Student Stories

Chelsea Shelburne


Chelsea Shelburne

I've gained a greater understanding of how lawyers can play a key role in addressing a complicated problem like sex trafficking.”

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Chelsea Shelburne, a third-year IU McKinney student who grew up in Fishers, Indiana, loved the life she was building for herself in New York City. She moved there after completing her bachelor’s degree in business at IU Bloomington. Living in Brooklyn and working as a litigation assistant at Sullivan & Cromwell. Shelburne said she had no intentions of ever leaving.

Then law school began to sound like a good idea. So Shelburne enrolled at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Greenwich Village. Somewhere during her first semester of law school, the charm of living in New York City began to wear off and she had a change of heart.

During winter break, Shelburne visited IU McKinney and decided Inlow Hall felt like home.

“When my father came to pick me up in Brooklyn,” Shelburne said, “I was waiting on the stoop with all my stuff ready to go!”

She dove head-first into the opportunities for McKinney students to get hands-on practical experience. She completed an externship with Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David, ’82, through the Judicial Externship Program, directed by Professor Joel Schumm, ’98. There she learned how a judge’s chambers functions, learned what a clerk’s responsibilities are, and “did a lot of writing,” Shelburne said. “I didn’t realize how much my writing has changed.”

Currently working in the consumer protection division of the Attorney General’s Office, where she does some drafting and follows up on filings, Shelburne acknowledges she missed working full-time. She’s moving to the evening program for Fall 2014, so she can continue to work full-time and attend law school.

Shelburne will be assistant chief justice of national competitions on the 2014-2015 Moot Court Executive Board, and is a 2014 Program on Law and State Government (PLSG) Fellow. This year’s PLSG Symposium is slated for September 19 at the law school, with the topic: “In Our Backyard: State Government’s Respond to Sex Trafficking of Children.” She’s been interested in pursuing the subject ever since she heard Marion County Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores, ‘81 talk about it.

“Once I learned that sex trafficking happens all around us, I wanted to explore the issue further,” Shelburne said. “The problem implicates cultural, legal and economic factors. I've gained a greater understanding of how lawyers can play a key role in addressing a complicated problem like sex trafficking.”

Her goal after law school is to pursue a career in public service, perhaps within state or federal government, or at a not-for-profit agency.