Adam Forkner '00

What is your current occupation, and where are you located? 
I am a lawyer in Boston.  Most recently, I worked for Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, focusing on economic development initiatives.

What do you like about the work you do (or what are you most proud of)?
I enjoy working on issues that advance the public good and have a discernable impact in the community.  I also like the balance between legal and policy work inherent in the government and nonprofit realms.   
 
Did you know, when you graduated from Trinity, the direction your career would take? 
No.  I had a pretty good sense that I would pursue a career in law, government or journalism.  I sought experience in all three before committing to law school.
 
How do you think being an English Major prepared you for the work you are doing now?
In hindsight, I wasn’t aware of the breadth of skills I was developing as an English major, nor did I appreciate how they would translate into the workplace.  When I switched majors from Economics my sophomore year, I remember it feeling like a total leap of faith in that regard.  I’m reminded of the movie Karate Kid, where Daniel is sanding floors, staining fences and waxing cars, and all the while, unbeknownst to him, he’s mastering the fundamentals of karate.  Joking aside, many of the skills I developed, especially analytical and communication skills, weren’t fully apparent to me at the time.

Writing skills are invaluable in the legal profession and many others.  Much of the writing I did for English classes was critical writing – developing arguments and defending them clearly, concisely and persuasively, while also anticipating and accounting for a contrary view.  Whether it’s a critical essay on Shakespeare, written legislative testimony, or a legal brief, it’s essentially the same exercise.
 
If you could give one piece of professional advice to current English Majors at Trinity College, what would that be?
This depends on one’s career interests.  But I think it’s important to be thinking about ways to effectively articulate the skills you’ve developed in order to market yourself to employers who may not fully appreciate the value of an English degree to their profession.  Also, seek out professors who will take the time to thoroughly pick apart your writing.  It will pay off in the long run.
 
Last question: you have two hours here at Trinity College (we’ve beamed you in using special technology)—how are you going to spend your time? 
It would definitely involve a run around campus (including a few laps around the new track), and visits to Cinestudio and 115 Vernon.