Student Profile: From Scientist to Dean's Leadership Fellow, Jameson Tibbs

Posted 2019-03-20 10:38am

CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 1L Student Jameson Tibbs has already immersed himself in C|M|LAW student life during his first year of law school. Tibbs is President of the Cleveland-Marshall Cyber Law Association, Vice-President of the Cleveland-Marshall Health Law Society and Secretary of the Cleveland-Marshall Student Intellectual Property Law Association.

In addition to those on-campus leadership programs, he is also involved with C|M|LAW as a member of the first class of Dean’s Leadership Fellows.

The C|M|LAW Dean's Leadership Fellows Program, created by Dean Lee Fisher as part of the P. Kelly Tompkins Leadership and Law Program, admits a select number of J.D. students who demonstrate outstanding achievement and leadership potential.

The Dean’s Leadership Fellows Program was one of the main reasons Tibbs decided to move across the country to attend law school at Cleveland-Marshall.

Tibbs studied neuroscience at UCLA and spent the past two decades in Los Angeles.

 Once he decided to attend law school, he conducted a national search. What stood out most about C|M|LAW was hearing directly from prominent alumni and Dean Fisher. The school offered a level of support that went far beyond what he was accustomed to in past educational experiences.

“What appealed to me (about the Dean’s Fellows Program) was the close working relationship with the Dean, said Tibbs. “I want to be around others who share my desire to learn how to be a good leader and want to be exposed to speakers and information to help us become good leaders.” 

Thus far, Tibbs feels C|M|LAW has made good on its recruiting promises. He has been in touch with several alumni during his first year of law school and has taken advantage of opportunities presented to him by those alumni contacts. As for the Fellows Program, he has enjoyed hearing from several prominent leaders who offered unique visions of leadership.

“It appears that every person or group Dean Fisher brings in gives another element or chapter in the book of leadership,” said Tibbs.

Tibbs entered law school with a wealth of career experience, unique in both breadth and scope. He worked as a graduate research student and advanced to doctoral candidacy in neuroscience at UCLA. His extensive research centered on analyzing animal tissue, including research and statistical analysis of the data and generated simulations on cat hindlimbs for neural prosthesis. He has also studied cognitive decline during oxygen deprivation from brain tissue and developed 3D models of the heart and underlying structures for predicting electrical activity associated with arrhythmias.

Though the applications are far different, Tibbs sees similarities of the structures and approaches of nature-driven biomedical research and human-made legal research. Both fields start with database searches to locate what information has already been established in the given area. While the physical research component is unique to the biomedical field, comparing results to past research is similar to examining case precedent with similar circumstances to the current legal case. 

He also brings experience to law school from being a Teaching Assistant and Teaching Associate at UCLA. He has created lectures and lab training and led discussions for courses, including Neuroanatomy and Physiology, Behavioral Neuroscience and Dynamical Systems Modeling of Physiology.

Tibbs recognizes that he brings a unique perspective to his law classes because he has also been on the other side of the lectern as the professor. He feels that this experience helps him to better understand how to learn new material.

Tibbs’ past career eventually transitioned to a strong focus on data analysis, which he even went on to apply to compliance in a retail setting. “I was noticing in biological science that many people had great ideas but not the analytical capability to bring those ideas to fruition,” he explained. 

The law interested him, even dating back to high school when he was class president and spent time in Washington, D.C. Even in neuroscience, he was recognizing the importance of the law and the impact it has across fields. He felt broadening his education in this manner would allow him to make a bigger impact in any number of areas.

“The law influences the direction of science immensely, but many of the people who are in control of that influence don’t have the requisite scientific background to make educated decisions,” said Tibbs.

Tibbs envisions working as in-house counsel, though he acknowledges that his time and contacts in law school have even further opened up his future potential. He could see his leadership training as part of the fellowship eventually spearheading a career in public service. In whatever legal career he ultimately chooses, Tibbs will use his strong career experience to maximize his value and impact. 

Even during law school, he is working to expand the fruits of his experiences.  While working on research collaborations with scientists in foreign countries, Tibbs formed working knowledge of Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Mandarin) and Russian. He plans on studying these languages more while in law school to develop basic fluidity in each of them.

Whether Tibbs finds himself in a position as an attorney or public servant, he will always define himself by more than just a job title. Ever a dabbler, he has many other interests, having produced short films, created visual arts in mediums including graphite, charcoal and watercolors, captured photography and even recorded music that received radio airplay.

“People are multi-faceted beings and should be able to express themselves more than one way,” stated Tibbs. 


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