Honoring Jennifer Sims (1989–2020)
Jennifer Sims can only be described as a truly extraordinary person. Her wide array of lived experiences gave unique insight to her legal studies, which was a breath of fresh air on a law school campus where it is easy to forget the big picture. She was a former United States Army Captain and served in Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Germany. This background helped inform her interests in a host of international law issues—ranging from immigration to trade controls. She was, without a doubt, an expert among her peers on these topics.
Complementing Jennifer’s expertise and experience was a sincere humility that made her insights even more prized. I had the privilege of sitting in the same 1L classes as Jennifer—a setting where some new law students feel the need to speak up early and often to make an impression on professors. Jennifer was intentional about choosing the moments she would speak, and it made her comments even more resonant. Every time she did speak in class, I remember thinking to myself (or sometimes saying out loud to those around me), “Wow. I feel so lucky to even be in the same classroom as this person.”
Jennifer’s unwavering internal compass not only helped her cut through the noise of law school, but also allowed her to be a source of encouragement for her peers while others were engulfed in competition. She was a regimented student, but she was also warm and generous in a way that often made us feel undeserving. Whether it was a quick smile and greeting around campus, a meeting for coffee, or taking time to collaborate on an assignment for class, Jennifer was selfless and her classmates admired her immensely for it.
A resounding refrain among those of us that got to study with Jennifer is that if anyone from our class deserved to be a lawyer, it was her. She had already proved that she had so much to contribute to the world, and we were all looking forward to bearing witness to her accomplishments. Her passing is beyond tragic, and her presence will be sorely missed by all of us.
Among Jennifer’s many talents, she was a gifted writer. Jennifer and I served together on the editing staff for Volume 108 of The Georgetown Law Journal, and it is an honor to write these words in memoriam on behalf of all of us at the Journal. We have a lot of treasured memories with Jennifer that we could share, but we also feel that Jennifer’s own words are some of the greatest testimony to the incredible person she was. Linked below is an opinion piece she wrote for the New York Times before she entered law school. Jennifer was a fierce advocate for the rights of those in the LGBTQ+ community, as these issues were extremely personal and formative in her own life. While many of us were still trying to figure out what we were going to contribute to the world, Jennifer had already found her voice—and we are so lucky that she shared it with us. Thank you for everything, Jennifer.
Will Baxley, L’21
Senior Articles Editor, The Georgetown Law Journal, Volume 109
All photos courtesy of Jennifer Sims’s mother, Adelia Sims.