OBF Fellows Scholarship Recipient
Name: Elke C. Meeus
Hometown: Native of Antwerp (Belgium), but current home town is Edmond (Oklahoma).
Law School: OCU School of Law
Grad Year: 2019 (Currently a 3L, part-time)
What field of law are you studying: I have had Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Property, Agency, Corporations, Legal Research and Writing, Legal Profession. I am currently taking Constitutional Law, Evidence and Family Law.
Undergraduate: University of Brussels (Belgium)
What was your major/minor: Journalism, Print & Audiovisual
What year did you graduate: 1999
What made you decide to attend law school?
My professional life began as an investigative journalist and later press officer at the European Parliament. I had never considered going to law school until a few years after I moved to Oklahoma, and my husband died tragically in a law enforcement training accident. In my quest to see my husband receive the honors he earned and the benefits he would have wanted for his family, I embarked on a seemingly endless series of legal battles. Everyone believed I would return to my native country Belgium (I have since become a U.S. citizen), but Oklahoma had become not only my home, but also that of my two young children. A truly exceptional lawyer helped me through those legal battles, and to me, he became the epitome of a lawyer: unafraid to take on “unwinnable cases,” compassionate to the end, and unyieldingly committed to see justice done. He encouraged me, and helped nurture my desire to pursue a legal education. He inspired me to become the kind of attorney that he was to my children and me.
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
My long-term goal is to practice law in Oklahoma and to give back to my community. I aspire to become the kind of attorney as the one who helped me and my children in my time of greatest need. Since I started law school I have already put in over 650 hours of pro bono services and, in the years to come, I fully intend to continue fostering a commitment to pro bono work.
Are there any laws or social rules that completely baffle you?
It is not so much that I am baffled by the laws or social rules, but I am fascinated by the American legal system in itself, which represents stability, and yet constantly evolves based on case law. This is drastically different from my country of origin, Belgium, which is based on the Civil Code.
What is the most important thing you have learned in law school or undergrad?
Integrity, hard work and even harder work open the door to so many opportunities. We cannot always choose what happens in our lives, but we can choose how to respond to events. Law school was my response to the tragic events that happened in my life. Not only have I become fascinated with all things law, but I have had the pleasure of meeting so many extraordinary Oklahoma attorneys who give me full faith in the future of this noble profession.