Danielle and Michael Tallman '24

A Sibling Story

Siblings Danielle and Michael Tallman grew up in a tight-knit multigenerational Hispanic household in Sacramento, California, along with their siblings where they were homeschooled until college. After their oldest sibling was accepted to college in Texas, their entire family moved with her to support her dreams. Both Danielle and Michael decided to study at the University of St. Thomas together setting the precedence and foundation for their “united educational front” as Danielle describes it. When Danielle and Michael began thinking about law school it only made sense to them that they would jointly apply to the same institutions.

For Danielle, her desire to attend law school grew out of the belief that everyone deserves to have a voice. “Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to positively use their voices in order to enact change,” said Danielle. “I want to help give a voice to those who are unheard; to help those who either can’t or won’t stand up for themselves, and to guide them to fight for what they deserve. I believe that there are certain flaws in our justice system today. I want to be able to help change the laws that are unjust, enact change that benefits others, and give power to the voiceless because everyone deserves someone to stand up for them. I want to be that person; a career in law perfectly fits the bill.”

For Michael, a strategist at heart, he discovered in college how much strategy there is in the field of law. “I was a criminology major during my undergraduate studies, and a large amount of my instructors were retired and even practicing lawyers,” said Michael. “This proved very exciting for me. I finally found a sense of clarity and passion. It was then that I decided to pursue law as a profession.”

Both Danielle and Michael describe their Haub Law experience as a rollercoaster of emotions – challenging and stimulating at the same time. They both note the impressive caliber of both students and faculty and that while the expectations are high, so is the rewarding feeling of personal accomplishment. For Danielle, she has most enjoyed sharing this experience with her brother and most looks forward to graduating together.

After graduation, both Danielle and Michael have a strong interest in becoming university professors at the same school, teaching corporation and business focus topics, along with contract law. Danielle credits professors Robert Ellison, Debra Vollweiler, and Elyse Diamond for her decision to pursue a field in education. “After two years studying law, I have learned that the most influential change begins with a good teacher,” she said. “Their eagerness to help their students, their openness, and their love of teaching and their subject, allowed me to realize that the most rewarding legal experiences come from your professors.” For Michael, he thanks Professor Elyse Diamond for helping to jump start his positive law school experience. “She taught Legal Skills and from an academic perspective, she helped to teach me to shape my writing in a more analytical and legal way; proving to me that persuading someone with my words alone is the essence of being a good lawyer,” said Michael. “Professor Diamond answered patiently any questions that I may have had and provided feedback on every writing assignment that I turned into her. I felt very blessed to have had her as one of my first professors in law school.”

In their free time, both Danielle and Michael enjoy spending time with their family. “I love to come home after a long day of school or work to my family,” said Michael. “In a time of my life where everything is so busy and hectic, the small fact that family is always there when I walk through the door, no matter how great or disappointing my day has been, is my favorite hobby. Both Danielle and Michael also enjoy singing. For Danielle, she is passionate about opera and for Michael, it is singing kids songs to his nieces and nephews.

As far as advice for prospective law students, both Danielle and Michael agree that students should be prepared for the challenge because law school is nothing like undergraduate school. “You will have to study harder and feel stronger disappointments,” said Danielle. “You'll do your best and will probably fall short. But when times are tough and you feel like quitting, just remember why you enrolled in law school in the first place. Even if you don’t initially thrive, it doesn't mean that you will not succeed in the end.” While each have learned tough lessons, they have pushed through and as Michael notes, just when you try, fail, and want to quit – you will be inspired. Now, in the last part of his Haub Law education, as he enters the next part of his legal journey, Michael hopes he can carry the teachings that he has learned from Haub Law into the legal field with him.