Amy Kretkowski sought out a career in law because she wanted to invest herself in work that would challenge her intellect and serve her community.
Since graduating from University of Iowa College of Law in 2008, Kretkowski has dedicated herself to helping veterans. She is now serving as a veterans law attorney at Hoefer Law Firm in Iowa City, where she helps veterans from across the state and around the country gain access to their benefits.
Kretkowski credits the mentor-ship she received from the faculty at UI College of Law for preparing her for the work she does today.
“Professor Bonfield’s administrative law course was by far the most important course I took at law school, as it set the foundation for everything I do to this day,” says Kretkowski. “Working as his research assistant made me a better researcher and writer, as did the legal writing program.”
During her time at the UI College of Law, Kretkowski gained valuable, real-world experience as a member of the Iowa Law Review and Moot Court, and as a legal clinic intern.
“Working in the legal clinic gave me a better understanding of dealing with under-served populations and set the groundwork for my current work with homeless veterans,” Kretkowski says. “The clinic provided me with actual real-world experience that is very similar to the work I do every day.”
Kretkowski says she was inspired to work with veterans after working as a judicial law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington D.C., shortly after her graduation.
“There are not very many attorneys practicing in this area of law, and not very many clerks go into private practice in this area,” Kretkowski says, adding her Iowa education helped her land the job. “My clerkship gave me a level of expertise in a very niche area of law, and it made it clear me that there was an emerging need for lawyers to effectively represent veterans in their appeals for VA benefits, which will continue to be a need for a long time to come.”
Now Kretkowski has taken her passion back to Iowa, where, in addition to her work at Hoefer Law Firm, she holds a monthly legal clinic for veterans at the Shelter House in Iowa City. She also trains other veterans advocates through CLE programs and works as a mentoring attorney with the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, which mentors attorneys who represent veterans at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Kretkowski says she enjoys the work she does because she knows she’s making a positive impact on Iowa’s veterans.
“It’s a really wonderful experience to know the work you’re doing is really making a difference in someone’s life,” says Kretkowski. “For many veterans, having access to monthly benefits moves them from poverty to the middle class, that’s an extraordinary feeling to know you’ve had that kind of impact on someone’s life.”