Jacob Orme: Seeking jobs of justice

Katie Ticas, Guest Writer

Jacob Orme, a fourth-year economics and business major and philosophy minor with a pre-law emphasis, described his journey to Westmont as a clear indication of God’s timely provision. When he first visited Westmont’s campus as a prospective student, he noticed that “everyone seemed, if not happy, then more pleasant than most places.” A standout from other academically-serious universities, Westmont immediately seemed like the right place for Orme.

Sipping coffee from a sleek, black, insulated mug, Orme explains that he has enjoyed learning in a liberal arts environment at Westmont. In his words, he “dabbles” in the political science and history departments. As president of the Law and Society Club, Orme has worked to cultivate an appreciation for law and has collaborated with philosophy professor Dr. Edward Song — the pre-law advisor — to give pre-law students resources to take the LSAT and learn more about law school. As president of the Philosophy Club and the Republican Club, Orme has been consistently involved with leading groups of students in their quests to become engaged with society and to step boldly into their careers post-graduation. 

Reflecting on taking on so many leadership positions, Orme says, “learning to manage people’s expectations and desires, and learning to help people find points of compromise have been hugely beneficial because it makes me a better person, a better friend … but it’s emotionally taxing.”

 

Orme cites Dr. Enrico Manlapig and professor Rick Ifland of the economics and business department as crucial figures in helping him discover Westmont’s resources and in learning how to get connected. According to Orme, Ifland — whom he admires for his passion and dedication to the Westmont community — has “most influenced how I feel about the interaction between faith and what I like to do.” 

Orme provided an example of how he has adopted Ifland’s teaching, which reflects on Augustine’s rightly ordered loves, “to glorify God, to provide for your family and to enhance the kingdom of God.” Orme revealed that, initially, he felt as though working for the industry known as  “Biglaw” was attainable for him, but he learned that the field seldom presents opportunities for Christians to express their faith and values and often makes it difficult to keep family and friends close. Rather than just considering attainability, Ifland challenged him to carefully discern how his future career might interact with his faith. 

Orme also learned a lot from Dr. Enrico Manlapig of the economics and business department. According to Orme, “[Manlapig] influenced me to be more quantitative and more analytical in the way that I think about the world, relative to how I was when I got here.” In his course studies at Westmont, Orme explained that classes taught by Dr. Manlapig showed him that “analyzing … complex problems that don’t readily present themselves as numbers in ways that are measurable has been really fascinating.”

When he first arrived at Westmont, Orme initially hoped to major in engineering. However, the switch from a STEM-based course of study to his pre-law track was not too difficult to navigate. Orme explained that both engineering and political science focus on identifying and using resources to solve given problems. “I would encourage everyone that’s in STEM to not discount all of the possibilities that you might have in non-STEM fields, like law or consulting or anything else”. 

Orme explored the world of law during the summer between his sophomore and junior year in 2020, when he interned at the Christian Legal Society. Orme recalls, “It was amazing to work with people who were intelligent about the Constitution, who were so engaged with the first amendment and religious liberty issues.” Orme explained how this specific area of law is a “work of passion” which centers more on service as opposed to material success — in contrast to the primarily financial motives of lawyers in other areas. 

Getting up in front of a courtroom during his internship, however, was the experience that allowed him to envision himself as a lawyer. He explained that the firm he worked for also worked on cases to protect the religious liberties of non-Christians, including writing amici briefs for the harassment of mosques. 

In terms of life beyond Westmont, Orme has recently received a major scholarship to Notre Dame Law School. He hopes to study mergers and acquisitions or transactional law. In this context, Orme understands that “justice is the right and proper treatment of others … not to cause others undue harm, not to attempt to treat others unfairly; but at the same time, not to allow oneself to be taken advantage of.” Orme reflects that working towards justice is a calling all Christians share. He also notes, “We live in a society, and it is important for all the components of that society as much as possible to reflect the principles that Christ has outlined for us, and when we do that, that is bringing justice to our jobs.”

Even as he looks forward into a bright future in law, Orme remembers fondly his time at Westmont. He admits, “I will miss this place more than anticipated.” Looking back at his time in college, Orme laments, “I’ve skipped a couple of years of school because of the pandemic.”  In light of his own experience, he encourages current students to treasure their time at Westmont — a campus bursting with beauty and a community rife with opportunities. 

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