June 13, 2019

Dr. James Naismith invented the sport of basketball in 1891 when his students could not play rugby outside during the harsh New England winter.

Lora Naismith ’18 ’21 has a family history of solving problems, dating back to her great-great-grandfather, Dr. James Naismith, who invented the sport of basketball in 1891 when his students could not play rugby outside during the harsh New England winter. Lora, who graduated from Texas A&M University’s College Station campus with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Spanish, is channeling her own ingenuity at Texas A&M’s School of Law by using her talents to improve environmental regulations on an international level.  

Located in Fort Worth, Texas A&M’s law school offers students an abundance of opportunities through nationally recognized programs, proximity to 21 Fortune 500 companies and multiple experiential clinics. In the last five years, the School of Law broke into the nation’s top 100 law schools, a first for any law school in the country.

Amidst the school’s rise to success, Lora found her place in programs focused on natural resources and international law. The law school’s natural resources program equips students to represent business, governmental, nongovernmental and individual interests across multiple situations through unique educational experiences such as capstone courses, overseas field classes and individualized research. Together, Lora’s family history and education are preparing her to craft her own legal legacy.

What drew you to Texas A&M University?

As a second-generation Aggie, I loved the school’s culture and deep history of tradition. My undergraduate experience here was amazing. During my time at Texas A&M, I grew not only academically but also as a person. I loved every minute of attending classes, conducting research and spending time with my friends. I even loved learning how to pay bills, take care of myself and just gaining that overall sense of being an adult.

The academics were another factor that drew me to this university. I was really interested in science, and I knew Texas A&M had an incredible biology program. Throughout my studies, I began to understand how important it is for us to care for our environment. I actually had the chance to study abroad in Brazil on a field ecology trip to the Amazon Rainforest, which prompted me to analyze how humans impact the Amazon River for my undergraduate thesis. My research allowed me to see how the laws and regulations of Brazil were influencing the environment. 

Lora Naismith '18 '21 hopes to continue her great-great-grandfather's legacy of ingenuity in her career as a lawyer.

How has your love for the environment translated into your career plans?

I’m actually studying environmental and international law now, though that wasn’t always my plan. During my last two years of undergraduate study, I worked in a research lab, and while I enjoyed my work, I always felt like I could be doing more. I’m impatient by nature, and research is a very slow-going process. You could spend 30 years on a project without any promise of seeing results. I wanted to be in a field in which I could see the impact I was making, and I found that in law school. I’m able to help people and see the effects of my work in their lives.

After I graduate, I would like to work for the U.S. government by drafting policies for environmental regulations. Before settling into that career, however, I want to work internationally to learn how the rules and regulations from other countries interact to better understand what types of regulations the U.S. needs to create a more sustainable environment for our society. I’m actually working at a firm in Cambodia this summer dealing with intellectual property when it comes to natural resources, so I’m really looking forward to that! 

When did you know that law school was the right fit for you?

Once I was introduced to the idea of working in law, I realized that my science background could be really beneficial in this field. Before making my final decision, I spent time interviewing professors and talking to the dean to ensure that this was the career I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to attend Texas A&M’s law school because it felt like home, which is comforting as law school can be a very stressful and competitive atmosphere at times. With my love for the environment recently solidified by a 3-month backpacking trip through Europe and a steady desire to help others, I knew law school was the right choice. Every case seems like a puzzle to me, and it’s my job to fit all the pieces together to win the best outcome for my client.

In addition to inventing basketball, Dr. James Naismith created the idea for the modern football helmet, was a minister during World War I for overseas troops and also crafted woodwork in his spare time.

Why might your name sound familiar to some of your future clients?

Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, is my great-great-grandfather. Just a few years ago, my grandfather started handling the publicity that comes with the family name in his retirement. He recently met with Mark Cuban, who gave our family courtside tickets to see the Dallas Mavericks. My grandfather was even presented with a signed jersey during the game. It’s been really cool to see the name being recognized across the country. It’s crazy to see people recognizing my name now, too! 

How has your great-great-grandfather’s story inspired you?

My great-great-grandfather was an incredible guy if you look at his history. In addition to inventing basketball, he created the idea for the modern football helmet, was a minister during World War I for overseas troops and also crafted woodwork in his spare time. He was a really creative guy who rose to the challenge of solving problems. When his students didn’t have a sport to play indoors during the cold, snowy winter, he invented one. I may not be making my name in the sports industry, but I hope to continue his legacy of ingenuity throughout my career as a lawyer.

To learn more about supporting Texas A&M’s School of Law or creating scholarships for its students, contact Myke Holt below at (817) 212-4061 or mholt@txamfoundation.com.