Flinn Scholar alum Emma Kleiner Blumenthal returns to UArizona to work as lawyer

March 10, 2022

By brianpowell

Emma Kleiner Blumenthal

1. Tell us about your position with the University of Arizona Office of the General Counsel.

In August 2021, I started my current job as a Law Fellow with the University of Arizona’s Office of the General Counsel. I focus on intellectual property law and student affairs matters, which includes issues ranging from copyright infringement to student discipline cases. The work is very diverse and helps me remain intellectually curious.

2. Why did you decide to return to Arizona, and specifically the University of Arizona?

Serendipitously, my husband and I had the opportunity to move to Tucson for his job, which led me to the University of Arizona’s Office of the General Counsel. I had an incredible undergraduate experience at the University of Arizona, where I majored in History and Art History. After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2013, I attended Stanford Law School and then lived in Washington, D.C., where I worked as a lawyer in government and private practice. I loved living in D.C. and California, but I am thrilled to be back in Tucson!

3. What interested you in going to law school?

I was drawn to law school because of the opportunities to create an interdisciplinary career. Inspired by my experience studying art history and working in museums, I knew that I wanted to help protect public access to the arts and education. From there, I hoped to pursue a career as a lawyer for a mission-driven public institution, such as a university or museum. I was able to bring my academic interests to Stanford Law School by studying art and museum law. I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors over the years, including lawyers and law school or undergraduate professors, who helped me to turn my interests into a career path.

Now, I interact with departments and deans across campus to help them to accomplish their goals. Some of my favorite projects include working with the University of Arizona Museum of Art and Center for Creative Photography—two of my favorite places on campus—to assist with their management and acquisition of works of art. It is very meaningful to combine my arts background with my legal knowledge, and reminds me of why I went to law school.

4. What have you enjoyed most about your law career to date?

I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work in the federal government and as a state employee, as well as to use my legal career to serve my community. I strongly believe in the importance of public service, a theme that runs through the Flinn Scholarship. In my current role, I have the opportunity to improve the University of Arizona experience for current students, and ensure they have the same terrific experience I had!

5. What inspired you to apply for and accept the Flinn Scholarship?

The Flinn Scholarship uniquely recognizes and maximizes our state’s academic resources. The Flinn Scholarship offers students a big campus experience, yet with a small cohort of Scholars. I felt that it offered the best of all worlds and was overjoyed to accept the Flinn Scholarship.

6. How did the Flinn Scholars community contribute to your undergraduate experience?

The Flinn Scholar community was central to my college experience. A decade later, the community has remained very important to me! My fellow Scholars inspired me to pursue exciting and creative academic opportunities, and expanded my conception of a fulfilling career.

Flinn Scholars also have unparalleled travel and internship opportunities, which help Scholars to bond over new experiences. The chance to travel as a cohort after freshman year is truly unique, and I appreciated how the Flinn Foundation included interdisciplinary programming throughout the seminar so that everyone felt represented regardless of their field of study. The Flinn Scholarship also permitted me to pursue my interests in art history by studying abroad in Paris and London and interning with museums.

The Flinn Scholarship’s combination of creating a supportive and encouraging community, while pursuing rigorous academics, is truly special.

7. Why do you believe it’s important to share your graduate and career experiences with the Flinn Scholars?

I am continuously impressed by the many paths that current and former Flinn Scholars have taken in their careers. I am honored to add my voice to that remarkable chorus, and hope that this information will be of value to Flinn Scholars who are interested in pursuing a legal career or studying the arts. The opportunities in these fields are endless, so I hope my perspective offers something new!

Emma Kleiner Blumenthal is a Class of 2009 Flinn Scholar from Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson who graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in History and Art History. In November 2021, she talked about her career path with the current Flinn Scholars during the monthly Alumni Mentor Hour.