The greatest skill in the practice of law is judgment. The second greatest skill is the ability to communicate. A liberal arts education cultivates both of those skills. When a student graduates from William & Mary, his or her judgment is informed by the human experience in the very broadest sense. His or her ability to make decisions is informed, at every step along the way, by good and bad decisions made by those who have come before. Similarly, a William & Mary student is an expert at articulating his or her thoughts to others – a skill which is critical in the practice of law.
I practice law on the plaintiffs' side. Invariably, I find myself making legal arguments to persuade courts that there is a compelling, policy-related reason to interpret the law more expansively. Each time I do that, I draw on my own practical experience of the world around me. I take a step back, and think about how the law impacts real people. My liberal arts education enables me to do that.
Every time I make a legal argument, in a brief or in front of a court, I thank Cicero – because when I read Cicero as an undergraduate, I didn't just learn Latin. I learned how to think, and how to articulate myself in a way that persuades others. The Latin authors had a certain cadence and style to their writing that affects the way I communicate even today.
It was my liberal arts education, moreover, that led me to reach outside my legal career to co-found Global Playground, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization which builds schools in developing countries and then facilitates cross-cultural dialogue among children at those schools and here in the United States. William & Mary cultivates deep concern for the lives of others, which I've integrated into my life as an attorney.