Meredith Reeves '06

JOB TITLE: Trial attorney

ORGANIZATION: Salem Superior Court Office of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (Public Defender Division)

LOCATION: Salem, Massachusetts

GRADUATE DEGREE: J.D., Suffolk University

What was your first position after college? My first job after graduation was as a litigation legal assistant at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York City, a large law firm that specializes in commercial securities litigation. I learned about the position through a recent Trinity alum who was working there at the time. She helped me with the application process. 

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? My liberal arts education has been instrumental in shaping my career! In particular, the writing skills that were emphasized in nearly all of my courses at Trinity–both within my major and elsewhere–have helped me tremendously in each job I’ve had since graduation, in addition to law school.

What aspects of your Trinity experience have been important to advancing your career or graduate school experience? I had the opportunity to do extensive research with two professors within the Public Policy and Law Department one summer. This experience has proven extraordinarily useful in similar projects and assignments I’ve undertaken since graduation. The broad array of subjects I was exposed at Trinity has also opened me up to many different types of jobs and programs. Starting with my first job as a paralegal at a huge private law firm, the online research skills and basic knowledge of the American legal system I acquired at Trinity gave me a big leg up in the very foreign world of corporate litigation. However, it wasn’t until my second job as a legislative aide in the Massachusetts House of Representatives that I really began to tap into the extraordinary base of research and writing skills and public policy knowledge that I had learned at Trinity.

I can’t begin to say how helpful my liberal arts education was when I went on to law school. I already had such a comprehensive understanding of constitutional law and the legal system in general, terrific writing experience, and such a well-honed set of research, reading, and study skills that I was able to tackle many of the challenging aspects of law school with greater ease than some of my peers. 

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field? No matter what your major is, take some English and other writing-intensive classes–it’s impossible to overstate how important writing skills are in all public policy or law-related jobs. And if you have the opportunity, try to do a substantial research project with a professor within the Public Policy and Law Department. It’s very helpful to be able to talk about an independent and sophisticated research project that you took on as an undergraduate as you market yourself in the job search, especially early on.

My final advice for students is to get to know Trinity professors–one of the outstanding things about the College is how accessible the instructors are to students and how eager they are to be involved in students’ lives and budding careers.