position with Eastman & Smith and eventually to a full-time job offer.
“Lindsey is an extraordinary student, one of the best I’ve ever had,” said Joseph Slater, Distinguished University Professor and Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values. “She was always prepared, always thoughtful. She has a new, smart idea about labor law that no one’s come up with and is writing a paper about it.”
Self said she’s sad about not being able to walk at commencement. She wanted her children to experience the final moment, to see all that mom had worked for. But they’ll find another way to celebrate, she said. She knows there’s so much more good to come.
“I look forward to raising my family in Toledo and building my career here,” she said. “I want to help Toledo continue to be a great city and to be a community leader.”
Self graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2010 with a dual degree in psychology and sociology. She was the 2019-20 editor of the Toledo Law Review, a student-edited journal written by professors, judges and students. In 2017, while a first-year law student, Self spoke at TEDxToledo about unconscious bias, gender inequality and women’s empowerment.
She also is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, the Northwest Ohio Human Resource Association and the Toledo Women’s Bar Association. She is co-founder of Make It Count Toledo, a local nonprofit that provides emergency mobilization services to nonprofits that work to help underrepresented and disadvantaged members of the community in crisis.
Self lives in Holland with her husband, Brian, and two children, Vivian (6) and Connor (4).