Rebecca Thibault '01

JOB TITLE: Associate attorney

ORGANIZATION: Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, P.C.

LOCATION: Springfield, Massachusetts

GRADUATE DEGREE: J.D., Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

What was your first position after college? My first position was in retail. I worked for privately owned men’s clothing stores. I was a manager, oversaw a staff, and also did the buying and planning. Being at a small business meant I had to teach myself many of the analytical skills I used in planning and managing the store’s inventory. After retail, I went into pharmaceutical sales as a sales representative. Three years later, I attended law school. I was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 2011 and have been an associate at my current firm since January 2013.

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? My career path went from the retail industry to the pharmaceutical industry to law. A liberal arts education, particularly one based in a science discipline, prepared me to shift easily between these various industries and positions. No matter what, I was prepared with a foundation of strong writing skills and the ability to figure things out on my own. In law, I credit the experience I had in my laboratory courses–where I had to draft reports and think about reasons to support or discredit a hypothesis. Now, in law, I can easily think about an issue from multiple angles and come up with various arguments supportive of my clients’ positions. A legal argument mimics a lab report in that respect–it’s all about supporting your statements or position with evidence.

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field? Think of whatever you do as an opportunity to improve yourself. Take advantage of the chance to explore different subjects and disciplines–no matter where you end up, the skills you have learned from various experiences will carry over.