Student Ambassadors

Zach Fridell

Zach Fridell

3L | Manhattan, KS | Northwestern University |

Hey! I’m Zach Fridell. I grew up in Manhattan, Kansas and went to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois for undergrad to get a degree in journalism. At Northwestern I had a great experience and, more importantly to my study of law, my first exposure to the Innocence Project. As a member of the Innocence Project team, I traveled the country and interviewed potential witnesses and suspects for a murder that happened in Chicago in 1978. We believed, and still do believe, that the wrong man was sent to prison for the crime. It was an eye-opening experience to the power of the legal profession and the responsibilities of everyone involved.

After I graduated, I wanted to work as a journalist overseas, so I made a few phone calls, bought a one-way ticket to Thailand and landed a job as a desk editor at the Phuket Gazette, a weekly English-language newspaper on the island of Phuket. I spent a very fun and interesting year there before moving back to the states. Once I was home, I got a job as a reporter and copy editor/designer at the Steamboat Pilot and Today daily newspaper in the beautiful mountains of northwest Colorado.

I loved writing about the law as a reporter, and I would sit through trials and interview the attorneys, suspects and witnesses as I reported about crime across the region. I loved working for newspapers, but I saw the newsrooms shrinking along with the number of pages in the paper. I knew then that I wanted to move into the legal field and continue my interaction with the law.

It was also in Colorado that I met my future wife, Margaret, who was the arts reporter at the newspaper at the time. After three years in Steamboat, Margaret and I decided we’d had enough snowboarding and we needed to get out of the frigid climate. We looked at all of our options and decided that we wanted to move to Lawrence, where my family now lives. Here we both began working at KU. She’s an advisor of student programs at the KU Memorial Unions, and I worked for a database project. We love Lawrence and, after looking at law programs across the country, I decided I wanted to stay here at KU Law. I haven’t regretted it since.

I was a summer starter, and I highly recommend that program. It gave me a chance to get several credits out of the way earlier, opening up my 1L year course options. But more importantly it gave me a group of classmates that I got to know well and have continued to stay friends with during this year.

Overall I’ve had a blast meeting the professors and fellow students, and I think KU is a great fit. I love Lawrence and all that it offers, from the concerts downtown to the hiking trails around Clinton Lake. I think the University of Kansas is a great place, and I hope you find the same.

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Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks and treatises
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 34 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,600+ alumni in all 50 states, D.C., and 21 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 20th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 80 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • More than 600 employment interviews at law school, 2014-15
  • 92 percent overall employment rate for Class of 2014 – top 20 percent nationally
  • 23rd: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at nation’s largest law firms
  • #1 in Kansas and Missouri for July 2015 bar exam performance