Five Questions

August 4, 2008Duke Law News

1. Where are you from? Is your hometown famous/known for anything?
I never really know how to answer this question because I have lived in seven different cities throughout my life. I went to high school and college in Cleveland, and I still have some affinity for the city (mostly my love of Indians baseball), but I have lived more than half my life in Pittsburgh, so I suppose that qualifies as my "hometown."

Pittsburgh is famous for many things, not least of which is the Steelers. They are one of the few sports franchises with a truly national fan base. Pittsburgh is also the birthplace of Andy Warhol and the home of Heinz ketchup and U.S. Steel. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh still has a reputation for being a dirty steel town, but the smoke-spewing steel mills are long gone, and the city is actually very beautiful.

2. What is your undergraduate degree? Other degrees?
I have a bachelor of arts degree in history from Case Western Reserve University. My concentration was medieval British history, partially because I really like that time period and partially because my favorite professor in the department taught all the medieval classes.

I started out pre-med, but after two years of heavy science and math, I decided that perhaps med school wasn’t for me after all. I actually considered law school back then, but by the time I was finished with undergrad, I didn’t want to be in school anymore. I guess 12 years out was long enough for me to decide to go back!

3. What do you like most about Duke Law or what is your favorite memory of law school?
The best thing about Duke Law so far has been all the friends I have made here. I was apprehensive about being older than everyone else, but my friends really make me feel like I fit in, even if they do tease me sometimes about being "old!"

I also really like the focus on pro bono work that Duke Law has. I participated in VITA last year, and I worked at the school’s tax clinic over the summer. It was nice to feel like the work I was doing made a difference in someone’s life. Hearing the gratitude expressed by my clients has convinced me that I always want to have the latitude to do pro bono work throughout my legal career.

4. What do you ultimately want to do with your law degree?
My plan is to move to Los Angeles and work for a firm with a strong entertainment law practice. My main interest is copyright law and how it can help artists protect their creations.

Eventually, I might like to work in-house for a movie studio and perhaps get involved with production and development. Every time I see a preview for what looks like a truly awful movie, I wonder how on earth it got greenlit. If someday I have the power to keep terrible movies from getting made, I will consider myself a success!

5. What unique accomplishments or abilities do you have that people might not know about you?
Most people don’t know that I’m a former skateboarder who plays the drums and used to manage a local Pittsburgh band. I also directed, produced, edited, and sound-mixed a documentary video on the underground rave (dance) scene in Cleveland when I was in college.

I spent seven years managing a thoroughbred breeding and racing operation for the family I used to work for. So, for a person who has never actually ridden a horse, I know a good bit about the industry.