Kelley carries Grizzly pride and “grit” to law school


Kole Kelley

Last spring, Kole Kelley '16 graduated with honors from Adams State University and this fall began his studies at the Denver University Sturm College of Law. "Law School is definitely an experience unlike anything I have faced yet."

Recently, Kelley applied for the Water Law Review and received the overall high score. The Denver University Water Law Review is the only water law specific review in the nation and carries prestige for that reason. "It attracts a lot of applicants and being a Grizzly definitely helped me excel for multiple reasons," Kelley said.

To make it onto any DU Law Review, students have to go through a Candidacy Period, typically taking two weeks. The Reviews anonymously score the candidacy packets and select for the Review based off scores the students receive. The packet is broken down into three parts relevant to the Review, and includes putting citation in the proper format, "a tedious and very detail oriented task. They check down to the amount of space between characters."

The next part is a sample editing task. Candidates receive a sample article with footnotes and have to edit the article and put the footnotes in proper format, a cumulative test of a candidate's ability to bluebook and follow the Chicago Style Manual for writing when editing.

The final element for the packet is a writing sample on a topic or case provided to the candidate. This tests the candidate's ability to read and analyze a case, and then transfer their thoughts into a clear and precise piece of work. "I was blessed enough to have the highest cumulative score of all applicants, which is totally a product of my Adams State experience," Kelley added.

A business administration/agribusiness major, Kelley appreciates all his Adams State School of Business professors, especially Dr. Zena Buser, Dr. Linda Reid, Dr. Michael Tomlin, and Dr. Pat Robbins. "Dr. Buser in particular helped push me towards my passion and push myself to learn everything I can," Kelley said. "She demanded I show up to class every day prepared and ready to argue either side of the topic for the day. She helped me compete and grow."

Tomlin helped him learn to polish arguments and his profession reputation, "which has been essential" and Reid inspired confidence in his work.

Robbins nominated Kelley for a Sigma Beta Delta Fellowship, which he received this fall. "It was the Dr. Clifford L. Eubanks Fellowship Award for a top business student continuing education, and all thanks to that go to Dr. Reid, Dr. Robbins, and Dr. Buser for helping me find new limits with my work."

Buser also encouraged Kelley to test himself in the American Farm Bureau Federation competition last year where he was named top four in the nation for agricultural discussion. "This was essential in being able to handle pressure situations. Dr. Buser and the entire business department have been essential to my development and I know they will continue to be. There is just no replacement for the Grizzly Grit the School of Business brings out in graduates that sets them apart in the world."

Along with professors, Kelley said his football coaches, Adams State Alumnus and retired head coach Martin Heaton '82; and current head coach Timm Rosenbach acted as mentors. "People like Coach Heaton and Coach Rosenbach reiterated every day the importance of character, toughness, and a desire to compete that Adams State demands."

Kelley will complete law school in 2019. He hopes to practice water law and help safeguard the water rights in the San Luis Valley, while promoting social prosperity in Colorado. "I love agriculture and hope to help find a balance between agricultural needs and municipal needs in the world of water."