When she arrived in Washington, D.C., last fall for the biggest job interview of her life, Emma Bond was so sick that she could barely walk.
Just a day before, Bond had been discharged from the hospital. The third year Maine Law student was locked in a battle against ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease that would require multiple hospital admissions.
Despite that battle, Bond kept up with her studies and her work, and she made it to the interview in September, seeking a clerkship with federal Judge Evan Wallach.
“I have always had an interest in international law, and Judge Wallach is an expert in that area, so I was very excited about the opportunity,” Bond said. “The clerkship is a dream job.”
Coming as no surprise to her professors and classmates, Bond aced the interview and secured the coveted two-year clerkship. Then the Cape Elizabeth native came back to Maine to continue law school at the top of her class. Perseverance is just one of the qualities that Bond brings to the classroom and her various jobs. She has recovered from her illness and she has a new perspective for the future.
“It was a difficult time, but looking back on it, there is some good that I can take away,” Bond said. “That fall, when I was in the hospital and things were really bad, I had a reset of my priorities. I have a tendency to be a workaholic. It was good to reset and think about the importance of my family, my husband, as well as my work.”
Despite missing a few weeks of school in the winter, Bond was able to catch up and she retained her ranking at the head of the class of 2012. She said her professors showed extraordinary compassion for her, and they went to great lengths to support her as a student and as a person.
“The school has been perfect for me, really in every way,” Bond said. “I don’t think there is any other school where you can become as close with the professors. They are talented, wonderful people.”
Bond studied international development and philosophy at McGill University in Montreal, and she graduated in 2008. She then taught English in South Korea, where she met her husband, teacher Jacob Cholak. Bond decided to apply for Maine Law, and she entered in the fall of 2009. Her father, Chris Bond, graduated from Maine Law in 1997, and teaches accounting at St. Joseph’s College.
During her first year, Bond worked at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the nonprofit legal services provider in Portland, and the following summer she worked for the Workplace Project on Long Island, a nonprofit that supports immigrant workers. As a 2L, Bond had an externship at Biddeford District Court, and worked as a clerk for Judge Lipez. Last summer she worked as a student-attorney with Maine Law’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, serving poor, elderly and other disadvantaged clients. As a 3L, Bond also had an externship with the Conservation Law Foundation in Portland.
Bond will take the bar exam this summer, and her two-year clerkship with Judge Wallach begins in September in Washington, D.C. Wallach sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The court is subject-matter based, with a focus on patent appeals, veterans appeals, international trade and federal claims appeals.
Ultimately, Bond hopes to someday work in the area of international law, perhaps for an organization such as the World Trade Organization or the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.