Many children of Indian immigrant parents, as Anu Sandhu will tell you, have only a few acceptable careers to choose from when they become college aged: a physician, a dentist, or in the worst-case scenario, an engineer. That’s it. End of discussion.
These rather high career expectations are more innocent than they seem, however; and are not at all strictly focused on the prestige and credentials these careers happen to offer. To Anu’s parents, a physician, for example, is simply a recession-proof career. They only want to ensure Anu never has to worry about where her next meal is going to come from; a fear Anu’s parents observed before they came to America.
So it was an awkward time for Anu as she was preparing to enter medical school. Being a physician wasn’t the career she would have chosen had she not been pressured to pursue it. Her usually high grades didn’t come as easy as they used to, and she didn’t exactly share the same enthusiasm as her peers did for those messy hands-on anatomy lessons. Blood and bodily fluids weren’t on the top of her list of things to work with, after all.
In fact, one of the few things that made the health sciences graduate program Anu enrolled in after college bearable was the boy who sat behind her in class. He was someone she could talk to; a confidant. Anu could tell him anything, and she did, like how she decided she didn’t want to be a physician, and was going to take her search for a career into an entirely new direction.
“I was not made for the sciences,” Anu said softly. Her voice is calm and confident, with a tinge of a northern accent, found mostly in those words with a long o sound. Growing up in Milwaukee will do that.
“I thought I was turning into a bad student or something,” Anu said, “It took me years to realize I was just in the wrong field. It was like trying to teach a fish to climb a tree.”
Anu’s parents were skeptical of her decision. She just wanted time to figure out what to do, but they objected, and their concerns that Anu would not obtain that recession-proof career began to set in.
Despite their reluctance, Anu landed an internship with the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office. And this internship connected Anu to other internship opportunities with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and the Milwaukee Justice Center.
“I was always interested in policy work,” Anu said.
And it was through these internships that Anu started to find her way.
“I fell in love with the work we did with the community on homeless initiatives and criminal justice reform. It was so exciting. And through these positions, I worked with a lot of people with law degrees, so I came to realize I enjoyed the kind of work attorneys did, like the research, writing, and presentation to the court.”
These experiences led her to taking the LSAT and applying to law school. She chose Loyola University Chicago for its supportive faculty and administration as well as the wide variety of legal opportunities in a big city like Chicago. And as she carried on in the legal profession, her parents could finally see how happy this work made her as well.
“I remember one night alone in my apartment in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood studying for a torts exam and smiling. That never would have happened in biology.”
To say that Anu’s parents are proud of her today would be an understatement. Not only are they pleased with her career choice, but they also respect how she paved her own way to get there. And perhaps that stint in pre-med wasn’t a total loss, after all. That boy who sat behind Anu in class went on to become a physician, and more importantly, Anu’s husband as well.
Anu is a member of the Litigation practice group. Prior to attending law school, Anu earned her Bachelor’s in Public Health from Saint Louis University. After graduating in 2015, Anu returned to her hometown and interned with the Milwaukee County Executive, Milwaukee County District Attorney, and the Milwaukee Justice Center.
Anu is a 2020 graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law. During law school, Anu was a member of the Moot Court Program. She served as the In-house Director and won Best Oralist at the National Health Law Moot Court Competition and Loyola’s Intraschool Moot Court Competition. Anu was also a Senior Editor of the Consumer Law Review and an Executive Board member of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.
Anu completed two judicial externships while in law school. She externed for Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier at the Northern District of Illinois and Justice Mary L. Mikva at the Illinois Appellate Court. After graduating from law school, Anu clerked for Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal at the District of North Dakota.