Michelle Obama, whose husband ,Sen. Barack Obama, aims to become the next U.S. president, graduated from Harvard Law School and spent just three years at a law firm, but her legal experience has played a critical role in shaping her career and life.

Not only did she meet her husband during her brief stint as an associate at Sidley Austin in Chicago, she also honed legal skills that have served her throughout her career. She has often displayed lawyerly critical thinking, negotiating and analytical abilities that benefited her work, said former colleagues.