Continuing a Family Tradition in Law: Meet UC Hastings 1L Student Lauren Devens | UC Hastings Law

young Hawiian woman smiles on graduation day
UC Hastings Law student Lauren Devens, JD ’25, is interested in learning about personal injury law, environmental law, and restorative justice.

Lauren Devens, 22, is no stranger to the world of law.

Her father, grandfather, and other family members have worked as practicing attorneys for decades. Devens said she hopes to one day practice law with her father at his personal injury firm in Hawaii, “He fulfilled his dream of trying a case alongside his father, and I hope to do the same one day.”

Devens, who started at UC Hastings this fall, said she’s been interested in the law since childhood. UC Hastings was always “on her radar” because friends and family spoke highly of it, she said.

Devens grew up in Hawaii but left after high school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science at UC Santa Barbara. While there, Devens worked with the New Voters Project to get students on her campus registered to vote. Armed with a stack of candidate guides she created herself, Devens said she reminded reluctant college students about the historical struggles fought by others to obtain voting rights.

“The project for a better working democracy was meaningful and satisfying,” she said. “It was exciting to know that the more people who become registered and informed was another step in the right direction for successful policy-making.”

As an undergrad, Devens interned with Hastings alumnus Judge Dean E. Ochiai ’80 of the Hawaiian First Circuit Court. She learned how to conduct legal research and prepare briefings, and worked closely with the judge, discussing verdicts, and attending court hearings.

She also interned at her father’s personal injury law firm, where she answered phone calls and assisted with client intakes. “It reminded me that in this field you have to work closely with many different types of people, and it’s fun, but also challenging,” she said.

Devens said she’s interested in studying different areas of law, including environmental law and restorative justice. Growing up among the pristine beaches and tropical forests of Hawaii, Devens said she saw firsthand how the law can be used to protect or harm natural environments. She is particularly interested in an ongoing legal battle over a jet fuel leak at a U.S. Navy facility that threatens to contaminate drinking water for some 400,000 Oahu residents.

Through pro bono work, she said she hopes to use her legal education to defend natural landscapes and resources in her native state, “Growing up in such a beautiful place and constantly being outside hiking and out in the water, I became aware that protecting the environment was a value of mine.”

Devens said she is also passionate about defending the rights of Native Hawaiians, who she said were wrongly displaced from their native lands and never fully compensated by the government.

“I hope to find a way to balance my passions for the environment, minority representation, and personal injury law,” she said. “I hope that through pro bono work I can do my part in all three sectors of the law.”

Continuing a Family Tradition in Law: Meet UC Hastings 1L Student Lauren Devens