pictured: several of the Oliver Fellowship recipients at the 2017 luncheonIt is an unfortunate reality that public servants are often paid far less than their colleagues in the private sector. The Judge John W. Oliver Fellowship Program aims to close that gap, and with Dakkota Huber (J.D. ’17) as this year’s recipient, that gift will go a long way.

Huber is currently in a clerkship position with Judge Robert L. Trout in the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri. Her eventual career goal is to become a prosecutor. To Huber, a law career is about much more than just winning cases; it’s about making a difference in people’s lives.

“Seeing a victim get the justice he or she deserves makes you fall asleep at night knowing that you did not just do well — you did good,” she says. “I want to spend my life fighting the good fight.”

Huber says she knew she wanted to pursue a career as a prosecutor while working as an intern for the prosecuting attorney in Clay County, Missouri. During her internship, she assisted two

assistant prosecuting attorneys in a high-profile trial, where she got to see firsthand how her work could positively affect the lives of strangers. “When the jury returned a favorable verdict for the state, the victim and the victim’s family were overjoyed,”

Huber says. “It is something I will never forget.”

The Oliver Fellowship Program provides loan repayment assistance — up to $5,000 over three years — to one graduating law student from each class. The program is funded by the Judge John W. Oliver Foundation, a donor-advised fund of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

Judge Oliver served on the federal bench in Kansas City from 1962 until his death in 1990. His legacy, however, goes well beyond his nearly 30 years of service. Those who knew Oliver say he had a personal impact on everyone he knew. He particularly cared about young attorneys, and wanted them to get the chance to serve others.

Huber says the fellowship has enabled her to focus less on financial burdens and more on serving the community. But it has also given her a much loftier goal: To carry on the legacy of Judge John Oliver.

 

This article was featured in the Spring 2018 issue of the UMKC School of Law alumni magazine, Res Ipsa.